The Boulton Paul Balliol was the last British aircraft powered by the iconic Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, and the last piston-powered advanced trainer in both the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm. Yet it began life as the world s first turbo-trainer, conceived in the last days of the Second World War, and became the first aircraft with a single prop-jet, beating the rival Avro Athena into the air by two weeks. However, policy changed and it was with the trusty Merlin that the Balliol ultimately went into production. Boulton Paul Aircraft hoped for huge orders opening a second production line at Blackburn Aircraft in anticipation but the RAF decided to switch to all-jet training; even though a dozen were sold to the Royal Ceylon Air Force, total Balliol production only ever amounted to just over 200 examples. Consigned to another footnote in aviation history, this was the last aircraft Boulton Paul already world-leaders in the manufacture of power controls would ever build. The Boulton Paul Balliol: The Last Merlin-Powered Aircraft is a detailed account of the journey of this aeroplane and its creators, and the shifting sands within the highly competitive post-war aeronautics industry.
BOULTON PAUL BALLIOL The Last Merlin-Powered Aircraft
The Boulton Paul Balliol and Sea Balliol were monoplane advanced trainer aircraft. On 17 May 1948, it became the world’s first single engine turboprop aircraft to fly. Operated primarily by both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm,this is a beautifully illustrated insight into how a small, pioneering British manufacturer dealt with the fluctuating demands of its era.