A Flying Start to the Season

David Bremner in replica Bristol Scout plane

David Chorlton – NMMT Friends member

On the evening of 21 September 2019 the Friends were very privileged to witness the starting up of a rotary engined WWI Bristol Scout ‘bullet’ aircraft in the National Motor Museum. How quietly the 80hp Gnome engine ran was a surprise to me.

Owner and pilot David Bremner explained to the assembled Friends that he and his brother were tasked with clearing out their grandfather’s shed in 1983 after he passed away. In the process they found the pilot’s joy stick, foot rudder bar control and the magneto from his favourite aircraft during his days in the Royal Flying Corps. It was then they decided to recreate the Bristol Scout 1264 around the original pieces they had retrieved.

A collector in Houston provided the main structural plans and Sir George White, great grandson of the founder of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, had also fortuitously left a complete illustrated parts list for the Bristol Scout which showed every single fitting. Six years of research and seven years of meticulous woodwork later they had a beautiful aeroplane, the only snag was finding the correct 1917 engine. Eventually one was sourced in New Zealand as part of an exchange of information. They even took the Scout back to Greece and flew her again from the island of Thassos where their grandfather had been based a hundred years earlier. There is a DVD and a book entitled “Bristol Scout 1264: Rebuilding Grandad’s Aircraft’ available.

Having attended Friends’ Evenings since the late 1980s I can safely say this was one of the best I have been to. The three presenters, David Bremner, Theo Willford and Richard Chillingford were the quintessential modest English enthusiasts and the whole evening was a great pleasure.


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