|NIGHT BOMBER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Bleriot|
Pioneer Louis Bleriot established the basic form for the aeroplane with his Model XI of 1909. The large aircraft his company created during and after World War I were anything but classics of form and function.
Most of the big Bleriots suffered from a surfeit of struts and wheels, and had their engines mounted very close together near the centreline. The Bleriot 67 bomber prototype was underpowered and slow, even by 1917 standards. The 1919 Type 74 was no better, but added especially bad handling qualities. The Type 73 which succeeded it was a truly bizarre creature with eight wheels and a highly swept rear fuselage. It lasted only two or three flights before breaking up in the air. One of the two Type 115 airliners also crashed, and the other could barely cruise at 100km/h when loaded.
FACTS AND FIGURES
© The Type 73's wheel units were in alignment with the upper and lower engines, but the struts connecting them all were not. An odd framework gave some support to the main struts, but the structure still failed.
© A transport version of the Type 73 was developed as the Type 75 Aerobus transport with a huge bulbous fuselage. It didn't fall apart, but only one was built.
© The Type 73 was officially designated a three-seat night bomber, but its useful range with the proposed 1000kg bomb load would have been negligible.
© The configuration of the Type 73 was similar to earlier models except the fuselage was under the wings rather than between them. The tail was kept in the same place, hence the odd rear fuselage.
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