06/30/2009. Metal airframes offer greater robustness to handling and eliminate the disadvantages attendant upon wooden airframes under tropical conditions. This, combined with the pressure on the supply of high-grade timber during WW I, initiated Frank Barnwell to draft the basic layout for an all-metal, two-seat armed biplane. The Air Board isssued a contract in 1916 for two aircraft (s/n A5177 and A5178), designated M.R.1 (Metal Reconnaissance), detail design work was undertaken by W.T. Reid.
The first aircraft, however, was initially fitted with wooden wings, powered by an 150 hp Hispano-Suiza water-cooled in-line engine, it flew for the first time in mid-1917, the wooden wings being replaced by metal wings in 1918. The second aircraft, fitted with metal wings, flew late 1918, when delivered to the RAE in April 1919, it was damaged beyond repair.
The M.R.1 was labeled Type 13 by Bristol in the 1923 rationalization of type numbers. The pictured A5177 bears the unexplained number A.58623. View also photo 9307.