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In addition to having the distinction of being one of the few monoplane fighters built during World War I, the Bristol M1C has a unique view hole in each of its wings for better pilot visibility.
The M1C is the results of early attempts to increase aircraft speed through streamlining. The wing's elliptical shape, its shoulder position on the fuselage that eliminates the need for inter-wing struts, and distinctive large prop spinner, all worked to lessen drag.
The M1C did not see action on the Western Front, although its performance was comparable to the best fighters of its day. It is said that this was due to the fact that it needed more open area for take off and landing than available in the many small, front line French airfields used by the RAF. Instead, the aircraft was used primarily as a trainer and for personal transport. It was used extensively as a fighter/scout in the Middle East theatre during 1916 and 1917.
The picture at the top of this page is of a beautifully restored Bristol M1C housed at the Harry Butler Museum, Minlaton, Australia. How it got there is an interesting story.
We want to thank Russell King for contacting Aviation Trivia. He writes:
"Find accompanying a copy of an article I wrote some years ago about Capt. Harry Butler's Bristol M1C aircraft, the Red Devil. Hope that is clears up some of the details of the M1C page of your excellent website.
I'm fortunate enough to live a couple of hours from Minlaton, where the Red Devil is on display, and wrote the article when I was working as a freelance writing some years ago. I spent a day looking over the aircraft and the Minlaton Council's archives (a pile of boxes in a back room), in which I found a host of interesting things, including the Captain's original Australian flying license (I think it was numbered in the twenties). Later, I spoke with an old bloke who actually had flown with the Captain."
The following information was obtained from the Russell King article:
Australian native, Harry Butler, went to Great Britain to join the Royal Flying Corps in 1915. His combat flying skills earned him a pair of Air Force Crosses. He reached the rank of captain and was reassigned as a pilot instructor. Before the war ended, he taught some 2,700 aspiring pilots how to fly.
Before returning to Australia he purchased his Bristol M1C wartime mount. It arrived in Australia on July 12, 1919. Accompanying the aircraft was Lieutenant H. A. Kauper a former works manager for Sopwith Aircraft. His management experience was invaluable to the newly launched enterprise: The Harry J. Butler and Kauper Aviation Co., Ltd.
The company was based in Enfield. It initially did quite well, importing aircraft, cars and parts, undertaking engineering work, and using the Bristol for advertising, freight carriage, and passenger flights.
The Bristol was painted bright red and nicknamed the Red Devil. It became Butler's trade mark. On August 12, 1919, Butler flew the Red Devil to make the first over water mail flight in the Southern Hemisphere.
By September of 1920, the company had moved to a new airfield at Albert Park in Adelaide's northwest. However, serious interest in commercial aviation was dwindling, and a year later the partnership dissolved. Butler continued to run the enterprise by himself.
Back in Minlaton, after negotiating the purchase of an automobile engineering business, Butler and a mechanic test flew one of the company's biplane aircraft. The aircraft's engine stopped when the aircraft was about 1,500 feet high. During the resultant crash, the mechanic was thrown clear, but Captain Butler was seriously injured. Although he went on to run the engineering business successfully, he never fully recovered. Captain Butler passed away on July 30, 1924.
With no one to pilot it, the Bristol M1C was stored in a shed in Adelaide. It was discovered there by Captain H. C. Miller, and old friend of Butler, and he purchased the aircraft.
Miller replaced the original engine of the Bristol to obtain greater performance. The aircraft was successfully raced, and operated in an aerial circus.
The Bristol was retired in the mid 1940's. It ended up suspended from the roof of a hangar at Perth's Guildford Airport. That's where, in 1956, a Mr. C. B. Tillbrook, a Minlaton native, discovered it while looking for a crop spraying aircraft.
Tillbrook spoke with Miller who kindly offered to donate the Bristol to his old friend Harry Butler's home town. The town made plans for refurbishing and housing the aircraft.
The Bristol was flown in the cargo hold of an aircraft from Perth to Adelaide in October of 1956. She was overhauled and reassembled in Parafield, then transported to Minlaton to reside in the newly erected Captain Harry Butler AFC Memorial on October 11, 1958.
Also on display at the memorial was the engine of the crashed aircraft. It was the same one that was in the Bristol during the first over water mail flight. Bristol aircraft kindly overhauled the engine. While doing so they discovered what probably had caused the crash. A piston had seized.
In 1973 the original engine was reinstalled in the Bristol. The Balaklava (SA) Gliding Club repaired the sun damaged fabric and restored the engine cowl of the Bristol M1C in 1989. The aircraft was now back to its original condition.
A total of 130 Bristol M1C aircraft were produced.
Manzano Lazer Works Bristol M1C
Pictured above is the Bristol M1C from a Manzano Laser Works kit designed by Peter Rake. It has a wingspan of 47", a length of 38", is powered by a 750 Kv motor, and weighs around 26 oz.
We received the following email:
"My Bristol M1.c was built from a modified Balsa USA kit, using standard balsa and plywood construction. It has a wingspan of 60", a length of 44.5", and a weight of 6 pounds. Power is supplied by a 4030 size electric, brushless motor, using a 75 amp Opto ESC, and two 3 cell, 3200 ma, Lipo batteries connected in series. Radio equipment consists of a Spectrum 7 system, powering six servos. Flight time is app. 12 minutes. This model has been flown in team scale competition at several contests."
Dave Bryant - Elizabethtown, KY
You can find Dave's Bristol M1C pictured first below.
Pictured second below is the Bristol M1C from a Balsa USA kit. Wingspan is 60" and length is 44 1/2". You can use from .40 to 60 two cycle or .46 to .90 four cycle engines for this approximately 6 1/2 lb model.
The third picture below is of the Bristol M1C built from a Kit Cutters kit from Jerry Bates Plans. Wingspan is 91". Engines are a 1.20 four stroke or 20 to 30 cc gasoline. Weight is around 13 lbs.
The bottom picture on this page is of the brightly finished Bristol M1C scratch built by Tom Czenthe. It is 1/5+ scale, powered by a ZDZ 40 engine.
The AMA has plans for sale for a 42" wingspan Bristol M1C for engine power. Plan # is 36147.
The Bristol M1C built by Dave Bryant.
Balsa USA Bristol M1C.
The Bristol M1C from Jerry Bates Plans.
The Bristol M1C built by Tom Czenthe.
At RC Universe zxqbrt posted a link to his Bristol M1C build page, ReisingerD posted pictures and a description of the Bristol M1C he was building and Idigbo put up pictures and a description of the Bristol M1C that he had been flying.
At RC Universe ballgunner started a thread about powering his Bristol M1C, BobH posted in a thread regarding the Bristol M1C and ARUP mentions the Bristol M1C in a posting.
Lucky Dog of RC Universe commented regarding the finishing of a Bristol M1C, whayden2003 posted to a thread in which the Bristol M1C was mentioned and Greg Gimlick mentions the Bristol M1C in a letter of his that was posted at RC Universe.
Rush at WattFlyer RC started a thread about building a Bristol M1C for a kit, degreen60 posted about building a Bristol M1C foamy. He also posted to a thread started by dcwwcp and Bill G mentioned the Bristol M1C in a posting.
Ryan Flyer of WattFlyer RC commented on the Bristol M1C in one of his postings, offtom posted about his positive opinion of a Bristol M1C, and 79CJ posted in a thread about a Bristol M1C.
At RC Groups talehevvy started a thread about the construction of his Bristol M1C, REVKEV6 mentions the Bristol M1C in a posting, and started a thread about the construction of a Bristol M1C.
At RC Groups maltone began a thread regarding assembling a Bristol M1C, Dereck responded to a post in a thread about powering a Bristol M1C, and Tim Cullip started a Bristol M1C build thread.
CarreraGTSCS posted to RC Groups about his Bristol M1C and Allan Wright asked about a motor for the Bristol M1C.
At You Tube charliechip42 posted a video of a partially built Bristol M1C.
Laton posted about his Bristol M1C at Combat Ace.
Werter of RC Flying started a build thread for a Bristol M1C kit.