In 1915, when the British Empire forces (mostly Indians and Australians) attacked the Turks in Mesopotamia, they needed aircraft. Or wanted them; perhaps it was a matter of national pride, that every modern army ought to have air support. At any rate, the Rajah of Gwalior underwrote the expense of the air contingent – a handful of outdated bombers, among them 2 Maurice Farman M.F. 7s. The desert heat and sand were tough on the Renault engines, and the “Longhorns” spent a lot of time in the shop.
The Farman brothers were two French aviation pioneers, who operated one company, but each freely pursuing his own aircraft designs. Seeing the war clouds gather in Europe, they anticipated and prepared their factory for mass prodction, so that in August 1914, they were one of the few firms that could promptly accept large orders.
By 1914, the Maurice Farman M.F.7 seemed an old-fashioned biplane, with its front elevator, long forward landing skid, kite-like tail box, and pusher motor, but it served both the French and British well enough in the first year of World War One. It got the nickname “Longhorn” from the extended supports for the forward elevator. Operated mainly as an observation craft, it lasted until May 1915, when it was replaced by the M.F.11.
[ad#ad-1]Top Speed: 59 m.p.h.
Manufacturer: Henri & Maurice Farman
Engine: 70 h.p. Renault 8-cylinder inline
Wingspan: 51 feet
Weight: 1,885 lb.
Other sources refer to this aircraft as the S-7.
The following account, of history’s second recorded aerial combat and victory, that took place on October 7, 1914, most likely involved an M.F.7:
On October 7th, the civilian champion Gaubert enlisted voluntarily for the duration of the war, and Captain Blaise, on a Maurice Farman, surprised an enemy aeroplane from behind and flew along about twenty-five yards above it. The passenger, Captain Blaise, fired eight shots from his rifle. The German observer defended himself with a revolver, but the Boche machine soon fell inside its lines. The Deutschen Nachrichten announced soon afterwards that ” Lieutenant Finger, wounded in the course of an aerial combat on October 7, between Metz and Verdun, at an altitude of 2300 meters, died of his wounds October 9. The passenger was wounded in the crash of the machine which was destroyed.”