|Role||Maritime patrol aircraft/trainer|
|Manufacturer||Bristol Aeroplane Company |
Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. (Canada)
|First flight||14 September 1939|
|Introduction||15 November 1939|
|Primary user||Royal Canadian Air Force|
|Developed from||Bristol Blenheim|
The Bristol Fairchild Bolingbroke is a maritime patrol aircraft and trainer used by the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Built by Fairchild-Canada, it was a license-built version of the Bristol Blenheim Mk IV bomber.
In 1935, the British Air Ministry issued Specification G.24/35 to procure a coastal reconnaissance/light bomber to replace the Avro Anson. Bristol proposed the Type 149, based on its Blenheim Mk I, with Bristol Aquila engines to give greater range. While the Air Ministry rejected this proposal, a Blenheim Mk I, retaining its Mercury VIII engines, was converted as a Type 149 (Blenheim Mk III) for the general reconnaissance role. The nose was lengthened to provide more room for the bombardier, with the upper left surface of the nose being scooped out to maintain pilot visibility during takeoff and landing.
The longer range also fulfilled a Canadian requirement for a maritime patrol aircraft. Consequently, Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. (Canada) of Quebec started production of the Blenheim Mk IV as the Bolingbroke (the originally intended name for the Blenheim IV). This type was nicknamed the "Bolly". After a small run of aircraft constructed to British specifications, as the Bolingbroke Mk I, Fairchild switched production to the Bolingbroke Mk IV with Canadian and American instruments and equipment. These versions also included anti-icing boots and a dinghy. One of the early Mk IV variants was the Bolingbroke Mk IVW which was powered by two 825 hp (615 kW) Pratt & Whitney SB4G Twin Wasp Junior engines. Incapable of maintaining altitude on one engine, the normal bomb load was reduced to 500 pounds on these aircraft to compensate for the low engine power. The most-produced variant was the Bolingbroke Mk IVT trainer, of which 457 were completed. A total of 626 Bolingbrokes were produced. The remains of one can be seen at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre.
Most of the 151 Mk IVs built served in their intended role as patrol bombers on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada between 1940 and 1944. Two squadrons of these aircraft also served in Alaska during the Aleutians campaign. The Mk IVT trainers saw extensive use in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).
Data from War Planes of the Second World War: Volume Seven Bombers and Reconnaissance Aircraft 
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