This huge, British built Airliner flew for the first time on September 4 th 1949. Then the largest civil Airliner ever conceived and built. The Brabazon was Britain’s attempt to dominate the lucrative post –war transatlantic passenger market.
Although technically innovative, and a triumph of British engineering, the Brabazon never went into production. The giant eight piston engine monster, with a wing span larger than a Boeing 747 was to be a massive white elephant. By the time the aircraft first flew, the next generation of turbine powered aircraft were already under construction. The aircraft was powered by eight Bristol Centaurus sleeve valved piston engines buried in the leading edge of the wings. Pairs of engines coupled through gear boxes to drive counter rotating propellers 16 feet in diameter. The engines would have been a maintenance nightmare with a total of 288 spark plugs per aircraft.