The Largest Aircraft Ever Built By Britain: The Bristol Brabazon

Thanks to SquareSpace for making this video
possible. More on that after this video. With a wingspan greater than a Boeing 747’s,
this was the largest aircraft ever built by Britain. More a flying oceanliner than plane, it had
sleeping cabins, a dining room, a cocktail bar and lounge. Even a 23 seat movie theater. And if it had been the 1930’s, when transatlantic
crossings were pretty much always by boat, it might’ve been a hit. But this lumbering super-sized piston airliner
was being introduced for the 1950’s, when the first jets were already taking to the
skies. After a massive development effort, Britain
was stuck with a plane that nobody wanted, designed for an era that no longer existed. In the midst of the Second World War, with
battles raging across the globe, the British began to worry. Not just about the war, but what happens after. Because as soon as victory was assured, Britain
would almost certainly begin losing a different kind of battle; one for the future of their
aviation industry. Because the Americans had a whole range of
military transports which they could easily redesign into airliners after the war. But Britain’s industry had been focused
on building bombers, so they could dish it back to Germany. But these bombers couldn’t easily be redesigned
into airliners. So Britain came up with a plan. They’d design a whole range of cutting edge
airliners, completely from scratch. Some, were incredibly ambitious. Like building the world’s first jet powered
airliner. But the way Britain really planned to get
ahead of the Americans, was to build the world’s largest Commercial Transport. An enormous luxury-liner of the skies, which
they’d name the Brabazon. It would have true transatlantic capability. Able to fly non-stop from London to New York
against prevailing eastern winds. In the 1940’s, this would have been quite
the feat. Transatlantic flights were almost always done
in stages to allow for refueling. The task of building this behemoth was assigned
to The Bristol Aeroplane Company. And its development was given the highest
priority, over all the other planned airliners. But the Brabazon wasn’t just going to push
the limits of airliner size and range. This plane was also going to redefine luxury. Because, although the Brabazon would have
been large enough to seat over 300 passengers, it was only ever intended to carry between
50 and one hundred. And some felt even that was too many. Because comfort was the highest priority,
in luxury class each passenger was allotted an incredible 283 cubic feet of space. The less fortunate would have to settle for
212. There would be private sleeping compartments,
a dedicated dining room. A kitchen for preparing fine meals. A cocktail lounge and bar for schmoozing. And of course, no flight is complete without
a movie. But on this plane. we’re talking about an actual movie theater
with seating for 23. The Brabazon was also fitted with cutting
edge innovations. A fully pressurized, air conditioned cabin. Electric engine controls, and high-pressure
hydraulics to operate its massive control surfaces. But getting this 130 tone, fully loaded behemoth
to make it all the way from London to New York.. in one shot, wasn’t going to be easy. Every effort was made to save weight. A custom, lighter, non-standard aircraft skin
was used. It’s enormous wing housed more than 16 thousand
gallons of fuel, and eight of the most powerful piston engines available. And their arrangement was, well, complex Nothing instills confidence over the middle
of the Atlantic Ocean like a pair of 18 cylinder supercharged engines, each connected by a
drive shaft to an overstressed gearbox, which then drives a pair of contra-rotating propellers. And for all the incredible complexity. the 8 engines produced barely enough power
to get this enormous plane off the ground, and give it a cruise speed of only 250 miles
per hour. What the Brabazon really needed was more powerful
turboprop engines. But these wouldn’t be ready in time. So a decision was made to finish the first
brabazon with piston engines, and begin building a second one using a new turboprop being developed
by Bristol. In late summer 1949, the first Brabazon rolled
out of it’s enormous hanger to make its first flight. It’s interior hadn’t yet been finished. But the Brabazon proved it’s airworthiness
to awestruck crowds, attracting enormous praise from the press. But what it didn’t attract was a single
airline. The problem was, the Brabazon wasn’t really
designed to compete with any other airliners. Instead, it was going steal away wealthy passengers
away from ocean liners. And in 1943 that might’ve been a solid plan. But by 1949, the number of aircraft making
regular transatlantic flights, had grown dramatically. BOAC, later known British Airways, had worked
closely with Bristol to develop the Brabazon. And in the end, even they didn’t want it. By the time the Brabazon made its first flight,
the airline had already begun purchasing Boeing Stratocruisers for their transatlantic flights. A plane that carried up to a 100 passengers,
with half as many engines, and nearly half the weight. And the Comet, the first jet airliner to enter
service, beat the Brabazon to the skies, making its first flight several months earlier. The Comet didn’t fly far as the Brabazon,
nor did have a cocktail lounge. But it flew nearly twice as fast. And that was far more appealing for passengers
who could afford the tickets. For the next three years, the Brabazon lumbered
around Britain and Europe, making high profile appearances and wowing crowds with its size. But few airlines showed any interest in the
enormous complex plane. Meanwhile, back in Britain, the second Brabazon
sat half finished as Bristol struggled to develop more advanced turboprops. By 1953, it was clear that Britain was parading
around a giant white elephant. After 6 million pounds spent on it’s development, the program was cancelled. And the Brabazon,
and it’s half finished turboprop successor were sold for their weight in scrap. And remarkably, just 9 months later, Boeing unvaild it’s Dash 80. A jet powered airliner that would become the
707, bringing a transatlantic crossing down to as little as 7 hours. Despite introducing new innovations, many
of which influenced the future of aviation, the Brabazon’s driving philosophy was outdated. New disruptive technologies and a completely
new generation of airline passengers, not the same ultrarich ones from the 1930’s,
meant that the Brabazon never really stood a chance. Maybe you’ve got big ambitions to launch
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100 thoughts on “The Largest Aircraft Ever Built By Britain: The Bristol Brabazon

  1. This crazy project ruined their aircraft industry. Later they would go and ruin their car industry…

  2. Beautiful plane, they just needed to add jet engines and redesign the interior to carry more people. Sad that the original was sold for scrap.

  3. The UK is great about monarchy. Nothing else. UK need US to protect them and their jewelry. The UK is gone.

  4. it a trip How The 🇬🇧 uK 🇬🇧 Land Look Like a Flying witch Riding on A pig soo Let's activate War plan Red 🇺🇸 Hee yeehaw 🇺🇸 !!!!!!!!

    and 🇳🇿 Australia 🇳🇿 almost the same size of a Dinosaur so Let's recycle our RuBBish Trash Too make Fake Island's Too make America part 2

  5. So this is what a flying turd looks like. And the British made so many versions of it across their entire aircraft industry. Obsolete, as it was being drafted on the drawing board. A metaphor for the entire country. Britain now a pointless entity.

  6. Wow made out of wood too. Bet the Brits wished they did not give the Jet Engine to the USSR, communists and the Nukes to Pakistan.

  7. no matter who it's built by we should save one of each plane especially if it's a one-off this shouldn't have been sold for scrap should have been put out the pastor or into a museum or something

  8. What would expect from a diotic country that allows millions of Muslims to take over there country…LOSERS !

  9. I thought it was an interesting concept, although just a little bit too late. It was a good looking aircraft and I am sad to see that it was not preserved in a musem. Thank you

  10. I love that cockpit window arrangement. Coupled with the smooth shape of the rest of the fuselage, very pretty. Jet engines and some sleeker wings might have sealed the deal.

  11. 2:39 – a picture making more mess and confusion then disclosure : lack of a timeline, only silhouettes, and some of them look 'upside-down' – – = = > > great info-pic, only not about the topic…

  12. actually it's the very same idea as Concorde… someone forgot: the time is money, and the price is everything

    /and makes miracles/, and missed the vanishing of posh colonial middle-class circles… 😉 they would rather welcome

    the good old US Dakotas, to get their goods and possessions back "home"= England… ooops… Mr. Churchill forgot to mention about some minute changes to The British Empire

  13. I worked in media ad-lib advertising for years (when the company pays you to endorse the product personally). I understand that people can't make any money from the partner program anymore. I also know that Mustard or anybody else with a web builder, educational video collaboration, shaving kit, VPN subscription, or meal by mail, cares about the creator nor the opposite. Ad-Lib advertising is all fake. Instead of buying the product spoken of, petition YouTube to be fair. Visit Jorge Sprave's union site and join the effort. Who needs a shave anyway? Beards are hip.

  14. 5:06
    Does anyone see how much that thing struggles when lifting off?
    If there was anything right after the runway, hate to say it,but you'd be screwed
    You would be Smolensk'ing that s*it with trees.

  15. Ooh noo..1953 program was cancelled? ?…Was sold for scrap and weight? ?…why??…

    Any photos that I or anyone else could see where the plane ended??…very sad 🙁

  16. Yea if me and my whole group of friends would party the hell out of that plane I can see my friend passed out in the living room

  17. It's drinks fuel, so it's not very efficient. It's big so it's slow. Not very practical nowadays. But it's fucking cool and I want one!

  18. Isn't the intro music from John Adams play Nixon in China and from Civ IV? The people are the heroes, the behemoth, pulls the peasant's ploooow.

  19. If i was retarded rich id buy a 747 and put a whole bunch of cool ass shit on it. And make it chrome diamond and gold. Im blinding every single aircraft within seeing distance. Ill only fly on sunny days and just flex on everyone lmfao

  20. While the design was a failure, a number of valuable lessons were learned, especially in the ground handling and flying characteristics of larger planes. And that lesson was likely picked up by Boeing when they designed the revolutionary 747.

  21. it was an airliner based on 1930's life, it failed… but she was a beauty… shame they scrapped her… would have made more money as a tourist attraction!

  22. Britain: Look at our Bristol Brabazon! We can easily turn it into a airliner!
    Olympic: Why didn’t you think of me?

  23. In the very early 50s we would all stand in the school playground and watch in awe as this plane flew over Bristol.The sound it emitted from it's engines was wonderful,I was a 9yr old at the time living in Knowle, southside of the city,i will never forget it.

  24. > Makes video on why the first jet powered airliners weren't good
    > Also makes video where he says the propeller aircraft in the 1940s wasn't good because the first jet powered airliners were coming out

  25. My 2.9 year old is OBSESSED with the Brabazon. I think it's the name.

    I was shocked that there are so many videos about it.

  26. Bristol isn't the company it's a place you fucking muppet it most likely took of in Filton jus like the concorde

  27. Bit of a daft idea making a propellor based plane when jets had already been invented (by Rolls Royce). Another British plane disaster was the square windows debacle.

  28. Great plane to my understanding! Why good life and comfort shouldn’t exist for people? Though the name brabazon sounds hilarious.

  29. Should have gotten rid of all of the high end luxuries, & opted to fly 300 people at a time at 250 MPH on shorter routes; London to Paris, Rome, Madrid, Vienna, etc.

  30. They demolished a whole village to extend the runway to enable it to take-off – which, as it turned out, it didn’t need. I grew up near Filton and my dad watched the maiden flight.

  31. Bombers to "dish it back" to Germany…
    When Churchill was the first one to bomb civilians…
    And the Germans didn't even have the resources to spend on at all comparable bombings against Brits…

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