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RAF S.E.4

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1914

Fighter

RAF - R.E.5 - 1914 - Великобритания<– –>RAF - B.E.9 - 1915 - Великобритания


P.Hare Royal Aircraft Factory (Putnam)


S.E.4

  Yet another product of the fertile mind of Henry Folland, the S.E.4 was designed to be very fast, and may well have been the fastest aeroplane of its day. It was powered by a fully cowled fourteen-cylinder two-row Gnome rotary of 160hp, and the hub of its four-blade propeller was covered by a large, dish-like spinner. A fairly conventional fuselage structure based on four cross-braced longerons was faired to a circular cross-section by formers and stringers. The attention to streamlining included a moulded celluloid cockpit cover but, although this was made, it was never used because no pilot could be persuaded to fly the aircraft with it fitted.
  The biplane wings were separated by single T struts, their extremities extended to allow attachment to both the front and rear spars. The centre-section struts were of similar configuration, but were hollow, providing a route for the aileron cables. Full-span ailerons were fitted to all four wings, and incorporated a system, originally designed for the S.E.3, whereby they could be lowered together to act as landing flaps or reflexed to reduce drag for high-speed flight. The tailplane, like that of the S.E.2, incorporated the dorsal and ventral fin surfaces favoured by its designer. To reduce drag, the gaps between fixed and moveable surfaces were faired over with elastic netting. The undercarriage comprised a transverse leaf spring carrying the wheels at its ends and attached to an inverted tripod of streamlined struts.
  Construction was completed by 17 June, and test flying was begun by Norman Spratt. The sprung undercarriage was found to cause excessive rolling while taxying, landing or taking off, and by 23 July, when Spratt made taxying trials, it had been replaced by a conventional structure comprising an axle bound by rubber bungee within the apexes of two vee struts. He flew it again four days later.
  The 160hp engine proved troublesome, not only because of inadequate cooling, which was overcome by modifying the spinner, but because of its continued unreliability. It was eventually replaced by a single-row Gnome monosoupape rated at 100hp. This dramatically reduced the machine's previously impressive performance, the maximum speed dropping from 135mph to 92mph.
  On 4 August the S.E.4 was flown by Maj J M Salmond, who found its performance and handling favourable, although its 52mph landing speed was considered too high for squadron pilots. Nevertheless it was taken over by the RFC, given the serial 628, and had a primitive camouflage scheme applied. It never saw active service because it was wrecked at 11.45am on 12 August when a wheel appeared to collapse on landing, its pilot fortunately escaping without injury. The aircraft was not rebuilt.

  Powerplant:
   160hp two-row Gnome rotary
   100hp Gnome Monosoupape rotary
  Dimensions:
   span 27ft 6in;
   chord 3ft 9 1/2in;
   gap 5ft 1in;
   wing area 188 sqft;
   length 21ft 4in;
   height
   9ft 0in (tripod undercarriage);
   9ft 10in (vee undercarriage).
  Performance:
   max speed
   135mph (160hp);
   92mph(100hp);
   stalling speed 52mph;
   initial climb l,600ft/min(160hp);
   endurance 1hr.


S.E.4a

  This trim little scout owed little to the S.E.4, and the choice of designation is therefore hard to explain. Designed by Henry Folland late in 1914, it was intended to further the Factory's research into the relationship between stability and manoeuvrability, its wings incorporating 3 1/2 of dihedral and having multi-function, full-span ailerons as used on the S.E.4. The only other link with its supposed parent was its horizontal tail surfaces.
  The S.E.4a's fuselage was a conventionally cross-braced four-longeron structure, although the forward portion of each longeron was of steel tube, being joined by fishplates to the spruce rear fuselage members just aft of the single cockpit. The tailskid was hinged from the bottom of the sternpost, and enclosed within a fairing which continued the line of the ventral fin. There was no centre section, the wing panels being joined above the fuselage centreline and the centre section cabane struts forming inverted vees.
  The powerplant was an 80hp Gnome rotary enclosed within a streamlined cowling which blended neatly into the fuselage, which was faired to a circular cross-section by formers and stringers. A large dish-shaped spinner covered the propeller boss.
  The first prototype was completed on 23 June 1915, and flew for the first time two days later, with Frank Goodden at the controls. Tests using the ailerons as flaps showed that they could reduce the landing speed by 5mph, but it is debatable whether this relatively minor reduction justified the complexity of the system required to achieve it.
  Three further examples were completed in the Farnborough workshops during the following six weeks, but they lacked the streamlining of the first machine. Their fuselages were flat-sided apart from a small fairing behind the cowling, and no spinners were fitted. They were handed over to the RFC as scouts, and were among the first British machines equipped with forward-firing machine guns. These were Lewis guns, mounted above the upper wing to fire clear of the propeller disc.
  One S.E.4a crashed at Hounslow in September 1915, killing its pilot, Capt Binden Blood. The fates of the other aircraft are not known, although one, 5611, returned to Farnborough in June 1916 to have the 80hp le Rhone with which it had been built changed for a Gnome, as fitted to the others. In October this engine was replaced by a Clerget, but the reason for the change is not recorded.
  Despite the S.E.4a's reputation as a good aerobatic aircraft, the role of single-seat fighter, to which it seemed perfectly suited, scarcely existed at the time of its emergence. Newer designs were already under way by the time the need for such a machine had arisen, and the S.E.4a did not go into production.

  Powerplant: 80hp Gnome rotary
  Dimensions:
   span 27ft 6in;
   chord 4ft 2in;
   gap 4ft 9in;
   length 20ft 10 1/2in;
   height 9ft 5in.


H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)


S.E.4a. On at least one single-seater of this type (built 1915) there were brackets for a gun, probably of Lewis type, well above the top wing on the centre line. The gun fired above the airscrew.


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


Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing


P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)


S.E.4

  Following the S.E.2, the S.E.4 was the Royal Aircraft Factory's next essay in Scouting Experimental. The machine was designed by H. P. Folland, whose ideas were to influence the shapes of British fighters for so many years afterwards. The new scout was completed in June, 1914, and was even cleaner in concept than its predecessor. The S.E.4 represented the most advanced aerodynamic thought at the time of its appearance, and the care taken over reduction of drag, coupled with the power from its fourteen-cylinder two-row 160 h.p. Gnome, gave a top speed of 135 m.p.h., making it the world's fastest aircraft in its day.
  Among unusual features were the four wings' full-span ailerons, which could be depressed to act as landing flaps. The fuselage consisted of a circular wooden monocoque, and the engine was fully enclosed in a tight-fitting cowling. Inadequate cooling resulted in scorching of the metal panels and the consequent adoption of a cooling slot and a fan inside the spinner. The original undercarriage was in the form of an inverted triangular pyramid of struts which carried a transverse leaf-spring axle for the wheels. This arrangement led, not surprisingly, to uncontrollable rolling while taxying, and was soon replaced by the more usual pair of vee struts. Another alteration was the discarding of the moulded celluloid cockpit canopy fitted originally, as no pilot would agree to fly beneath it.
  A high-speed section was used for the wings which were connected by single "I" interplane struts and braced with streamlined Raf-wires.
  The S.E.4 was given the number 628, and among its pilots were Lt. Norman Spratt and Major J. M. Salmond, who found the aircraft's speed and climb very good. The 160 h.p. Gnome proved a troublesome and unpopular engine, bringing about the premature end of its production. That installed in the S.E.4 was removed and its place was taken by a 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome, the top speed thereby being reduced to 92 m.p.h. After some further flying, damage in a landing accident resulted in the abandonment of the development of the S.E.4.

SPECIFICATION

  Description: Single-seat tractor biplane scout. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hants.
  Power Plant: 160 h.p. Gnome, 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome.
  Dimensions: Span, 27 ft. 6 ins. Length, 21 ft. 4 ins. Height (tripod u/c) 9 ft.; (vee u/c) 9 ft. 10-5 ins. Wing area, 188 sq. ft.
  Performance: Maximum speed (160 h.p. Gnome) 135 m.p.h.; (100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome) 92 m.p.h. Landing speed, 52 m.p.h. Climb (160 h.p. Gnome) 1,600 ft./min. Endurance, 1 hr.


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


ROYAL AIRCRAFT FACTORY S.E.4A UK

  Designed at Farnborough by H P Folland at the end of 1914, the S.E.4a was one of a series of “Scouting Experimentals" used to study the interplay of stability and manoeuvrability. Unrelated, except in configuration and design authorship, to the high performance S.E.4 of mid-1914, the S.E.4a was a sturdy little single-bay biplane with equi-span wings incorporating 3.5 deg of dihedral and having no centre section. The square-section fuselage was of conventional spruce construction with steel tubes to accept the loads from the lower wings, and, like the wooden wings and tail unit, was fabric-covered. Full-span ailerons were fitted to both sets of wings, and power was provided by an 80 hp Gnome seven-cylinder rotary in a fully circular short - chord cowling. The first of four S.E.4a's built at the RAF flew there on 25 June 1915, and differed from its successors in having faired fuselage sides and an outsize spinner. The fourth and last S.E.4a flew on 13 August that year. The third, flown on 27 July, was at first fitted with an 80 hp Le Rhone engine, the Gnome being substituted later, and in October 1916 this same S.E.4a was provided with an 80 hp Clerget. In the hands of the RFC, at least one of the S.E.4a’s was armed with a 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Lewis gun mounted on the centre line above the upper wing to clear the propeller disc.

Span, 27 ft 6 in (8,38 m).
Length, 20 ft 10 1/2 in (6,37 m).
Height, 9 ft 5 in (2,87 m).

M.Goodall, A.Tagg - British Aircraft before the Great War /Schiffer/
The S.E.4, showing its neat engine cowling and the propeller spinner with its internal cooling fan. RAF SE.4 was tested from June 1914 with both 100 and 160 hp Gnome engines, but the undercarriage caused landing problems.
P.Lewis - British Aircraft 1809-1914 /Putnam/
The S.E.4 with its original tripod undercarriage outside the Factory compound.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
The R.A.F. S.E.4 single-seat reconnaissance machine, illustrated in Mr. F. W. Lanchester's new work, "Aircraft in Warfare." Three-quarter view from the back.
P.Lewis - British Aircraft 1809-1914 /Putnam/
The S.E.4 with its later vee undercarriage.
D.James - Gloster aircraft since 1917 /Putnam/
The S.E.4, one of H.P.Folland's remarkably advanced design.
H.Cowin - Aviation Pioneers /Osprey/
Fifteen months or so after the Royal Aircraft Factory had produced the breathtaking BS I, they once again broke the mould with their extremely advanced SE 4 scout, which made its debut in June 1914. The machine is seen here in August 1914, shortly after being fitted with more conventional landing gear than the unsatisfactory original item. This one-off single seater, serial no 628, used a neatly cowled 160hp twin row Gnome rotary, giving it an astonishing top level speed of 135mph at sea level, along with an equally impressive 1,600 feet per minute initial rate of climb. Regrettably, the sole SE 4 was damaged beyond repair in a landing accident on 12 August 1914. Even more tragically, this mishap appears to have deterred any further development of the type.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
The R.A.F. type S.E. 4 single-seat reconnaissance machine, one of the Illustrations From Mr. F. W. Lanchester's new work, " Aircraft in Warfare."
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A replica of the S.E.4's original cockpit canopy, which was never actually used in flight.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg - British Aircraft before the Great War /Schiffer/
RAF SE.4a prototype with large spinner.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A poor but unique photograph of S.E.4a 5610.
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
S.E.4a 5611 in flight with Lewis guns on the center section, showing the flat-sided fuselage which distinguished it from the slightly more streamlined prototype.
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/
This sketch in H P Folland's notebook, dated 28 December 1914, depicts an armoured scout based on the S.E.4a.
P.Lewis - British Aircraft 1809-1914 /Putnam/
S.E.4
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
SE4
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
SE4a
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
The S.E.4a with Le Rhone engine.