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May 30, 2018, 03:40 PM
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Phoenix User Built Models: Bristol Boxkite (1910)

When I was a child, I saw the movie "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines" (1963). One of the aircraft was the Bristol Boxkite, nicknamed "The Phoenix Flyer" and inaccurately referred to as a Curtiss. Three flying replicas were built for the movie.

Since the original Boxkite had been built at Filton, Bristol in the U.K. (near where I grew up) one of those replicas was donated to Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery where it hangs in the main hall on display.Every Saturday I would catch the bus into town, stand on the balcony and gaze at it in awe dreaming of building and flying one.

Another of the replicas from the movie was donated to the Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire, where it is still flown during displays (video below), and the third to the Museum of Australian Army Flying in Queensland.


A highly successful aircraft, the Boxkite (officially the Bristol Biplane) was the first aircraft produced by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company (later known as the Bristol Aeroplane Company) at Filton where Concorde was later developed and Rolls Royce aircraft engines are still made.

After unsuccessful attempts to build licensed copies of the Zodiac biplane due to its unsatisfactory wing section and underpowered engine, the founder and chairman of Bristol Aircraft, Sir George White was advised to acquire rights to build copies of the successful Farman biplane. This proved impossible since George Holt Thomas was negotiating rights with the Farman company. However George Challenger, the chief engineer at the factory in Filton, believed that he could produce a satisfactory version since full details of the Farman machine had been published. The first example was constructed in a matter of weeks.

It was first flown by Maurice Edmond at the company's flying school at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain, on 30 July 1910.

Farman sued Bristol Aircraft for patent infringement, but the company's lawyers claimed substantial design improvements in matters of constructional detail, and the lawsuit was dropped.

The aircraft was considered to be very tractable and it continued to be used for training purposes until after the outbreak of the First World War. Examples were sold to Australia, India, Russia, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria and Sweden.

The Phoenix Model

Derived from a SketchUp model of the Farman IV by PAV and modified for the Boxkite as designed by Challenger.

Maurice Edmond, the pilot is derived from The Red Baron by Max Grueter. He is fully articulated; his head rotates, his legs work the rudder pedal, his right arm controls the joystick and his left arm will wave hello.

You can download the model here.

Incidentally, this is my 3,333rd post, all the threes!

Bristol Boxkite 1910 (5 min 5 sec)
Last edited by nagas; May 30, 2018 at 04:07 PM.
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