DH Comet 1 prototype

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Farman F.60 Goliath

Farman F.60 Goliath

Farman began work on its twin-engined heavy bomber in 1918. The specification was for an aircraft capable of carrying a one-tonne bombload, with a range of 1,500km (930mi). These were ambitious numbers for the time, but a promising test flight in October 1918 raised hopes that the new type would fulfil expectations.

The Great War ended less than a month later. Farman had a first-class bomber, but no one to sell it to. Quickly reacting to the problem, the company provided the Goliath’s spacious fuselage with large windows and rattan seats, flying the first passenger version in January 1919. It remained a far cry from anything approaching passenger comfort, however. Bear in mind that this was a design intended for experienced aviators, insulated by flying jackets and fug boots. Also, the original lifting and range requirement had dictated extensive weight-saving. Those huge, constant-profile wings were lightly loaded, making the F.60 susceptible to turbulence. As the passengers were tossed around in the unheated cabin they were subjected to icy blasts from dozens of gaps for control wires and fabric lacing.

Goliath fuselage at Musée Air
 + Espace

Sole Survivor

The only surviving relic of the Farman Goliath is this fuselage, which can be seen at Musée Air + Espace in Le Bourget.

Nevertheless, the new passenger-carrying industry was hungry for purpose-built aircraft, and interest was strong when the Goliath made its first passenger flight, from Toussus-le-Noble to Croydon on 8th February 1919. With the Armistice only three months previous, non-military flying was still prohibited. This meant that the maiden passenger flight carried twelve armée d’lair pilots who flew in full uniform on printed mission orders. The pilot in command, Lucien Bossoutrot, touched down at RAF Kenley just two and a half hours after take-off. His return was even faster, at two hours and ten minutes. The F.60’s top speed of 150km/h (94mph) was poor by the standards of the period, but it had completed a journey that would have taken at least a day by road and ferry.

The Farman brothers were well-versed in creating publicity and, on the 3rd April, the Goliath took 14 passengers to 6,200m (20,340ft). How they coped with the low oxygen at that altitude is unfortunately not recorded.

Airlines we now appearing throughout Europe, and the Goliath found a ready marketplace. The first to begin scheduled flights was CGEA, who opened a service from Le Bourget to Croydon in 1920. Others followed suit and, by the time production ceased in 1929, over 60 had been built. Several variants were built, including bombers and torpedo aircraft, and a wide variety of engines were employed.

F.60 Goliath by numbers
First Flight:January 1919
Capacity:12-14 passengers
Powerplant:2 x Salmson 9C 9-cyl water-cooled radial engines of 190kW (260hp)
Range:800km (497mi)
Maximum Speed:170km/h (106mph)
Ceiling:5,500m (18,000ft)
Length:14.77m (48ft 5in)
Wingspan:26.5m (86ft 11in)
Height:4.9m (16ft 1in)
Weight:2,900kg (6,393lb)


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