A woefully underpowered machine, the H.F. 20 Series planes could only be used on observation flights in France. It also served as a trainer, and in secondary theaters, notably in German East Africa where an H.F.22 variant participated in the hunt for the Konigsberg.
How do you fire a machine gun through the arc of a spinning propeller? Early in 1915, aviators engaged in the First World War wanted to solve that problem. Obviously, the bullets of the machine gun would smash a propeller to bits. So far in the war, German, French, and British airmen had fired at each other with limited efficiency, the best results having been obtained in two-seaters, with the observer shooting while the pilot flew the plane. Pusher airplanes, with the propeller in back, also provided a clear field of forward fire. Continue reading
This late variant of Nieuport’s biplanes was used mainly by American pilots, notably Eddie Rickenbacker, the French having switched over to Spads.
The Type 28 looked quite different from the earlier Nieuports: it had a longer, rounded fuselage; it dispensed with the sesquiplane configuration (and the associated V struts); and it had rounded, not angular wingtips. A very distinctive feature was pair of machine guns mounted on the port side cowling, the only aircraft so equipped by any country. (Detail photo from Airminded.net.) Continue reading
[ad#ad-1]Top Speed: 84 m.p.h. Continue reading
One of the most notable developments at the end of 1913 was the appearance of the Sopwith ‘Tabloid’ tractor biplane. This single-seater, fitted with an 80 horsepower Gnome rotary engine, had the remarkable speed (for those days) of 92 miles an hour. A still more notable feature was that it could remain in level flight while only flying 37 miles per hour. The Tabloid was particularly important because it was the forerunner of later Sopwith single-seater fighters like the Pup, Triplane, Camel, and Dolphin, which were used so extensively from 1914 to 1918. It was also probably the first airplane that could reach a height of 1,000 feet within one minute. Continue reading
This was the last of the B.E. (Bleriot Experimental, and then British Experimental) series built by the Royal Aircraft Factory. Compared to the B.E.2, it had a more powerful rotary engine, but otherwise was quite similar. It could only carry a 100 lb. (45 kg.) bombload, even less with a two-man crew. A few were sent to France, but most were used in a training role. Continue reading
For World War One, the Morane-Saulnier A-1 had very modern lines and was very streamlined; it resembles small airplanes that you can see today at any general aviation airport. 1,210 were produced, but it never made a big impact at the front. Not long after its introduction it was withdrawn to serve as trainers, as it was suspected of structural weakness. Continue reading
While it resembled, both in appearance and in specifications, the D.H.2, J. Kenworth’s F.E.8 was considerably less successful. But problems with the aircraft’s stability and engine development delayed its deployment at the front until August, 1916, and by then the new German Albatros D.I and D.II wholly outclassed the British pusher biplanes like the F.E.8.. But, fighters were needed, and some stayed in service until mid-1917. 295 were built in total. Continue reading
Arriving at the front in February 1916, the Airco D.H.2 was fairly late in the British series of fighter pusher biplanes. A single-seater, it was considerably faster and more agile than the Vickers Gun-bus, and enjoyed some successes against the Fokkers in early 1916. But improved German models soon surpassed it. About 450 were built. Continue reading
Visitors to Britain’s Olympia Air Show in March, 1913 had the chance to see the world’s first fighter plane; called a “Destroyer,” the Vickers Experimental Fighting Biplane (E.F.B.) was the first aircraft specifically designed to shoot down other airplanes. Continue reading