YouTube – Bristol M1C
Le Rhone 9J
20 ft. 4 in.
30 ft. 9 in.
1- 7.7 mm
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 the right wing root 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.
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.
RC Bristol M1C
We received the following email:
“My RC Bristol M1C (pictured above) was built from a modified Balsa USA kit, using standard balsa and plywood construction. It has a wingspan of 60 in., a length of 44.5 in., 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
The RC Bristol M1C from a Manzano Laser Works kit designed by Peter Rake has a wingspan of 47 in., a length of 38 in. Recommended is a 750 Kv motor. Weight is around 26 oz.
The RC Bristol M1C from a Balsa USA kit has a wingspan of 60 in. and length of 44 1/2 in. 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 RC Bristol M1C from Jerry Bates Plans wingspan is 91 in. Engines can be a 1.20 four stroke or 20 to 30 cc gasoline. Weight is around 13 lbs.
The AMA has plans for sale for a 42 in. wingspan RC Bristol M1C for engine power. Plan # is 36147.