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Blackburn Botha

// The Blackburn B-26 Botha was a British four-seat reconnaissance and torpedo bomber.

Crew 4
Weight 5.366kg (empty)
8.369kg (full)
Length 15,58m
Height 4,46m
Wingspan 17,98m
Wing area 48,12m²
Engine 2 radials Bristol Perseus engines with 940hp each
Speed 401km/h (maximum)
341km/h (cruise)
120km/h (stall)
Range 7.200km
3 7,7mm machine guns (one fixed forward-firing, two in dorsal turret)
internal torpedo
depth charges or bombs up to 2,000 lb (907 kg)
In September 1935 the British Air Ministry issued a specification for an twin-engine reconnaissance and bombing aircraft for three crew members. Two projects were accepted: Blackburn Botha and Type 152 (later called Beaufort) from Bristol. Both should had used the Perseus engine. Later the Air Ministry revised the specification and changed the number of crew to four. The weight increase would require a stronger engine and while Blackburn received the Perseus 880hp engine, Bristol used Taurus 1.130hp the engine.

While orders were issued for 442 Bothas in 1936, Beauforts were also ordered. The first flight of Botha took place on December 28, 1938. The RAF received Bothas on December 12, 1939 and entered service with Squadron No. 608 in June 1940. The Blackburn Botha was used in coastal patrols carrying 50kg depth charges or 110kg bombs.
The Botha in service proved to be very weak and unstable which caused many falls in 1940. Later the structure and engine were targeted for more developments but it was decided to remove the aircraft from service from the front lines. At that time, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force took the wrong decision to send the surviving units for training units which resulted in more accidents. In 1944 all Bothas were decommissioned. Altogether 580 Bothas were produced.

Blog of Bruno Ribeiro Oliveira.

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