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Blackburn B-101 Beverley

The Blackburn B-101 Beverley was a heavy transport aircraft.

It was notably the only land-based transport airplane built by Blackburn, a company that otherwise specialised in producing naval fighter aircraft.

The Beverley was originally designed by General Aircraft as the GAL.60 Universal Freighter, reflecting its intended use by both military and civil operators.

The design process had started during the Second World War and drew upon the General Aircraft Hamilcar glider.

A major design study was conducted in 1945, ahead of Specification C.3/46 being released by the Air Ministry.

The company’s proposal was accepted, and the Air Ministry place an order for one prototype.

General Aircraft was absorbed by Blackburn during the late 1940s, who continued the project.

On 20 June 1950, the first prototype conducted its maiden flight from the company’s Brough facility; it was Britain’s second largest landplane at the time of the flight.

The Ministry of Supply mandated specification changes during the flight test program, which necessitated a second prototype be constructed to a modified design.

On 1 October 1952, an initial order for 20 aircraft was placed on behalf of the Royal Air Force (RAF).

On 12 March 1956, the first production Beverley C.1 was delivered to No. 47 Squadron, stationed at RAF Abingdon.

Between 1956 and 1967, the Beverly would be flown by six squadrons of the Royal Air Force Transport Command.

With the RAF, the Beverley would be deployed to various corners of the globe, including Kenya, Bahrain, and Vietnam.

Despite ambitions to secure commercial customers for the type, Blackburn were unable to garner orders beyond those placed by the RAF.

The final operational Beverley was withdrawn from RAF service during August 1967.

The Blackburn Beverley was a large transport aircraft, designed for carrying large and bulky payloads and landing on rough or imperfect runways, or dirt strips.

In terms of its basic configuration, it was a high-wing cantilever monoplane with a fixed undercarriage.

The engines and associated accessories were installed in easily interchangeable bays on the lower surface of the wing.

The twin-spar wings comprised two separate sections that were bolted onto the fuselage.

Simplicity and maintainability were key focus points of its design, thus the Beverley deliberately lacked both pneumatics and cabin pressurisation.

The fuselage was divided into four main sections.

The aircraft’s exterior surface was primarily composed of rivetted Alclad plating.

Relatively large low-pressure Dunlop tyres were fitted to the single-wheel undercarriage, which reportedly gave a similar wheel loading to the much smaller Douglas DC-3.

The fuselage directly attached to the tail boom and its large rectangular twin-fin tailplane.

The cantilever tail surfaces were all-metal and featured a dihedral to keep them clear of the inboard engine’s slipstream.

The tail boom permitted access to the rear of the fuselage through removable clamshell doors.

A device called an Elephant’s Foot could be fitted under the centre of the fuselage just forward of the clamshell doors when loading heavy items to prevent the aircraft from tipping back. 

The flight deck was positioned relatively high and was accessed via a ladder in the forward portion of the hold.

It accommodated two pilots seated in a side-by-side arrangement, who had favourable downwards visibility due to the shaping of the nose; behind them were the navigator and radio operator, seated back-to-back on bench-style seating.

All of the flight controls were hydraulically augmented to reduce pilot fatigue, although manual reversion was possible.

A 36 ft (11 m) rectangular main fuselage space was supplemented by passenger accommodation in the tail boom.

The main cargo hold had a volume of about 6,000 ft3 (170 m3), which could accommodate 94 troops, with another 36 in the tail boom. 

The floor, composed of light alloy, was corrugated and stressed to take distributed loads of 325lb per square foot.

Various payloads could be carried, including numerous vehicles.

In one configuration, a maximum of nine Jeep-style Road vehicles could be carried, a single fully fuelled Bulldozer could also be transported.

Paratroopers in the upper passenger area jumped through a hatch in the base of the boom just in front of the leading edge of the tailplane; paratroopers were also able to exit the cargo hold through the side doors.

The Beverley was equipped with toilets, which were situated in the tail beyond the paratrooper hatch located on the floor of the tail boom.

Following a fatal incident where a serviceman fell twenty feet to the ground while exiting the toilet, unaware that the paratrooper hatch had been opened, modifications were made to prevent the toilet doors from being opened while the paratrooper hatch was open.


G.A.L. 60 Universal Freighter Mk.1

General Aircraft Ltd Designation for the first prototype aircraft.

G.A.L. 65 Universal Freighter Mk.2

Designation for the second prototype aircraft.

Blackburn company name B-100.

Beverley C Mk 1

Medium-range tactical transport aircraft for the RAF.

Blackburn company name B-101, 47 built

Blackburn B-107

Projected Stage 2 development of the B-101 Beverley designed in 1956 that retained the Beverley wings and tail; and added a completely new rounded fuselage with a larger unobstructed freight hold.

The intended powerplants were to be four Rolls-Royce Tyne turboprop engines.

The design allowed for 75 paratroopers or 108 troops to be carried.

The design project never progressed beyond the planning stage.

Blackburn B-107A

Projected Stage 3 development of the B-101 Beverley designed during 1959.

The B-107A was similar to the B-107 but included main loading doors in the nose and rear doors for para-dropping only, as well as a repositioned flight deck.

Like the B-107, this project never progressed beyond the planning stage.





94 troops


70 paratroopers


99 ft 5 in (30.30 m)


162 ft 0 in (49.38 m)


38 ft 9 in (11.81 m)

Wing area

2,916 sq ft (270.9 m2)

Aspect ratio



RAF 34 (modified)

Empty weight

79,230 lb (35,938 kg)

Max take-off weight

135,000 lb (61,235 kg)

Fuel capacity

6,880 imp gals (8,260 US gal; 31,300 L)


4 × Bristol Centaurus 173 18-cylinder air-cooled Sleeve valve, radial engines,

2,850 hp (2,130 kW) each


4-bladed de Havilland reversible-pitch propellers, 16 ft 6 in (5.03 m) diameter 


Maximum speed

238 mph (383 km/h, 207 kn)

Cruise speed

173 mph (278 km/h, 150 kn) (recommended cruise)


1,300 mi (2,100 km, 1,100 nmi) at 8,000 feet (2,400 m) with 29,000 lb (13,000 kg) payload.

160 mi (140 nmi; 260 km) with 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) payload

Ferry range

3,960 mi (6,370 km, 3,440 nmi) at 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) (with 1,000 lb (450 kg) payload)

Service ceiling

16,000 ft (4,900 m)

Rate of climb

760 ft/min (3.9 m/s)

Take-off distance to 50 ft (15 m)

1,340 ft (408 m)

Landing distance from 50 ft (15 m)

910 ft (277 m)

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