Barling NBL-1




Designer Walter Barling went to America, where General ‘Billy’ Mitchell pro­vided him with a $375,000 contract, let by Engineering Division, McCook Field, to build a bomber capable of carrying a 2268-kg / 5000-lb bombload for 12hours at 160 kph (100 mph). Not surprisingly the Barling NBL-1bore a strong resemblance to the Tarrant Tabor, though its triplane wings spanned 3.35 m (11ft) less and its six 12-cylinder Liberty engines were all mount­ed on the same level, between the lower and middle wings. On 22 August 1923from Wilbur Wright Field at Dayton, Ohio, whence it had been railroaded from the Witteman-Lewis Aircraft Company’s works in New Jersey where it was constructed.
As AS64215, Barling was aboard for that 20-minute maiden flight and later that year the Barling bomber flew to the Inter­national Air Race at St Louis with Major General Mason Patrick, chief of the Army Air Service, as a passenger. It later carried a 2000-kg (4408-lb) load up to 2,050 m (6722 ft).
But with Billy Mitchell’s proposed bomb load the burly Barling could not top 160 kph (100 mph) and had a range of 275 km (170 miles) rather than the 1930 km (1200 miles) the general wanted. It flew around (slowly) for years, appearing as a curiosity at airshows, and was eventually broken up in 1928, save for its ten huge undercarriage wheels which are preserved at Wright-Patterson Air Force base from where the triplane made its first flight.