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Westland N.1B

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1917

Single-seater Tractor Seaplane Scout

Westlake - monoplane - 1913 - Великобритания<– –>Westland - Wagtail - 1918 - Великобритания

D.James Westland aircraft since 1915 (Putnam)


   In 1916, with a growing number of Royal Navy ships capable of carrying and launching aircraft with wheeled undercarriages or floats, the Air Department of the Admiralty was examining the potentialities of single-seat fighters. It was also considering the means whereby such an aircraft could be designed and produced to meet naval requirements. Thus the Air Department N.1B requirement was for a single-seat shipboard float plane or flying-boat fighter having a speed of 95 knots (110 mph) at 10,000 ft and a ceiling of at least 20,000 ft. This latter requirement was particularly exacting, bearing in mind the comparatively low power/weight ratios and levels of reliability of the engine available at that time.
   Three aircraft manufacturers prepared designs to meet this requirement; they were the Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co, the Supermarine Aviation Works and Westland Aircraft Works. Both the Supermarine and Blackburn designs were pusher biplane flying-boats but the other design, the first to emanate from the Westland Aircraft Works, was a more conventional tractor biplane floatplane. Contracts for the construction of a total of eight prototypes, all designated N.1B, were placed with the three companies; three each by Blackburn and Supermarine and two by Westland.
   The design of the two Westland N.1B was the work of Robert Bruce and Arthur Davenport, the company's manager and chief draughtsman respectively. The construction, understandably, followed the standard pattern of that era. The fuselage was a conventional rectangular-section structure with four longerons and internal wire-braced frames of spruce with steel end fittings, the front ends of the longerons carrying the mounting for the 150 hp Bentley AR.1 (for Admiralty Rotary) rotary engine. Wooden formers on the upper longerons provided a rounded top surface to the fuselage. The cockpit surround was of leather-edged ply and had a small head fairing. The entire tail unit was an externally wire-braced wooden structure. The constant chord two-bay biplane wings were built up around two ash main spars with wire-braced spruce struts and ribs, and spruce interplane struts. Ailerons and trailing-edge flaps, described as a 'wing camber-changing device patented by Robert Bruce', were fitted on all four wings. The wings were designed to fold back against the fuselage sides for shipboard stowage without requiring a jury strut to be fitted at the front spar root-end fittings. Wire-braced spruce alighting gear struts carried two rectangular-section floats, each with a number of watertight compartments. Control wires to the elevators and rudder were run externally from the cockpit but those to the ailerons and flaps were routed inside the wings. The airframe was fabric-covered with a metal engine cowling and top and side panels at the forward end of the fuselage. Armament was a fixed forward-firing Vickers .303 in machine-gun, synchronised to fire through the propeller disc and mounted in a metal 'hump' fairing on top of the fuselage in front of the cockpit, plus a Lewis .303 in gun on a swivel mounting on the upper centre-section above the cockpit. A cross-bar on the centre-section leading-edge appeared to serve the dual purpose of preventing the gun from being fired through the propeller arc and serving as a front mounting for the gun fixed to fire either slightly to port or starboard. In addition two 65 lb bombs could be carried in tandem on tubular carriers attached on the aircraft's centre-line under the fuselage.
   Two N.1Bs were built by Westland with some minor differences between them. The first, 16, was fitted with 11 ft long Sopwith main floats and a 5 ft long tail float carrying a water rudder which was moved by a vertical shaft extending down from the aircraft's rudder. In N17, the second aircraft, these were replaced by Westland-designed floats 17 ft 6 in in length with swept-up aft ends which made the tail float unnecessary. Some reports indicate that these floats could be fitted with a through axle carrying two wheels to enable the N.1B to take-off and land on suitably equipped vessels at sea, but no evidence of this design feature can be traced. The wheels which are shown in photographs are almost certainly those of a ground-handling trolley.
   Completed during the summer of 1917, in August the renowned Harry Hawker flew N16 on its first flight from Yeovil. In October at least one Westland N.1B, N16 - and possibly both aircraft - went to the Royal Naval Air Service Experimental Construction Depot at Port Victoria on the Isle of Grain for evaluation where it was flown by Sqn Cmdr J W Seddon who, in 1913, as a young Lieutenant RN flying instructor, had had as a pupil the fledgling aviator and the First Lord of the Admiralty, Mr Winston Churchill. The reports of its evaluation against the PV.2, built by the Royal Naval Air Service Depot at Port Victoria, showed that the Westland N.1B performed well and exhibited good handling characteristics; however, before the type could be developed, a change of policy ensued. Landplane single-seat fighters, such as the Sopwith Pup and Camel, had demonstrated their ability to take-off and land on vessels underway at sea, thus removing the need for the carriers to heave to and either drop or pick-up seaplanes. Because of this change of emphasis, further production and development of the Blackburn, Westland and Supermarine N.1Bs was abandoned after cancellation of the contracts in 1917.

   Description: Single-seat floatplane fighter. All-wood construction with metal and fabric covering.
   Accommodation: Pilot in open cockpit.
   Powerplant: One 150 hp Bentley AR.1 nine-cylinder air-cooled normally-aspirated rotary engine driving a 9 ft diameter wooden propeller.
   Armament: One Vickers .303 in machine-gun firing forward and one Lewis .303 in machine-gun on a swivel mounting on the upper centre-section. Two 65 lb bombs carried in tandem under the fuselage.
   Dimensions: Span 31 ft 31/2 in; length 26 ft 5 1/2 in; height 11 ft 2 in; wing area 278 sq ft.
   Weights: Empty (N16) 1,504 lb, (N17) 1,513 lb. Loaded (N16) 1,978 lb, (N17) 1,987 lb.
   Performance: Maximum speed (N16) 108.5 mph, (N17) 107 mph at sea level; alighting speed 50 mph; climb to 5,000 ft in 10 min.
   Production: Two prototypes built by Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset, during 1916-17.

P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

The approach of the third firm, Westland, to the N.1B conditions took the form of a single-seat, tractor biplane on floats. R. A. Bruce and A. Davenport designed the machine which was intended to be operated from ships. Two prototypes, N16 and N17, were constructed, the engines chosen in each case being the 150 h.p. Bentley B.R.I. N16 used Sopwith floats, including the usual one at the tail. N17 differed in being equipped at first with a pair of long Westland-built floats which made a tail float unnecessary but the machine flew later with main and tail Sopwith floats. Tests were carried out in October, 1917, and the Westland N.1Bs were armed with one Vickers gun on the front decking and one Lewis on the upper centre-section. Although performance and handling were good, the landplane Pups and Camels were considered better for the purpose of sea operations and Westland’s N.1Bs were abandoned.

F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

Westland N.1B

   Origins of the Westland Aircraft Works at Yeovil lay firmly in the production of naval aircraft. For two years, since the company’s formation in 1915, the factory had been building Short 184 and 166 seaplanes, as well as Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutters under the management of Robert Arthur Bruce (late of Sopwith), and in 1917 he and Arthur Davenport embarked on the design of a small fighter seaplane, intended to meet the Admiralty requirement N.1B.
   Two prototype seaplanes were produced, N16 and N17. They were two-bay biplanes, powered by 150hp Bentley B.R.1 rotary engines. There was provision for wing folding for shipboard stowage, and the floats were interchangeable with landing wheels.
   N16 was completed in October 1917 with a pair of short Sopwith floats, to which was added a tail float, mounted on struts beneath the rear fuselage; a small water rudder was hinged to an extension rod from the flying rudder directly above. Camber-changing flaps were carried below the trailing edges of upper and lower wings. Armament comprised a synchronized Vickers gun enclosed in a fairing on the nose decking, and a free-firing Lewis gun was mounted above the upper wing centre section. Racks for two 65lb bombs could be attached below the fuselage.
   The second aircraft, N17, differed principally in the float arrangement. Much longer Westland-designed floats were fitted, with adequate length to obviate the need for a tail float. Other changes included the omission of the wing flaps and removal of the fairing over the Vickers gun. N17 was also fitted with the Sopwith floats for a short period to provide a basis for comparison.
   Flown on test by Cdr J W Seddon at the Isle of Grain, the Westland seaplanes performed well, and certainly showed themselves superior to the Sopwith Baby. However, with the ability of the Sopwith Pup (to be followed by the Camel) to operate from very short platforms aboard ship and with a wheel undercarriage, the Admiralty was beginning to express less interest in seaplane scouts, and Westland was unlucky not to receive a production contract.

   Type: Single-engine, single-seat, twin-float, two-bay biplane scout.
   Manufacturer: The Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset.
   Admiralty Specification: N.1B of 1917.
   Powerplant: One 150hp Bentley B.R.1 rotary engine driving two-blade propeller.
   Structure: Wooden construction throughout, with fabric covering.
   Dimensions: Span: 31ft 3 1/2 in; length, 25ft 5 1/2 in; height, 11ft 2in; wing area, 278 sq ft.
   Weights: Tare, 1,504lb; all-up, 1,978lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 108 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 28 min 40 sec.
   Armament: One synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun on nose, and one Lewis gun above centre section of upper wing.
   Prototypes: Two, N16 and N17 (first flown in October 1917). No production.

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


   Westland Aircraft began design of its first aircraft in 1917, in response to an Admiralty requirement for a single-seat fighting scout seaplane. In the Admiralty's N.1B category, the aircraft was designed by Robert Bruce and Arthur Davenport, and was a compact two-bay equi-span biplane of conventional wooden structure and fabric covering. First flown in August 1917, it was powered by a 150 hp Bentley BR1 rotary engine. Inboard of the ailerons, on both upper and lower wings, the trailing-edge camber could be varied to obtain the effect of plain flaps. The wings could be folded backwards for shipboard stowage. Armament comprised one synchronised 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Vickers gun and a flexibly-mounted Lewis of the same calibre above the upper wing centre section. Two prototypes were built and sometimes referred to as the Westland N16 and N17 from their RNAS serial numbers. The first was flown with short Sopwith floats and a large strut-mounted tail-float whereas the second was used to evaluate long Westland floats that eliminated the need for a tail float. This second aircraft, which lacked the camber-changing mechanism on the wings, also flew with the Sopwith floats and a tail float directly attached to the underside of the rear fuselage. By the time the N.1Bs were on test at the Isle of Grain, the RNAS was experimenting successfully with the shipboard operation of wheeled aircraft and the requirement for a floatplane fighting scout faded away. The following data refer to the second prototype with Sopwith floats.

Max speed, 108 mph (175 km/h) at 3,750 ft (1 145 m).
Time to 2,000 ft (610 m), 3.8 min, to 10,000 ft (3 050 m), 28.65 min.
Service ceiling, 12,700 ft (3 870 m).
Endurance, 2.75 hrs. Empty weight, 1,504 lb (682 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,978 lb (897 kg).
Span, 31 ft 3 1/2 in (9,53 m).
Length, 25 ft 5 1/2 in (7,76 m).
Height, 11 ft 2 in (3,40 m).
Wing area, 278 sq ft (25,83 m2).

J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)

Westland N.1B Scout Seaplane

  FOR about two years after its founding in April, 1915, the Westland Aircraft Works produced aircraft for the Admiralty. Short 184s, Short 166 seaplanes, Sopwith 1 1.2-Strutters and D.H.4s were built under the management of R. A. Bruce, who had been released by the Admiralty from his official duties as overseer at the Sopwith works, Kingston-on-Thames.
  In 1917 Mr Bruce and his assistant A. Davenport began the design of a single-seat fighter seaplane intended for use from ships and capable of carrying two 65-lb bombs. Presumably the aim was to produce a replacement for the Sopwith Baby. The Westland scout seaplane fell within the Admiralty category N.1B.
  Two machines, numbered N.16 and N.17, were built; both were powered by the 150 h.p. B.R.1 rotary engine and differed from each other in detail. The Westland seaplane was a simple two-bay biplane of conventional structure. The wings were arranged to fold backwards to conserve space on board ship, and the mainplanes of N.16 were fitted with trailing-edge flaps of the camber-changing type. These flaps were generally similar to the Fairey Patent Camber Gear and the variable-camber device of the Handley Page R/200.
  The fuselage was deep, and at the stern-post the bottom longerons were still well below the bottom of the rudder. Two 65-lb bombs could be carried in external racks under the fuselage, and the pilot had two machine-guns: a fixed Vickers gun was mounted on top of the fuselage, and there was a Lewis gun above the centre-section. The Vickers gun of N.16 was enclosed in a fairing, but on N.17 the gun was exposed. A hole was cut in the centre-section to improve the pilot’s upward view.
  The undercarriage of N.16 consisted of two Sopwith-built main floats and a sizeable tail-float on which was mounted a water rudder. The main-floats were simple wooden pontoons typical of the period.
  In its best-known form the second machine, N.17, had long main-floats which had been designed and built by Westland themselves. These floats curved upwards slightly towards the stern, and were long enough to keep the aircraft’s tail out of the water without the use of a tail-float. N. 17 was also flown at the Isle of Grain with Sopwith floats and a tail-float identical to that ofN.16: the tail-float ofN.17 was attached directly to the bottom longerons, whereas that of the first machine was mounted on short struts.
  Both machines could be fitted with wheels under the floats for take-off from a ship’s deck: these wheels were dropped after take-off.
  The Westland seaplanes were tested by Commander Seddon at the Isle of Grain in October, 1917, and proved to have a good performance. By that time, however, it had been shown that the Sopwith Pup landplane could be flown successfully from ships. The Pups did not need lengthy flight decks, nor did they have to be hoisted out before take-off, and they were immediately available. Moreover, the faster Sopwith 2F.1 Camel was in prospect and capable of emulating the Pup’s ability to take off from small platforms. The Westland scout seaplanes were therefore shelved.

  Manufacturers: The Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset.
  Power: 150 h.p. Bentley B.R.1.
  Dimensions: Span: 31 ft 3 1/2 in. Length: 25 ft 5 1/2 in. Height: 11 ft 2 in. Chord: 5 ft. Gap: 5 ft. Dihedral: 2° 30'. Incidence: 1°. Span of tail: 11 ft. Distance between float centres: 7 ft 6 in. Airscrew diameter: 2,650 mm (8 ft 8-33 in.).
  Areas: Wings: 278 sq ft. Ailerons: each 9-9 sq ft, total 39-6 sq ft. Tailplane: 24-5 sq ft. Elevators: 17-5 sq ft. Fin: 6-8 sq ft. Rudder: 7-5 sq ft.

Weights (lb) and Performance:
Aircraft N.17 with Sopwith Baby type floats N. 17 with Westland floats
No. of Trial Report - -
Date of Trial Report October 26th, 1917 October 29th, 1917
Type of airscrew used on trial A.D.664 A.D.664
Weight empty 1,504 1,513
Military load 53 53
Pilot 180 180
Fuel and oil 241 241
Weight loaded 1,978 1,987
Maximum speed (m.p.h.) at
1,800 ft 107-5 0
2,050 ft 0 107
3,750 ft 108-5 0
5,550 ft 107 0
6,000 ft 0 100
7,580 ft 0 85
8,900 ft 93 0
9,480 ft 0 83
m. s. m. s.
Climb to
2,000 ft 3 50 3 10
6,000 ft 13 25 11 40
10,000 ft 28 40 29 45
Service ceiling (feet) 12,700 10,400
Endurance (hours) 2 3/4 2 3/4

  Tankage: Petrol: 31-1 gallons. Oil: 5 gallons.
  Armament: One fixed, forward-firing Vickers machine-gun mounted centrally on top of the fuselage, and synchronised to fire through the airscrew; 250 rounds of ammunition were carried for this gun. One Lewis machinegun was fitted on a mounting above the centre-section. Two 65-lb bombs could be carried in racks under the fuselage.
  Serial Numbers: N.16-N.17, built under Contract No. C.P.136919/16.

H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)


N.16 and N.17. In common with other naval fighter bombers of their class these single-seater floatplanes of 1918 carried an offensive load of two 65-lb bombs. These were attached to tandem tubular carriers beneath the fuselage, falling when released between the cross-ties of the floats. A fixed synchronised Vickers gun was mounted on the fuselage centre line and was entirely enclosed in a 'hump' fairing. On the top centre-section was provision for a swivel-mounted Lewis gun, and running across the centre-section near the leading edge was a cross-bar which appears to have had the dual purpose of preventing the gun from being fired through the airscrew arc and of serving as a forward anchorage for the gun, pointing either slightly to port or to starboard. When bombs were carried, this gun was not mounted. Westland gave the weight of 'bombs and gear' as 150 lb and of 'gun and 250 rounds' as 60 lb.

D.James - Westland aircraft since 1915 /Putnam/
N16, the first N.1B, with a tail float and a humped cowl over the Vickers machine-gun.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
Three-quarter Front View of the Westland Seaplane N.16 (150 h.p. B.R.1. rotary engine).
D.James - Westland aircraft since 1915 /Putnam/
This close up of Westland N16 shows the engine cowling's fine finish, 'hump' for Vickers gun, the gun port in its cowl, two 65 Ib bombs under the fuselage and Lewis gun over centre-section. The pistol grip and spade grip of the Lewis gun are seen above the cockpit.
D.James - Westland aircraft since 1915 /Putnam/
N16 with wings folded and carrying a 65 Ib bomb under the fuselage. Note the slotted engine cowling and absense of jury struts.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Westland N.1B Scout Seaplane. The first machine, serial number N.16, with Sopwith-type floats, variable-camber gear, and cowled Vickers gun.
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
The Westland N.1B, N16, with short floats.
This N.1B floatplane fighter, N.16, was the first aircraft designed and built by Petter's Westland Aircraft Works. Changes in naval policy relating to this type of fighter brought its development to an early end.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
The second Westland N.1B, serial number N.17, with long Westland floats and exposed Vickers gun.
H.Cowin - Aviation Pioneers /Osprey/
During 1916, Westlands, who were already a subcontract aircraft builder for the Admiralty, was one of three firms that responded to an Admiralty requirement for a single seat, shipboard, floatplane fighter whose performance should exceed a top level speed of 110mph and have a ceiling in excess of 20.000 feet. The company built two Westland N IBs, serial nos N 16 and N 17, both machines powered by a 150hp Bentley rotary. First flown during August 1917, the folding wing N IB with its top level speed of 108mph at sea level was only marginally below the target figure. As it transpired the Admiralty floatplane fighter need was overtaken by the advent of the Sopwith 2F Camel.
D.James - Westland aircraft since 1915 /Putnam/
Longer float on N17 allowed the tail float to be removed.
P.Lewis - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
N17, the second Westland N.1B, equipped with long Westland floats.
D.James - Westland aircraft since 1915 /Putnam/
N17, the second N.1B, had a modified engine cowling and an uncowled Vickers gun.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Westland N.1B Scout Seaplane, N.17 with Sopwith-type floats and tail-float attached directly to lower longerons.
D.James - Westland aircraft since 1915 /Putnam/
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
The Westland N16, as originally flown, with short floats of Sopwith design.