Bristol Blenheim Owners’ Workshop Manual by Jarrod Cotter, published by Haynes www.haynes.co.uk £25 RRP. Hardback, 172 pages, b& w and colour illustrations throughout
There’s much more to this workshop manual on the Bristol Blenheim than just being a guide for anyone who has the privilege of being responsible for the upkeep of this historic aircraft. It tells the story of Britain’s first all-metal monocoque monoplane and what made it so special, and it provides an insight into its characteristics on takeoff, landing and in flight. It also contains anecdotes from pilots and engineers in both war and peacetime. And it relates all the conflicts in which the Blenheim took part, from 1937 when it first entered service, through the war years over France and Germany, North Africa and South East Asia, to 1943 in India when its operational front-line service came to an end. There are box-outs on subjects such as how to execute a parachute drill in a Blenheim, and memories of the early days from a member of the Aircraft Restoration Company dedicated to the Blenheim project. And there are appendices on the Blenheim squadrons and the specifics of the aircraft’s family tree and foreign service.
Of course, being a workshop manual, the book covers everything you would need to know in order to construct, restore and maintain one of these aircraft, with detailed photographs and diagrams, as well as information on the make-up of the controls and engine systems and step-by-step instructions. Should you ever be called on to fly a Blenheim in aerial conflict, there are also valuable tips on handling the aeroplane and evading enemy fighters and anti-aircraft fire. Fascinating, but hopefully something the average reader will never have to put into practice! SH