Tarrant Tabor

In 1918, property developer W.G. Tarrant, whose contribution to the war effort to date had been the provision of portable wooden huts to the British Army in France, commissioned Walter Barling to design a giant bomber in response to a call for a ‘bloody paralyser’ able to bomb Berlin. With its capacious tubular fuselage, the resulting Tabor triplane was designed with one eye on a future civil version perhaps able to carry 100 passengers to India.

Its wingspan, at least on the centre wings, was over 10m (32ft) greater than that of a World War II Lancaster. Even before it was ready for flight trials, observers questioned the wisdom of mounting two of the engines high up between the top wings. On the first attempted take-off run the tail was raised using the lower engines, but advancing the throttles on the top pair caused an instant nose-over, killing three of the five on board.

On the first attempt to fly the giant Tabor, it wound up on its nose, having never left the ground. The RAF gave up on triplanes altogether and the designer went off to America to create the Barling Bomber.

I he Tabor was planned for four Tiger engines, but wound up sporting six Lions. Between each lower wing was a pair of engines mounted back to back.

Unlike almost all other triplanes, the centre wings were longest on the Tabor and these mounted the only ailerons.

The tubular fuselage was wider than that of Concorde, and was largely free of wires and internal struts. It was beautifully streamlined, in contrast with the rest of it.

Tarrant TaborTarrant Tabor Specifications

  • CREW: 5
  • POWERPLANT: six 332kW (450hp) Napier Lion piston engines
  • MAX SPEED: unknown
  • SPAN: 40.00m (131ft 3in)
  • LENGTH: 22.30m (73ft 2in)
  • HEIGHT: 11.36m (37ft 3in)
  • WEIGHT: 20,263kg (44,672lb)