Aviation Museum of Central Finland in Tikkakoski
Photos from Eugenius.
BRISTOL BLENHEIM Mk.IV
Bristol Blenheim is a British bomber of all-metal construction.
The Blenheim was based on the Bristol Typo 142 which was designet for civil use. At the time it was completed in 1935, the Type 142 was much faster than all British military aircraft which prompted the RAF to order a bomber version. It was named Blenheim after the estate of the financier of project, Lord Rothermoro. The first short-nosed Mk. I production aircraft entered RAF service in March 1937. The cockpit of the type proved to be cramped which led to the design of a long-nose version Mk.lV, the prototype of which was completed in September 1937. A total of 5300 Blenheims were built in different versions.
The Finnish Air Force started to prepare the purchase of Blenheims already during the type's design stage. First aircraft arrived to Finland on 29th July, 1937. The air force had a total of 97 Blenheims of which 22 were long-nosed Mk.lVs. The Finnish State Aircraft Factory built under licence 55 aircraft of which 10 were Mk. IVs. These aircraft, including BL-200 on display, were mainly assembled from Yugoslavian-made parts which were bought from Germany.
The Blenheim was the most important bomber type of the Finnish Air Force during WWII. In addition to bombing, it was also widely used for photo reconnaissance. The Blenheim Mk.IV was one of the fastest bombers of the FiAF. Drawbacks were inadequate defensive armament and small bomb load. Air Force used Blenheims in 1950s as photo- and target towing duties. Last flight of type in Finland took place 20th May 1958 by BL-199.