In 1943 the Brabazon Committee drew up outline requirements for a large aircraft to be used on the London-New York route. A design by the Bristol Aeroplane Co. Limited proposed a 50 passenger aircraft, Type 167, subsequently known as the Brabazon, powered by 8 Centaurus piston engines, with a cruising speed of 250 mph at 25, 000 ft. Two prototypes were subsequently ordered on a government account.
In November 1945 it was decided to equip the 2nd prototype with Proteus turbo/prop engines, which involved substantial re-design, increasing the overall weight and allowing a larger passenger load. The following year, the Civil Aviation Committee considered placing a production order for 3 Brabazons for future operation by BOAC, but this action was deferred as it was thought desirable to wait until experience had been gained from the first prototype Meanwhile, work had been put in hand on the erection of an assembly building at Filton, Bristol and land gad been acquired for runway extensions.
The first flight of the Brabazon took place in September 1949, but by this time doubts were being expressed about the commercial viability of this new aircraft. In 1950 it was decided that the Brabazon was not an economic proposition and no further orders were placed. The existing prototypes were allowed to be completed, and the project was regarded as a national experiment from which important research experience had been gained.
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