Bristol T.B.8

The Bristol T.B.8, or Bristol-Coanda T.B.8 was an early British biplane built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company. Fifty four Bristol T.B.8s were built, being mainly used as a trainer. A small number of Bristol T.B.8s were briefly used as bombers at the start of the World War I by the Royal Naval Air Service.

Bristol T.B.8
Class Aircraft
Type Trainer
Manufacturer Bristol Aeroplane Company
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1913
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Romania View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1913 1916 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Bristol Aeroplane Company 54 View

Henri Coanda, chief designer of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, developed the Bristol T.B.8 as a biplane conversion of his previously designed Bristol-Coanda Monoplane. The conversion was made to meet an order from the British Admiralty, with the Bristol T.B.8 first flying on 12 August 1913. This aircraft was tested with both wheeled undercarriage and floats.

The Bristol T.B.8 was a single engined, two seat biplane, with two bay wings and a slender fuselage. It was powered by a variety of rotary engines, including the Gnome and Le Rhône engines with power ranging from 50 hp Gnomes to 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape. Early Bristol T.B.8s used wing warping, with later production aircraft being fitted with ailerons. Bristol T.B.8s were normally equipped with a distinctive four wheel undercarriage. The Bristol T.B.8 was produced by both the conversion of existing Coanda-Bristol Monoplanes and the manufacturing of new aircraft.

One Bristol T.B.8 was fitted with a prismatic Bombsight in the front cockpit and a cylindrical bomb carrier in the lower forward fuselage capable of carrying twelve 10 lb (4.5 kg) bombs, which could be dropped singly or as a salvo as required. This aircraft was displayed at the Paris Salon de l'Aéronautique and evaluated by the French military before being purchased by the Royal Navy Air Service.


  • G.B.75 : The Romanian government was pleased with the Bristol T.B.8 and placed an order for an improved version, for which they provided a 75 hp (56 kW) Gnome Monosoupape engine. The resulting aircraft, designated the G.B.75 was significantly different in appearance, with a streamlined front fuselage and rounded cowling, enclosing the rotary engine. The characteristic Coanda fin was replaced with an unbalanced rudder plus fin. Maximum speed was increased to 80 mph (130 km/h). It first flew on 7 April 1914 and required the removal of the spinner and an increase in stagger to adjust the centre of pressure. Despite the alterations the Bristol G.B.75 was declared ready for service in June of 1914. The altered Bristol G.B.75s were requisitioned by the Royal Flying Corps at Farnborough, never being delivered to Romania, and being powered by a standard Gnome engine.
  • T.B.8H : One Bristol Coanda Monoplane was converted into the T.B.8 prototype and was fitted with twin floats as the T.B.8H "Hydro" variant. 

Bristol T.B.8s were purchased for use both by the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps, with the Royal Flying Corp's Bristol T.B.8s being transferred to the Royal Navy Air Service shortly after the start of World War I. Three Bristol T.B.8s, including the aircraft displayed at the Paris Air Show in December 1913, were sent to France following the outbreak of World War I, serving with a Royal Navy Air Service squadron commanded by Charles Rumney Samson. One of these Bristol T.B.8s executed a bombing attack on German gun batteries at Middelkerke Belgium on 25 November 1914, with the attack being the only bombing sortie flown by the Bristol T.B.8. The Bristol T.B.8 was considered too slow for front line operations, and was relegated to training operations, serving until 1916.

The Bristol T.B.8 also saw service with the Romanian Military Aviation, with six Bristol-Coanda Monoplanes operated by the Romanian Air Force school being converted by Bristol into Bristol T.B.8s.

Role Trainer
Manufacturer Bristol Aeroplane Company
Designer Henri Coanda
First flight 12 August 1913
Introduction 1913
Retired 1916
Primary users Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Flying Corps
Romanian Air Force
Number built 54
Developed from Bristol-Coanda Monoplanes

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 29 ft 3 in (8.92 m)
  • Wingspan: 37 ft 8 in (11.48 m)
  • Wing area: 450 ft² (41.8 m²)
  • Empty weight: 970lb (441 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,665 lb (757 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Gnome Rotary engine, 50,80,100hp (~60 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 56 - 61 knots (65-70 mph, 105 - 113 km/h)
  • Endurance: 5 hours
  • Climb to 3000 ft (915 m): 11 min


  • 12 x 10 lb (4.5 kg) light bombs
  • Some were equipped with a 7.92 machine gun

End notes