The Brabazon was to be the palace of the skies

August 25, 2018
Artists conecpt of the luxury Brabazon interior

It was to be the palace of the sky carrying just 100 passengers in incredible luxury.

Dining salon, downstairs cocktail lounge, sleeping beds for all and a cinema.

But the Bristol Brabazon was incredibly complex and very uneconomical and only one was ever flown and then scrapped.

In 1942, the British Government commissioned Lord Brabazon, the first Briton to fly in 1908, to chair a committee to recommend post-war aircraft designs.

The committee suggested a series of concepts but two, which were intended to give the lead to British industry for the trans-Atlantic run, were utter disasters.

The eight-engine Bristol Brabazon and the ten-engine Saunders-Roe Princess flying boat were magnificent in concept but impractical.

These designs epitomize the ideal of luxury travel for the privileged few.

Here is a video of its first flight.

Here are some concept pictures of the interior.






Some English manufacturers did not embrace the pre-war trend in the US towards increasing affordability of air travel, highlighted by the US airlines’ rejection of the luxurious and overweight DC-4E.

The eight-engine Brabazon was also impacted by airline indifference, government bungling, and cost overruns.

However British European Airlines (BEA), later merged into British Airways, did show some interest in operating the aircraft in a 180-seat configuration.

The Brabazon was to have 12 crew and was 177 ft (54.0 m) long with a wingspan of 230 ft (70 m), which was wider than the Boeing 747.

It was powered by 8 Bristol Centaurus radial engines, of 2,650 hp.

These were set in pairs buried in the massive wing, and each pair then drove through a complex gearbox contra-rotating Rotol propellers.

Interestingly the giant hangar where it was built was later used to build the Concorde – another white elephant.