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RAF R.E.8

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1916

Single-engine, two-seat, single-bay biplane corps reconnaissance bomber

RAF - F.E.4 - 1916 - Великобритания<– –>RAF - R.E.9 - 1916 - Великобритания


В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны


РАФ R.E.8 ("АРИЭЙТ") / RAF R.E.8

   Осенью 1915 года завод РАФ получил заказ на разработку нового разведывательного аэроплана для замены B.E.2c, который оказался неспособным к эффективной самозащите от вражеских истребителей. В ответ на это задание инженер У. Эйч. Бэрлинг спроектировал двухместный цельнодеревянный полутораплан с классическим расположением экипажа (летчик спереди, летнаб сзади) и пулеметной турелью в задней кабине.
   Самолет, обозначенный R.E.8, прошел фронтовые испытания во Франции в июне 1916-го. Благодаря достаточно мощному мотору и неплохой аэродинамике он продемонстрировал хорошие для своего времени скоростные данные. При этом маневренность и скороподъемность характеризовались как весьма посредственные. Но наиболее опасными дефектами новой машины была неустойчивость, сложность управления и тенденция к сваливанию в штопор. Самолет отправили на доработку, выразившуюся в изменении центровки и переделке хвостового оперения. Пилотажные свойства улучшились, и R.E.8 запустили в серию. Всего за 18 месяцев построено 4077 аппаратов.
   Первый дивизион на западном фронте получил новый разведчик в ноябре 1916 года. В дальнейшем их количество стало быстро расти. Освоение машины сопровождалось чередой аварий и катастроф. Помимо непривычной строгости в управлении, пилоты отмечали и повышенную пожароопасность R.E.8. Доходило до того, что многие экипажи отказывались пересаживаться на него с устаревших B.E.2c. Но постепенно летчики привыкли к новому самолету и стали ценить его защитное вооружение, позволявшее успешно сражаться с германскими истребителями. А после того как известный немецкий ас фон Достлер (26 побед) был сбит стрелком с R.E.8, авторитет машины еще более возрос.
   R.E.8 широко применялся до конца войны на Западе, в Италии и Палестине в качестве разведчика, аэрофотосъемщика, артиллерийского наблюдателя и фронтового бомбардировщика. На нем воевали в разное время 17 дивизионов RFC и RAF. 22 аппарата с двигателями "Испано-Сюиза" использовала бельгийская военная авиация.
   За годы гражданской войны в России некоторое количество сильно изношенных R.E.8, названных здесь "Ариэйтами", англичане передали белогвардейцам на Северном Кавказе. Об их применении мало что известно. Несколько этих машин, находившихся в негодном состоянии, в начале 1920-го было оставлено белыми при отступлении из Новороссийска. Еще 5-8 аппаратов с мая по ноябрь того же года составляли 8-й авиаотряд в армии Врангеля.


ДВИГАТЕЛЬ

   РАФ 4а - 12-цилиндровый, двухрядный, воздушного охлаждения, 150 л.с.


ВООРУЖЕНИЕ

   Стрелковое: 1 х 7,7-мм синхронный пулемет "Виккерс" и 1 (или 2) х 7,7-мм турельный пулемет "Льюис"
   Бомбовое: 118 кг


ЛЕТНО-ТЕХНИЧЕСКИЕ ХАРАКТЕРИСТИКИ
R.E.8

   Размах, м 12,98
   Длина, м 8,50
   Высота, м 3,49
   Площадь крыла, кв.м 35,00
   Сухой вес, кг 818
   Взлетный вес, кг 1215
   Двигатель RAF-4a
   мощность, л.с. 155
   Скорость максимальная, км/ч 164
   Дальность полета, км 640
   Время набора высоты, м/мин 2000/21
   Потолок, м 4100
   Экипаж, чел 2


P.Hare Royal Aircraft Factory (Putnam)


R.E.8

   Design work on this general-purpose two-seater, which was conceived as a replacement for the obsolescent B.E.2c, started late in 1915, the drawings being finalised early the following year. It owed little or nothing to any previous R.E. type, except perhaps that the powerplant was the R.A.F.4a, the lubrication problems of which were now believed to be solved. As the wings and tailplane of the new design were virtually identical with those of the B.E.2e, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the designation R.E.8 was deliberately chosen to avoid any prejudice which may have been caused by placing it within the now discredited B.E. series where it really belonged.
   The fuselage was a conventional wire-braced wooden structure, the cross-sectional area of the aft end being kept as small as possible to reduce the vulnerable 'blind spot' and to increase the observer's field of fire. The engine was mounted to give downthrust which, together with the mainplanes' generous angle of incidence, would reduce the landing run, obviating the need for the airbrake which had been a feature of earlier designs. This inclination, visually exaggerated by the scoop which admitted cooling air to the engine, gave the machine a somewhat 'broken-backed' appearance which was not immediately attractive.
   Rudimentary dual control was provided in the rear cockpit, but was arranged so as not to interfere with the observer's normal duties. His control column, which operated the elevators only, was on the starboard side, convenient to his right hand, and was normally clipped to the fuselage framework when not in use. On the port side of the cockpit there was a conventional throttle, below which was a hand grip attached to the rudder cables.
   The pilot's instrument panel included only a compass, an oil pressure gauge, a revolution counter, an airspeed indicator, an altimeter, a clinometer and a watch. The tailplane incidence could be adjusted by a wheel in the pilot's cockpit to trim the aeroplane, which could be made to fly 'hands-off', the inherent stability beloved by Farnborough's designers being provided by generous lateral and longitudinal dihedral. To offset the machine's normal tendency to turn slowly to the right as a torque reaction to the rotation of the propeller, a rubber cord was attached to the rudder bar, its tension being adjustable via a Bowden-type lever. This relieved the pilot of the need to apply constant foot pressure to keep the machine on a straight course.
   The rudder was of high aspect ratio and adequate area, but the fin, although of generous proportions in the preliminary layout drawings, was reduced in size in the final design and appears, in hindsight, to have been dangerously small.
   The initial design work was completed before any gun synchronization system became available, and preliminary drawings included provision for a fixed forward-firing Lewis gun, deflector blocks being attached to the propeller blades to prevent damage. The R.E.8 was equipped with a mounting for a Thornton Pickard camera.
   Two prototypes, 7996 and 7997, were built, the former taking to the air for the first time on 17 June 1916, piloted by Frank Goodden. The second machine made its first flight on 5 July, and on the 16th Goodden flew it to France for the all-important service trials. It was tested by an unusually wide range of personnel, ranging from Gen Brooke-Popham to pilots from front-line squadrons, and although a number of small details were criticised, all reported favourably. Brooke-Popham was particularly impressed by its speed range, but insisted that its offensive armament should be a belt-fed Vickers gun, not the Lewis as originally planned.
   The necessary modifications were speedily incorporated into the drawings, and into the batch of approximately fifty machines already under construction in the Farnborough workshops. Within a matter of weeks production orders for over a thousand more had been placed with numerous contractors.
   The engine's air scoop made it nearly impossible to mount the Vickers gun in the usual position, on the cockpit coaming immediately in front of the pilot, and several alternative, locations were tried before an external mounting low on the port side of the fuselage was adopted as standard. The Vickers-Challenger interrupter gear used in early installations was later replaced by the hydraulically operated Constantinesco gear, and the far more effective Scarff ring eventually replaced the simple pillar mounting which originally carried the observer's Lewis gun.
   The first, Royal Aircraft Factory-built, production R.E.8 was completed by 13 September 1916, and by November 52 Squadron had been fully equipped with the type. However, it appeared not to live up to its initial promise, and the squadron's pilots encountered difficulties both with the engine, which was still not totally free of its earlier problems, and with involuntary spins. Totally disillusioned with the new machines, they were allowed in January 1917 to exchange their R.E.8s for the B.E.2es then being operated by 34 Squadron, whose much more experienced pilots were considered better able to cope with the R.E.8's alleged 'trickiness'. Maj J A Chamier, who was on the staff of the Third (Corps) Wing, to which both squadrons belonged, prepared the following notes for the guidance of pilots, describing the characteristics and handling of the R.E.8:
   ". . . the chief thing to remember is that the machine gives very little indication of losing its speed until it suddenly shows an uncontrollable tendency to dive which cannot be corrected in time if you are near the ground . . .
   "You will find that the rudder control in every case of spinning or swinging tail will become very stiff, and you may not be able to get it very central but you should aim (without putting on sufficient pressure to break anything) to do this.
   "With the engine off the only thing is to avoid gliding too slowly . . . at 65mph or below, when gliding, the machine suddenly loses speed. This is particularly the case when making a turn to enter the aerodrome as the extra resistance caused by the rudder is sufficient to bring down the pace . . .
   "One more point as regards losing speed. Observers must be cautioned that when an aeroplane is gliding down from work over the lines they must not stand up in order to look over the pilot's shoulder for the fun of the thing, as the extra head resistance caused may lead to the aeroplane falling below its critical gliding speed, and so bring about an accident."
   At the request of Lord Cowdray, Chairman of the Air Board, the Factory conducted a series of spinning trials in February 1917 to determine the cause of the difficulty. Three machines were tested; a standard production example, another with an enlarged fin, and a third in which the engine thrust line was less inclined. The report of these trials, dated 5 March, concluded that the standard R.E.8 could only be spun either by a determined effort or by serious misuse of the controls. The report also criticised standards of training, for many new pilots reached the Front after only a few hours' instruction, and with no knowledge of spin recovery.
   As with the F.E.8 the previous summer, the publication of this report appeared sufficient to restore confidence in the machine. Its production and introduction into front-line service continued, a total of fifteen Corps Squadrons eventually being equipped with the type, as well as units in Palestine and Mesopotamia.
   However, the Farnborough staff did not rest upon their laurels, but continued to investigate the R.E.8's spinning characteristics, experimenting with various forms of fin and rudder, some of which were balanced. They finally settled for a small increase in the area of both the dorsal and ventral fins, the original rudder being retained. These changes were incorporated into production machines as soon as possible. If the report was correct in asserting that the R.E.8 could only be spun deliberately, it is tempting to speculate that the change was made only to appease popular opinion. A similar lack of explanation surrounds the fin of greatly increased area fitted to some machines in use at training establishments. If such a modification was considered advantageous for training, why was it not thought necessary for active service?
   Regardless of these uncertainties, RFC crews generally thought well of the R.E.8. One man who flew it, Phillip Townsend, said, 'It was a fine aircraft; easy, comfortable, lovely to fly. It would do anything asked of it up to its limited ability. It was very good on side slips, I never had any difficulty, the engine never let me down.'
   A number were equipped, in service, with underwing bomb racks, and could carry either two 112lb bombs or up to eight 20lb bombs.
   Affectionately known as the 'Harry Tate', after the contemporary music hall performer of that name, the R.E.8 remained in service and in production up to the end of the war, a total of 4,077 being built. Apart from modifications to the fin, very few detail changes were made to its design during its career, but those which were made included the substitution of all-wooden undercarriage legs for the faired-steel-tube units originally fitted, a deeper sump cowling and, in July 1917, a change of carburetor which marginally improved engine performance.
   One batch of seventy-five was ordered with the Rolls-Royce Eagle engine, but the Eagle was never available in sufficient quantities to meet the need of those aeroplanes which were unable to accept any other power unit, so no R.E.8 was ever thus powered.
   One example was retained by the Factory, and was used to test an experimental R.A.F.4d engine which had its output boosted to 200hp by supercharging via an exhaust-driven Rateau turbine. Initial overheating problems were solved by fitting a hugely enlarged air scoop over the cylinder heads. Testing was cut short when the turbine burst on 4 May 1918 and the experiments were discontinued. A four-bladed variable-pitch propeller was also tested with this engine, but was removed after two flights because its adjustment mechanism was unsatisfactory.
   A small number of R.E.8s was supplied to Belgium, and these were converted upon arrival to the water-cooled Hispano-Suiza V-8 engine, enclosed within a neat, extensively louvred cowling.
   Like many of its contemporaries which were designed for a specific role in war, the R.E.8 found virtually no use after the Armistice, either with the RAF or on the civil register.

   Powerplant: 140hp R.A.F.4a V-12
   Dimensions:
   span
   42ft 7in (upper);
   32ft 7 1/2in (lower);
   chord 5ft 6in;
   stagger 2ft 0in;
   wing area 377 1/2sqft;
   gap 6ft 3 1/2in;
   dihedral 31/2;
   length 27ft 10 1/2in;
   height 11ft 4 1/2in.
   Weights
   1,803lb (empty);
   2,869lb (loaded plus 2 x 112lb bombs).
   Performance
   max speed 103mph at sea level;
   stalling speed 47mph
   ceiling 13,500ft;
   climb 21min to 6,500ft (with 2 x 112lb bombs);
   endurance 4 1/4hrs.


R.E.8a

   In December 1916 a 200hp Hispano-Suiza V-8 engine was experimentally installed in R.E.8 A95, one of the original Farnborough-built batch. In this form the machine was referred to as the R.E.8a. It had a neat radiator and engine cowling reminiscent of that of the S.E.5.
   Although no performance figures survive for this variant, the almost fifty per cent increase in power can only have brought about a significant improvement. However, production difficulties with the Hispano-Suiza were already delaying the completion of S.E.5as, for which there was no effective alternative powerplant, and there were never any engines to spare to enable the R.E.8a to be put into production.

   Dimensions
   As R.E.8
   Weights and performance unknown


O.Tapper Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft since 1913 (Putnam)


The R.E.8

   The R.E.8, which followed the R.E.7 on the production line at the Siddeley Deasy Coventry factory, although designed for reconnaissance duties, bore little resemblance to any of the R.E. series of aircraft that had gone before. Unfortunately for those who had to fly in it, the R.E.8 perpetuated the philosophy that a reconnaissance aeroplane should be inherently stable, and it therefore lacked the manoeuvrability which would have improved its defensive capabilities; it did, however, have the crew correctly placed, with the pilot in front of the observer, who could thus use his gun to protect the aircraft from stem attacks.
   The R.E.8 gained a bad reputation from the start: its performance was not up to expectations and it seemed to have a dangerous tendency to spin; furthermore, when it appeared on the Western Front during 1917 it suffered heavy losses from enemy fighters. It was, nevertheless, produced in large numbers, more than 4,000 being built by numerous contractors, and it remained in front-line service until the end of the war, giving invaluable support to the army both in France and in the Middle East by artillery spotting, photography and bombing.
   The R.E.8 was conventional both in design and construction and was built of wood with fabric covering. The heavily-staggered, single-bay biplane wings were of unequal span, with the extension wings braced by wires. The engine was the 150 hp RAF 4a. Ailerons were fitted to all four wings and the tail surfaces were conventional with a rather small vertical fin. Later production models had a larger fin with a consequent improvement in the aircraft's spinning characteristics.
   The Siddeley Deasy Motor Car Co, having already proved its capabilities with the R.E.7, was an obvious choice as contractor for the R.E.8, particularly as the RAF 4a engine was being built in the company's Parkside factory. Siddeley Deasy received its first order, for one hundred R.E.8s, towards me end of 1916, and this was followed by eight repeat orders, the total output by Siddeley Deasy amounting to 1,027 aircraft, with the production rate rising eventually to about twenty machines a week.
   The R.E.8s built by Siddeley Deasy were numbered as follows: A3405-3504, A3681-3830, B6451-6624, B6628-6630,* B7681-7730, E1-300, E1151-1250, F 1553-1602 and F3246-3345
* These three aircraft were included in the contract for conversion to R.T.Is. but were probably completed as R.E.8s.

Span upper: 42 ft 8 in (13.00 m)
Span lower: 32 ft 8 in (9.96 m)
Length; 27 ft 10 in (8.48 m)
Height: 10 ft 10 in (3.30m)
Wing area: 377.5 sq ft (35.02 sq m)
All-up weight: 2,870 lb (1.302 kg)


O.Thetford Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 (Putnam)


RE8 (Royal Aircraft Factory)

   Designed at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, the RE 8 (colloquially known as the ‘Harry Tate’) became from 1916 the most widely used type of Corps reconnaissance aircraft with the RFC and RAF. In April 1918 it continued to serve on Nos 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 30, 34, 42, 52, 53, 59, 63, 105, 106 and 208 Squadrons of the RAF. After the war it served with Nos 6, 30 and 208 Squadrons, all overseas. The last in service were those on No 208 Squadron at Ismailia in Egypt in November 1920. Powerplant: One 150hp RAF 4A engine. Span, 42ft 7in; length, 27ft 10in. Loaded weight, 2,678 lb. Max speed, 102mph; climb, 340ft/min; endurance, 4hr; service ceiling, 13,000ft.


F.Manson British Bomber Since 1914 (Putnam)


Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8

   Despite its designation, the Royal Aircraft Factory's R.E.8 was in no respect a development of the R.E.5 or R.E.7, and it is said to have carried that designation so as to avoid any obvious connotation with the discredited B.E. family to which it was in fact closely related. It was unfortunate in acquiring ill-repute through flying accidents and combat casualties, and it has to be said that a very high proportion of these were more the result of poor pilot training that any specific fault in the design.
   Design of the R.E.8 (inevitably dubbed the Harry Tate by the RFC, after a popular music hall comedian) started in the winter of 1915-16 in response to an RFC requirement for a reconnaissance aircraft capable of defending itself from German fighting scouts. The aircraft was of all-wood construction, a distinctive feature being the rear longerons, which appeared to slope upwards aft of the rear cockpit; this, combined with the large air scoop above the R.A.F.4A engine (a feature common to the B.E. 12), bestowed on the R.E.8 a curious upward curving profile. The heavily staggered wings of unequal span and large overhang were reminiscent of those of the B.E.2E, and were probably adopted in the belief that this was the feature mainly responsible for the B.E.2E's apparent superiority over the despised 2C. The tailplane was also similar to that of the B.E.2E, and its incidence was adjustable by a handwheel in the pilot's cockpit. The most prominent difference between the two aircraft was the R.E.8's much smaller fin, and herein lay one of the causes of the handling difficulties experienced by fledgling pilots of the RFC.
   In an effort to improve the observer/gunner's field of fire forward in level flight, the engine was mounted to provide a downward thrust line (ie tail-up in level flight); however, in the event of the aircraft stalling, the tail surfaces were so far above the propeller's slipstream as to be useless, and a spin frequently proved fatal. Moreover, the steeply sloping engine air scoop, forward of the front windscreen, produced an unfamiliar illusion when approaching to land that the aircraft was on the point of stalling and, on moving the stick forward instinctively, the pilot would either crash on undershooting or land too fast and crash on overshooting. In either instance there was a likelihood that the engine would be forced back and rupture the fuel tank, which was located immediately in front of the pilot. In these circumstances, fire was a not unnatural consequence, and the R.E.8 quickly earned a reputation as a 'flaming coffin' - indeed it was probably no more prone to fire than any other combat aircraft of the period.
   Two prototype R.E.8s, No 7996 and 7997, were built, the first being flown by the Factory's chief pilot, Frank Goodden, on 17 June 1916. The second was quickly despatched to France for assessment by the Service's airmen. Being experienced pilots, they approached the new machine with caution, but soon recognised and accepted its idiosyncrasies, reporting very favourably on its performance; the one important requirement was that the observer's Lewis gun should be replaced by a belt-fed Vickers (this was not put into effect).
   On the strength of this report (endorsed by Col H R M Brooke-Popham, later Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert, GCVO, KCB, CMG, DSO, AFC, RAK), the War Office immediately placed orders for no fewer than 1,475 RE.8s, of which only 75 were to be built at the Royal Aircraft Factory; apart from 200 (which were intended to be produced by the British & Colonial Aeroplane Company, but which were cancelled), the remaining 1,200 were built by six commercial subcontractors. Further substantial orders were to follow during the next eighteen months.
   The first RFC- Squadron to receive R.E.8s was No 52, which began converting from B.E.2Cs at Hounslow Heath in October 1916, and transferred to France the following February. However, owing to a spate of flying accidents and a consequent drop in morale on the Squadron, it was decided to revert to B.E.2Cs. In the meantime. No 34 Squadron gave up its B.E. 12s at Alonville in January in favour of the R.E.8, and by April six squadrons had been fully re-equipped in France.
   There could have been no more unfortunate time for an aircraft to receive its baptism of fire than 'Bloody April', the worst single month of the War for the RFC in terms of combat casualties over the Western Front, and the ferocity of the air battles served to demonstrate just how unsuited for corps reconnaissance the R.E.8 was. For instance, on the 13th a formation of six aircraft from No 59 Squadron set out from Bellevue on a reconnaissance sortie, two of the aircraft being camera-equipped and escorted by the other four; the formation was also to have been covered by about a dozen genuine fighters, but these evidently failed to reach the area of reconnaissance. The R.E.8s were attacked by six German single-seat scouts, led by Manfred von Richthofen, which shot down every one of the British machines, ten of the twelve airmen being killed. The following month five further squadrons were re-equipped with RE.8s, and by the end of the year no fewer than seventeen R.E.8 squadrons were in action over the Western Front, as well as four in Greece and the Middle East.
   Of course there were those experienced pilots who mastered the R.E.8's handling difficulties, and not only survived the depredations of enemy fighters but gave good account of themselves in combat. And during the great battles of Messines and Ypres the R.E.8s of Nos 16 and 21 Squadrons achieved excellent results when assisting Allied gunners to silence enemy gun batteries.
   On 6 September 1917 R.E.8s began night bombing attacks in support of the Ypres offensive, statistics showing that in the following 90 days a total of 260 such sorties were flown, during which 390 112 lb and 65 lb bombs were dropped. Thereafter the aircraft continued to divide their efforts between bombing and reconnaissance, although the greatest care had to be taken to ensure their close protection by fighters when operating by day.
   R.E.8s were used on a number of occasions towards the end of the War to lay smokescreens in support of ground forces; on 8 August 1918 aircraft of Nos 5, 9 and 3 (Australian) Squadrons used 40 lb phosphorus bombs to provide screens during the Amiens offensive, and in Palestine the following month No 113 Squadron's R.E.8s dropped smoke candles in support of Commonwealth infantry during the great Turkish retreat; shortly afterwards the Squadron dropped many 20 lb fragmentation bombs when the Turks were caught in the open on the road to Amman.
   However, for the sake of dropping small numbers of relatively light bombs, whether by day or night, such operations were seen to be a waste of resources, and it had been proposed to withdraw R.E.8s from front line duties as early as April 1918, replacing them with Bristol F.2B Fighters. This plan failed to materialise and the R.E.8 continued in operational service right up to the Armistice (when there were still 21 squadrons in the field), and for many months after. 'The last RAF squadron to give up its R.E.8s was No 208 in November 1920, then stationed at Ismailia in Egypt.
   Despite its poor reputation both as a flying and fighting aeroplane, the R.E.8 underwent very little remedial treatment, due largely, it is said, to the gradual dispersion of the design staff at the Royal Aircraft Factory from the summer of 1917 onwards. The obvious lack of directional control attracted attention, and when minor increases in ventral fin and rudder area were seen to provide only marginal improvement, the upper fin area was almost doubled; yet, despite this modification being found to effect an almost complete remedy, it was very slow to be introduced in production aircraft.
   Relatively early in its life the R.E.8 came to be used in a number of interesting experiments, although few were pursued as serious efforts to improve the aircraft in service. For instance, an R.E.8 was fitted with a 200hp R.A.F.4D engine with exhaust-driven turbo-supercharger and four-blade variable-pitch propeller of Factory design; the aircraft was easily distinguishable by its enormous air scoop (some three feet in diameter) above the engine. A variant, known as the R.E.8A, was produced by replacing the customary R.A.F.4A engine by a 200hp Hispano-Suiza; however, with the majority of these engines earmarked for the Factory's S.E.5 fighter, the R.E.8A was not built in quantity.

   Type: Single-engine, two-seat, single-bay biplane corps reconnaissance bomber.
   Manufacturers: The Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hampshire; The Austin Motor Co (1914) Ltd, Northfield, Birmingham; The Coventry Ordnance Works Ltd, Coventry; The Daimler Co Ltd, Coventry; D Napier & Sons Ltd, Acton, London; The Siddeley-Deasy Motor Car Co Ltd, Park Side, Coventry; The Standard Motor Co Ltd, Coventry.
   Powerplant: R.E.8 Production. 150hp R.A.F.4A. Experimental. 200hp R.A.F.4D; 150hp R.A.F.5. R.E.8A. 200hp Hispano-Suiza.
   Dimensions: Span, 42ft 7in; length, 32ft 7 1/2in; height, 11ft 4 1/2in; wing area, 377.5 sq ft.
   Weights: Tare, 1,803 lb; all-up (two 112 lb bombs), 2,869 lb
   Performance: (With two 112 lb bombs). Max speed, 109 mph at sea level, 95 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 39 min 50 sec; service ceiling, 11,000ft; endurance, 2 3/4 hr.
   Armament: One synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun on port side of nose, and one Lewis gun with Scarff ring on rear cockpit. Bomb load usually two 112 lb or four 65 lb bombs.
   Prototypes: Two, Nos 7996 and 7997; first flown at Farnborough by Frank Goodden on 17 June and 5 July 1916 respectively.
   Production: A total of 4,180 R.E.8s and R.E.8As (excluding prototypes) was built. Royal Aircraft Factory, 75 (A66-A115 and A3506-A3530); Austin, 250 (A3169-A3268 and A4261-A4410); Siddeley-Deasy, 685 (A3405-A3504, A3681-A3830, B6451-B6625, B7681-B7730, E1151-E1250, F1553-F1602 and F3246-P3305); Daimler, 1,450 (A3531-A3680, A4161-A4260, B3401-B3450, B5001-B5150, C2231-C3030 and F3548-F3747); Napier, 400 (A3832-A3931, B2251-B2300, C4551-C4600, D4811-D4960 and E1101-E1150); Standard, 570 (A4411-A4560, A4564-A4663, D1501-D1600, D4661-D4810 and F1665-F1734); Coventry Ordnance Works, 750 (A4664-A4763, A6631-B6730, C5025-C5125, D6701-D6850 and El-E300). In addition 49 R.E.8s underwent rebuilding, as follows: No 1 (Southern) Aircraft Repair Depot: B737, B738, B742, B765, B814, B821, B832, B836, B845, B853, B7808, B7893 and B7917; No 2 (Northern) ARD: B4048, B4069, B4105 and B4134; No 3 (Western) ARD, B8884, B8885, B8886, B8887, B8900, D4980 and D4998; contractors not known: F5879, F5897, F5902, F5909, F6016, F6018, F6044, F6049, F6050, F6277, H6843, H7018, H7022-H7027, H7033, H7038, H7042, H7055, H7057, H7262 and H7265.
   Summary of Service: R.E.8s served with Nos 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 21, 52, 53, 59 and 69 Squadrons, RFC and R\F, on the Western Front; with No 6 Squadron, RAF, in Iraq after the War; with Nos 30 and 63 Squadrons in Mesopotamia; with Nos 34 and 42 Squadrons, RFC and RAF, on the Western Front and in Italy; with Nos 67, 113, 142, 144 and 208 Squadrons, RFC and RAF in Egypt and Palestine; and with Nos 37, 50, 89, 91, 106, 110 and 117 Squadrons in the United Kingdom and Ireland.


J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)


R.E.8 and R.E.8a

  THEY called it the Harry Tate. That was, of course, inevitable. Even if the R.E.8’s official designation had not lent itself so readily to that mutation, its quaint appearance was held by some to be vaguely suggestive of the music-hall mechanics so ably demonstrated by the great contemporary comedian.
  The eighth R.E. owed nothing, either in construction or appearance, to its lineal predecessors. Regrettably, however, it retained the quality of inherent stability which, in the absence of any combat experience, had been postulated for reconnaissance aeroplanes in 1912. This is perhaps the more remarkable because the R.E.8 owed its existence to the realisation, in the autumn of 1915, that the B.E.2C was obsolete. At that time R.F.C. Headquarters in France sent home a statement, based on experience gained in action, of their requirements for a corps reconnaissance and artillery-spotting aeroplane. It was particularly requested that the new machine be capable of defending itself.
  Work on the design of a two-seater to meet the terms of the specification was begun at the Royal Aircraft Factory early in 1916; the designation R.E.8 was given to the new machine. In construction it differed from the earlier R.E.s by having an all-wood fuselage. At their forward ends the longerons converged to form the engine bearers. With the aircraft in flying position the upper longerons sloped upwards towards the tail; this gave the fuselage a peculiar appearance which was accentuated by the backward tilt given to the 150 h.p. R.A.F.4a engine.
  The basic fuselage structure was a typical wire-braced box girder, and had a rounded top-decking for part of its length. The pilot sat in the front cockpit, and a movable mounting was provided for the observer’s Lewis gun which, on the prototypes, was the only weapon carried.
  In appearance the R.E.8 looked more like a close relative of the B.E.2e than a descendant of any preceding R.E. type. That it did so was due to its wing arrangement: the heavily staggered mainplanes were of unequal span, and the long extensions of the upper wings were braced by wires from kingposts above the interplane struts. Ailerons were fitted to upper and lower wings, and were linked by light struts and wires; the long upper ailerons were made in two parts. The wings had wooden spars and ribs, and were internally cross-braced by wire. Both the main and auxiliary flying wires of the single bracing bay were duplicated, and the extensions of the upper wings were braced against flying loads by Rafwires running from the lower ends of the interplane struts.
  The tailplane was similar in shape to that of the B.E.2e and was adjustable; its incidence could be altered by means of a hand-wheel in the pilot’s cockpit. The R.E.8’s resemblance to the B.E.2e was somewhat diminished by its remarkably small fin and rudder assembly: the fin was of narrow chord, and the small surface under the fuselage was little more than a fairing for the tail-skid which, on the prototypes, was built into the base of the rudder. A prototype R.E.8 was in France, at No. 2 Aircraft Depot, Candas, in mid-July, 1916.
  Initial estimates of the R.E.8’s performance fired the War Office with such enthusiasm that the machine was ordered virtually off the drawing-board, and large contracts were placed with several contractors. The aeroplane was unlucky from the start. Production was delayed for some time owing to shortages of some raw materials; when the first production machines appeared they were unduly prone to spin, and many fatal accidents occurred, both at home and overseas. Many of the crashes were doubtless attributable to the inexperience of sketchily-trained pilots, and some to the unreliability of the early production R.A.F. 4a engine. The unpleasantness of these accidents was increased by the readiness of the R.E.8 to burst into flames after striking the ground. The petrol tanks were directly behind the engine, which was usually driven back into them by the impact of the crash; the fuel then poured over the hot engine and fire was inevitable.
  The R.E.8 at once acquired an evil reputation which was not improved by its appearance, for the long extensions of the upper wings reminded pilots of all they had heard about the behaviour of the B.E.2e’s wings. The production machines were fitted with a fixed Vickers gun for the pilot, mounted externally on the port side of the fuselage and synchronised by means of the Vickers mechanical gear. The first few R.E.8s had a rather crude form of rotating gun-mounting for the observer’s Lewis gun, but the Scarff ring-mounting was soon standardised.
  The fin and rudder remained almost unchanged from those of the prototype; in fact, the only modification slightly reduced the size of the rudder, the lower end of which was taken up clear of the tail-skid. Investigations of the accidents showed that the area of the vertical tail surfaces was too small, and the area of the fin was thereafter progressively increased. At first the root chord of the upper fin was increased, but the small triangular under-fin remained unchanged. This proved to be insufficient, and a new under-fin of increased area was fitted. With this modification, the R.E.8’s tail unit assumed that characteristic outline which was one of its peculiarities, and was more or less standardised in this form. Ultimately, however, a very much larger upper-fin with a curved leading edge was fitted to some R.E.8s, and with it the aeroplane at last looked fairly safe.
  The modifications were the outcome of investigations made at the behest of Lord Cowdray, then President of the Air Board, and were carried out under the direction of the deputy controller of the Technical Department. The theory of the time was that the original vertical tail was too small to counteract the torque reaction of the airscrew when the machine was climbing; consequently the swing developed unchecked until the rudder was drawn out of the slipstream and became dangerously ineffective.
  After the second modification the R.E.8 became quite safe and manageable, and remained in service until the Armistice, when fifteen squadrons in France were still equipped with the type. Nevertheless, it was not a good aeroplane, either to fly or to fight. The R.E.8’s upswept fuselage had been designed to provide a large angle of attack when the aircraft was on the ground, in the hope that the braking effect of the wings would shorten the landing run and enable the machine to use small fields with safety. Despite this - or perhaps because of this - many pilots found the R.E.8 tricky to land until they were accustomed to it. In the three-point attitude the nose seemed absurdly high, an illusion which was heightened by the shape and position of the engine’s large air-scoop; consequently many pilots failed to appreciate the need for bringing the stick well back on landing, and overshooting of the landing area was not uncommon.
  The Royal Aircraft Factory had failed to profit from the B.E.2c’s frequent demonstrations that inherent stability, however desirable it might have been in an aeroplane designed exclusively as an observation machine, was no asset to an aircraft which was required to defend itself when attacked. The R.E.8 incorporated some of the Factory’s latest ideas on stability. Consequently it lacked the manoeuvrability which was so vital in combat; more importantly, by the time it came into operational use its performance was no longer good enough. The official conception of the R.E.8’s performance was over-optimistic, and it was frequently called upon to attempt missions which were quite beyond its capabilities.
  An early development of the R.E.8 appeared under the designation R.E.8a. Royal Aircraft Factory drawings of the R.E.8a dated October, 1916, depict an aircraft identical in all leading characteristics to the standard R.E.8 but powered by a 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine with a flat frontal radiator of rectangular shape. In December, 1916, the R.E.8 numbered A.95 was converted into an R.E.8a, but unfortunately no photographs of the aircraft seem to have survived. The R.A.F. drawings show that the R.E.8a had a gravity tank under the root of the port upper mainplane, and the Vickers gun was mounted in much the same way as that of the S.E.5 - namely, on top of the fuselage, offset to port. The R.E.8a was not developed, doubtless because every available Hispano-Suiza engine was required for the S.E.5s which were then just going into production; and only the standard R.E.8 was built in quantity.
  By the end of 1916, eighteen R.E.8s had been delivered to the R.F.C. in France. The first squadron to be equipped with the type was No. 52, which arrived in France on November 16th, 1916. This squadron suffered so many casualties in flying accidents attributed to the early R.E.8’s flying characteristics that the morale of the unit’s personnel was in danger of being affected. The R.E.8s were therefore withdrawn and were replaced by the B.E.2e’s which had formerly belonged to No. 34 Squadron. The B.E.2e’s were used by No. 52 Squadron for several months before R.E.8s were again issued to the unit. Meanwhile, other squadrons had been equipped with the type.
  No. 21 Squadron received R.E.8s as replacements for its B.E.12s in February, 1917. On the 23rd of that month No. 59 Squadron arrived in France equipped throughout with R.E.8s; and No. 13 Squadron exchanged its B.Es for the new type in April, 1917. Thereafter more and more Corps squadrons were given R.E.8s, and the last to receive the type was No. 69 (Australian) Squadron, which took its R.E.8s to France on September 9th, 1917.
  April 1917 was a black month for the Royal Flying Corps. During it the R.F.C. suffered more casualties than in any other month of the war: no fewer than 316 pilots and observers were lost. In many cases the reason for losses lay in obsolete aircraft; in others, trouble with new engines and equipment was the cause; but the casualties among the R.E.8s were attributable only to the ineffectiveness of the type as a military aeroplane.
  On April 13th, 1917, six R.E.8s of No. 59 Squadron set out at 8.15 a.m. to obtain photographs of the Drocourt-Queant switch line. Only two of the machines had cameras; the other four were acting as escorts. Some reliance was placed on the presence of patrols of six F.E.2d’s, three Spads, and the Bristol Fighters of No. 48 Squadron. But the F.Es lost formation and two of their number, the Spads were late, and the Bristol Fighters saw nothing of the R.E.8s. None of No. 59 Squadron’s machines returned to their aerodrome at Bellevue, and ten of their pilots and observers were killed. The R.E.8s were attacked by six enemy single-seaters led by Manfred von Richthofen, and all were shot down within minutes. Just over a year later, however, the R.E.8 was to have its revenge against Richthofen.
  Despite this early proof of its inferiority the R.E.8 was issued in increasing numbers to the Corps squadrons. Like the B.E.2C, 2d and 2e before it and the D.H.9 after it, the R.E.8 had been officially selected for large-scale production; and produced it duly was, for better or for worse. After it had been in service for some time, the pilots and observers grew to understand its few capabilities and its many limitations, and thereafter the enemy fighter pilots did not have things all their own way.
  This proved to be the case on August 16th, 1917, during the Battle of Langemarck. An R.E.8 of No. 7 Squadron was attacked by two Albatros scouts when taking photographs over Poelcapelle. One enemy fighter was instantly shot down by the R.E.8 observer, and the other dived away. Later that afternoon, eight Albatros scouts attacked another of No. 7 Squadron’s machines. The observer fired a good burst of sixty rounds into one of the enemy machines at close range, and it went straight down to crash; all seven of the others retreated at once. An R.E.8 of No. 21 Squadron survived even greater odds that day, for it was attacked by nine Albatros scouts: the R.E.8 escaped after the observer shot down one of the enemy out of control.
  Such fights, frequent as they were (though not always so successful), were incidental to the R.E.8’s principal duties of reconnaissance and artillery-spotting. Those who flew in France during the years 1917 and 1918 are not likely to forget the seemingly ever-present R.E.8, flying its stolid, elliptical course, and trailing a wake of anti-aircraft shell-bursts behind it. That it did much good work in this way is to the credit of the pilots and observers who flew it. The R.E.8 was given to them without choice of alternative: in it they did their duty.
  During the Battle of Messines the R.E.8s of No. 21 Squadron enabled our artillery to master the German batteries. On June 7th, 1917, they were instrumental in bringing about the silencing of no fewer than seventy-two enemy batteries. Two months later, during the Battle of Ypres, No. 16 Squadron won distinction by its good work, not only in artillery-spotting, but in photographic and contact patrol work.
  In September, 1917, the Corps squadrons of the I and III Brigades began to make night-bombing attacks which were calculated to assist in the main Ypres offensive. The R.E.8s and Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8s of these squadrons made their first night raids on the night of September 5th/6th, and later in the month made machine-gun attacks against road traffic by night. These night attacks continued well into 1918, and by April of that year night reconnaissances were being made in conjunction with the bombing attacks.
  During the German offensive in March, 1918, the R.E.8s of the Corps squadrons carried bombs when they set out upon their normal duties of artillery cooperation, and added to the harassing of the enemy forces. The machines of No. 53 Squadron bombed and machine-gunned German troops along the front of the Fifth Army throughout the afternoon of March 21st.
  On April 21st, 1918, two R.E.8s of No. 3 (Australian Flying Corps) Squadron were attacked by Richthofen’s squadron. Four Fokkers detached themselves from the main enemy formation to attack, but the R.E.8s put up a stout fight. Two of the enemy fighters quickly withdrew after being hit by the observers’ fire, and the British anti-aircraft gunners opened fire on the remainder of the enemy. The shell-bursts attracted the attention of Captain A. R. Brown, who was leading two flights of Camels of No. 209 Squadron.
  The rest of the action is described in detail in the history of the Sopwith Camel. Richthofen was shot down and killed by Brown - and, as the fight drifted westwards, the Australian R.E.8s quietly returned to their job of photographing an area west of Hamel.
  In July, 1918, the R.E.8s of No. 9 Squadron were used to drop supplies of ammunition by parachute to infantry in forward positions. Each machine carried two boxes containing 1,200 rounds of small-arms ammunition; and each box was attached to a cylinder containing a parachute. This technique was employed frequently thereafter, and during the great Allied advance of 1918 the Corps squadrons dropped from 30,000 to 60,000 rounds per day to British troops.
  The R.E.8 served in other theatres of war. In Palestine, part of the equipment of No. 67 (Australian) Squadron in 1917 consisted ofR.E.8s; and in July, 1917, the War Office decided to raise an R.E.8 squadron, No. 113, in Egypt for service in Palestine. The latter unit was formed at Ismailia, and the first Flight arrived at Weli Sheikh Nuran on September 23rd, 1917. The squadron was up to full strength by October 10th, but less than half of its equipment consisted of the promised R.E.8s. On October 27th, No. 113 had five R.E.8s and eight B.E.2e’s, whilst No. 67 had five R.E.8s, five B.E.12a’s, seven B.E.2c’s and 2e’s, and one Martinsyde Elephant. A year later No. 113 Squadron had sixteen R.E.8s; by that time No. 14 Squadron had a similar number of the type, and the Jerusalem Flight of No. 142 Squadron had five.
  To help the infantry during the great retreat of the Turks in September, 1918, the R.E.8s of No. 113 Squadron were employed to lay smoke screens. A special apparatus had been devised for the purpose in the Middle East; by its means sixty smoke candles could be dropped successively to create a screen 400 yards long. The device was successfully used twice on September 19th, 1918, but the rout of the Turkish forces rendered its further use unnecessary.
  Parenthetically it should be recorded that this was not the first use of smoke screens laid by aircraft. On August 8th, 1918, the R.E.8s of Nos. 5, 9 and 3 (Australian) Squadrons laid a number of smoke screens during the Amiens offensive. This was done by dropping 40-lb phosphorus bombs, but the screens were limited and their renewal would have overtaxed any Corps squadron.
  The defeat of the Turks in Palestine was effectively hastened by the R.E.8s of No. 113 Squadron on September 23rd, 1918. Sixteen aircraft dropped one hundred and twenty-two 20-lb bombs on the retreating enemy on the Es Salt-Amman road. A week later the machines of Nos. 14 and 113 Squadrons were used to carry urgently needed petrol and oil to El Affule aerodrome. The R.E.8s transported a total of 928 gallons of petrol and 156 gallons of oil.
  The R.E.8 had a share in the Mesopotamian campaign. On August 13th, 1917, No. 63 Squadron arrived at Basra, and its first two R.E.8s arrived on September 14th and 16th; the remainder arrived during October. The first two R.E.8s were lost on their first reconnaissance flight over the Turkish lines. Over Tikrit they met a Halberstadt and at once dived to attack. On this occasion the extensions of the upper wing on one R.E.8 lived up to their reputation: they folded back and the machine crashed. At the same time the engine of the second R.E.8 failed, and the pilot was obliged to land.
  No. 30 Squadron received its first R.E.8 on October 17th, 1917, and re-equipment continued throughout the autumn of that year. Squadrons Nos. 30 and 63 bore the brunt of the reconnaissance work of the Mesopotamian campaign, and at one time during 1918 the R.E.8s of No. 63 were averaging ten hours’ flying per day.
  How a Davis gun came to be in Mesopotamia in 1918 is something of a mystery. Notwithstanding the fact that it was originally developed for the R.N.A.S., a gun of that type was installed in the rear cockpit of an R.E.8 of “A” Flight, No. 30 Squadron. The weapon was mounted to fire forwards and downwards through a hole in the floor of the observer’s cockpit, and the R.E.8 was then used for ground attack work.
  In November, 1917, No. 34 Squadron was transferred from France to Italy as part of the British detachment which was sent there to help the Italians after the calamity of Caporetto. Shortly after No. 34 Squadron’s departure, No. 42 was also withdrawn from the Western Front and sent to Italy. No. 34 Squadron reached Milan on November 14th and had its R.E.8s assembled by the 17th, whilst No. 42 Squadron arrived at Istrana on December 7th and made its first operational flights two days later.
  When the Italian offensive at the mouth of the Piave was launched on July 2nd, 1918, the Italians were short of aeroplanes and pilots. To help them, a few R.E.8s went daily to the aerodrome at Malcontenta, whence they flew under the orders of the Italians. The greater part of their work consisted of artillery cooperation, and for that purpose Italian observers were carried.
  In August, 1918, a Flight of R.E.8s were dispatched to Archangel to reinforce the R.A.F. Contingent in North Russia.
  The Belgian Flying Corps used the R.E.8 from 1917 onwards. Twenty-two were supplied to Belgium in that year and, like the B.E.2c’s which had preceded them, were modified to have the 180 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine. A frontal radiator of circular shape was fitted, and the nose of the aircraft resembled that of contemporary Spad types; the cowling was liberally provided with louvres, and exhaust manifolds of unusual design were fitted. One of these Hispano-powered R.E.8s is still preserved in the Musee Royal de l’Armee et d’Histoire Militaire in Brussels.
  The R.E.8 battled on until the Armistice. It was due for replacement by Bristol Fighters powered by the Sunbeam Arab engine, but the replacements never arrived. The original date set for the substitution of Bristols was April, 1918; but it was postponed until September because it was feared that a shortage of Sunbeam Arab engines would result.
  Meanwhile, more detail modifications had been made. The original undercarriage, which had consisted of two vees of faired steel tubing, was replaced by a pair of wooden vee struts made of ash. The lower portion of the engine cowling was made deeper and larger, and was without the long blisters on its underside. The introduction of the very large main fin has already been mentioned. Some late production R.E.8s were fitted with Imber self-sealing fuel tanks.
  For experimental purposes R.E.8s were used quite extensively, and figured in several investigations into control forces. Elevators of different areas were fitted and tested to determine what proportion of the horizontal area provided the most efficient elevator control.
  It was intended to fit the Rolls-Royce Eagle engine to 75 Napier-built R.E.8s (numbered D.4811-D.4885), but confirmation that this was done is lacking.
  The Royal Aircraft Factory began experimenting with superchargers as early as 1916, and by the beginning of 1917 sufficient data had been collected to enable an exhaust-driven turbo-compressor to be designed. It was learned, however, that Professor Rateau had built a similar supercharger in France, and that it had given promising results on the test bench. Arrangements were forthwith made for a Rateau compressor to be delivered to Farnborough, where it was fitted to a 200 h.p. R.A.F. 4d engine and installed in an R.E.8. The engine drove a four-bladed variable-pitch airscrew similar in general design to that which was tested on B.E.2C No. 4122. The fin and rudder of the experimental R.E.8 were enlarged, and the rudder was horn-balanced.
  The first flight of this R.E.8 was made in March, 1918. It was found that the engine overheated, and a much larger air scoop was fitted above the cylinders; this scoop was enormous, and was used on all subsequent flights. The variable-pitch airscrew was used only once more, however, for there was too much slackness in its wholly mechanical control gear, and a specially designed two-bladed airscrew was substituted. This airscrew was used only once, and was replaced by the standard R.A.F. qd four-bladed airscrew.
  The experiments terminated with the ninth flight of the supercharged R.E.8 on May 4th, 1918. Owing to a misunderstanding about the supercharger control settings, the turbine failed at 28,000 r.p.m. when the R.E.8 was at 13,700 feet, and was damaged beyond repair. An installation designed wholly at the R.A.E. envisaged a supercharged R.A.F. qe engine fitted to an R.E.8, but seems not to have been built.
  After the Armistice the R.E.8 all but vanished from the Service scene. No. 6 Squadron took its R.E.8s with it when it was sent to Basra in the middle of 1919, but elsewhere the type did not long survive. A few were retained for the completion of experiments - for instance, there are indications that an experimental installation of an R.A.F. 5 engine was made in 1919 - but the great majority were withdrawn and scrapped. There was nobody to regret the passing of the Harry Tate, but it will always be remembered as one of the great workers of the war days; an aeroplane undistinguished in design or performance, yet one which, in the hands of courageous men, did much good though unspectacular work in spite of itself.

SPECIFICATION
  Manufacturers: The Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hants.
  Other Contractors: The Austin Motor Co. (1914), Ltd., Northfield, Birmingham; The Coventry Ordnance Works, Ltd., Coventry; The Daimler Co., Ltd., Coventry; D. Napier & Son, Ltd., Acton, London, W.; The Siddeley-Deasy Motor Car Co., Ltd., Park Side, Coventry; The Standard Motor Co., Ltd., Cash’s Lane, Coventry.
  Power: R.E.8 Standard: 150 h.p. R.A.F. 4a. Belgian R.E.8s: 180 h.p. Hispano-Suiza. Experimental: 200 h.p. R.A.F. 4d with Rateau supercharger; 150 h.p. R.A.F. 5. R.E.8a: 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza.
  Dimensions: Span: upper 42 ft 7 in., lower 32 ft 7 1/2 in. Length: R.E.8, 27 ft 10 1/2 in.; R.E.8a, 27 ft 7 in. Height: 11 ft 4 1/2 in. Chord: 5 ft 6 in. Gap: 5 ft 6 in. Stagger: 2 ft. Dihedral: 3 30'. Incidence: 4. Span of tail: 14 ft. Wheel track: 5 ft 9 in. Airscrew diameter: 9 ft 9 in.
  Wings: 377-5 sq ft. Tailplane: 24 sq ft. Elevators: 22 sq ft. Fin: 5 sq ft. Rudder: 10 sq ft.

Weights {lb) and Performance:
Aircraft Prototype Production R.E.8 (R.A.F. 4a)
   - Without bombs 2 X 112-lb bombs
No. of Trial Report - M.108B M.108B
Date of Trial Report July 21st, 1916 September, 1917 September, 1917
Type of airscrew used on trial - T.6296 T.6296
Weight empty 1,622 - 1,803
Military load 232 185 351
Crew 360 360 360
Fuel and oil 378 - 355
Weight loaded 2,592 2,678 2,869
Maximum speed (m.p.h.) at
1,600 ft 106-5 - -
5,000 ft - 103 -
6,500 ft - 102 98
9,910 ft 93 - -
10,000 ft - 96-5 92-5
11,400 ft 90 - -
13,700 ft 86 - -
m. s. m. s. m. s.
Climb to
1,000 ft 1 30 - - - -
2,000 ft 3 05 - - - -
3,000 ft 4 40 - - - -
4,000 ft 6 20 - - - -
5,000 ft 8 10 11 25 - -
6,000 ft 10 25 - - - -
6,500 ft - - 15 50 21 00
7,000 ft 13 00 - - - -
8,000 ft 15 40 - - - -
9,000 ft 18 30 - - - -
10,000 ft 22 00 29 05 39 50
11,000 ft 26 05 - - - -
12,000 ft 31 10 - - - -
13,000 ft 38 00 - - - -
13,200 ft 40 00 - - - -
Service ceiling (feet) 13,200 13,500 11,000
Endurance (hours) - 4 1/4 —

  Tankage: Petrol: main gravity tank 37-5 gallons; service gravity tank 10-5 gallons; total 48 gallons. Oil: 3-5 gallons.
  Armament: One fixed forward-firing Vickers machine-gun mounted on the port side of the fuselage, and synchronised to fire through the airscrew; one Lewis machine-gun on Scarff ring-mounting on rear cockpit. The bomb-load was usually two 112-lb bombs, four 65-pounders, or an equivalent weight of lighter bombs. The bomb racks were fitted under the lower wings.
  Service Use: Western Front: R.F.C. Squadrons Nos. 4, 4(A), 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 21, 34, 42, 52, 53, 59, 69 (Australian) (later No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps), H.Q. Communication Squadron. No. 56 Squadron had one R.E.8. The type was also used by the Belgian Flying Corps. Italy: R.F.C. Squadrons Nos. 34 and 42. Palestine: R.F.C. Squadrons Nos. 14, 67 (Australian), 113, 142 (one Flight). Mesopotamia: R.F.C. Squadrons Nos. 30 and 63. Russia: R.A.F. Contingent at Archangel. Home Defence: No. 77 Squadron. Training: used at W/T Telegraphist School, Chattis Hill; School of Army Cooperation, Winchester; School of Photography, Maps and Reconnaissance, Farnborough; Air Observers’ Schools at Eastchurch, Manston and New Romney; Advanced Air Firing School, Lympne; No. 1 Training Depot Squadron, Stamford; No. 20 Training Squadron, Wye; No. 31 Training Squadron, Wyton; No. 35 Training Squadron, Northolt; No. 39 Training Squadron, Narborough; Training Squadron at Netheravon; Artillery Observation School, Almaza, Egypt.

Serial Numbers:
Serial Nos. Contractors Contract No.
7996-7997 Royal Aircraft Factory —
A.66-A.115 Royal Aircraft Factory —
A.3169-A.3268 Austin 87/A/488
A.3405-A.3504 Siddeley-Deasy 87/A/486
A.3506-A.3530 Royal Aircraft Factory —
A.3531-A.3680 Daimler —
A.3681-A.3830 Siddeley-Deasy 87/A/785
A.3832-A.3931 Napier 87/A/696
A.4161-A.4260 Daimler —
A.4261-A.4410 Austin 87/A/785
A.4411-A.4560 Standard 87/A/785
A.4564-A.4663 Standard 87/A/639
A.4664-A.4763 Coventry Ordnance Works 87/A/727
A.6801-A.7000 Allotted for R.E.8s to be built by the British & Colonial Aeroplane Co., Ltd., but contract cancelled and serial numbers re-allocated
B.836, B.845 Southern Aeroplane Repair Depot (Probably rebuilds)
B.2251-B.2300 Napier 87/A/696
B.3401-B.3450 Daimler -
B.5001-B.5150 Daimler A.S.7399
B.5851-B.5900 Austin 87/A/785
B.6451-B.6480 Siddeley-Deasy 87/A/785
B.6481-B.6624 Siddeley-Deasy A.S.7903
B.6631-B.6730 Coventry Ordnance Works A.S.8871
B.7681-B.7730 Siddeley-Deasy A.S.7903
C.2231-C.3030 Daimler A.S.7399
C.4551-C.4600 Napier 87/A/696
C.5026-C.5045 Coventry Ordnance Works 87/A/727
C.5046-C.5125 Coventry Ordnance Works A.s.8871
D.1501-D.1600 Standard A.S.32162
D.3836-D.3910 Napier -
D.4661-D.4810 Standard A.S. 32162
D.4811-D.4885 Napier (Rolls-Royce Eagle engine) A.S.28127
D.4886-D.4960 Napier A.S.35980
D.6701-D.6850 Coventry Ordnance Works A.S.27751
E.1-E.300 Siddeley-Deasy A.S.27757
E.1101-E.1150 Napier 35A/25/C.11
E.1151-E.1250 Siddeley-Deasy 35A/24/C.10
F.1553-F.1602 Siddeley-Deasy 35A/579/C.479
F.1665-F.1764 Standard 35A/625/C.504
F.3246-F.3345 Siddeley-Deasy 35A/1072/C.889
F.3548-F.3747 Daimler 35A/1073/C.900
Later batches were numbered about F.6016 and H.7042.

  Production and Allocation: A total of 4,077 R.E.8s were built; of these, forty-five were constructed at the Royal Aircraft Factory. The squadrons with the Expeditionary Force received 2,157; the total number of R.E.8s sent to the Middle East was 327; 105 went to Italy; nineteen to Home Defence units; and 1,195 to training units. Twenty-two were delivered to Belgium. The R.A.F. had 1,913 R.E.8s on charge on October 31st, 1918: 674 in France, forty-nine in Italy, fifty-six en route to the Middle East, 127 in Egypt and Palestine, and fifty-three in Mesopotamia. At home, two were with Home Defence units, 167 at schools, fifty-nine at Aeroplane Repair Depots, 111 at Aircraft Acceptance Parks and with contractors, 282 in store, fifty-eight in Ireland, and 275 at various home stations.
  Notes on Individual Machines: A.95: became R.E.8a. A.3475: No. 39 Training Squadron, Narborough; had the final large fin. A.3489: No. 52 Squadron. A.3561: became R.E.9. A.3652: “Victoria No. 1, Australia No. 19, ‘Sargood Bros.’"; A.3662: presented by Mr H. Teesdale Smith, Aircraft “J” of No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps. A.3747: “Australia No. 20, N.S.W. No. 18, ‘The McCaughey’.” A.3754: “Australia No. 21, N.S.W. No. 19, ‘The Narrandera Jerilderie’.” A.3792: “Malaya No. 32, ‘The A. N. Kenion’.” A.3902 : had the final large fin. A.4480: No. 16 Squadron, A.4537: No. 3 Training Squadron, Wyton. A.4600: became R.E.9. B.836: aircraft “15” of No. 15 Squadron. B.3412: No. 15 Squadron. B.5106: “I A”, No. 59 Squadron. C.2295: “Australia No. 23, N.S.W. No. 20, ‘The Tamworth and District’.” C.2298: “Australia No. 22, Queensland No. 1, ‘The North Queensland Residents’.” C.2441: had the final large fin. C.2670: “Punjab No. 25”. C.2982: “Malaya No. 1, ‘The Eu Tong Sen’.” D.4960: used in Russia, 1919. E.26: had the final large fin. E.254: “Marple”. E.256: “Lamberhurst”. F.3556: “A Paddy Bird from Ceylon”, preserved in the Imperial War Museum, London. F.6016: “Marjorie”, Aircraft “K” of No. 69 Squadron.
  Costs:
   Airframe without engine, instruments and guns £1,232
   R.A.F. 4a engine £836
   200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine £1,004


H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)


R.E.8. The development of the pilot's fixed-gun installation on the R.E.8 two-seat reconnaissance aircraft, first flown in the summer of 1916, involved at the beginning a crude installation of deflector plates and towards the end the latest type of Constantinesco synchronising gear. As originally schemed early in 1916 there was provision for a Lewis gun inside the cockpit on the starboard side. This gun was sited low and considerably ahead of the pilot and was fired remotely by a lever on the top longeron. Five 47-round drums were specified. A Lewis gun for the pilot appears to have been actually installed on the first two R.E.s. though there is no evidence of deflector plates; but by October 1916 the first installation had been made of a Vickers gun with Vickers synchronising gear. This gun was at first internal, on the port side of the cockpit, firing through a triangular port, below which was a long casing for the actuating shaft from the engine. What it possessed in neatness, however, this installation lacked in accessibility, and the gun was quickly transferred to the outside of the fuselage. In the standard installation, the gun was carried on two triangular brackets. Constantinesco gear eventually succeeded the Vickers gear, the trigger motor being of the Type B. The loading handle was the Hyland Type C, and both a ring-and-bead and an Aldis sight were fitted, the latter being to starboard of the pilot's windscreen. By 1917 these sights had become standard in the British flying services, though late in 1916 a Le Prieur frame-type sight had been installed experimentally. This type of sight, of which more will be said in Volume 2, was considered complicated, clumsy and a source of danger to the pilot in the event of a crash, and was accordingly abandoned.
   The installation of the rear Lewis gun likewise underwent considerable development. In the original design already mentioned, this was shown as being of extensible 'lazy tongs' form, allowing the gun to be fired forward over the top wing, and this is how it materialised on the first prototype. The basis of the mounting was a ring, and a ring-mounting of different form, incorporating a simple pillar, was fitted on early production R.Es. The Scarff ring-mounting was eventually standardised, and sometimes this carried twin Lewis guns. In one such installation the drums were of 'single' (47-round) type. A point to the credit of the R.E.8's designer(s), which may not previously have been made, is that, in order to secure the widest possible field of fire from the mounting, the fuselage in the immediate vicinity was contoured with extreme care and the rearmost portion was made very small in cross-section.
   The bomb-carriers were attached to rails under the lower inner wings. Identified loads were two 112-lb, four 65-lb or eight 20-lb. The bombsight was of C.F.S.4B pattern. One bomb installation made by a squadron in the field has been described in these terms by one acquainted with it: 'For the R.E.8 we improvised a most effective device for bombing the enemy transport on roads. It consisted of a 48-compartment box with a chain and sprocket-operated sliding base, cut off at an angle. Each division of the box was loaded with a Hale's rifle grenade and, as the aircraft flew up the line of enemy traffic, the observer turned a bicycle crank to withdraw the base and release the grenades one by one.'
   Better known than this installation was the fitting of a Davis recoilless gun on an R.E.8 of 'A' Flight, No.30 Squadron. The gun was fixed to the starboard side of the fuselage, firing forward and downward at 45 degrees, and was reloaded by the observer gunner, whose Scarff ring-mounting retained its Lewis gun. The forward muzzle of the Davis gun was roughly on the level of the undercarriage axle; the rear muzzle was above and behind the rear cockpit. The installation was considered successful, although the gun could not be sighted accurately.


W.Pieters The Belgian Air Service in the First World War (Aeronaut)


Belgian Aircraft

Hispano-Suiza-Powered BE2 & RE8

<...>
  When the RE8 arrived in Belgium in July 1917, the Belgian airmen viewed it with skepticism because the loss of crews on this particular type was alarmingly high in the RFC. Again the Belgians sought to improve the type’s mediocre performance by installation of a Hispano-Suiza V-8, this time using the 180 h.p. version. The engine installation was similar to that in the Belgian BE2c aircraft down to the circular radiator and SPAD-like cowling with multiple louvers. A number of photos show an additional rectangular radiator mounted externally on the starboard side of the cowling; it is not known for certain if this was a standard fitting or only used in hot weather. The modest 30 h.p. increase over the RE8’s standard 150 h.p. RAF 4a engine apparently did little more than compensate for the increased engine and radiator weight, and all around performance of the modified RE8 was similar to the standard version. As with the Hispano-powered BE2, the increased weight compromised maneuverability, handling, and flight safety. After half a year, the unloved “Harry Tates” were exchanged for SPAD XIs.

В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
RAF R.E.8 13-й дивизион RFC, 1917г.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
RAF R.E.8
А.Шепс - Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты
Разведчик/легкий бомбардировщик R.E.8 RAF
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
RE8 A3715 '6', 6me Escadrille
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
RE8 A4179 '4', Wittewrongel/Van Thorenburg, 6me Escadrille
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
RE8, Wittewrongel/Van Thorenburg, 6me Escadrille
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
RE8, Stampe/Gilles, 6me Escadrille
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
RE8, Simonet/Piron, 6me Escadrille
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
One of the two R.E.8 prototypes, either No 7996 or 7997. The aircraft was armed with a Lewis gun of the observer's cockpit, a feature that was criticised by the RFC when the type was first flown in France.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Work on the RE8 general purpose two-seater to replace the BE2c began in late 1915 and the prototype (7996) first flew in June 1916; the type entered service with 52 Squadron in November.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An early R.E.8 with a pillar mounting for the observer's Lewis gun. Later machines were fitted with the Scarff-ring mounting.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Fig. 15. - Reconnaissance machine. R.E. 8.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Early production R.E.8, serial number A.73, with pillar-type gun-mounting in rear cockpit.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
R.E.8 with enlarged main fin.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
R.E.8 A3433 with 130 h.p. R.A.F. engine, built by the Siddeley Deasy Motor Car Company, with the initial small form of fin, the small sump cowling and Scarff ring for observer’s Lewis gun. This machine was still in use at the end of the war, as an artillery observation machine and as a night bomber.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
The R.E.8. With 130 h.p. R.A.F. engine. Note the big engine, the heavier aileron strut, and the less overhang to the upper planes than in the B.E.2e. The pilot sits in front, and the gunner has a gun-ring round the after seat.
L.Andersson - Soviet Aircraft and Aviation 1917-1941 /Putnam/
More than twenty R.E.8 aircraft were put in service by the RKKVF.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
RE8 A3570 was a Daimler-built example of this widely used and reasonably effective type - some 2.262 RE8s were built.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Recovery work on RE8 A3570 at Wyton in May 1917; the tripod lifting tackle was both easy to transport and ettective.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
RE8 of 3 Squadron AC at Bailleul, 30 November 1917. Note the Presentation Aircraft inscription on the fuselage of A3662.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
Nice view of an RE8, A3715, #6.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
R.E.8 with the final very large main fin. This aircraft still has the early form of engine cowling.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
This view of Daimler-built R.E.8 A4224 following a landing accident shows the roominess of the pilot's cockpit.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
RE8 ot 52 Squadron.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
RE8 A4267 with 52 Squadron in early 1918.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Experimental large fin fitted to R.E.8 number A.4598.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Standard R.E.8, serial number A.4683, with deep lower cowling under engine.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A production R.E.8, built by the Coventry Ordnance Works, with the deeper sump cowling introduced for later machines.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A tyro pilot leans proudly against R.E.8 A4737 at Scampton in 1918. This machine has the later sump cowling and the enlarged fin common at training establishments but never used in active service.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Atmospheric shot of a Daimler-built R.E.8 B5106 at Vert Galand in May 1918 prepares to take off, with two mechanics assisting in manoeuvring. Note the cut-out in the lower wing roots to give the pilot a better view of the ground below. Over 2,200 of this type served with the RFC from November 1916 to the end of the war. During this final year of conflict they were still heavily employed but with Allied air superiority, except at certain times, they were able to carry our their work at an acceptable' loss rate.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
R.E.8 6557 of 142 Squadron with the slightly enlarged fin adopted for most production aircraft. Note the unfaired steel-tube undercarriage legs.
S.Ransom, R.Fairclough - English Electric Aircraft and their Predecessors /Putnam/
COW-built R.E.8 B6644 presented to the Royal Flying Corps by A.G.L. of Stoke Pages.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
Immaculate Daimler-built R.E.8 C2298. Note the wheel chocks and the screw pickets beneath the wings.
F.Mason - British Bomber since 1914 /Putnam/
A mid-production standard Daimler-built R.E.8, C2670, with extended ventral fin and modified engine cowling; later the upper fin was considerably enlarged.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Standard production R.E.8, serial number E.254, with enlarged lower fin.
Siddeley Deasy built more than a thousand R.E.8 aircraft; E254 was one of them.
O.Thetford - Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 /Putnam/
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
Adjudant Joseph Wittewrongel’s RE8, A4179, Belgian number 4, 6me Escadrille, seen at Houthem airfield early Spring 1918.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
THE ROYAL VISIT TO THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. - King George at an aerodrome.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
R.E.8 F3556 at the Imperial War Museum in London before its transfer to Duxford for restoration and display.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An unidentified R.E.8 taking off from a large, level and luxuriantly grassed field.
H.Cowin - Aviation Pioneers /Osprey/
The Royal Aircraft Factory RE 8 was selected for mass production before the prototype's first flight in the spring of 1916. Powered by a 150hp RAF 4a, this two-seat reconnaissance bomber was not a very impressive performer with a top level speed of 103mph at 5.000 feet, falling off to 96.5mph at 10,000 feet. Its bomb load was 260lb. To compound the problems, the early RE 8s were prone to 'spin-in' if mishandled and even when this problem was remedied by adding ventral fin area, the 'Harry Tate', as it was nicknamed, proved sadly lacking in agility, making it relatively easy prey for its German opponents. Its first operational deployment was with No 52 Squadron, RFC, in November 1916. The RE 8's armament consisted of a fixed 303-inch Vickers for the pilot, plus one or two flexibly mounted .303-inch Lewis guns for the observer. Some later machines used the 150 hp Hispano-Suiza, being referred to as the RE 8a. A total of 4,077 RE 8s were to be built, all but 22 Belgian-operated aircraft going to the RFC. This is a standard production RE 8.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The R.E.8, like its predecessor, the B.E.2, served in every theatre of war. This example is over the desert somewhere in the Middle East.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. - An observation flight over the German lines by our aeroplanes.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. - Our aeroplanes, on observation bent, over the German lines.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Artillery co-operation was one of the most dangerous of roles; this 21 Squadron RE8 was involved in a shoot over Ypres in October when a 'shell passed through the aircraft'.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
Close up of the machinegun mounting on an R.E.8.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
On the British Western Front. - Preliminaries to a bombing expedition.
Attaching bombs to the racks beneath an RE8 of 69 Squadron at Savy, October 1917. The unit subsequently became 3 Squadron AFC at Bailleul.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
An RE8 of 3 Squadron AFC about to start for another night bombing mission.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Excellent field hangar shot of ground crew working on an RE8 of 3 Squadron AFC, possibly at Bailleul.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
From October 1917, 63 Squadron operated the RE8 from Basra and various detachments at other airfields.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Demonstrating the operation of a camera fitted to the RE8. The primary role of the aircraft was reconnaissance and during its operational career many thousands of plates were exposed - a vital contribution to Allied military planning.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
On the British Western Front in France - C.O., with pilot and observer, referring to the photos, and maps prior to setting out for the German lines.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Capt. W.E. Johns, author of the Biggies novels, in front of an RE8. He was shot down in DH4 F5712 ol 55 Squadron on 16 September 1918.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
The R.E.8 with the supercharged R.A.F. 4d engine, enlarged air-scoop, and R.A.F. variable-pitch airscrew.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
A batch of R.E. 8's in the works of the Siddeley-Deasy Motor Car Co., Ltd., where large numbers of these machines have been built in addition to quantities of the B.H.P. type aero engines, known as "Siddeley-Puma." In the alleyway on the right is the partially completed fuselage of a D.H.10A.
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.
J.Herris - DFW Aircraft of WWI /Centennial Perspective/ (29)
DFW C.V(Av) 287/18 after British cockades were painted over the German national insignia. However, the butterfly insignia was left intact. An RE.8 is in the background.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Belgian R.E.8 with Hispano-Suiza engine.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
Five R.E.8s of 6me Escadrille. The two nearest the camera have been modified with Hispano-Suiza engines.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
I Sgt Jean Stampe & Lt Rene Gilles, 6me Esc., in front of their Hispano-Suiza-powered R.E.8.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
S/Lt Raymond Rondelard Rondeau & Lt Fred de Woelmont, 6me Esc., in their Hispano-Suiza-powered RE8.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
Stampe and Gilles in their RE8 of 6me Escadrille.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
Joseph le huit Wittewrongel, here standing in front of his RE8, ended hostilities after accomplishing 118 flights over the front.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
On 1 July 1917 an RE8 was destroyed in a crash-landing, novice pilot Sergent Gaston Boel coming out unscathed. His observer Lieutenant Paul Dubost was slightly injured.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
Winter scene of a modified R.E.8, serial number A4700, with unknown man in front.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
Adjt Victor Simonet & Lt Albert Piron, 6me Esc, flew so low on 11 August 1918, that they were shot up by ground fire. Simonet force-landed West of the lines. The RE8, #8, in which this happened is now on display in the Royal Army Museum in Brussels.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
Pilot Alphonse Sohet stands in front of an RE8 converted to use a Hispano-Suiza engine; the photo clearly shows the many cooling louvers in the engine cowling and the additional radiator mounted externally on the starboard side of the fuselage. It is not known if this was a standard fitting or used only during hot weather. The additional drag of the external radiator must have limited any performance gains from use of the Hispano-Suiza compared to the standard engine.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An R.E.8 pilot's 'office', including a Royal Aircraft Factory-pattern compass. Layouts varied slightly between manufacturers, but all machines were similarly equipped.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
The cockpit of an RE8.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
S/Lt Jacques Ochs was severely wounded in a crash on 17 August 1917. His pilot, ISgtMr Maurice Vertongen was more fortunate and came out safe.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
Possibly the remnants of the RE8 flown by I Sgt Edouard Herman & Lt Henri van Geel on 23 October 1917. Both men were killed.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Pancaking.
W.Pieters - The Belgian Air Service in the First World War /Aeronaut/
The Belgian air service converted some of its RE8 aircraft to use the water-cooled 180 h.p. Hispano-Suiza V-8 engine, but the modest additional power was absorbed by the additional weight of the engine with its radiators and coolant, resulting in negligible performance improvement.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
F.Mason - British Bomber since 1914 /Putnam/
Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
RAF R.E.8