Robert Blackburn built aeroplanes in Leeds and needed somewhere to develop his new aeroplanes. His First Monoplane (1909) was tested at Marske and Saltburn but was not successful.
He took over the Filey Flying School early in 1911. The Second Monoplane first flew on the 8th of March 1911 at Filey. It crashed on this first flight, was rebuilt and continued in service until 1912. The Mercury Monoplanes were developed while he was at Filey.
Only two Mercury IIs were built, Racing No. 22 and Racing No. 27 (later to be 33). The second one set a record for crossing the Bristol Channel record. Both flew in July 1911 for the first time but No. 22 was wrecked on the 22nd July 1911 at Brooklands. The development of the Mercury continued with the production of the Mercury III. The first one flew on the 9th November 1911. It was fitted with the most powerful engine of the entire Mercury range (60 hp Renault) and was the only one with tapered wings.
Robert Blackburn continued to make aeroplanes and Blackburn Aircraft Ltd. eventually moved to Brough. The company is now part of BAE Systems.
Robert Blackburn continued to run the company until 1953, and died in 1955.
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