Самолеты (сортировка по:)
Страна Конструктор Название Год Фото Текст

RAF B.E.2c/B.E.2d

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1914

.Single-engine, single/two-seat, two-bay biplane, as used as support light bomber

RAF - S.E.2 - 1913 - Великобритания<– –>RAF - F.E.2 - 1914 - Великобритания


В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны


РАФ B.E.2c/B.E.2d/B.E.2e / RAF B.E.2c/B.E.2d/B.E.2e

  Весной 1914 года инженер завода РАФ Е.Т.Баск работал над повышением характеристик B.E.2. В результате возник B.E.2c со сдвинутым назад нижним крылом, измененной формой стабилизатора и новой конструкцией шасси без противокапотажных лыж. Кроме того на хвосте появился киль, а на крыльях - элероны. Самолет отличался высокой устойчивостью и мог летать с брошенной ручкой. Незадолго до войны он успешно прошел испытания и был рекомендован к серийной постройке. Одновременно, хотя и в меньшем количестве, выпускался B.E.2d, отличавшийся только небольшим дополнительным бензобаком под верхним крылом. Всего в 1914-15 гг. 22 завода собрали более 1500 B.E.2c и d. 1308 из них было на вооружении RFC.
  Разведчики завода РАФ применялись на всех фронтах первой мировой, где воевали англичане. B.E.2c и d составляли матчасть 14 дивизионов RFC и одного авиакрыла RNAS, 17 дивизионов летали на B.E.2e. Несмотря на то, что весьма посредственные летные и боевые характеристики этих аппаратов делали их легкой добычей немецких истребителей, B.E.2c были переведены на учебные аэродромы только в марте 1917-го, а B.E.2e провоевали до конца войны. Однако мало кто из них выдерживал более 20 боевых вылетов.
  Кроме англичан на B.E.2 летали бельгийцы, норвежцы и русские. Бельгийцы коренным образом переделали 30 полученных от союзников B.E.2c, заменив двигатели РАФ 1a на гораздо более мощные "Испано-Сюизы" и поменяв местами пилота и летнаба. При этом наконец появилась возможность установить в задней кабине нормальную пулеметную турель.

Истребители

  В 1913 году на вооружение Королевского воздушного корпуса был принят самолет РАФ BE.2 - двухместный многоцелевой цельнодеревянный двухстоечный биплан с полотняной обшивкой, разработанный конструкторским коллективом государственного авиазавода "Ройял Эйркрафт Фэктори" (Royal Aircraft Factory, сокращенно - РАФ) под руководством Дж. Де Хэвилленда и Ф.М.Грина. Сокращение BE расшифровывалось как Bleriot Experimental - "экспериментальный самолет типа "Блерио". Так англичане поначалу называли все аэропланы с тянущими винтами и двигателями в носу фюзеляжа.
  Первые модификации ВЕ.2 не несли стрелкового вооружения и использовались на раннеме этапе Мировой войны в качестве разведчиков и легких бомбардировщиков.
  В 1914-м инженер завода РАФ Е.Т. Баск спроектировал очередную модификацию аэроплана - BE.2c, на базе которой в следующем году были созданы первые английские импровизированные истребители ПВО, предназначенные для ночного патрулирования и перехвата германских "цеппелинов", совершавших налеты на Англию. Эти аэропланы вооружались пулеметом "Льюис", закрепленным перед кабиной пилота на специальном кронштейне, позволявшем стрелять вертикально вверх или под углом к вертикали. Угол стрельбы можно было в небольших пределах регулировать в полете.
  По имени своего изобретателя - капитана авиации Л.А.Стрейнджа эти установки получили название "лафеты Стрейнджа" (Strange Mount). Необходимость в них обуславливалась тем, что обычная высота полета дирижаблей намного превосходила предельный потолок тогдашних английских перехватчиков. И вести огонь по противнику британские летчики могли только пролетая в нескольких сотнях метров под ним.
  Несмотря на всю сложность подобной тактики и примитивность вооружения, английским пилотам BE.2c удалось сбить три германских динижабля.
  Иногда, вместо пулеметов на "лафетах Стрейнджа" (или в дополнение к ним) истребители BE.2c вооружались противоаэростатными ракетами "Ле Прие". 10 реечных пусковых установок таких ракет (по пять с каждой стороны) крепились к внешним стойкам бипланной коробки.
  Как правило, истребители ПВО на базе BE.2c были одноместные. Передняя кабина летнаба у них заделывалась, а на ее месте устанавливали дополнительный топливный бак. Но встречались и обычные двухместные машины, просто летчик вылетал на перехват в одиночку.
  BE.2c и его следующий вариант BE.2d, отличавшийся только наличием небольшого дополнительного бензобака под верхним крылом, строились в Великобритании на 22-х заводах массовой серией. Всего построено свыше 1500 экземпляров. Сколько из них применялось в качестве истребителей, точно не известно. Предположительно, речь должна идти о нескольких десятках.
  Большинство BE.2c было оснащено двухрядными восьмицилиндровыми двигателями воздушного охлаждения РАФ 1a мощностью 90 л.с. Реже применялись американские "Кертисс" OX-5 той же мощности или 105-сильные РАФ 1b.

  
Модификации
  
  B.E.2с - двухместный разведчик и легкий бомбардировщик, значительно модернизированный. Верхнее крыло вынесено перед нижним. Крылья оборудованы элеронами, а законцовки их стали не элиптические, а трапециевидные. Горизонтальное оперение новое, прямоугольное. Вертикальное оперение оборудовано килем. Установлен более мощный двигатель RAF-1 (90 л. с.), уменьшено его капотирование. Шасси без противокапотажных лыж. На эти машины стали ставить пулемет "Виккерс".
  B.E.2d - тот же B.E.2с, но наблюдатель сидел не в передней, а в задней кабине.

  
ЛЕТНО-ТЕХНИЧЕСКИЕ ХАРАКТЕРИСТИКИ
  
   B.E.2c B.E.2d
  Размах, м 10,97 10,97
  Длина, м 8,31 8,31
  Высота, м 3,40 3,40
  Площадь крыла, кв.м 33,50 33,50
  Сухой вес, кг 620 602
  Взлетный вес, кг 970 953
  Двигатель RAF-I RAF-I
   мощность, л.с. 90 90
  Скорость макс., км/ч 129 129
  Дальность полета, км 300 300
  Набор высоты, м/мин 1500/24
  Потолок, м 3050 3050
  Экипаж, чел 2 2
  Вооружение 1 пулемет 1 пулемет
   44 кг бомб 44 кг бомб


А.Шепс Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты


RAF B.E.2 1912 г.

  Самолет проектировался и строился в 1911-1912 годах с участием известного английского авиаконструктора Джефри де Хевилленда.
  B.E.2 - двухместный двухстоечный биплан деревянной конструкции. Фюзеляж тонкий - деревянный каркас обтянут полотном. Кабины пилота и наблюдателя (пассажира) неглубокие, и люди на треть корпуса находятся в потоке. Двигатель 8-илиндровый, воздушного охлаждения, рядный, V-образный, установлен на металлической раме. Двигатель частично закапотирован, а цилиндры находятся в потоке. Крылья двухлонжеронные, деревянные, обтянуты полотном. Стойки бипланной коробки также деревянные. Расчалки выполнены из стальной профилированной ленты. Начиная с серии В.Е.2c крылья оборудовались элеронами. Изменены законцовки крыльев. Горизонтальное оперение нерегулируемое, обычной конструкции. Вертикальное оперение также обычное, на машинах серии "а" и "b" безкилевое, начиная с серии "c" уже устанавливался киль. На этих же машинах начали ставить горизонтальное оперение новой конструкции, прямоугольное, большего размаха. Шасси жесткой конструкции, на машинах первых двух серий - с противокапотажными лыжами. Стойки шасси деревянные. Хвостовой костыль с рыжачной амортизацией. Выхлопные коллекторы выводились первоначально под нижнее крыло, позднее - над центропланом или по бортам. Начиная с серии "c" устанавливалось вооружение - 1-2 пулемета. Управление тросовое, причем на учебных машинах - двойное.
  Спроектированный как учебный самолет, с началом Первой мировой войны он использовался и строился как разведчик и легкий бомбардировщик.
  Всего с 1912 по 1916 год двадцатью двумя английскими фирмами построено 3535 машин всех модификаций. С 1916 года они заменялись в строевых частях машинами Де Хевилленд D.Н.4 и D.Н.9. Но отдельные машины эксплуатировались в гражданском варианте до 1925 года.


Модификации

  В.Е.2с - двухместный разведчик и легкий бомбардировщик, значительно модернизированный. Верхнее крыло вынесено перед нижним. Крылья оборудованы элеронами, а законцовки их стали не элиптические, а трапециевидные. Горизонтальное оперение новое, прямоугольное. Вертикальное оперение оборудовано килем. Установлен более мощный двигатель RAF-1 (90 л. с.), уменьшено его капотирование. Шасси без противокапотажных лыж. На эти машины стали ставить пулемет "Виккерс".
  В.Е.2d - тот же В.Е.2с, но наблюдатель сидел не в передней, а в задней кабине.


P.Hare Royal Aircraft Factory (Putnam)


B.E.2c

  Representing the culmination of E T Busk's investigation into aeroplane stability, the B.E.2c was so different from earlier B.E.2 variants as to be almost a totally new design, yet it retained an obvious family resemblance to its forebears.
  Before and immediately after the outbreak of the First World War inherent stability was almost universally considered to be the most desirable attribute of an aeroplane employed in reconnaissance, the primary function of most military machines at that time. A mount which possessed true inherent stability freed its pilot from the need to make constant control inputs, and allowed him to concentrate his attention upon his military duties.
  To achieve this desirable quality in the Royal Aircraft Factory's most popular design, Busk took production B.E.2b 602, added a triangular fin, substituted a new non-lifting tailplane of almost rectangular planform, and introduced twenty-four inches of positive stagger. This was done by moving the lower wing back to return the centre of pressure to its correct position, following the loss of the lift previously contributed by the tailplane. The wing structure was almost totally new, being of R.A.F.6 aerofoil section, with ailerons replacing the wing-warping used in previous models. The dihedral angle was increased to 3 1/2, and cutouts were made in the trailing edge of the lower wing roots to restore the pilot's view of the ground.
  Busk took the converted 602 for its first flight on 30 May 1914, and thereafter made numerous short flights to enable its stability to be tested and demonstrated. On 9 June it was flown to Netheravon on Salisbury Plain to visit the RFC's 'Concentration Camp'. Its pilot on this occasion was Maj W S Brancker, who, although he was not an experienced pilot, recorded that, after climbing to 2,000ft and setting course, he was able to make the forty-mile journey without placing his hands on the controls until he was preparing to land. He spent his time writing a report on the countryside passing below, although he did admit to the inclusion of a number of extraneous dots and dashes caused by the more violent bumps or gusts.
  This demonstration of the benefits of inherent stability was sufficient to ensure that the B.E.2c was put into production by private constructors to supersede the earlier variants in service with the RFC.
  Meanwhile, 602 again visited the Concentration Camp on 19 June and stayed there for a week, affording a number of pilots an opportunity to experience its stability at first hand, before returning to Farnborough on the 26th. It was handed over to No 4 Squadron in July, and at the outbreak of war returned to the Aircraft Park, where it was dismantled and crated for shipment to France. When finally reassembled it was erroneously numbered 807, a serial which, it was later realised, duplicated one already issued by the Navy, and it was renumbered 1807. As such it saw service with No 2 Squadron until December, when it returned to England to finish its days in a training unit, being finally struck off charge on 14 December 1915.
  Another early variant, 601, was also converted into a B.E.2c. It was fitted with a prototype R.A.F.1a engine, which was dimensionally similar to the Renault but which provided an additional twenty horsepower. On 5 November it caught fire in the air and was completely destroyed, with the tragic loss of its pilot, the aeroplane's designer, Edward Busk.
  Although early production B.E.2cs retained the 70hp Renault engine which powered the earlier variants, the Factory's own R.A.F.1a became the standard powerplant as soon as it was available in sufficient numbers. New vertical-discharge exhaust pipes, terminating just above the upper wing centre-section, together with a neat cowling for the engine sump, distinguished the R.A.F.1a-powered examples. A plain vee undercarriage was introduced at the same time, replacing the twin-skid pattern of the earlier machines.
  The first production machine, built by Vickers and given the serial 1748, was delivered to the Aeronautical Inspection Department at Farnborough by 19 December 1914. It was followed by the first Bristol-built example, 1652, on 4 January 1915, this aircraft becoming the first production example to go to France, which it did on 25 January. By the end of March there were twelve in service, and by the end of the year there were more than ten times that number.
  The B.E.2c's stability was initially well received by service pilots, and remained so in the less demanding theatres of war, earning the machine such affectionate nicknames as Stability Jane or the Quirk. One pilot (Maj WG Moore, Early Bird (Putnam, London, 1963)) wrote of it:
  "But the beauty of these machines was that, once you were up to your cruising height, you could adjust a spring which would hold your elevator roughly in the position you wanted for level flying, and you could afford to ignore totally the violent bumps that threw up one wing-tip and then the other. With your rudder central and held in that position by a spring, you could fly hands-off, because the machine was automatically stable and would right itself whatever position it got into provided there was enough space between you and the ground. We used to try, when well up, to see if there was any position we could put them in from which they would not right themselves if left alone. If you pulled them up vertically (so that they hung momentarily on the propellers) and then let go everything, they would tail slide very gently and then down would go the nose until the machine gained flying speed and everything would be normal again."
  As originally conceived, the B.E.2 was unarmed. When the fitting of armament became desirable, the location of the observer in the front cockpit, which had been done for sound reasons, made the installation of any kind of defensive weaponry almost impossible. Similarly, the Allies' lack of any synchronisation gear, to allow a gun to fire forwards through the propeller disc, rendered the provision of offensive armament equally difficult. However, almost immediately the type entered service attempts were made to arm it, initially with rifles or pistols and later with machine guns, usually the comparatively light, drum-fed Lewis. The rifles and pistols were usually hand held, but the machine guns required a fixed mounting to enable them to be operated with any effect.
  At first the necessary mountings were fabricated, ad hoc, in squadron workshops, but they gradually became standardised into a number of officially adopted types. The earliest of these appears to have been the 'candlestick' mounting, fixed to the cockpit rim, into which a spike or pivot pin attached to the gun could be inserted. This allowed the gun to be swivelled as necessary to engage the enemy, but relied entirely on the observer's skill in avoiding hitting parts of his own machine. This was superseded by the No 2 Mk 1 mounting designed by Lt Medlicott, and frequently known by his name, in which the gun's pivot pin was placed in a socket which was supported from a tube attached to the front centre-section struts, and arranged to slide up and down. A wire guard was frequently fitted which limited the muzzle movement and prevented the observer from shooting his own propeller.
  A 'goalpost' mounting between the cockpits, officially designated the No 10 Mk 1, allowed the observer to fire to the rear, over the pilot's head. This gave some measure of protection against attack, but required courage and co-operation in use because the gun's barrel was barely inches above the pilot's head. It was unusual for a machine to be burdened with the weight of more than one gun, and the observer had to transfer it from mounting to mounting as the need demanded. Wooden racks were often fitted to the fuselage sides, outside the rim of the observer's cockpit, to hold spare ammunition drums.
  Another type of mounting, more common to single-seaters, had a Lewis gun fixed to the fuselage side, firing forward at an angle to miss the propeller and with its muzzle held in place by cross-wires. A number of such installations were made on B.E.2cs to satisfy the whim of the more aggressive pilots.
  None of these arrangements was entirely satisfactory, and they were far from being universally fitted, so for all practical purposes the B.E.2c remained virtually defenceless. Consequently the advent of true fighter aeroplanes, such as the Fokker monoplanes of 1915 and the Albatros biplanes which followed them, meant that the B.E.2c became easy prey, along with its equally unarmed contemporaries. Thus Noel Pemberton Billing was able to shock Parliament, and the nation, with his accusations of incompetence and murder, and so indirectly bring to an end the family of Royal Aircraft Factory aeroplanes.
  A few machines were also fitted with bomb racks, either under the wings to carry four 20lb bombs, or under the fuselage, at the centre of gravity, where one 112lb bomb was the normal load.
  Losses to ground fire, as the B.E.s monotonously patrolled over the trenches on reconnaissance or artillery observation duties, were also a problem and, in an attempt to provide a solution, a small number of machines were fitted with armour plate which covered the forward fuselage. While this effectively protected the engine, fuel tank and crew against small-arms fire, the reduction in streamlining, together with the addition of over 400lb in weight, so reduced performance that the idea was shortlived.
  In common with its predecessors the B.E.2c was used by the Factory as a test bed for a wide range of aeronautical experiments and investigations, a purpose for which its stability and entirely predictable performance made it ideal. The machines used in such experiments were not built at Farnborough, but were standard production machines, built by private contractors and modified as required after inspection.
  An oleo undercarriage incorporating a small buffer-type nosewheel was fitted to a few B.E.2cs, but any improvement in landing, and in handling on the ground, could not compensate for the reduction in performance caused by the increased weight and considerable drag, and it was not adopted for general use.
  Another undercarriage experiment, which was conducted at the School of Aerial Gunnery, Loch Doon, in November 1916, comprised the removal of the wheels of 4721, an early Vickers-built machine, and the substitution of a central float manufactured by S E Saunders. This was simply attached to the undercarriage skids, and a small tail float was also fitted. Neither the intention nor result of this experiment are now recorded, but it is doubtful whether it served any useful purpose.
  Like most other aeroplanes which had a lengthy service career, the B.E.2c was constantly modified and improved with a view either to simplified production or improved performance. It was with the latter object in mind that the wing section was changed early in 1916 from R.A.F.6 to R.A.F. 14, with a consequent slight improvement in rate of climb.
  As its performance became the subject of growing criticism, several attempts were made to re-engine the B.E.2c with the 150hp Hispano-Suiza, this having been the first projected use for this impressive new engine. The first attempt managed to produce one of the ugliest installations of this neat and attractive powerplant that it is possible to imagine. The engine was partially enclosed within a crude cowling which left the sides of the cylinder blocks exposed, and cooling was provided by honeycomb radiators of unusual construction attached to the fuselage sides. A later installation was made in the Bristol-built machine 2599. This was neater without being neat, for the radiators, which this time were fitted above the cylinder heads, still looked like the afterthought which, in reality, they were. Although the sixty per cent increase in power obviously improved the aeroplane's performance, it was then decided to develop new machines to realise the Hispano-Suiza's full potential, and the plan to fit it in the B.E.2c was discontinued.
  For some obscure reason the R.A.F.1a engine was never popular with the RNAS, so some of the few B.E.2cs operated by that service were equipped either with the six-cylinder 75hp Rolls-Royce Hawk or the 90hp Curtiss OX-5, a car-type radiator being used in each case. It seems strange that this simple solution to engine cooling appears not to have been considered by those responsible for the experimental Hispano-Suiza installations.
  When nocturnal bombing raids on London and the eastern counties by the huge German rigid airships brought the war to civilians for the first time, it immediately became apparent that some defensive action was urgently needed, as much to preserve the nation's morale as to prevent the relatively small amount of damage that was being suffered. Here the stable B.E.2c came into its own, for, being easy to fly and to land, it made an admirable night-fighter. However, like most contemporary aeroplanes, it lacked the performance to attack the enemy airships under any but the most favourable circumstances. Whilst they were slower, the airships could better any aeroplane's ceiling, and could ascend at an incredible rate simply by releasing large quantities of ballast. In a commendable attempt to overcome the poor climb and endurance of the B.E.2c compared with that of its intended victim, an experiment was made in 1915 in which the aeroplane was suspended from the envelope of a type SS non-rigid airship. It was intended that the 'airship-plane' would patrol at height until the raiders approached, when the aeroplane would detach itself from the envelope and go into the attack. The experiment was discontinued after 21 February 1916, when a fatal accident occurred after the aeroplane failed to release properly.
  This was not the only connection between the B.E.2c and the Submarine Scout airship, for the S.S.I class consisted of a Willows-type envelope from which was suspended an aeroplane fuselage, the early B.E.2c being one of three types used, complete with engine, propeller and undercarriage skids. No wheels were needed, because ascents and landings were made without forward motion.
  On the night of 2 September 1916 the Schutte-Lanz airship SL11 was spectacularly brought down over Cuffley in Hertfordshire by Lt William Leefe Robinson of No 39 Squadron RFC, flying B.E.2c No 2092, an act for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. This was not the first time that an enemy airship had been brought down, for Fit Sub-Lt Rex Warneford had brought down the Zeppelin L37 with a bomb more than a year previously, but it was certainly the most public instance. Warneford's action had taken place over the Belgian coast, whereas Leefe Robinson's victim fell in flames where most of the population of London could see it. Before the end of the year four more raiders, the Zeppelins L21, L31, L32, and L34, had fallen to the guns of night-flying B.E.2cs.
  The B.E.2c remained in service, in declining numbers, until the end of the war, gradually being superseded by later variants and by newer designs. It saw service with more than a dozen squadrons of the RFC in France, in Home Defence units and training establishments, with the RNAS, and in every theatre of war, including Africa and the Middle East. At one time it was certainly the most efficient and the most numerous aeroplane in use by the British armed forces. That it was allowed to outlive its usefulness was a tragedy that should be blamed upon those who were responsible for its procurement, not upon the machine or its designers.
  The B.E.2c did not survive in service use for very long after the Armistice. At least one was retained as a test vehicle at Farnborough until the mid 1920s, and a small number found their way on to the civil register via the numerous disposal sales held after the war's end. Three examples survive in museums.

  Powerplant: 70hp Renault V-8; 90hp R.A.F.1a V-8
  Dimensions:
   span 37ft 0in;
   chord 5ft 6in;
   gap 6ft 3in;
   stagger 2ft 0in;
   dihedral 31/2°;
   incidence 3 1/2° (R.A.F.6); 4° 9" (R.A.F.14);
   wing area 354 sq ft;
   length 27ft 3in;
   height 11ft 1 1/2in;
   wheel track 5ft 9 3/4in.
  Weights: (R.A.F.1a) :
   1,3701b (empty);
   2,1421b (loaded).
  Performance: (R.A.F.1a) :
   max speed
   86mph at sea level;
   72mph at 6,500ft;
   ceiling: 10,000ft;
   endurance 3 1/4hrs;
   climb
   6min to 3,000ft;
   20min to 6,500ft.


B.E.2d

  Although it was structurally similar to the B.E.2c, this new variant included dual controls, presumably to give the observer a chance of survival if the pilot was hit. The provision of controls in the front cockpit necessitated the elimination of the fuel tank which was previously installed under the observer's seat, to allow the rudder cables and the torque tube linking the two control columns to pass through this space. A large gravity tank was substituted, positioned beneath the upper port wing near its root, and was connected to an additional gravity tank within the fuselage top-decking, between the cockpits. At the same time the capacity of the pressure tank, located immediately behind the engine, was increased from fourteen to nineteen gallons. Thus the B.E.2d had a total fuel capacity of forty-one gallons, compared with the thirty-two gallons of the B.E.2c, giving it a useful increase in endurance, albeit at the expense of a reduction in the type's already leisurely rate of climb.
  Production orders for the B.E.2d were placed in October 1915, and it was built in relatively small numbers by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, Ruston Proctor, and Vulcan. Such great things were expected of the later 'e' variant that all unfulfilled orders for earlier models were changed to the latter type, and consequently many machines which began as B.E.2ds were actually delivered as B.E.2es.
  Use of the B.E.2d was largely confined to training establishments, where its dual controls were a boon, its endurance allowed the best use to be made of favourable weather, and its outdated performance was no real handicap.

  Powerplant: 90hp R.A.F.1a V-8
  Dimensions:
   span 36ft 10in;
   chord 5ft 6in;
   gap 6ft 3in;
   wing area 354 sq ft;
   stagger 2ft 0in;
   dihedral 3 1/2°;
   incidence 4° 9";
   length 27ft 3in;
   height 11ft 0in.
  Performance:
   max speed
   88mph at sea level;
   75mph at 6,500ft;
   ceiling 7,000ft;
   climb
   12min to 3,000ft;
   36min to 6,500ft.


B.E.10

  Designed in May 1914, the B.E.10 was developed from the B.E.2c but had a steel-tube fuselage frame, fabric covered and with a deeper coaming than on previous B.E. types, making it somewhat similar to that of the R.E.5. Its oleo undercarriage incorporated a small 'buffer' nosewheel. The wing span - was slightly reduced from that of the B.E.2c, and the ribs were pressed from alloy sheet. The aerofoil section had a reflex trailing edge, and the full-span ailerons could be operated together as flaps. The rudder was of modified shape, and the small high-aspect-ratio triangular fin anticipated that later adopted for the R.E.8.
  Surprisingly, power was to be provided by the rather outdated 70hp Renault, although it may well have been intended that the dimensionally similar 90hp R.A.F.1a would be substituted for full-scale production.
  No prototype B.E. 10 was built at Farnborough, but four examples were ordered from the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company. The order was cancelled soon after, when it was decided that the B.E.2c would remain the RFC's standard mount, and none were completed, although enough work was done for the Bristol employees to dub it the 'Gas Pipe Aeroplane'.

  Powerplant: 70hp Renault V-8
  Dimensions:
   span 35ft 8in;
   chord 5ft 4in;
   wing area 355sqft;
   length 27ft 1in;
   height 10ft 9in.


B.E.11

  No drawing or description of this project has survived, and it therefore seems unlikely that it ever progressed beyond the concept stage. It is almost certain that it was yet another variant upon the B.E.2 theme.


O.Tapper Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft since 1913 (Putnam)


The B.E.2a, B.E.2b and B.E.2c

<...>
  After the outbreak of war in 1914, the B.E.2a and the B.E.2b soon gave place to the better-known B.E.2c, which was built in large numbers by numerous contractors, including Armstrong Whitworth. The B.E.2c, which was designed to have automatic stability, according to the ideas of T. E. Busk, had a fuselage similar to that of the B.E.2b, but the wings were of new design, being heavily staggered and with ailerons on all four planes; the new tailplane was rectangular and a vertical fin was added to the rudder. Early examples of the B.E.2c had the 70 hp Renault engine and the characteristic undercarriage skids, but later production models were powered by the 90 hp RAF la engine and had a simplified V-type chassis. The B.E.2c gave good service as a reconnaissance aircraft in the opening stages of the war, but it was quickly outclassed and soon became an easy victim of enemy fighters.
  Armstrong Whitworth built eight B.E.2as and twenty-five BE2bs but it has not been possible to trace the Service numbers of these aircraft. The total number of B.E.2cs built by Armstrong Whitworth is uncertain, but two batches built at Gosforth, amounting to 50 aircraft, carried the serial numbers 1780 to 1800 and 2001 to 2029.

   B.E.2c
Span: 37 ft 0 in (11.28m)
Length: 27 ft 3 in (8.31m)
Wing area: 371 sq ft (34.47 sq m)
All-up weight: 2.142 lb (972 kg)


A.Jackson Blackburn Aircraft since 1909 (Putnam)


B.E.2c

  A two-seat trainer, bomber and anti-submarine aircraft of wood and fabric construction designed at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, and first flown in 1914. Powered by the 70 hp Renault and later by the 90 hp RAF 1A, it was built in large quantities by a number of sub-contractors including the Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd who produced 111 for the Admiralty. The aircraft were constructed on the shop floor in the Olympia Works at Leeds, without jigs, and test flown from the nearby Soldiers' Field, Roundhay Park, by Rowland Ding. After his death, caused by the failure of an interplane strut while he was looping a new B.E.2c on its first flight, production testing was completed by R. W. Kenworthy. Surviving records show that Blackburns completed 40 by July 1915, 35 of the final batch of 50 by 29 December 1917, four more in January 1918 and five in February of that year.
  Blackburn-built B.E.2cs, recognisable by the ringed airscrew motif on the fin, were used for training in the UK and on active service in every theatre during the 1914-18 war. Two aircraft, serialled 968 and 969, were shipped to the South African Aviation Corps in April 1915; 3999 was a special aircraft for Admiralty W/T experiments; 1127 was sent to Belgium in exchange for a Maurice Farman biplane; and 9969 is preserved at the Musee de l'Air, Paris.

SPECIFICATION AND DATA
  Manufacturers: The Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd, Olympia Works, Roundhay Road, Leeds, Yorks.
  Designers: The Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hants.
  Power Plants:
   One 70 hp Renault
   One 90 hp RAF 1A
  Dimensions:
   Span 37 ft 0 in Length 27 ft 3 in
   Height 11 ft 11 in Wing area 371 sq ft
  Weights: Tare weight 1,370 lb All-up weight 2,142 lb
  Performance:
   Maximum speed 72 mph Service ceiling 10,000 ft
   Climb to 3,500 ft 6 min Endurance 31 hr
  Blackburn production:
   (a) With 70 hp Renault
   Thirty-seven aircraft comprising 964-975 (quantity 12); 1123-1146 (24); 3999 (1).
   (b) With 90 hp RAF IA
   Seventy-four aircraft comprising 8606-8629 (24) under Contract C.P.60949 15; 9951-10000 (50) under Contract 132110 15.
   Total: 111.


F.Manson British Bomber Since 1914 (Putnam)


Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2C/E Bombers

  It has been shown that by the end of 1914 the RNAS had deployed a number of seaplanes capable of carrying bombs or torpedoes, and had already demonstrated its ability to strike targets with the relatively small bombs then at its disposal, although as yet no success had attended the use of the aerial torpedo.
  In France the RFC with the British Expeditionary Force was deployed in the field with a heterogeneous collection of aircraft whose pilots were charged with general reconnaissance duties over and immediately beyond the German lines. None of the aircraft hitherto built under War Office contracts had been equipped to carry bombs.
  The onset of aerial combat in the skies over the Western Front during the winter of 1914-15, rudimentary as it was in both tactics and weapons, was but an inevitable presentiment of a more ominous turn of events, and the first recorded raid by the RFC with aerial bombs as distinct from hand grenades, or adaptations thereof appears to have been launched on 11 March 1915 by three B.E.2As of No 4 Squadron, then based at St Omer, against the railway junction at Lille, 38 miles distant; none of the aircraft returned to base, all having succumbed to engine failure.
  The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 variants were the best of the aircraft taken to France by the RFC with Nos 2 and 4 Squadrons in 1914. Designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, the B.E.2 prototype had first flown in 1912, when it was seen to be the best aeroplane attending the Military Trials of that year (though ineligible to be declared the winner). Powered by a 70hp Renault in-line engine driving a four-blade propeller, the B.E.2 was a two-bay biplane of wire-braced wooden construction with fabric covering. Lateral control on the early B.E.2s was by means of wing warping; there was no fin and the rudder was unbalanced.
  The B.E.2 and 2A had attracted adverse comment on account of a lack of protection from the slipstream for the observer, who occupied the front cockpit, and the B.E.2B, produced in small numbers, introduced increased fuselage decking around the two cockpits.
  The next B.E.2 variant, and the most famous and longest-serving, was the B.E.2C, of which a single example accompanied the RFC to France in August 1914. Early production aircraft retained the 70hp Renault, but this engine had provided the basis of a new design produced at the Royal Aircraft Factory that was to emerge as the R.A.F 1 of 90hp. Unfortunately the prototype engine, installed in an experimental B.E.2 at the Factory, was lost when it caught fire and the aircraft crashed, killing Edward Teshmaker Busk. This pilot was the Assistant Engineer (Physics) at Farnborough, and had been largely responsible for much of the investigation and improvement of aircraft stability in flight, improvements that were to be incorporated in the new B.E.2C.
  This version retained the fuselage of the B.E.2B but introduced new wings with marked stagger and ailerons on upper and lower surfaces. A new tailplane was fitted to the rear fuselage between the upper and lower longerons, and a steel-framed, triangular fin was added forward of the rudder.
  Deliveries o f production B.E.2Cs were slow to build up, and by the date of the raid against Lille, mentioned above, only 13 of this type had reached the seven RFC squadrons on the Western Front. And it was in a B.E.2 or 2A o f No 2 Squadron that Lieut William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse won the first Victoria Cross to be awarded to a British airman; on 26 April 1915 he succeeded in dropping his 100 lb bomb on Courtrai railway station from 300 feet and, although mortally wounded, brought his aircraft back to his own base at Merville to make his report. One of the first bombing attacks made by the B.E.2C was that by Lieut Lanoe G Hawker (later also to win the Victoria Cross), who attacked a German airship shed at Gontrode on 19 April.
  It was soon after these early bombing attacks by the RFC that the first German Fokker monoplane fighters began appearing over the Western Front, aircraft that possessed remarkable manoeuvrability for that time; they were, moreover, armed with a synchronized machine gun capable of firing through the propeller arc. The B.E.2s, on account of the stability for which they were applauded while performing bombing and reconnaissance duties, and their lack of agility, were to suffer mounting losses, and it soon became normal practice, whenever aircraft were available, to provide escorts for the vulnerable B.E.s. Efforts were made to fit defensive armament, but this simply served to reduce their performance still more. Because the B.E.2 was only flown as a single-seater when carrying bombs, the bombers were usually fitted with a single, spigot-mounted Lewis gun behind the pilot's cockpit to fire aft! The B.E.2Cs normal bomb load was usually a pair of 112 lb or up to eight 20 lb Hales bombs.
  With a raid by two aircraft of No 4 Squadron on Cambrai airfield on 19/20 February 1916, the B.E.2Cs began operating increasingly at night, and during the preparations for the Battle of the Somme in June and July that year fairly large formations of B.E.s carried out setpiece attacks on important targets behind the German lines; on one occasion about 30 aircraft from Nos 8 and 12 Squadrons dropped 57 112 lb bombs on a key railway junction.
  As the 90hp R.A.F. 1A engine became available in sufficient numbers it was adopted as standard in the B.E.2C, replacing the Renault, and this engine was retained in the other two variants, the B.E.2D with dual controls, and the B.E.2E which reached the RFC in France during the Battle of the Somme, No 34 Squadron bringing with it a full complement from England on the 15th. The B.E.2E featured a new single-bay wing-structure and with a substantial upper wing overhang.
  Although the B.E.2C, 2D and 2E continued in service on the Western Front throughout much of 1917, their use as bombers declined after the autumn of 1916 owing to their vulnerability to ground fire and enemy fighters, and their inability to carry a worthwhile bomb load.
  B.E.2s also served in smaller numbers with the RNAS, beginning with three B.E.2As taken to France by Wg-Cdr Charles Rumney Samson's Wing in August 1914. One of these aircraft, No 50, survived two year's service, accompanying Samson to the Dardanelles in 1915. Some naval B.E.2Cs which served during that ill-fated campaign with No 3 Wing, RNAS, were employed as bombers, a few being flown as single-seaters with the front cockpit faired over; others carried a rack for three light bombs directly beneath the engine.
  B.E.2Cs also served in the bombing and reconniassance roles in German East Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Macedonia and on the North-West Frontier of India.

  Type: Single-engine, single/two-seat, two-bay biplane, as used as support light bomber.
  Manufacturers: Sir W G Armstrong, Whitworth & Co Ltd, Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Barclay, ( Airle & Co Ltd, Whiteinch, Glasgow; William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire; The Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co Ltd, Olympia, Leeds; The British Caudron Co Ltd, Cricklewood, London, NW2; The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co Ltd, Filton, Bristol; The Daimler Co Ltd, Coventry; William Denny & Bros, Dumbarton; The Eastbourne Aviation Co Ltd, Eastbourne; The Grahamc-Whitc Aviation Co Ltd, Hendon, London NW9; Hewlett & Blondeau Ltd, Clapham, London; Martinsyde Ltd, Brooklands, Surrey; Napier & Miller Ltd, Old Kilpatrick; Ruston & Proctor & Co Ltd, Lincoln; Vickers Ltd (Aviation Dept), Knightsbridge, London; The Vulcan Motor & Kngineering Co (1906) Ltd, Southport, Lancashire; G & J Weir Ltd, Cathcart, Glasgow; Wolseley Motors Ltd, Birmingham.
  Powerplant: B.E.2C. 70hp Renault; 90hp R.A.F.1A; 105hp R.A.F.1B; 105hp R.A.F.1D; 90hp Curtiss OX-5; 150hp Hispano-Suiza. B.E.2D. 90hp R.A.F.1A.
  Structure: Fuselage of wire-braced wooden box girder construction, wooden twin-spar wings; fin and rudder of steel tubular frame construction. Engine part-cowled with aluminium sheet panels, cockpit decking plywood-covered, the remainder of the aircraft fabric-covered.
  Dimensions: B.E.2C. Span, 37ft 0in; length, 27ft 3in; height, 11ft 1 1/2in; wing area, 371 sq ft. B.E.2D. Span, 36ft 10in; length, 27ft 3in; height, 11 ft 0in; wing area, 371 sq ft.
  Weights: B.E.2C. Tare, 1,370 lb; all-up (eight 20 lb bombs), 2,142 lb.
  Performance: B.E.2C(R.A.F.1A). Max speed, 77 mph at sea level, 69 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 5,000ft, 9 min 10 sec; service ceiling, 10,000ft.
  Armament: A single Lewis machine gun was sometimes carried on a spigot mounting aft of the rear cockpit. When flown as a singleseat bomber, the B.E.2C could carry up to two 112 lb bombs or smaller bombs up to an equivalent weight.


O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)


B.E.2c

  The B.E.2c is more often associated with the RFC, yet over 300 aircraft were delivered to the RNAS, where they were employed for bombing duties, for anti-submarine patrols and for training purposes.
  Much has been written about the B.E.2c's dismal failure as a fighting machine with the RFC on the Western Front, its heavy losses in 1915-16 and the 'Fokker fodder' scandal. With the RNAS, however, it earned a somewhat happier reputation, perhaps because it was employed chiefly in theatres of war where the opposition was less vigorous. The RNAS was, in fact, the first service to use the B.E.2c in overseas zones other than France when, in April 1915, two B.E.2cs accompanied the Farmans, Voisins and a Breguet of NO.3 Wing to Tenedos to take part in the Dardanelles campaign. In August 1915 they were joined by six more belonging to NO.2 Wing, RNAS. All these naval B.E.2cs had 70 hp Renault engines, as fitted in the prototype which first flew in June 1914.
  On 13 November 1915 a B.E.2c of No.2 Wing flown by F/Cdr J R W Smyth-Pigott made a daring night-bombing attack on a bridge at Kuleli Burgas spanning the Maritza river, a vulnerable point on the Berlin-Constantinople railway. Smyth-Pigott bombed from 300 ft and was awarded the DSO for his gallantry, though the target was not destroyed.
  Many of the B.E.2cs used as bombers by the RNAS had a small bomb-rack beneath the cowling, as illustrated, and some were flown as single-seaters with the front cockpit faired over.
  In the United Kingdom the RNAS used B.E.2cs for anti-submarine and Zeppelin patrols from coastal air stations until as late as 1918. On 28 November 1916, off Lowestoft, three B. E.2cs flown by F/Lt Cadbury and F/Sub-Lts Pulling and Fane brought down the Zeppelin L21.
  The RNAS received 337 B.E.2cs altogether; 161 with Renault engines, 153 with the RAF la and 23 with the Curtiss OX-5. The last B.E.2c (No. 10,000) left the Blackburn factory on 3 July 1917.

UNITS ALLOCATED
  No.1 Wing, RNAS (Dunkirk), No.2 Wing, RNAS (Imbros and Mudros), No.3 Wing, RNAS (Imbros and Tenedos), No.7 (Naval) Squadron (East Africa). Also coastal air stations at Eastbourne, Hornsea, Great Yarmouth, Port Victoria, Redcar, Scarborough and training schools at Chingford and Cranwell.

TECHNICAL DATA (B.E.2c)
  Description: Two-seat bomber and anti-submarine patrol aircraft. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Admiralty contracts to Beardmore; Blackburn; Eastbourne; Grahame-White; Hewlett and Blondeau; Martinsyde; Ruston, Proctor; Vickers; Vulcan; and G & J Weir.
  Power Plant: 70 hp Renault, 90 hp RAF 1a or 90 hp Curtiss OX-5.
  Dimensions: Span, 37 ft. Length, 27 ft 3 in. Height, 11 ft 1 1/2 in. Wing area, 371 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 1,370 lb. Loaded, 2,142 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 72 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 6 1/2 min to 3,500 ft; 45 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 3 1/4 hr. Service ceiling, 10,000 ft.
  Armament: Renault-engined bombers carried up to four 25 lb bombs under engine nacelle. RAF-engined single-seaters carried two 112 lb bombs or ten 20 lb bombs below the wings.


H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)


B.E.2c, d and e. The B.E.2c was never intended to carry armament, but to provide a stable platform for reconnaissance. This very stability was to prove a severe handicap in combat, and even though armament schemes were quickly improvised the firing of a gun from the front (observer's) seat was a matter of great difficulty because of the adjacent wings and bracing members. Rifles, carbines and pistols were carried, and an accompanying photograph is possibly unique in showing a carbine in simulated use. This is of Lee-Metford type. Lewis guns were variously installed. In some instances four sockets were disposed round the observer's cockpit, the gun or guns being interchanged between these sockets as necessary. Sockets were also provided at the sides of the rear cockpit, or behind it, for rearward fire. Capt L. A. Strange of No. 12 Squadron mounted a Lewis gun on the side of the fuselage at such an angle that the line of fire cleared the airscrew, but whether this was the first arrangement of its kind (requiring the pilot to fly crab-fashion) cannot be determined. The common type of mounting which became known as the 'Strange mounting' was of cranked pillar type, having a toothed quadrant and illustrated in connection with the B.E.2e and B.E.12. In March 1917 the Strange mounting for the Lewis gun was improved by Sgt Hutton of No.39 Squadron by fitting a release stud which made the gun or mounting easier to manoeuvre. Other patterns of cranked pillar mounting were improvised and to these the description 'candlestick' mounting was applied. In apparent refutation of the B.E's inferior manoeuvring qualities it has been recorded: 'The Huns were a poor lot and had one violent manoeuvre not dislodged the Lewis guns from their silly candlestick mountings the B.E. might have driven them off.' Some B.E.2cs of the RNAS carried a single Lewis gun on a tall bracket mounting ahead of the cockpit, allowing the gun to be fired under the centre-section but above the airscrew arc. There was at least one instance of a hole being made in the centre-section through which the observer put his head and shoulders to use an unspecified weapon, and there was also an installation of a Lewis gun above the top wing. As many as four guns were carried at a time. One B.E.2c carried two Lewis guns and a Mauser pistol. Oliver Stewart has recalled:
  'Sometimes the observer knelt or stood on his seat to use Lewis guns mounted on brackets linked by a bar between the rear pair of centre-section struts. Sometimes a Lewis gun which could be fired downwards was fitted on the left side of the fuselage alongside the pilot's seat. Another mounting, which was found in numerous forms in the B.E., had one or two Lewis guns on splayed brackets which kept the bullets clear of the disc swept by the airscrew.'
  For Home Defence one or two Lewis guns were installed on Strange mountings to fire behind the centre-section, the ammunition drums being loaded with a mixture of ordinary and 'special' ammunition. Home Defence B.E.2cs and 2es also carried four, six or eight Le Prieur rockets, attached to the outer interplane struts, the launching tubes being set at an upward angle. Armament for Home Defence also included canisters of Ranken Darts, two 20-lb high-explosive bombs and two 16-lb incendiary bombs. 'Bomb boxes' were mentioned, and the R.L. Tube was used to launch incendiary bombs. The Fiery Grapnel, already mentioned in connection with the B.E.2a, was also tested on a B.E.2c. Two of these weapons were carried side by side under the fuselage. In No.6 Squadron a winch was fitted on a B.E.2c to lower a lead weight on a steel cable, the object being to foul the airscrew of an enemy aircraft.
  Bombs were carried either loose in the fuselage or beneath the inner lower wings and fuselage. Some B.E.2cs of the RNAS carried three small bombs under the engine. With the heavier bomb loads the aircraft were flown as single-seaters. Identified loads are four to ten 20-lb, or one 112-lb + four 20-lb, or two 112-lb bombs, and as early as 10 March, 1915, Capt Strange dropped three French bombs weighing 25 lb on Courtrai station. B.E.2cs arc known to have been used on anti-submarine operations, and in this connection it may be noted that the standard bombs used for this work were of 65-lb, 100-lb and 230-lb weight. Loads for the B.E.2e included two 100-lb or one 100-lb + eight 20-lb.
  In August 1916 a B.E.2c was used to test the first installation of the Constantinesco synchronising gear for the Vickers gun, but the only aircraft of the type to have such an installation as standard were those modified by the Belgians. The gun in this instance was mounted above the engine, and a ring-mounting of Nieuport type was fitted over the rear cockpit.
  Armoured seats were developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory and during 1916 an armoured version of the B.E.2c was produced at the same establishment. The armour weighed 445 lb, and armoured B.E.2cs were operated successfully against entrenched German troops. Other applications were low-level photography and the attack of kite balloons. One single-seat B.E.2c had a repositioned and specially armoured cockpit, the armour being built up round the pilot's head and shoulders in a manner reminiscent of Ned Kelly himself. It remains to mention the now-famous installation of five Lewis guns made on a B.E.2c by Lieut C. J. Chabot. The guns were within the undercarriage structure and fired downward at a shallow angle. The installation was never, used operationally.
  No aircraft of 1914-18 was fitted with a greater variety of armament than the B.E.2c, and, notwithstanding its handicaps in combat with other aeroplanes, it endures as the greatest airship-destroyer of all time. On 31 March, 1916, 2nd-Lieut A. de B. Brandon dropped Ranken Darts and an incendiary bomb on the crippled L.15, which then came down on the sea. Some months later, on 3 September, 1916, Lieut W. Leefe Robinson shot down S.L.11 in flames, using a Lewis gun installed on a Strange mounting, of the type illustrated herewith on a B.E.2e. The Lewis gun, firing special ammunition, was also the chosen instrument in the destruction of L.32 (2nd-Lieut F. Sowrey, 24 September, 1916), L.31 (2nd-Lieut W. J. Tempest, 31 October, 1916), L.34 (2nd-Lieut I. V. Pyott, 27 November, 1916) and L.21 (Flt Lieut E. Cadbury, Fit Sub-Lieut G. W. R. Fane and Fit Sub-Lieut E. L. Pulling, 28 November, 1916).
  The stability which cost the B.E.2c so dearly in daylight operations in face of opposing aircraft rendered this same aeroplane a steady platform for what was to become perhaps the most famous aircraft machine-gun of all.


M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)


BE.2c biplane

  The BE.2c was the result of a good deal of development work at Farnborough on stability, carried out on examples of its predecessors. The ability of the aircraft to fly, with the minimum of control movement by the pilot, was regarded as a great attribute for a reconnaissance aircraft, the intended role of the BE.2c. The lack of maneuverability was later to become a great disadvantage, when air fighting developed.
  The most apparent change from the BE.2b was the use of wing stagger, which was obtained by moving the lower wing back, to compensate for the loss of lift, occasioned by the use of a smaller non-lifting tailplane. The ailerons replaced wing warping on all four wings and a fin was fitted. The twin skid undercarriage of the BE.2b was used on early aircraft, but was later replaced by a vee type with cross axle on most aircraft. The long exhausts, fitted under the fuselage, were shortened later and some machines had exhausts taken up over the top wing. Many changes and operational additions came much later, among which was the introduction of the RAF. la engine, made by the Factory.
  The BE.2c was in production by a number of contractors over a long period and was in service until the end of the war.

  Power:
   70hp Renault eight-cylinder air-cooled vee
   90hp RAF.1a eight-cylinder air-cooled vee
  Data
  Span 37ft
  Chord 5ft 6in
  Gap 6ft 3in
  Area 354 sq. ft *
  Area tailplane 36 sq. ft
  Area elevators 27 sq. ft
  Area rudder 12 sq. ft
  Area fin 4 sq. ft
  Length 27ft 3in
  Height lift 1 l/2in
  * Alternative sources quote 371 & 396 sq. ft

  Data RAF. 1a
  Weight 1,3701b.
  Weight allup 2,1421b.
  Max speed
   86 mph at sea level
   72 mph at 6,500ft
  Climb to 6,500ft 20min
  Climb to 3,000ft 6 min
  Ceiling 10,000ft
  Endurance 3 1/4hr


P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)


B.E.2c

  The B.E.2c represented the culmination of E. T. Busk's two years of practical experimenting devoted to developing the machine into a stable aeroplane, as a result of which it was ordered in quantity for the R.F.C. and the R.N. A.S. At the time of its appearance in June, 1914, the B.E.2c's role in war was envisaged as that of reconnaissance, and the decision to order it in numbers appeared to be justified. In the event, however, its lack of manoeuvrability which went with such an exceptionally highly-developed stability brought about its downfall in the skies of battle, where it was, perforce, pressed into carrying out duties for which it was not designed.
  The B.E.2c was a direct development of the B.E.2b, but several distinctive changes had been made. Most prominent among these were the adoption of staggered wings, the addition of a triangular tail fin, a revised tailplane of rectangular shape and new wing-tips. At first, the 70 h.p. Renault was given lengthy exhaust pipes which extended along the lower fuselage, but these were shortened in later versions.
  In June, 1914, the prototype was flown from Farnborough to Netheravon by Major Sefton Brancker, who left his starting-point at 2,000 ft. and arrived over his destination at 20 ft. without using the controls, his hands being occupied with writing a reconnaissance report during the flight. When war broke out on 4th August, 1914, this machine was the only B.E.2c flying. The sub-contractors asked to produce the design found, on examination of the plans, that the structure was a comparatively complicated one and was not simple to build. Three months after war was declared, Edward Busk, the person who had done most to develop the machine into a successful flyer, was killed when his B.E.2c crashed on 5th November on Laffan's Plain.

SPECIFICATION

  Description: Two-seat tractor biplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hants.
  Power Plant: 70 h.p. Renault.
  Dimensions: Span, 37 ft. Length, 27 ft. 3 ins. Height, 11 ft. 15 ins. Wing area, 371 sq. ft.
  Weights: Empty, 1,370 lb. Loaded, 2,142 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 75 m.p.h. Service ceiling, 10,000 ft. Endurance, 3.25 hrs.


W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters


ROYAL AIRCRAFT FACTORY B.E.2c UK

  Second of the Farnborough designs to bear a “Bleriot Experimental” designation as a general-purpose tractor biplane, the B.E.2 appeared in 1912 and provided the basis for a family of variants produced in large quantity for use by the RFC, principally as an unarmed two-seat scout. With modifications to enhance the inherent stability of the basic design, the B.E.2c was developed in 1914 and many of the 1,216 of this variant built were to serve with various ad hoc armament installations. The B.E.2c was a two-bay biplane with unstaggered equi-span wings, a conventional tail unit with separate fin, rudder, tailplane and elevators, and an undercarriage incorporating skids to help prevent nose-overs. The 70 hp Renault eight-cylinder Vee-type engine powered early production aircraft, but the 90 hp RAF Ia eight-cylinder Vee-type soon became standard. Construction of the B.E.2c was of wood throughout, with fabric covering. A variety of mounts was evolved for a single 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Lewis machine gun in the observer’s (front) cockpit, primarily for self-defence. More specifically to serve as a fighter with Home Defence squadrons of the RFC and the RNAS, numerous B.E.2c’s were modified as single-seaters, armament comprising a single Lewis gun mounted to fire upwards behind the wing centre section or, in some cases, on the side of the fuselage alongside the cockpit, angled outwards to clear the propeller disc. Flying by night, despite a lack of nocturnal flight aids, B.E.2c’s shot down five raiding Zeppelins over the UK during 1916. B.E.2c’s were also used for a number of armament experiments. The following data are for the B.E.2c with RAF Ia engine.

Max speed, 72 mph (116 km/h) at 6,500 ft (1 980 m).
Time to 6,500 ft (1980 m), 20 min.
Service ceiling, 10,000 ft (3 050 m).
Endurance, 3.25 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,370 lb (621kg).
Loaded weight, 2,142 lb (972 kg).
Span, 36 ft 10 in (11,23 m).
Length, 27 ft 3 in (8,30 m).
Height, 11 ft 4 in (3,45 m).
Wing area, 396 sq ft (36,79 m2).


Журнал Flight


Flight, June 25, 1915.

FLYING AT HENDON.

  LAST Saturday's proceedings opened unofficially with a remarkable demonstration by W. Rowland Ding on a Blackburn-B.E. 2c This machine took the air like a pantomime fairy in the transformation scene, or, to put it in more technical phraseology, like a helicopter. It seemed impossible to stall the machine in the true sense of the word, for when it could climb no more, it - without the aid of the pilot - simply put its nose down and proceeded in a more horizontal attitude. During the afternoon Ding made four other flights, one of which was for the hour test. On this occasion, accompanied by an observer, he reached an altitude of over 10,000 ft., without forcing the machine.
<...>


EDDIES.

  When paying a short visit to Hendon on Thursday of last week I happened to witness one of the prettiest, or perhaps I should say two of the prettiest, bits of flying that I have seen for quite a long time. An officer of the R.F.C. was just starting off on a B.E. 2c of the improved type when Mr. Rowland Ding of the Northern Aircraft Co. started out to test one of the latest Blackburn-built B.E. 2c's of the standard type. Ding was the first to get off, and was followed a few seconds later by the other B.E. Climbing rapidly until they had reached a sufficient altitude, the two pilots started a series of spirals and steeply banked turns, in some of which the machines, if they were not actually banking vertically, were at least 89 degs., 59 mins. and 59 secs, from the horizontal.

***

  It was a beautiful sight to see the two machines circling round one another in graceful curves. Once they were flying level, practically side by side, and it was quite surprising how little difference there seemed to be between the speeds of the two models, the Blackburn standard B.E. 2c being to all intents and purposes as fast as the other. Whether the fact that Ding was flying solo, while the other machine had two on board, had something to do with the slight difference in speed is a question. At any rate the weight of the passenger would not, it appears to me, slow down the speed to such an appreciable extent. It seems more probable that the R.F.C. pilot's engine was not quite up to the mark, while that of the Blackburn B.E., built by the Rolls-Royce firm by the way, was pulling like a demon. This was never more noticeable than when "getting off.'' The angle at which Ding took her up was simply alarming, but there did not seem to be any tendency to stall. This climbing speed is indeed, under present conditions of war, an asset of very high value; it now only remains to incorporate an equally good horizontal speed. When up at a good height Ding repeatedly overclimbed the machine, which could be seen to hesitate for a moment and then quite suddenly flop her nose down until she was at her proper gliding angle. There can be no doubt about the longitudinal inherent stability of this type, and the lateral stability is evidently equally good, judging from the total absence of side-slipping in the steepest of turns.
  In this connection I had an interesting argument with a friend who maintained that it is impossible to make a B.E. 2c side-slip, since, he argues, the machine will, if the rudder is left alone with left-hand warp put on, turn to the left in a circle proportional to the amount of bank. My own idea is that the machine in question can be made to side-slip by the following procedure: Full warp to, say, left, and ruddering to right, gradually returning rudder to central and at the same time pushing elevator lever forward. When the wings are in a nearly vertical position the elevator would, of course, act as a rudder and prevent the tail from swinging outwards, or, in other words, prevent the machine from doing the left-hand turn. The whole experiment, however, is one which I have no particular wish to see carried out in practice, although if attempted at a sufficient altitude it would probably be safe enough, provided that there is no chance of the machine not standing up to the strain.

В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
RAF BE.2c с презентационной надписью "SARAN", принадлежавший одному из дивизионов RNAS, 1915г.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
RAF B.E.2c 16-й дивизион RFC, 1916г.
А.Шепс - Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты
Разведчик/легкий бомбардировщик RAF B.E.2c RFC
M.Goodall, A.Tagg - British Aircraft before the Great War /Schiffer/
RAF BE.2c prototype flew in May 1914. Staggered wings and a tail fin made the aircraft extremely stable.
P.Lewis - British Aircraft 1809-1914 /Putnam/
B.E.2c prototype.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg - British Aircraft before the Great War /Schiffer/
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
A "B.E.2c" biplane, with Renault engine, built by the Royal Aircraft Factory.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
BE.2с - экспонат канадского национального военного музея в Оттаве
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The BE2c was the definitive version of the BE2 series by the outbreak of war; it was a type that saw distinguished service in the early months. This example is seen with 2 Squadron at Netheravon in June 1914.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
Early B.E.2c 1145 (70hp Renault) after a mishap at RNAS Redcar in October 1916. Note the bomb rack under the sump and the unusual fin marking.
F.Manson - British Bomber Since 1914 /Putnam/
No 1738, a Bristol-built B.E.2C with a 90hp Curtiss OX-5 engine, a conversion probably made by Frederick Sage & Co Ltd.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Allonville and BE2c '1779 of 4 Squadron RFC. The Squadron moved to this airfield in November 1915 and stayed there until February 1916.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
B.E.2cs of 13 Squadron at Gosport on 12 October 1915, en route for France. Aircraft 2017 was built by Armstrong Whitworth, 4084 and 4079 by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, and 2045 by Daimler. The difference in serial styles is noteworthy.
The BE2c Squadrons proved invaluable in the early months of the war, providing timely reconnaissance to the commanders on the ground. Furthermore, it was not long before they were showing their value in co-operating with the artillery on spotting fall of shot: this particular role, in which the RFC squadrons became particularly adept, grew in importance as the land battle became more static.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
BE2c '2026 of 12 Squadron, RFC. This was one of a number of units to use the type operationally on the Western Front - indeed, a BE2c of 2 Squadron was the first British aeroplane to land in France when the RFC deployed in support of the British Expeditionary Force.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
16 Squadron formed at St Omer in February 1915 during one of the RFC s expansion periods, and was soon heavily engaged on reconnaissance work using a variety of aircraft although, like most units, the BE2c was the main workhorse - indeed, this type remained in service with 16 Squadron until May 1917!
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A later B.E.2c, with an R.A.F.la engine and the vee undercarriage. This particular machine, 2687, was built by Ruston, Proctor, and is fitted with underwing bomb racks.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The beautifully restored B.E.2c 2699 on display at the Imperial War Museum, London.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
A great many aircraft were forced to land behind enemy lines and often they had little more than engine damage. Here BE2c '2742 is seen with German markings after such an instance.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Although the BE2c was by mid 1916 outdated and vulnerable on the Western Front, its inherent stability well suited it for the task of Home Defence and when the RFC took over responsibility for this task from the RNAS it was the BE2c that formed the bulk of the defending fighters to counter the night raids by German Zeppelins. The first success came on the night of 2/3 September 1916 when William Leefe Robinson of 39 Squadron shot down the SL.11. Here the pilot poses in the cockpit of his BE2c - the object being held by the airmen is part of his aircraft that he damaged during the combat.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The same night that L33 fell, 23/24 September, another fell to the guns of 39 Squadron when Lt. Fred Sowrey destroyed the L32. Sowrey is seen here in the cockpit of BE2c '4112. 39 Squadron scored another victory on 1/2 October, when 2nd Lt. Wulfstan Tempest destroyed the L31. L34 was also shot down the same night.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A beautifully finished Renault-powered B.E.2c, the first of a batch built by Wolseley Motors.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
B.E.2c (No.8300) of the RNAS.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A production B.E.2c built by Hewlett and Blondeau, one of twenty or so contractors who undertook its manufacture.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
THE GREAT FLIGHT ACROSS SOUTH AFRICA. - General Smuts recently, when accepting the aeroplane subscribed for by the London Chamber of Commerce, had reason to refer to the retaining of the supremacy of the air as being the forerunner of victory. He has intimate knowledge of the activities at the front, and has also in mind the 300 miles South African flight carried out by Captain Moore in the German East African Campaign. In our photograph above, Captain Moore has arrived safely back, the aeroplane being taken, into the hangar.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
Captain Moore, the pilot (on the right), studying the route map before his start on the 300 miles flight in the German East African Campaign.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
BE.2с с ручным пулеметом "Льюис" на лафете Стрейнджа
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
A B.E.2c in single-seat configuration with single gun, Vee-type undercarriage and original fin.
H.Cowin - Aviation Pioneers /Osprey/
This Royal Aircraft Factory BE 2c, serial no 9951, is one of a known 111-aircraft batch built by Blackburn. This variant made its operational debut in April 1915 and was a marked improvement over the earlier BE 2s, using ailerons, rather than wing warping. Fitted with a 90hp Royal Aircraft Factory-developed RAF Ia engine, the two-seat BE 2c had a top level speed of 72mph at 6,500 feet, dropping to 69mph at 10.000 feet. Besides its primary reconnaissance role, the BE 2 served as a bomber, an anti-submarine patroller and a trainer. Deliveries of the BE 2c to the RFC accounted for 1,117 machines, plus a further 307 operated by the RNAS, of which the aircraft seen here was one.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
Blackburn-built B.E.2c 9969 on display at the Musee de L'Air, Paris, France, in 1980. The sump cowling and wheel covers are missing, and the fin is of the later B.E.2e pattern, a modification frequently carried out in service.
A.Jackson - Blackburn Aircraft since 1909 /Putnam/
9990, a Blackburn-built B.E.2c with the famous airscrew-type badge on the tail.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
A unique aircraft-the highest serial number issued to a British aircraft and an indication of the rapid increase in aircraft production. The RFC initially numbered its aircraft with three or four digits but when the number 10.000 was reached it had already been decided that the system would be unmanageable. Henceforth, aircraft would carry a serial letter and four numbers, giving far more available combinations. This particular BE2c was a Blackburn-built aircraft.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The Home Defence units were still equipped with a range of types, most of which were unable to deal with the new German bombers and super-Zeppelins. The BE2c was still on strength with a number of Squadrons - as here in 58 Squadron's hangar at Cramlington.
Other 0
Photo from Nick Gribble. "One more photo from Marden, Kent. My Grandfather Ernest Gribble is 3rd from left sitting on front row"
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Good upper view of a 2 Squadron BE2c. This type remained in significant numbers on the Western Front during 1916 and was very vulnerable: losses were high as the performance of the aircraft was now grossly inferior to that of the enemy fighter types.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An unidentified B.E.2c photographed from a machine flying above it. Note the squadron marking on the rear decking behind the pilot's cockpit.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An unidentified B.E.2c, one of many on reconnaissance duties over the trenches of the Western Front.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
AIR PATROLLING IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN. - One of our air patrols photographed in the air from another machine.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
A Blackburn-built B.E. C 2 machine in flight at Hendon.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
AT HENDON. - In 19-- it may be that pilots will vol plane into Mitchell's tea gardens for the cup that cheers. The one shown was probably only on a reconnaissance trip. The Bleriot, in the shade of whose wings the tables are set, is that of the late G. Lee Temple.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
NECK AND NECK PAST THE ENCLOSURES AT HENDON. - Mr. J. H. Moore on his biplane, and Blackburn BE.2c.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
Mr. J. H. Moore flying at Hendon Aerodrome on his biplane. On the ground a Blackburn B.E.2C just landed.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
The First Lord of the Admiralty is interested in one of the B.E's.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
Some snaps of the Lord Mayor's Procession: - 2. Fuselage of British B.E.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
Some snaps of the Lord Mayor's Procession: - 3. Port-side wings of British B.E.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
A batch of presentation aeroplanes lined up in England ready to be flown overseas.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
'A gun is stuck on here and a bomb hung on there . . . '; a B.E.2c loaded with a 112lb bomb (below fuselage) and eight Le Prieur rockets, with obvious detriment to its already poor performance.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
H.King - Armament of British Aircraft /Putnam/
Demonstrating the use of a Lee-Metford carbine from an early B.E.2c.
F.Manson - British Bomber Since 1914 /Putnam/
A B.E.2C single-seat bomber of No 2 Wing, RNAS, at Imbros. This aeroplane, shown carrying 20 lb Hales bombs on racks under the engine and fuselage amidships, was the first to bomb Constantinople, flying from Imbros. The identity of the two naval pilots is not known.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
B.E.2cs at South Carlton in 1917. The aircraft nearest to the camera has had its exhausts modified to discharge to the side instead of over the upper wing, as was usual for machines powered by the R.A.F.la.
K.Wixey - Parnall Aircraft Since 1914 /Putnam/
The B.E.2c was one of the types rebuilt at No.3 (Western) Aircraft Repair Depot.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A Bristol-built B.E.2c armoured with over 400lb of steel plate to protect the engine and crew against ground fire.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A B.E.2c fitted with a 150hp Hispano-Suiza engine. The identity of the gentleman standing in front of it is now known, but, judging by his worried look, he may have been responsible for this remarkably ugly installation.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
The B.E.2d. With 90 h.p. or 100 h.p. R.A.F. engine. Note the petrol tank under the upper plane, and the exhaust pipe projecting upwards.
F.Manson - British Bomber Since 1914 /Putnam/
BE.2D, No 2559, at Farnborough in 1916, experimentally fitted with a 150hp Hispano-Suiza engine.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
B.E.2d 4451. Note the gravity tank under the upper port wing. As was common with later examples of the type, this machine has been fitted with the larger, B.E.2e-type fin.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The two-seat BE2d had a maximum speed of just over 88mph (142kph) and a ceiling of 12,000ft (3,700m). The pilot sat in the front cockpit, amidst the woodwork of the struts, while the observer sat behind - with a somewhat better field of view. This particular aircraft, '2785, was with CFS at Upavon.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The BE2, powered by a 60 or 70hp Renault engine - French aero engines were to remain among the best designs throughout the war - carried out a number of military trials, even at one stage being fitted with floats for seaplane tests, and was ordered into production with various British aircraft companies. With its maximum speed of 70mph (110kph) and ceiling of 10.000ft (3.000m) it was on a par with the designs being developed in France and Germany.
O.Tapper - Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft since 1913 /Putnam/
B.E.2c aircraft on the assembly line at Gosforth during the early months of 1915. On the left is the fuselage of the F.K.I single-seat biplane.
C.Barnes - Bristol Aircraft since 1910 /Putnam/
B.E.2d and Scout D biplanes ready for dispatch from Filton in 1916.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The occasion which prompted this impressive line-up of Factory designs is unfortunately not recorded, nor is the purpose of the marquee behind them, but the types present suggest a date of mid-1916. Left to right, the aircraft are: B.E.2c, B.E.2c, B.E.2b. B.E.12, Hispano-Suiza-powered B.E.2c, F.E.8, S.E.4a, F.E.2c, F.E.2b, R.E.8, R.E.8, and R.E.7.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An early B.E.2c in use as an instructional airframe. The wing construction is typical of the early R.A.F.6 aerofoil section wings.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A Renault-powered B.E.2c fuselage in use as a car for an SS-class airship. Note the flotation bags attached to the undercarriage skids, the additional fuel tank beneath the fuselage, and the air duct to the ballonet.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The 'B.E.2xyz' was a heavily modified B.E.2c which took part in a post-war Hendon pageant. In addition to the extra undercarriage for 'inverted landings', it appears to have been rigged with negative stagger, and was almost certainly not capable of safe flight in this form.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A B.E.2c, showing the seatbelt (there were no shoulder straps) and defensive armament, a Lewis gun on a swivel mounting.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
A CLEAN SOMERSAULT. - An aeroplane mishap near Basingstoke. The machine landed upside down, as will be seen, right across the road. The pilot had a remarkable escape, but being strapped in was absolutely unhurt.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
AN AMPHIBIAN BIPLANE. - Owing to the shedding of a landing wheel when getting away at Hendon on Sunday last, the pilot of a reconnaissance machine chose the lesser of two evils, aud brought his mount safely to rest in the Brent Reservoir. Pilot and passenger escaped with what was a welcome ducking, the day being extremely hot, and the machine was towed safely to the side, practically undamaged.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The burnt-out remains of the B.E.2c in which Edward Busk perished.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
Behind the firing line in France, with a B.E. 2c passing over. From an original drawing by Roderic Hill, who has been invalided home from the trenches, after having been wounded on Hill 70.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
A BRITISH BOMBING MACHINE CROSSING THE LINES ON THE WAY TO AN ENEMY POSITION. - Such a scene as the above may be witnessed any fine day on the Western Front. A bombing raid carried by the R.F.C. in progress. The aeroplanes are seen maling their way over the lines under heavy anti-aircraft fire. In the lower right-hand corner a small hostile patrol has sighted the raid, and has decided that discretion in the better part of valour. A well-known sector of the lines is here shown, the woods appearing as weird dark shapes on the vast panorama. The long straight roads, so typical of France, stretch away over the wide expanse, dotted with little villages strewn, as it were, carelessly over it. As the eye follows them, fading gradually to an ill-defined horizon, it is baffled by the heavy pall of mist which hangs like a purple curtain abruptly from the sky, above which the summits of clouds appear as giant icebergs.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
BE2c
P.Lewis - British Aircraft 1809-1914 /Putnam/
B.E.2c
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
B.E.2c
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
The B.E.2c in its early standard form.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
BE10
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
RAF B.E.2c