The Blackburn Mercury Monoplane is regarded as the first truly successful aircraft made by Blackburn at their factory in Leeds. The Mercury I, powered by a 50 hp Isaacson radial engine, was displayed at the Olympia Aero Show in March 1911 and made its debut flying from the beach at Filey with the newly formed Blackburn Flying School. In May 1911, it flew from Filey to Scarborough and back in 19 minutes at an average speed of 50 mph, reaching an altitude of 1200 feet. This aircraft crashed the next day when the engine seized and the propeller flew off! The Mercury I was followed by two Mercury II aircraft, powered by 50 hp Gnome engines, and six Mercury III aircraft, with a number of different engines. Sadly, a Renault engined Mercury crashed at Filey in December 1911, killing an instructor and passenger. The Museum’s replica was built for Yorkshire Television for the Edwardian drama series ‘Flambards’, and was taxied with a car engine. After a long period in storage it has been painstakingly restored to a superb display standard, and was unveiled in June 2000 by Professor Robert Blackburn, grandson of Robert Blackburn, the aviation pioneer.
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