Bristol Buckmaster


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Bristol Buckmaster

Derived from the Model 163 Buckingham as an advanced trainer, the Bristol Type 166 Buckmaster had considerable commonality with its predecessor, and in fact the last 110 Buckinghams were converted to Buckmasters by installation of dual controls and other modifications.

The prototype Buckmaster flew from Filton on 27 October 1944, and a second prototype followed, both aircraft being conversions from partly completed Buckinghams. One hundred and fifty . additional sets of Buckingham components had already been manufacturered when the contract was cut back and these were used for the Buckmasters, the first of 100 production aircraft being completed in 1945 and the last the following year.

Although several Buckmasters served with No. 8 Squadron at Aden on communications duties, most were delivered to Operational Conversion Units to train Brigand pilots, and the Buckmaster had the distinction of being one of the fastest and most powerful trainers to serve with the RAF when it was introduced. Blind-flying instruction and instrument training could be undertaken and the normal crew complement was pilot, instructor and air signaller.

The last Training Command Buck-masters served with No. 238. OCU at Colerne into the mid-1950s, while one or two were used on experimental work at Filton. One of these, probably the last survivor, was relegated to RAF Halton where it served as an instructional air-frame until scrapped in 1958.


The Buckmaster trainer was the highest performance training aircraft in the RAF for some years. A few examples lasted in service until the mid-1950s.

Bristol BuckmasterA three-view drawing (1280 x 836)

 ENGINE2 x 2520hp Bristol Centaurus VII radial piston engines
  Take-off weight15286 kg33700 lb
  Empty weight10433 kg23001 lb
  Wingspan21.89 m72 ft 10 in
  Length14.15 m46 ft 5 in
  Height5.33 m18 ft 6 in
  Wing area65.77 m2707.94 sq ft
  Max. speed566 km/h352 mph
  Ceiling9145 m30000 ft
  Range3219 km2000 miles

Don Busby, e-mail, 12.01.2016 00:34

Richard H. I have only just spotted your kind offer of possible help. I guess we were at RAF Colerne together many years ago. I can be reached on[ ]: I do not have your email address so would you start the ball rolling please? Don.


Richard Hladik, e-mail, 07.01.2016 16:49

Don, if you like to e-mail me I can probably help with your request of 26.12.15


Don Busby, e-mail, 27.12.2015 14:15

Sven, Thank you for the steer, I'll follow it through. I have several leads, some of which should be fruitful. If anything useful transpires I shall post a reference to what will probably be the winding up of looking into my experience of 60 years ago. Best Wishes for the New Year. Don.


sven, 27.12.2015 01:16

Don . Sorry I cant help. Accidents in training with heavy twin engined piston aircraft were not uncommon.It follows that they were not afforded any great investigation at the time, right or wrong it was considered 'just one of those things that happens'.For your cockpit layout question you could do worse than to try the Imperial War Museum. HNY.


Don Busby, e-mail, 26.12.2015 14:30

A Happy New Year to readers.
Sven, have you anything useful to offer in answer to my queries please?


Sven, 23.12.2015 01:28

So. Step right up volunteers to train in a 5000hp twin taildrager. Balls ain what they used to be.


Don Busby, e-mail, 22.12.2015 16:05

I am looking into possible reasons that might have led to the crash of Brigand RH831 at RAF Colerne on 8th March 1956.
Sergeant Hanson had selected Fuel Isolation Cocks instead of returning Supercharger levers to "Normal" after exercising these. He had experienced a Buckmaster single engine failure the previous day whilst with a QFI. I have details of a Brigand's control levers for these two functions. I wish to compare these with the same controls in a Buckmaster.
Does anyone have details of these controls on the Buckmaster please? Don Busby-a navigator on the runway at the time RH831 crashed just outside the airfield perimeter. An email link would be most convenient. Thanks.


Andrew Mackenzie, e-mail, 27.11.2014 22:15

The Buckmaster at Halton was used as a cockpit classroom training engine fitters. We of other trades watched with interest, hoping that one day the truncated cockpit and engines would break free during run-ups and shoot across the airfield. Sadly, it never did!


Robert Cooper, e-mail, 01.08.2014 13:23

Does anyone have any information on the Buckmaster trials with the Burney recoilless gun, please?


Richard Hladik, e-mail, 05.03.2011 18:26

Like Ray Clark I also worked on Balliols, Brigands, Valettas and Buckmasters on 238 OCU from August '54 to March '57. As I worked in ASF as an engine fitter, I managed to get on an air test in RP201 late '55 or early '56. As the pilots sat side by side and I was in the right hand seat I had my first real experience of 'flying the plane' A never to be forgotten moment!


Ray Clark, e-mail, 21.08.2010 17:57

I was so pleased to find a photo of the buckmaster as I
worked on this super plane in the 50s as an airframe fitter
along with the Balliol on 238OCU at Colerne.I have been
asking after this plane since but no one knew of it.
Thank you Aviastar


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