Bristol Aerospace
Bristol Aerospace is a Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

Aerospace comprises the atmosphere of Earth and surrounding space. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space...

 firm located in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is an operating division of Magellan Aerospace
Magellan Aerospace
Magellan Aerospace Corporation is a Canadian manufacturer of aerospace systems and components. Magellan also repairs and overhauls, tests, and provides aftermarket support services for engines, and engine structural components. The company's business units are divided into the product areas of...



Bristol Aerospace began in 1930 as the MacDonald Brothers Aircraft Company. Brothers Jim and Grant MacDonald moved to Winnipeg from Nova Scotia in 1904 to start a sheet metal business. Brother Edwin joined them later and by the late 1920s air travel had become an important means of transportation with Winnipeg becoming a hub for travel to the booming west. The MacDonalds formed MacDonald Brothers Aircraft Company in 1930, producing seaplane
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft...

 floats under licence from EDO Corporation
EDO Corporation
EDO Corporation was an American company, which was acquired by ITT Corporation in 2007. EDO designed and manufactured products for defense, intelligence, and commercial markets, and provided related engineering and professional services. It employed 4,000 people worldwide and had revenues of $715...

 of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. The company produced floats into the early 1980s.


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the factory built training aircraft and by war's end had grown to 4,500 employees. At the end of the war, MacDonald Bros. became an important repair and overhaul centre for the Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force . In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force and granted royal sanction by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968...

. Their location at the center of the country lowered the average travel cost for aircraft to the factories, as well as providing aviation jobs in the Canadian west. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s the company performed depot level inspection and repair for many of Canada's fighter aircraft.

Purchase by the Bristol Aeroplane Company

In 1954, MacDonald Brothers Aircraft was purchased by the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Bristol Aeroplane Company
Bristol Aeroplane Company
The Bristol Aeroplane Company, originally the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, was both one of the first and one of the most important British aviation companies, designing and manufacturing both airframes and aero engines...

, becoming their Canadian division. The company was an important supplier of accessories for jet engine
Jet engine
A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet to generate thrust by jet propulsion and in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets...

s, building the exhaust pipes for the Avro CF-100 Canuck and later becoming the primary maintenance depot for the aircraft. During the 1950s and 60s Bristol built on their experience in precision sheet metal work to become a major supplier of hot section components for various engine manufacturers.


In the second half of the 1950s Bristol was selected to build several test rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 airframes for CARDE
Cardè is a comune in the Province of Cuneo in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 40 km southwest of Turin and about 40 km north of Cuneo. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 1,077 and an area of 19.3 km²....

's ongoing research into high-power solid fuel
Solid fuel
Solid fuel refers to various types of solid material that are used as fuel to produce energy and provide heating, usually released through combustion....

 propellants. After initial research completed in the early 1960s, Bristol started selling a "lightened" version of the test vehicle as the Black Brant for sounding rocket
Sounding rocket
A sounding rocket, sometimes called a research rocket, is an instrument-carrying rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight. The origin of the term comes from nautical vocabulary, where to sound is to throw a weighted line from a ship into...

 use and opened the Rockwood Propellant Plant in 1962. The plant is located 25 minutes north of the city in the community of Stony Mountain, Manitoba
Stony Mountain, Manitoba
Stony Mountain is a small community in Manitoba, Canada located approximately north of Winnipeg on Provincial Highway 7. The town is located in the Rural Municipality of Rockwood and is the location of Stony Mountain Ski Area...

. As a result of this work, Bristol entered into a partnership with Aerojet General and became Bristol Aerojet
Bristol Aerojet
Bristol Aerojet was a joint venture between the Bristol Aeroplane Company of the United Kingdom and Aerojet General of the US began in 1959.Bristol converted one of its wartime shadow factories into a rocket manufacturing plant in 1956....

 the same year. This experience was later applied in the early 1970s to a new 2.75" (70 mm) motor for use in US-standard rocket launchers, leading to the CRV7
The CRV7, short for "Canadian Rocket Vehicle 7", is a 2.75 inch folding-fin ground attack rocket produced by Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was introduced in the early 1970s as an upgraded version of the standard US 2.75 inch air-to-ground rockets...

, which has since become the standard NATO 2.75" rocket.

Since the incorporation of 'smart' weapons for the CF-18, Bristol no longer makes CRV-7 motors for the Canadian military. Production has dropped over the years although several smaller contracts to allied air forces have kept the plant active. A purchase by the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 for rocket motors was completed recently along with the sale of 200 redundant launchers that were in long term storage. As of January 2010, the company has lost contracts with several countries and militaries around the world, thus causing layoffs at the Rockwood plant.

CF-101 contract

In the early 1960s Bristol won the maintenance contract for the CF-100's replacement, the CF-101 Voodoo
CF-101 Voodoo
The CF-101 Voodoo was an all-weather interceptor aircraft operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Forces between 1961 and 1984. They were manufactured by the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri for the United States Air Force , and later sold to Canada...

. This plane had been plagued with afterburner problems and Bristol started a research project to correct the issues. Their resulting proposal was accepted and both the Canadian and USAF F-101s
F-101 Voodoo
The McDonnell F-101 Voodoo was a supersonic military jet fighter which served the United States Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force...

 were modified by Bristol, doubling the lifetime of the engines. Bristol retained the maintenance contract for the Canadian CF-101s until the last one was retired in 1987.

Bristol Aerospace

In 1967 the parent Bristol Aeroplane, whose UK aircraft construction division had been incorporated into the British Aircraft Corporation
British Aircraft Corporation
The British Aircraft Corporation was a British aircraft manufacturer formed from the government-pressured merger of English Electric Aviation Ltd., Vickers-Armstrongs , the Bristol Aeroplane Company and Hunting Aircraft in 1960. Bristol, English Electric and Vickers became "parents" of BAC with...

 (BAC) in 1960, was purchased for its Bristol-Siddeley engine business by Rolls-Royce
Rolls-Royce Limited
Rolls-Royce Limited was a renowned British car and, from 1914 on, aero-engine manufacturing company founded by Charles Stewart Rolls and Henry Royce on 15 March 1906 as the result of a partnership formed in 1904....

, and renamed Bristol Aerospace. It remained part of Rolls Royce though nationalization and subsequent privatization again.

During the 1970s the company continued to be involved in overhaul and maintenance work, and the CRV7 became a major product line.

The concept for the Wire Strike Protection System
Wire Strike Protection System
The Wire Strike Protection System is a device designed to deal with the risk of wire strikes while flying helicopters at Nap-of-the-earth altitudes. The system is mounted around the front of most U.S. Army and some civil helicopters....

 (WSPS) evolved from a tragic helicopter crash in Italy in April 1976 where 444 Squadron CH-136 Kiowa helicopters were conducting rescue missions following the earthquake in northern Italy. Maj Andre Seguin, then a flight commander with 444 Tactical Helicopter Squadron out of Lahr, West Germany conceived the wire protection system following a fatal wirestrike. The Unit CO tried to get formal recognition for Seguin for the concept during late 1976, but there was no meaningful support from the Canadian headquarters. Bristol shortly thereafter took the idea and developed it. They subsequently patented the WSPS for helicopters, which cuts cables on impact. These devices can be found on many helicopters today, in the form of angular "blades" projecting from the top and bottom of the cabin area.
In January 1987, Bristol was awarded the maintenance contract for the Canadian Forces Canadair CF-5 fleet, as a consolation contract for losing the more lucrative and longer-term CF-18 maintenance and overhaul contract to Canadair
Canadair Ltd. was a civil and military aircraft manufacturer in Canada. It was a subsidiary of other aircraft manufacturers, then a nationalized corporation until privatized in 1986, and became the core of Bombardier Aerospace....

. The CF-5 effort lasted until 1995 when the federal government decided to remove them from service. Afterward Bristol was contracted to sell off the redundant aircraft to other interested air forces and offered to include a major upgrade to the avionics system. Bristol brokered a deal in 1996 for the purchase of ten single-seat and three dual-seat CF-5s by the Botswana Defence Force
Botswana Defence Force
The Botswana Defence Force is the military of Botswana. It was formed in 1977 and has approximately 9,000 members. The commander is Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire. The commander in chief is the President of Botswana...

, but this was the only sale to be made. The company returned the two CF-5D demonstration aircraft to CFB Trenton
CFB Trenton
Canadian Forces Base Trenton , is a Canadian Forces base located northeast of Trenton, Ontario. It is operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force and is the hub for air transport operations in Canada and abroad...

 (for storage) in March 2004, ending over 70 years of aircraft repair and overhaul. The company then refocused its energies on fabricating sub-assemblies and other components for the commercial aircraft business.

Purchase by Magellan Aerospace

In June 1997 Rolls-Royce plc
Rolls-Royce plc
Rolls-Royce Group plc is a global power systems company headquartered in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom. It is the world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines , and also has major businesses in the marine propulsion and energy sectors. Through its defence-related activities...

 sold Bristol for $62,500,000 to Magellan Aerospace
Magellan Aerospace
Magellan Aerospace Corporation is a Canadian manufacturer of aerospace systems and components. Magellan also repairs and overhauls, tests, and provides aftermarket support services for engines, and engine structural components. The company's business units are divided into the product areas of...

, a corporation formed by the merger of a number of Canadian and US aerospace firms. Since then Magellan has accelerated its consolidation of the various divisions located in Canada, the United States and Britain under the Magellan 'brand' logo reducing the visibility and independence of Bristol Aerospace. Staffing at the Winnipeg plant is now under 600 people while the Rockwood facility in Stony Mountain is approximately 50 personnel.

In 1999 Bristol won the contract for SCISAT-1
SCISAT-1 is a Canadian satellite designed to make observations of the Earth's atmosphere. Its most important instrument is an optical Fourier transform infrared spectrometer, the ACE-FTS Instrument...

, the first purely-Canadian science satellite since 1971. With its successful launch on 12 August 2003, the basic systems were selected by the Canadian Space Agency as a generic small-satellite "bus", with plans to launch more over the next decade.

Bristol has also worked in Canadian nuclear reactor construction. It has supplied core components, CANDU reactor
CANDU reactor
The CANDU reactor is a Canadian-invented, pressurized heavy water reactor. The acronym refers to its deuterium-oxide moderator and its use of uranium fuel...

 tubes and thermal sleeves to AECL and GE.


The company designed and manufacturers the Black Brant
Black Brant (rocket)
The Black Brant is a Canadian-designed sounding rocket built by Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Over 800 Black Brants of various versions have been launched since they were first produced in 1961, and the type remains one of the most popular sounding rockets ever built...

 series of sounding and research rockets.

Magellan (Bristol) now produces aircraft sub-assemblies and engine components for all the major aerospace companies. Some examples include but are not limited to:
  1. Boeing 767
    Boeing 767
    The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was the manufacturer's first wide-body twinjet and its first airliner with a two-crew glass cockpit. The aircraft features two turbofan engines, a supercritical wing, and a conventional tail...

     heat pan, Boeing 737
    Boeing 737
    The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

     composite panels and Boeing 747
    Boeing 747
    The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

     wing to Body Fairings
  2. General Electric F101
    General Electric F101
    -External links:**...

     engine thruster door
  3. Airbus A330
    Airbus A330
    The Airbus A330 is a wide-body twin-engine jet airliner made by Airbus, a division of EADS. Versions of the A330 have a range of and can accommodate up to 335 passengers in a two-class layout or carry of cargo....

     & Airbus A380
    Airbus A380
    The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus, a subsidiary of EADS. It is the largest passenger airliner in the world. Due to its size, many airports had to modify and improve facilities to accommodate it...

     aft engine plugs
  4. De Havilland Canada
    De Havilland Canada
    The de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. company was an aircraft manufacturer with facilities based in what is now the Downsview area of Toronto, Ontario, Canada...

     DASH 8 engine nacelles, fairings, etc.
  5. DHC Dash 8 Tailcone & APU Support
  6. Pratt & Whitney Canada
    Pratt & Whitney Canada
    Pratt & Whitney Canada is a Canadian aircraft engine manufacturer. PWC's headquarters are in Longueuil, Quebec, just outside Montreal. It is a division of the larger US-based Pratt & Whitney , itself a business unit of United Technologies...

     JT15D, PW545, PW307, PW306 engine components
  7. M1 Abrams
    M1 Abrams
    The M1 Abrams is a third-generation main battle tank produced in the United States. It is named after General Creighton Abrams, former Army Chief of Staff and Commander of US military forces in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972. The M1 is a well armed, heavily armored, and highly mobile tank designed for...

     AGT1500 tank engine housing
  8. AgustaWestland EH101
    AgustaWestland EH101
    The AgustaWestland AW101 is a medium-lift helicopter for military applications but also marketed for civil use. The helicopter was developed as a joint venture between Westland Helicopters in the UK and Agusta in Italy...

     lower fuselage and composite engine & transmission cowlings
  9. F-35 Lightning II
    F-35 Lightning II
    The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability...

     JSF Vertical Guide box for Rolls-Royce Lift Fan module and composite panels for fuselage.


Aircraft Repair and Overhaul
Aircraft Type Start date End date
Canadair CF5A & D fighter 1987 1995
McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo fighter 1964 1987
CH-118 helicopter 1982 1985
CH-136 Kiowa helicopter 1982 1987
CH-135 Twin Huey helicopter 1987 1991

External links

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