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Turns out that the spacious luxury heyday of flying was over by 1950
December 23, 2012 4:15 PM   Subscribe

No other hangar in the world is commodious enough to accomodate the giant. With longer wings than a Boeing 747 (70m) and ¾ of the length of an Airbus A380, but with a maximum take-off weight of only 130 tons (less than a Boeing 767), the Bristol Brabazon was only built to hold 100 passengers. The hangar that was made for it is under threat of being demolished and replaced with housing after the closure of Filton Airport, Bristol. Luckily, the red-trousered Mayor of Bristol has promised to intervene.

Covered in far more detail at this site, the business case was at best shaky even before jet planes came into existence, but the levels of luxury are aspirational even now, with all the seats sitting around tables or split into compartments of 6 people, or maybe in the lounge/bar/cinema aft of the wings, this wasn't the only luxury white elephant conceived at by the geniuses at B̶r̶i̶s̶t̶̶o̶l̶ ̶A̶e̶r̶o̶p̶l̶a̶n̶e̶
̶C̶o̶m̶p̶a̶n̶y̶
British Aircraft Company British Aerospace in Filton, but the better known 92-128 passenger Concorde was a matter of national/Anglo-French/European/Cold-War Capitalist pride and its costs were underwritten until its middle age, when premium ticket prices led it to make a small operational profit.

Previously: Bristol Brabazon (thanks, mattoxic), Filton, red trousers & damninteresting.com (×38)
posted by ambrosen (19 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
A campaign to save a hangar is a deeply silly enterprise. There is nothing interesting about them at all. Turning that into housing would make tremendously more sense.

Hangars are just big boxes. They are really, really boring.
posted by Malor at 4:23 PM on December 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hear Ryanair is poised to add a few of these to its fleet.
posted by Nomyte at 4:52 PM on December 23, 2012



A campaign to save a hangar is a deeply silly enterprise. There is nothing interesting about them at all.

Not everyone agrees. Some hangars are very cool.


Hangars are just big boxes. They are really, really boring.

Without hangars and other industrial buildings, there would be no Centre Georges Pompidou, which was designed to be a big box.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:53 PM on December 23, 2012


I demand more large hangars! They are the vases of our times.
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:57 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The things is, English Heritage have already said that it's not particularly noteworthy, and that's after listing a few other buildings on the same site. It would be great were everything preserved, but you know, small island...housing shortage...brownfield sites...so on and so forth.
posted by Jehan at 4:58 PM on December 23, 2012


NO YOUR A BRISTOL BRABAZON
posted by bicyclefish at 5:00 PM on December 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


What about my mother?
posted by deo rei at 5:15 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't tell Mom.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:15 PM on December 23, 2012


Wow I'd never heard of the Brabazon. It's beautiful and clearly shares some features with the later Comet. Check out the quadrants that move the control surfaces; just like a Sopwith Camel! Hydraulics would come later. I wonder if they were directly cabled to the pilot's controls? Motors in close to the wing root like a DC-3 so if power was lost on one side it could still be flown. Amazing to think of something like that being built with slide rules and pencil drawings.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 5:28 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, according to the unreal aircraft link, the engines were inside the wing because it needed to be so long thanks to the UK aviation authority demanding it land at 60 mph, and that reduced the loads the engines put on the wing. The props are indirectly driven, mind, but there's two contra-rotating props on each axle, so there's no torque on the wing or rolling the aircraft.
posted by ambrosen at 5:38 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, in that video at the 1:00 mark you can see workers hanging out the windows of the plane as it is being towed.

Someone tell Mitt Romney he was right.
posted by salishsea at 5:38 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, thanks for this post. I wasn't aware at all of the Brabazon.
posted by salishsea at 5:44 PM on December 23, 2012


Some hangars are very cool.

Ok, granted, but this hangar is just a big box.
posted by Malor at 6:14 PM on December 23, 2012


Apparently the Brabazon pioneered powered flight controls.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 6:15 PM on December 23, 2012


Hehe hehe he said commode
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:31 PM on December 23, 2012


Saying "Bristol Brabazon" makes my mouth feel like it does when I have had novocaine. Bristol Barbrazon. Bristol Barbasol. Buster Brisbane. Brarbrbabarb babbr.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:26 PM on December 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Contra rotating props were all the rage in the late forties and into the fifties - like squeesing the last gasp of power from piston engines before the jet engine really - (um) took off.
posted by the noob at 9:19 PM on December 23, 2012


I saw one of the last flights landing at Filton as I drove past the airport on the way to work on Friday. I know 2000 new homes will be more useful than an airport whose location strictly limits the traffic that can use it, but I’m still sorry it’s closing.
posted by misteraitch at 1:33 AM on December 24, 2012


the noob: "Contra rotating props were all the rage in the late forties and into the fifties"
... and into the 2040-ies.
posted by brokkr at 1:38 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


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