The Royal Air Force today receives the first of its new long-range transports, the Bristol Britannia 253.
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Background: The Royal Air Force today receives the first of its new long-range transports, the Bristol Britannia 253. At an informal ceremony at R.A.F., Lyneham, the aircraft logbook will be handed over to Air Marshal Sir Denis F.H. Barnett, K.C.B., C.B.E., D.F.C., Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, R.A.F. Transport Command, by Mr. Cyril Uwins, deputy chairman, Bristol Aeroplane Company.
Supplementing Comets on long-range transport of military freight and personnel, the Britannias will provide increased mobility for both land and air forces. They will reinforce Transport Command's ability to fulfil its main operational task of the rapid deployment of the U.K. strategic reserve in the event of an overseas emergency.
The Britannia has a cruising speed of up to 400 m.p.h., a maximum range of up to 5,000 miles, and in the freight version, which has a strengthened floor stressed to withstand a point load of 1,000 lb per square inch, can carry a load of 15 1/2 tons. With a cargo capacity of 5,850 cu. ft., the cabin can take four fully laden Army "hamp" vehicles complete with trailers.
For casualty evacuation 53 stretcher cases can be installed with seating for six medial attendants, and there is provision for the installation of iron lungs and other medical equipment.
The passenger version can accommodate up to 117 passengers in rearward-facing seats, and the Britannia is readily adaptable for carrying mixed loads of passengers and freight.
The Britannia's four Bristol Siddeley Proteus 255 turboprop engines are equipped with a water injection system which gives improved take-off in tropical conditions, and increased power at take-off from short runways.
Altogether twenty Britannia 253s have been ordered for R.A.F. Transport Command.
The Britannia Servicing Dock
Up to sixty men can work simultaneously on the aircraft by means of the unique servicing dock which fits the Britannia like a glove. A steel structure, with platforms admitting men to all parts of the machine, encloses the whole of the Britannia's 145 ft. span, 124 ft. 3 in. length, and the 39 ft. high fin. A hydraulic lift also enables equipment to be raised to the door levels.
The Britannia Simulator
A most important part in aircraft type training is played by the Britannia simulator. This is an exact replica of the Britannia's cockpit and controls, the operation of which produces identical flying characteristics - even down to the noise of the wheelbrake scream - fed back by a huge electronic computer.
The number of emergencies introduced during simulator "flights" make these far more exhausting than the actual flights the crew will carry out over the same routes. For the purpose of the simulator is not merely to speed up the familiarisation of the pilots and engineers with cockpit lay-out and handling characteristics, but to instil automatic thought and immediate reaction to emergencies that it would be undesirable to rehearse in the air.