Boulton & Paul P.3 Bobolink

1st Flight 1918

The Boulton & Paul P.3 Bobolink was a World War I British single engine, single-seat, fighter aircraft.

The British Air Ministry requested proposals to replace the Sopwith Camel.

Boulton & Paul designed and constructed the Bobolink and entered it in that competition.

The prototype first flew in early 1918, undergoing official trials in March of that year.

The Bobolink had two-bay biplane wings and was powered by the same Bentley BR2 rotary engine as used by the competing Sopwith Snipe.

An unusual feature of the aircraft was the use of fuel tanks that could be jettisoned.

These were fitted behind the pilot and separated by a sheet of armour, allowing an individual tank to be jettisoned in the event of a fire.

While the Bobolink and Snipe had similar performance, the Snipe was easier to build, while the Bobolink was claimed to have poor ground handling, with the Snipe winning the Camel replacement competition.

Only a single prototype was produced.

Specifications

Crew

1

Length

20 ft 0 in (6.10 m)

Wingspan

29 ft 0 in (8.84 m)

Height

8 ft 4 in (2.54 m)

Wing area

266 sq ft (24.7 m2)

Empty weight

1,226 lb (556 kg)

Gross weight

1,992 lb (904 kg)

Fuel capacity

40 imp gal (48 US gal; 180 L)

Powerplant

1 × Bentley BR2 nine-cylinder rotary engine, 230 hp (170 kW)

Performance

Maximum speed

125 mph (201 km/h, 109 kn) at 10,000 ft (3,000 m)

Endurance

3 hr 15 min

Service ceiling

19,500 ft (5,900 m)

Time to altitude

9 min 20 s to 10,000 ft (3,000 m)

Armament

Guns

2 × fixed forward firing 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns

Provision for 1× Lewis gun mounted over the centre-section of the upper wing.

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