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Vickers FB.14

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1916

Vickers - FB.12 - 1916 - Великобритания<– –>Vickers - FB.15 / FT.2 - 1916 - Великобритания

C.Andrews Vickers Aircraft since 1908 (Putnam)

   In 1916 Vickers produced the F.B.14 general-purpose single-engined tractor biplane of smaller dimensions than those of the F.B.11, but bearing obvious Flanders influence, such as the single-bay wing cellule with a larger top wing and splayed-out struts. From the F.B.14 descended a lengthy line of tractor biplanes to be described in later chapters. Its steel-tube fuselage followed the early pattern derived from the R.E.P. type monoplane, and this feature created official interest, and on structural test at Farnborough it disclosed good strength factors. Although intended for the 200 hp B.H.P. engine (later to become the 230 hp Siddeley Puma), the F.B.14 was powered with the 160 hp Beardmore, which itself was proving unreliable enough for it to be replaced by the older 120 hp Beardmore. Thus once more the bogey of underpower appeared, and although 100 airframes were built at Weybridge, only relatively few ever received suitable engines. Intended as replacement for the B.E.2c, B.E.2d or B.E.2e in Middle East squadrons, an indefinite number of F.B.14s were reported as sent to Mesopotamia and seven are known to have been used by Home Defence squadrons.
   Other variants to materialise were the F.B.14A with a 150 hp Lorraine-Dietrich, the F.B.14D with a 250 hp Rolls-Royce and the F.B.14F with a 150 hp Raf 4a, an air-cooled twelve-cylinder vee engine which was the standard power unit for the R.E.8 general-purpose aeroplane. The F.B.14D with the Rolls engine had increased span with two-bay wings, and on test at the new experimental aerodrome at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich, it recorded a speed of 111.5 mph. Later it was used for gunnery trials at Orfordness on the Suffolk coast, fitted with a Vickers gun firing forwards and upwards at 45 degrees and two Lewis guns firing rearwards, one under the tail.
   With an experimental periscopic gunsight for the pilot, the Orfordness F.B.14D chased a hostile raid back to the Belgian coast in July 1917, and obtained an unconfirmed victory over a Gotha bomber, which was seen to go down in the sea off Zeebrugge. (This account of the incident has been recently verified by Sir Vernon Brown, who was the pilot, and Sir Melville Jones, the observer, who had invented the gunsight. The pilot laid the sight on the target for the gunner to fire the guns. In the device, allowance had been made for relative speeds of the aircraft and for wind velocity)

   F.B.14 - One 160hp Beardmore. Span 39 ft 6 in, upper, and 33 ft, lower; length 28 ft 5 in; height 10 ft; wing area 427 sq ft. Empty weight 1,662 lb; gross weight 2,603 lb. Max speed 99.5 mph at ground level; climb to 10,000 ft - 40 3/4 min; service ceiling 10,000 ft; absolute ceiling 10,600 ft; endurance 3 3/4 hr. Armament one Lewis gun and one Vickers gun.
   F.B.14D - One 250 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle IV. Span 42 ft, upper, and 39 ft 6 in, lower; length 30 ft 8 in; height 10 ft 3 in; wing area 485 sq ft. Empty weight 2,289 lb; gross weight 3,308 lb. Max speed 111.5 mph at 6,500 ft; climb to 10,000 ft - 151 min; service ceiling 15,500 ft; endurance 3i hr. Armament two Lewis guns and one Vickers gun.

H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)

F.B.14. The basic armament of this two-seat fighter-reconnaissance biplane of 1916 was a fixed Vickers gun, having Vickers synchronising gear, for the pilot, and a Lewis gun on a Scarff ring-mounting for the gunner. There were variations in the installation of the Vickers gun, which was mounted ahead of the pilot, the breech casing being faired in some instances. The Scarff ring-mounting was attached to the top longerons, and in some examples the coaming was built up round it. By far the most interesting variant in respect of armament was the F.B.14D used at Orfordness for experimental work. On the occasion when this aircraft obtained an unconfirmed victory over a Gotha bomber in July 1917, the armament (according to C. F. Andrews, who adduces verification by Sir Vernon Brown, the pilot on that occasion) was a Vickers gun firing forwards and upwards at 45 degrees and two Lewis guns firing rearwards, one under the tail. The sighting arrangement had been devised by Melville Jones (later Sir), who acted as gunner. Mr Andrews records: 'The pilot laid the sight on the target for the gunner to fire the guns ... allowance had been made for relative speeds of the aircraft and for wind velocity.' J. M. Bruce has further recorded that 'the experimental gunsights with which the machine was fitted proved to be useless', and these reports are in accord with a further statement that the sight was rendered useless by sun glare.

P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

Home Defence was one of the spheres in which both types proved finally of some value and was a role in which a new Vickers two-seat, fighter reconnaissance tractor biplane, the F.B.14, also found itself performing. The 230 h.p. B.H.P. was the engine originally scheduled for the F.B.14 but delays in its development forced Vickers to install as an alternative the less-powerful 160 h.p. Beardmore. The combination made its first flight during August, 1916, but was unable to demonstrate a performance in keeping with that which had been expected using the intended power plant. In spite of this disappointment, an order was placed for one hundred and fifty. The F.B.14 was certainly to date the cleanest of Vickers two-seaters and in appearance looked a most promising aeroplane.
   The switch to the 160 h.p. Beardmore did not, however, prove to be the panacea as difficulties with it led to the trial installation of the even lower output 120 h.p. Beardmore. With this engine the F.B.14 was quite unable to reach its required standard of performance as an operational proposition and most of the airframes constructed were passed engineless to the War Office for the search to continue for a suitable power unit.
   The installation of the 150 h.p. Lorraine-Dietrich resulted in the F.B.14A, and another version with larger two-bay wings in place of the earlier single-bay type and powered by the excellent 250 h.p. Rolls-Royce Mk. IV was designated F.B.14D. The power contributed by the Eagle IV engine was responsible for the F.B.14D having the best performance of the F.B.14 series but, even so, the machine was still not able to surpass that of the redoubtable Bristol Fighter.
   Vickers produced one more version of the basic design in the 150 h.p. R.A.F.4a-powered F.B.14F, which had a simplified fuselage without the curved coaming on the top surface and wings set with substantially greater stagger. Both the F.B.14D and the F.B.14F were employed on experimental work but six F.B.14s were allocated in 1917 for Home Defence operations.

F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

Vickers F.B.14

   The Vickers F.B.14 was variously referred to as a reconnaissance fighter and a general purpose aircraft. It was a large single-engine, single-bay, two-seat biplane with two crew members in tandem cockpits. Whereas former reconnaissance aircraft had perpetually suffered heavy losses over the Western Front, the F.B.14 was an attempt to provide an aircraft with a speed to match that of enemy scouts. Accordingly, it was intended to fit a 230hp Beardmore-Halford-Pullinger (BHP) engine, but no such engine was available at the time Vickers had completed the first airframe in July 1916 and had to be content with a 160hp Beardmore. Although this naturally reduced the performance of the F.B.14, the War Office placed an order for 150 aircraft, and later increased the figure to 250. Trouble was being experienced with the Beardmore engine, and those airframes which were completed were delivered straight into store to await resolution of the engine problems. A 120hp Beardmore was tried, but such was the further reduction in performance, that this experiment was hurriedly abandoned.
   Typical of Howard Flanders’ designs, the F.B.14 featured an upper wing larger than the lower, the interplane struts being splayed outwards. The pilot’s cockpit was located directly beneath the upper wing but was provided with large transparent panels in the wing centre section and in the lower wing roots. A synchronized Vickers gun was mounted in the centre of the nose decking, and the gunner’s cockpit, with a Scarff ring and Lewis gun, were located just aft of a cutout in the upper wing’s trailing edge. Ailerons were fitted to upper and lower wings, and a long, curved fin blended with the unbalanced rudder.
   In view of the continuing powerplant difficulties an F.B.14 was set aside to be fitted with a 150hp Lorraine-Dietrich V-eight, liquid-cooled in-line engine. This aircraft was re-styled the F.B.14A. At roughly the same time another F.B.14 (ordered separately) was specially produced to accommodate the big V-twelve 250hp Rolls-Royce Mark IV (later termed the Eagle IV), driving a four-blade propeller. This aircraft, the F.B.14D, C4547, was also given enlarged, two-bay wings, and certainly proved on test at Martlesham in March 1917 to have a significantly better performance, but by then the Bristol Fighter was demonstrating a similar performance - with better to come - and it was not considered worthwhile to pursue the Vickers aircraft. One further experimental version was the F.B.14F powered by a 150hp RAF 4A engine, also driving a four-blade propeller, and this aircraft, A8391, reverted to single-bay wings rigged with increased stagger.
   As far as it known very few of the F.B.14s held in store were completed. The F.B.14D, once its trials at Martlesham were completed, was sent to Orfordness for armament experiments, and while there was flown against the Gotha bombers which attacked London in daylight on 17 July 1917, but was unable to bring its experimental gunsights to bear on a target. About half-a-dozen Beardmore-powered F.B. 14s were issued to Home Defence units, but apparently these were not flown operationally, and unsubstantiated records suggest that some may have been sent to the Middle East for service in Mesopotamia; none has been traced as being held on charge by squadrons in that theatre.
   Except where stated, the accompanying table of leading particulars refers to the F.B.14 with the 160hp Beardmore.

   Type: Single-engine, two-seat, single-bay fighter-reconnaissance biplane.
   Manufacturer: Vickers Ltd (Aviation Department), Knightsbridge, London.
   Powerplant: F.B.14. 160hp Beardmore; 120hp Beardmore. F.B.14A. 150hp Lorraine-Dietrich. F.B.14D. 250hp Rolls-Royce Mark IV. F.B.14F. 150hp RAF 4A.
   Dimensions: Span, 39ft 6in; length, 28ft 5in; height, 10ft 0in; wing area, 427 sq ft.
   Weight: Tare, 1,662lb; all-up, 2,603lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 99.5 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 40 min 50 sec; service ceiling, 10,000ft; endurance, 3 3/4 hr.
   Armament: One synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun on fuselage nose decking, and one 0.303in Lewis gun on Scarff ring on gunner’s rear cockpit.
   Prototypes: One F.B.14, A678 (first flown in August 1916); one F.B.14A; one F.B.14D, C4547; one F.B.14F, A8391.
   Production: Out of a total of 252 aircraft ordered, only 100 are believed to have been built, and roughly half of these were completed with engines. (A679-A727, A35O5, A8341-A8490).
   Summary of Service: Either six or seven F.B.14s were issued to Home Defence squadrons.

Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919

   Pilot and gunner observer placed in tandem.
   Fitted with various line and V type engines.
   Armament: One Vickers gun firing forward, with Vickers' syncronised firing gear. One Lewis on ring mounting at rear.

A.Jackson British Civil Aircraft since 1919 vol.3 (Putnam)

Vickers F.B. 14A

   Two seat scout first flown 8.16. Total of 150 built, two of which were registered 5.19 to Vickers Ltd. as G-EAAS and G-EAAT, c/n C-103 and C-104 respectively. Civil conversion, begun at Bexleyheath, Kent and shown in the illustration, was abandoned 7.19 even though a 150 h.p. Lorraine-Dietrich water-cooled engine had been installed in one of them.
   Span, 39 ft. 6 in. Length, 28 ft. 5 in. Tare wt., 1,662 lb. A.U.W., 2,603 lb. Max. speed, 99 m.p.h.

Журнал Flight

Flight, June 12, 1919.



The F.B. 14. (Aug., 1916)

   This machine was a two-seater tractor biplane designed at the War Office request for a 200 h.p. B.H.P. engine, but, owing to this engine not having emerged from the experimental stage, a request was received to re-model the machine for 160 h.p. Beardmores. The first flight took place in August, 1916, but the decrease in the power unit resulted in a considerable depreciation in performance. Although 150 of these machines were contracted for, they were mostly delivered without engines, owing to trouble being experienced with the 160 h.p. Beardmore, and eventually 120 h.p. Beardmores were substituted. Needless to relate, with this further reduced horsepower, the performance of the machine was spoiled.
   In the spring of the following year, the F.B. 14 was fitted with a 250 h.p. Rolls-Royce engine. It was sent to Martlesham in March, and the official tests compared very favourably with contemporary machines of other makes. It was then sent on to Orfordness to be used for experimental gun work, and it is of interest to note that on the occasion of the daylight raid on London by the Germans in July, 1917, this machine followed the raiders right back to Zeebrugge. Although the machine was able to overtake the raiders it could not tackle them, as it was fitted with an experimental arrangement of sights, which gave trouble in letting the sun shine down the sight, thus rendering them useless.
   Vickers' steel construction made this machine very suitable for use in the tropics, and a large number were used in Mesopotamia.

Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
Three-quarter Rear View of Vickers' Two-Seater Fighter and Reconnaissance Biplane. (Type F.B.14.)
Форум - Breguet's Aircraft Challenge /WWW/
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
F.B.14 running up for air test in 1916 from AID base then located at Farnborough; later the airframe was submitted to static structural testing at the Royal Aircraft Factory.
Designed as a two-seat fighter-reconnaissance aircraft, the FB14 looked a good design and was ordered into production off the drawing board. In the event. however, only six of these Vickers aircraft were allocated to the RFC (and ten to Home Defence in 1917). A686 is seen at Farnborough in 1916.
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
The single-bay Vickers F.B.14A with 150hp Lorraine-Dietrich engine.
H.Cowin - Aviation Pioneers /Osprey/
The sole Vickers FB 14, serial no A3505, served as the prototype for a desultory series of two-seat, general-purpose machines, ending in the FB 14F. Designed as successors to the Royal Aircraft Factory BE 2 series in Middle East service, these 1916 FB 14s employed a variety of engines, ranging from the 160hp Beardmore to the 250hp Rolls-Royce Eagle. An FB 14's top level speed was a reasonable 99.5mph at sea level, but its climb performance was truly frightening, taking nearly 41 minutes to reach 10,000 feet, which itself was only 600 feet below the machine's ceiling. Typical armament comprised the standard pilot's fixed Vickers gun, plus a flexible-mounted Lewis gun for the observer. While the performance of subsequent variants could only improve, even that of the 250hp-powered FB 14D appears unremarkable. Figures on just how many of the series were built vary from between 41 to 100, with reports that some actually reached Middle East-based RFC units. About the only real figure available involved seven FB 14Ds delivered to home defence squadrons.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
THE VICKERS F.B. 14. - This machine was a two-seater tractor, with 160 h.p. Beardmore engine!
C.Andrews - Vickers Aircraft since 1908 /Putnam/
A line-up of Vickers experimental aircraft at Joyce Green; (left to right) F.B.12C, F.B.14, F.B.11, F.B.16.
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
The F.B.14D, C4547, with 250hp Rolls-Royce Mark IV engine.
C.Andrews - Vickers Aircraft since 1908 /Putnam/
The F.B.14D with Rolls-Royce Eagle engine and two-bay wings, in which Sir Vernon Brown and Sir Melville Jones had an exciting combat in July 1917.
C.Andrews - Vickers Aircraft since 1908 /Putnam/
F.B.14F with 150 hp Raf 4a air-cooled engine - an obvious attempt to find an alternative for the unsatisfactory 160 hp Beardmore.
C.Andrews - Vickers Aircraft since 1908 /Putnam/
Experimental civil conversion of F.B.14 at Bexleyheath, 1919.
A.Jackson - British Civil Aircraft since 1919 vol.3 /Putnam/
Vickers F.B.14A
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Front Elevations of the Vickers machines
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Side elevations ot fhe Vickers machines
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Plan views of the Vickers machines
C.Andrews - Vickers Aircraft since 1908 /Putnam/