Aircraft of the Month Archive


November, 2012

The Boulton-Paul Balliol stemmed from Air Ministry Specification T.7/45 which called for a 3-seat advanced trainer powered by a turboprop engine.  Designed by John Dudley North, the first prototype flew on 30 May 1947 using, as an interim measure, a Bristol Mercury 30 radial engine and the second prototype, powered by an Armstrong-Siddeley Mamba turboprop, took to the air on 17 May 1948.  The latter claimed the distinction of being the world’s first single-engine turboprop aircraft. Meanwhile, the Air Ministry re-thought its training requirements and issued Specification T.14/47 requiring a two seat advanced trainer powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin piston engine to replace the North American Harvard.

The result, designated the Balliol T2, first flew on 10 July 1948 and soon thereafter an order was placed for a substantial number of aircraft.  A few pre-production machines were delivered to the RAF’s Central Flying School in 1950, at which time the Air Ministry changed its mind again and decided instead to introduce a jet-powered advanced trainer, the de Havilland Vampire T.Mk11.  Thus, the RAF College, Cranwell, and No 7 Flying Training School at RAF Cottesmore were the sole training units to be re-equipped with the Balliol until succeeded by the Vampire in 1956. The type also saw service from 1953 until 1957 as a target aircraft with No. 288 Squadron  at RAF Middle Wallop

Meanwhile, a Sea Balliol T21 with folding wings and arrestor hook for deck landings was developed for the Royal Navy and saw service with No 781 Squadron at Lee-on-Solent and, until 1963, with No 1843 Squadron RNVR at Abbotsinch.  Twelve aircraft were exported to Ceylon.

Four survivors remain of the 229 Balliols built.  A Sea Balliol is on display at the RAF Museum, Cosford, and a T2 is maintained in display condition by the Royal Sri Lankan Air Force.  Two other machines are in storage.

Talks by Tangmere

The Museum is able to offer speakers to interested groups or societies on a range of subjects connected with the history of operations at RAF Tangmere and other military aviation subjects.

Further details of the full range of presentations and the availability of speakers can be obtained by calling the museum on 01243 790090, by emailing your interest to or by letter marked for the attention of the Chairman.

Museum Development

The Museum car park has been enlarged and re-laid and audio guides provided with the assistance of LEADER – the European Agricultural Fund for Redevelopment.