25 MAY 2015
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Last weekend (23-24 May) saw the first public appearance of the Aircraft Restoration Company’s Bristol Blenheim Mk1 L6739 (G-BPIV) at the Imperial War Museum Duxford VE Day Anniversary Air Show.. It is the sole remaining flying example of the 4,422 built and is the result of a 12-year restoration programme following a near write-off crash on landing in August 2003.
First flown in April 1935 the Blenheim light bomber was considered advanced, with an all-metal stressed-skin construction, retractable landing gear, flaps, a powered gun turret and variable-pitch propellers. She operated with a crew of three – pilot, navigator/bombardier and telegraphist/air gunner. With a top speed of 250mph she was quicker than most of the fighters of her generation but with the outbreak of World War II soon found herself prey to the Messerschmitt Bf 109.
By 1944 the Blenheim was being superseded by the much quicker and more manoeuvrable de Havilland Mosquito. Finland continued to operate the aircraft, finally as target tugs, the last aircraft not being withdrawn until 1958.
The Bristol Fairchild Bolingbroke was a maritime version used by the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford
Click below to watch a report on the Bristol Blenheim at Duxford by ITV Anglia's Stuart Leithes.
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