|Some of the Bristol Aero Collection exhibits in store at Filton.|
2013 has also been a significant year for a number of individual Bristol aircraft. The world's last airworthy Sycamore helicopter made it's first flight after several years of storage and a major overhaul. Now registered OE-SXY, the Flying Bulls team at Salsburg in Austria have done a great job bringing it back to flight. The Sycamore made its return to flight in July, flown by top aerobatic helicopter pilot Sigi 'Blacky' Schwarz.
|Bristol Sycamore OE-XSY in flight at Salsburg|
Another significant first this year was made on 11 September at Point Cook in Australia, when reproduction Bristol Boxkite VH-XKT took to the air for the first time. This doubles the number of airworthy Boxkites, the other being the Shuttleworths reproduction built in 1965. The Australian Boxkite has a number of differences from the Shuttleworth example, the most obvious being the upper wing extensions that became standard on most Boxkites from 1911. It also does not have the central vertical tail surface the was added to the Shuttleworth Boxkite during filming of Those Magnificent Men... More details of the build and flight can be found on the Boxkite 2014 website.
|Bristol Boxkite VH-XKT on its first flight at Point Cook|
The rebuild of the sole airworthy Bristol Blenheim (actually a Canadian-built Bolingbroke) achieved a visual landmark moment when it was rolled out in camouflage at Duxford in August. The restored Bristol Mercury engines had not yet been fitted, but the airframe itself now is very close to completion. The long-nose Blenheim Mk.IV (G-BPIV) suffered damage from a landing accident in August 2003, and the opportunity has been taken to rebuild the aircraft as a Mk.I, replacing the 'long nose' with a 'short nose' which had been converted to a car in the 1940s. More details on the Blenheim Society website.
Also worthy of mention is the Bristol Scout project currently underway by Rick and David Bremner in the Shropshire. Regular updates can be found on their blog. Great progress has been made in 2013, with the airframe itself complete and just the fitting of equipment and fabric covering to go.