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Bristol Hercules - sectioned & motorised

1936, Stratosphere Chamber, On long term display

The Bristol Hercules is a sleeve-valve development of the poppet-valve Pegasus engine also on display in this area and was widely used in a range of aircraft from the middle of the Second World War into the post-war years.

It was used extensively in the Vickers Wellington, along with other bombers such as the Handley Page Halifax, Short Stirling and a version of the Avro Lancaster. Following the War it featured in the next wave of aircraft designs from Vickers based on the Wellington layout - the Valetta troop transport, Varsity trainer and Viking airliner – along with other transport aircraft such as the Bristol 170 Freighter and the Handley-Page Hastings transport.

This example’s service history is unknown but it was acquired by a Kidderminster-based motor dealer after World War Two and displayed in his car showroom before being loaned to the RAF Museum on two occasions.

Loaned by Mr R Mackintosh


Type: Air-cooled two-row radial

Cylinders: 14

Power: 1,356bhp (1,012 kW) at 2,750 rpm at 4,000 ft

Size: 2,360 in³ (38.7 L)

Bore: 5.75 in (146 mm)

Stroke: 6.5 in (165 mm)