George Challenger

(1881 - 1947)

Challenger was born on 3 June 1881 at Neath in Glamorganshire, Wales and was originally employed as an engineer at Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company where his father, Samuel Henry Challenger, was Chief Engineer.

With the formation of the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company in 1910 which started with leased premises from the Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company Challenger moved across to the new aeroplane company as works manager and engineer. With the creation in 1911 of an experimental department Challenger was sent to Larkhill to learn to fly and on 14 February 1911 he obtained his Royal Aero Club Aviators Certificate (No. 58). Among his designs at Bristol were the Bristol Boxkite and Bristol Glider. He left Bristol to work for the aviation department of Vickers as chief designer and engineer.

With the formation of an aeronautical division by Vickers, Challenger left Bristol to work for the new company. Challenger was the involved in numerous patents, including those for a ring mounting and a gun synchroniser, both for machine-guns. He resigned from Vickers in 1918, having taken part in designing the many different aircraft types produced during the First World War. In its obituary of him, Flight states that ‘Challenger was an upright man who brought his religious convictions into everyday life’ and perhaps that prompted his resignation from a company that made armaments.

Challenger died 4 Dec 1947 at Stoke St. Gregory, near Taunton, Somerset

Production References
  1. Flight, 15 January 1948

V1.4.2 Created by Roger Moss. Last updated December 2019