To meet a need for a dual-control trainer, the type 166 Buckmaster was evolved which was a Buckingham having a wider front fuselage to seat a crew of two side-by-side. Two Buckingham airframes were converted to become Buckmaster prototypes and the first was flown in October 1944. These were followed by 100 Buckmasters built from Buckingham components; a final order for ten being cancelled. Buckmasters were mainly used by Operational Conversion Units training Brigand pilots, although a few were employed on communications duties at Aden by No.8 Squadron. The last four in RAF Training Command service were still flying at No. 238 OCD, Colerne, in 1956, while two were retained at Filton for experimental work. One ofthese was modified to test the Burney recoilless gun and the other, RP164, carried out flight tests with combustion heaters for the Brabazon wing de-icing system, later becoming an instructional airframe at Halton, where it was scrapped in 1958.
The crew of 3 consists of instructor, trainee-pilot and radio operator. The pilot’s cockpit is fitted with complete dual controls, the pupil being seated on the port side. Duplicated controls include those for landing-gear, flaps, airscrews, throttles and brakes. There is an overriding brake control for the instructor’a use in an emergency. The radio operator’s position is between the main spars with thee equipment grouped mainly on the port side. Night und blind flying equipment, firextinguishers, emergency signalling and dinghy are fitted.
Oval fuselage section semi-monocoque structure in three portions comprising front and rear sections and stern frame. Structure consists of channel-section frames, angle-section stringers and stressed light-alloy skin. Cantilever tail monoplane type with twin fins and rudders. Fixed surfaces of stressed-skin construction. Elevators and rudders have tubular spurs, Alclad ribs and are fabric-covered. Elevators and rudders fitted with controllable trim-tabs. Landing gear similar lo that filled to the Buckingham. Main and tail wheel units of levered-suspention type. Electrically-fired cartridge operated emergency lowering system. Powerd by 2,585 hp Bristol Centaurus 67 18-cylinder two-row, sleeve-valve radial air-cooled engines, each driving a Rotol four-blade constant-speed airscrew. Close fitting low-drag cowlings with Rotol cooling fans and electrically-operated trailing edge gills. Self-sealing fuel tanks in wings.
Prototypes: TJ714, TJ717,
RP122-RP156, RP170-RP215, RP228-RP246, VA359-VA368
C.H. Barnes: Bristol aircraft since 1910, Putnam
Martyn Chorlton: Company Profile 1910-1959 Bristol
Geoff Green: Bristol Aerospace Since 1910
Bill Gunston: Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II