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two or three
Hercules XVII radials
2 x 1,700 hp ea.
41 ft. 8 in.
57 ft. 10 in.
4 x .20 mm
7 x 7.7 mm
1 x 18 in.
2 x 500 lbs.
8 x 76.2 mm
The Bristol Beaufighter was the most heavily armed British aircraft of World War Two. It was a quicker, longer range variant of the torpedo bomber from which it was derived.
Its wings and tail were unchanged from its predecessor, with the fuselage shortened about three feet, and the cockpit area streamlined to accommodate a single pilot.
Some books describe the Bristol Beaufighter as one of the hardest to fly of all British aircraft. We have found mixed reviews of its flying abilities. The primary complaint appears to be regarding its high engine torque combined with a rearward center of gravity.
During take off, Bristol Beaufighter pilots had to learn to apply reduced power to the starboard engine to keep the aircraft centered in its roll down the runway. Once sufficient speed built up, the ailerons and rudder could be used to compensate for any torque pull.
The Bristol Beaufighter also had a high wing loading that made it drop quickly once power was cut. It was necessary to fly it at all times, and keep the power on when coming in for a landing.
Bristol Beaufighter pilots appreciated the overall power of the aircraft, especially when flying at low altitudes. Its cockpit was well laid out with room for the largest of pilots. The controls and instrumentation were comfortably arranged and easy to use.
The forward and downward view from the cockpit was excellent due to the short nose of the aircraft. Engines were very reliable, even in very hot climates. The Bristol Beaufighter was robustly built and able to withstand a great deal of battle damage while bringing its crew home unharmed. Ground crews appreciated its ease of maintenance.
The Bristol Beaufighter served as a night interceptor, strike aircraft, and eventually torpedo bomber. It is credited with the sinking of 117 enemy ships, including five German submarines in a two day period.
A total of 5,298 Bristol Beaufighter aircraft of all types were produced.