В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны
РАФ B.E.2e / RAF B.E.2e
Весной 1916 года разработана и запущена в серию самая массовая машина семейства B.E.2 - B.E.2e, одностоечный полутораплан с прямыми законцовками крыльев, увеличенным размером киля и уменьшенным стабилизатором. Он начал поступать на фронт в июле, в разгар боёв на Сомме. Самолет был проще в управлении, чем B.E.2c, но его оборонительные возможности оставались низкими. Вероятно поэтому из 1803 B.E.2e 913 отправили в учебные части.
Разведчики завода РАФ применялись на всех фронтах первой мировой, где воевали англичане. B.E.2c и d составляли матчасть 14 дивизионов RFC и одного авиакрыла RNAS, 17 дивизионов летали на B.E.2e. Несмотря на то, что весьма посредственные летные и боевые характеристики этих аппаратов делали их легкой добычей немецких истребителей, B.E.2c были переведены на учебные аэродромы только в марте 1917-го, а B.E.2e провоевали до конца войны. Однако мало кто из них выдерживал более 20 боевых вылетов.
В 1916 году несколько B.E.2e поступило в Россию. До революции они использовались как учебные. В гражданской войне, из-за острой нехватки самолетов как у белых, так и у красных, эти аэропланы попали на фронт, а затем до 1925 года опять служили в качестве учебных и сельскохозяйственных машин. Такое долголетие в суровых условиях можно объяснить высокой надежностью и низкой аварийностью.
Норвегия закупила небольшое количество B.E.2e для своих ВВС после войны. Эти машины также активно эксплуатировались до середины 20-х годов.
Размах, м 12,42
Длина, м 8,31
Высота, м 3,40
Площадь крыла, кв.м 34,50
Сухой вес, кг 630
Взлетный вес, кг 962
мощность, л.с. 100
Скорость макс., км/ч 132
Дальность полета, км 330
Набор высоты, м/мин 1800/20,3
Потолок, м 3050
Экипаж, чел 2
Вооружение 1-2 пулемета
44 кг бомб
А.Шепс Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты
В.Е.2e - развитие машин серии В.Е.2d. Увеличен размах верхнего крыла. Усилено шасси. Стойки крыльев и шасси прикрыты обтекателями. Увеличена площадь киля. Двигатель более мощный - RAF-1a (100 л. с.). Обтекатели, более тщательная отделка и капотирование двигателя позволили улучшить качества машины.
В.Шавров История конструкций самолетов в СССР до 1938 г.
Разведчик BE-2e - двухместный разведчик, одностоечный биплан, почти полутораплан; верхнее крыло с очень большими консольными частями и со шпренгелями. Фюзеляж тонкий, с неглубокой посадкой людей. Двигатель - RAF-1A в 90 л. с., двухрядный, 8-цилиндровый, воздушного охлаждения. Винт четырехлопастный. Два выхлопных коллектора двигателя были выведены вверх перед центропланом. Расчалки коробки крыльев - стальные профилированные ленты. Вооружения не было. Этот самолет выпуска 1915 г. отличался хорошей летучестью, был устойчив в полете, легок в управлении, мог выполнять фигуры высшего пилотажа. В России появился во второй половине 1916 г., применялся в гражданской войне и встречался на аэродромах до 1925 г. Был его одноместный вариант. В 1922-1923 гг. использовался также в качестве самолета сельскохозяйственной авиации для опыления садов и полей. Бак для химикатов был установлен в передней кабине.
Близкий к нему тип BE-2c, значащийся в числе приобретенных, по-видимому, был доставлен в Архангельск, но не вывезен оттуда. Как и тип BE-2e - это был двухстоечный биплан с двигателем РАФ в 90 л. с.
Двигатель , марка||РАФ-1А
мощность, л. с.||90
Длина самолета, м||8,5
Размах крыла, м||12,4
Площадь крыла, м2||33,5
Масса пустого, кг||630
Масса топлива+ масла, кг||133+13
Масса полной нагрузки, кг||309
Полетная масса, кг||959
Удельная нагрузка на крыло, кг/м2||28,6
Удельная нагрузка на мощность, кг/лс||10,7
Скорость максимальная у земли, км/ч||~100
Время набора высоты||
Потолок практический, м||3500
Продолжительность полета, ч.||3,2
P.Hare Royal Aircraft Factory (Putnam)
B.E.2e, f & g
Designed with the admirable intention of bringing about an improvement in the B.E.2's somewhat outdated performance, the 'e' variant had single-bay wings of unequal span and with outwardly-raked tips, the long upper-wing extensions being braced from inverted-vee kingposts above the interplane struts. The wings were rigged at a constant incidence, without wash-out. The tailplane was also new, being of reduced area and also having outwardly-raked tips. A larger fin with a curved leading edge was adopted for the new machine. There seems to have been no attempt to reverse the crew positions, although the arrangement of the fuel tanks was again revised.
The prototype, which was created by fitting the new wings and tail surfaces to Bristol-built production B.E.2c number 4111, made its first flight on 18 February 1916. As had been expected, its performance was somewhat better than that of earlier variants, and on 1 March Mervyn O'Gorman informed the War Office that its maximum speed was 97mph at ground level and about 90mph at 6,000ft. There is some reason to believe that these results may have been obtained using the R.A.F.1b engine, which was rated at 105hp, but this engine did not enter production, and the 90hp R.A.F.1a remained the standard powerplant. Thus powered, the B.E.2e's speed was recorded as 82mph at 6,000ft, which, although not fast, was at least ten per cent faster than the B.E.2c at the same altitude.
Lateral control was reported as being 'very much better', landing was 'more easy', and climb increased by between seven and ten per cent. These improvements were considered sufficient to justify putting the B.E.2e into large-scale production, and also having all unfulfilled orders for earlier variants completed as B.E.2es. While these machines were all taken on charge by the Royal Flying Corps as B.E.2es, however, it was found that, in practice, they were of three distinct and different types: the B.E.2e as designed, the B.E.2c fuselage fitted with the new tail and single-bay wings, and the B.E.2d fuselage similarly equipped. Each type had a different arrangement of fuel tanks and a slightly different performance. In addition, those with the B.E.2d fuselage retained the dual controls of that variant. This made maintenance and the requisitioning of spares unnecessarily difficult, and clearly required some easy means by which the three types could be distinguished. The RFC therefore decided that aeroplanes with single-bay wings and the B.E.2c fuselage would be designated the B.E.2f, and those with the B.E.2d fuselage would be B.E.2gs.
Although the B.E.2e's performance was an improvement on that of its predecessors, it was less than adequate for service on the Western Front and, since the machine was as poorly armed as previous variants, losses were high. Nonetheless, the B.E.2e carried on to the end of the war, gradually being replaced by the R.E.8 and various other, more modern, types.
The B.E.2e also served in every other theatre of war and, by the time of the Armistice, when all outstanding orders were cancelled, it had been produced in greater numbers than any other B.E.2 variant. In addition, a very great number served in training establishments in England, and it was rare indeed for any pilot to gain his wings without having flown one.
Allegations that the long extensions on the upper wing were structurally unsound, and that they would collapse if too much stress was put on them by violent manoeuvres, were investigated by the Royal Aircraft Factory and proved to be unfounded. Despite this the rumours persisted, and prompted a number of pilots to treat their mounts with undue caution.
As with the B.E.2c, at least one attempt was made to fit the 150hp Hispano-Suiza, utilising a car-type frontal radiator of the type by that time used on the S.E.5. Although the installation was technically a great success, it was not adopted for production, simply because a number of other aircraft - most notably the S.E.5 - had a better claim to the limited supply of engines then available.
At least one experimental version was built with wings of increased chord and of R.A.F.18 section, although neither its intended purpose nor relative success can now be ascertained.
After the war use of the B.E.2e was quickly discontinued. Only a handful found their way on to the civil register, perhaps reinforcing the generally held opinion that the type was staid and uninteresting, but the type was used by a number of foreign air services, notably that of Norway, until the mid-1920s.
90hp R.A.F.1a V-8
105hp R.A.F.1b V-8
40ft 6in (upper);
30ft 6in (lower);
chord 5ft 6in;
gap 6ft 3in;
wing area 360sqft;
stagger 2ft 0in;
dihedral 3 1/2°;
incidence 4° 9";
length 27ft 3in;
height 11ft 9in.
Performance (R.A.F.1a) :
90mph at sea level;
82mph at 6,500ft;
climb 20min to 6,000ft;
max. speed 97mph at sea level;
O.Thetford Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 (Putnam)
BE 2e (Royal Aircraft Factory)
The BE 2e was a two-seat Corps Reconnaissance aircraft developed from the famous BE 2c, some of which also remained in service in 1918. The BE 2e equipped Nos 30, 31, 114 and 142 Squadrons in October 1918, as well as Nos 33, 37, 38, 39, 50, 75, 76, 77 and 78 Home Defence Squadrons. The last examples in service were those of No 114 Squadron in India in October 1919. Powerplant, one 90hp RAF la engine. Loaded weight, 2,100lb; max speed, 82mph at 6,500 ft; initial climb, 182ft/min; endurance, 3 1/2hr; ceiling, 9,000ft. Span, 40ft 9in; length, 27ft 3in.
O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)
Two-seat Corps reconnaissance aircraft, a development of the B. E.2c and B. E.2d, used mainly by the RFC but some 95 were transferred to the RNAS for service at training schools such as Cranwell. Some of the RNAS trainers had the 75 hp Rolls-Royce Hawk engine instead of the standard 90 hp RAF IA. Loaded weight, 2,100 lb. Maximum speed 90 mph at sea level. Climb, 53 min to 10.000 ft. Endurance, 4 hr. Service ceiling, 9,000 ft. Span, 40 ft 9 in. Length, 30 ft 6 in.
J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)
B.E.2c, 2d and 2e
The B.E.2d was followed in 1916 by the B.E.2e, an aeroplane with a completely new wing structure and modified tail unit. The wings were of unequal span, and there was only one pair of interplane struts on either side. The enormous extensions of the upper wing were braced against flying loads by wires from the lower ends of the interplane struts; and landing wires ran from triangular kingpost structures above the wing. The wing-tips were raked and straight-edged.
The original B.E.-pattern rudder was retained, but a new fin of greater area was fitted and the tailplane had raked tips. The enlarged fin had a rounded leading edge, and thereafter was the standard type of fin for all B.E. machines. Late production B.E.2c’s, 2d’s and 12s were all fitted with it, and some of them also had the B.E.2e-type tailplane.
So much was expected of the B.E.2e that current contracts were amended and the necessary modifications made to aircraft which were in course of construction as B.E.2c’s and 2d’s; whilst additional contracts specifying B.E.2e’s were given to the various manufacturers. There is also a certain amount of evidence which suggests that some existing B.E.2c’s and 2d’s were converted into B.E.2e’s. Thanks to these endeavours, more B.E.2e’s were built than any other B.E.2 variant; but the type proved to be no more successful than its predecessors. It responded more readily to the controls, but its performance was no better, and no attempt had been made to provide practical defensive armament: the observer still occupied the front cockpit. Like the B.E.2c and 2d, the 2e was a pleasant flying machine but, in addition to its basic shortcomings as a war aircraft, it was the subject of a formidable crop of rumours which cast grave doubt upon its structural strength. Most of these rumours alleged that the extensions of the upper wing would collapse if any unusual manoeuvres were attempted; and, true or false, they destroyed the confidence of many pilots in their machines.
The B.E.2e joined the R.F.C. in the field during the Battle of the Somme. No. 34 Squadron, the first unit to be equipped with the type, arrived in France on July 15th, 1916. For more than a year thereafter the B.E.2e carried out most of the R.F.C.’s artillery observation work in France until it was replaced by the R.E.8 and Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8.
In other theatres of war the B.E.2e served in Palestine, Mesopotamia, Macedonia and India, and was also used on Home Defence duties. The only distinction it gained as a Home Defence machine was a mention in The War in the Air as being incapable of climbing high enough to attack enemy airships. A few were sent to Russia, where they were flown by Russian pilots on the Eastern Front.
The standard engine for the B.E.2c, 2d and 2e was the 90 h.p. R.A.F.1a, but several other types of engine were installed in some machines. The 105 h.p. R.A.F.1b became available in 1916 and was fitted to some B.Es; this engine had cylinders of larger bore. A few machines were fitted with the later R.A.F.1d, which had aluminium cylinders with deep fins and overhead inlet and exhaust valves. (The R.A.F.1a and 1b had cast-iron cylinders with side inlet valve and overhead exhaust valve. The R.A.F.1d was of considerable historical importance in view of the use of aluminium for its cylinders; it owed its existence to the experimental work of H. P. Boot and G. S. Wilkinson with aluminium cylinders at Farnborough.)
Some B.E.2c’s originally built for the R.F.C. were handed over to the R.N.A.S. without engines, and several were fitted with the 90 h.p. Curtiss OX-5. One of the contractors responsible for fitting the Curtiss engine was the firm of Frederick Sage & Co., Ltd. A few of the B.E.2e’s which were handed over to the R.N.A.S. for training purposes were fitted with the 75 h.p. Rolls-Royce Hawk engine.
The 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza was fitted to several B.E.2c’s and 2e’s. One of the first installations in a B.E.2c was made unofficially at No. 1 Aircraft Depot at St. Omer early in 1916. At Farnborough, the Hispano was first fitted to the B.E.2c No. 2599; this machine had its radiators disposed in a peculiar manner along each cylinder block.
A more conventional radiator installation for the Hispano-Suiza was made by the Belgians when they modified several of their B.E.2c’s to have the 150 h.p. engine: a flat circular radiator was fitted in the nose. In an attempt further to improve their B.E.ac’s, the Belgians modified the control system and placed the pilot in the front cockpit. He was then provided with a synchronised Vickers gun, and a Nieuport-type ring-mounting was fitted over the rear cockpit for the observer’s Lewis gun. Unfortunately, the additional weight of the greatly improved armament had an adverse effect upon the aircraft’s performance, for its service ceiling was only 11,000 feet. The modifications were made under the direction of Lieutenant Armand Glibert of the 6th Belgian Squadron, but he was one of the first to lose his life on a Hispano-B.E. While on a reconnaissance flight far inside the German lines he and his observer, Lieutenant Callant, were attacked by enemy fighters. Unable to climb or manoeuvre adequately, their B.E.ac was shot down and both were killed.
Some of the R.F.C.’s B.E.2e’s were fitted with the 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza, but were used only for training purposes.
The B.E.2c and 2e were used in many experiments throughout the war. One of the most startling was begun at Kingsnorth airship station in the summer of 1915. At that time much thought was devoted to the design of an anti-Zeppelin aircraft which, as one of its most desirable qualities, would have a very long flight endurance. Commander N. F. Usborne and Lieutenant-Commander de Courcy W. P. Ireland designed a remarkable composite aircraft which consisted of an S.S.-type airship envelope to which was attached a complete B.E.2C aeroplane. It was argued that the gas bag would keep the aeroplane aloft until a Zeppelin was sighted: by means of quick-release catches the airship envelope would be cast off, and the B.E.2C would attack in the normal way. The first tests of the Airship-plane, as it was called, were made by Flight Commander W. C. Hicks in August, 1915, but the controlling gear was not satisfactory. After modifications had been made, the first trial flight was made by Usborne and Ireland. It ended tragically. At about 4,000 feet the B.E. was seen to separate prematurely from the gas bag: some of the flight controls must have been damaged, for the machine turned over as it fell away, and Lieutenant-Commander Ireland was thrown out. The B.E. crashed out of control in the goods yard of Strood railway station, and Commander Usborne was killed.
In August, 1916, a B.E.2c was used to test the first installation of the Constantinesco synchronising gear for machine-guns. This was probably the B.E.2c’s greatest service to the R.F.C. and R.N.A.S., for the Constantinesco gear was a great improvement over existing types of interrupter or synchronising gear.
An equally great service to aviation in general was rendered by the B.E.2e in which Dr F. A. Lindemann (later Lord Cherwell) carried out his very gallant experiments to investigate the phenomenon of spinning, which was not then understood.
The spinning experiments were conducted at Farnborough, as were many others in which B.Es were fitted with various airscrews, engines, instruments and wings of different aerofoil sections. Wings of R.A.F. 14, 15, 17 and 18 section were tested, and one of the B.E.2e’s which were used was fitted with wings of 6 feet 1 inch chord.
Early in 1918, B.E.2c No. 4122 was fitted with the first R.A.F. variable-pitch airscrew. Operation of the airscrew was purely mechanical and the pilot’s control consisted of a handwheel. Each of the four blades of the airscrew was built up of walnut laminations and was fitted to a steel shank. The hub was a clumsy structure, and the complete airscrew weighed 85 lb: it was 50 lb heavier than the standard walnut airscrew. The total range of angular movement of the blades was 1 o degrees.
Some of the earliest British experiments with superchargers were conducted on B.Es. In these aircraft the engine was the R.A.F.1a, and the blower was fitted directly under the fuel tank. When the blower seized (as it frequently did), the resulting shower of sparks so near the petrol tank was somewhat disquieting for the observer.
The B.E.2C continued on active service until the last year of the war: in 1918, some were still working as anti-submarine patrol aircraft. The great majority of B.Es ended their days at various training units, however. In August, 1918, twelve B.E.2e’s were sold to the Americans, and were used as trainers in England.
Thus these unwilling warriors - for the B.E.2C was originally designed to be merely a stable aeroplane, not a fighting aircraft - ended their days in comparative peace. But they achieved a kind of immortality, for they were regarded as the embodiment of the Government-designed aeroplane, mass-produced by official order, yet inefficient, ineffective and inferior for all military purposes. To blame the B.Es themselves would be to misjudge them, for they were safe and reliable flying machines, lacking only the performance and manoeuvrability necessary to survive the ever-increasing intensity of aerial warfare. The fault lay with those who continued to order the B.Es and, worse still, to send them to war long after they were obsolete.
They were the Fokker Fodder of 1915-16; they were the prey of Albatros, Halberstadt, Roland and Pfalz in 1916-17; they were the reason for Noel Pemberton-Billing’s dramatic charges of criminal negligence against the Administration and higher Command of the R.F.C. In a speech in the House of Commons on March 21st, 1916, Pemberton-Billing said: “I would suggest that’quite a number of our gallant officers in the Royal Flying Corps have been rather murdered than killed.” The Judicial Committee which was set up to investigate these charges was unable to find any foundation in fact for them.
But the stigma remained and survives to this day, redeemed only by its implied, unrecorded quantum of courage - the courage of those who flew the B.Es to war.
Contractors; Sir W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth & Co., Ltd., Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne; The Austin Motor Co. (1914), Ltd., Northfield, Birmingham; Barclay, Curie & Co., Ltd., Whiteinch, Glasgow; William Beardmore & Co., Ltd., Dalmuir, Dumbartonshire; The Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co., Ltd., Olympia, Leeds; The British Caudron Co., Ltd., Broadway, Cricklewood, London, N.W.a; The British and Colonial Aeroplane Co., Ltd., Filton, Bristol; The Coventry Ordnance Works, Ltd., Coventry; The Daimler Co., Ltd., Coventry; William Denny & Bros., Dumbarton; The Eastbourne Aviation Co., Ltd., Eastbourne; The Grahame-White Aviation Co., Ltd., Hendon, London, N.W.; Handley Page, Ltd., 110 Cricklewood Lane, London, N.W.; Hewlett & Blondeau, Ltd., Clapham, London; Martinsyde, Ltd., Brooklands, Byfleet; Napier & Miller, Ltd., Old Kilpatrick; Ruston, Proctor & Co., Ltd., Lincoln; The Siddeley-Deasy Motor Car Co., Ltd., Park Side, Coventry; Vickers, Ltd. (Aviation Department), Imperial Court, Basil Street, Knightsbridge, London, S.W.; The Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co. (1906), Ltd., Crossens, Southport; G. & J. Weir, Ltd., Cathcart, Glasgow; Wolseley Motors, Ltd., Adderley Park, Birmingham. Australia: a few B.E.2c’s were built at the Australian Flying School, Point Cook.
Aircraft B.E.2c B.E.2d B.E.2e Experimental B.E.2e with R.A.F. 18 wings
Span, upper 37 ft 36 ft 10 in. 40 ft 9 in. 40 ft 9 in.
Span, lower 37 ft 36 ft 10 in. 30 ft 6 in. 30 ft 6 in.
Length 27 ft 3 in. 27 ft 3 in. 27 ft 3 in. 27 ft 3 in.
Height 11 ft 1 1/2 in. 11 ft 12 ft 12 ft
Chord 5 ft 6 in. 5 ft 6 in. 5 ft 6 in. 6 ft 1 in.
Gap 6 ft 3-19 in. 6 ft 3 in. 6 ft 3 1/4 in. 6 ft 3 1/4 in.
Stagger 2 ft 2 ft 2 ft 2 ft
Dihedral 3° 30' 3° 30' 3° 30' 3° 30'
R.A.F. 6 3° 30' - - -
R.A.F. 14 4° 09' 4° 09' 4° 15' -
Span of tail 15 ft 6 in. 15 ft 6 in. 14 ft 14 ft
Wheel track 5 ft 9 3/4 in. 5 ft 9 3/4 in. 5 ft 9 3/4 in. 5 ft 9 3/4 in.
R.A.F.1a 9 ft 1 in. 9 ft 1 in. 9 ft 1 in. 9 ft 1 in.
Hispano-Suiza 8 ft 7 in. - - -
Areas (sq. ft) :
Wings 371 371 360 399
Tailplane 36 36 24 24
Elevator 27 27 22 22
Fin 4 4 8 8
Rudder 12 12 15 15
Power: B.E.2C: 70 h.p. Renault; 90 h.p. R.A.F. 1a; 105 h.p. R.A.F. 1b; 105 h.p. R.A.F. 1d; 90 h.p. Curtiss OX-5; 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza. B.E.2d: 90 h.p. R.A.F. 1a. B.E.2e: 90 h.p. R.A.F. 1a; 105 h.p. R.A.F. 1b; 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza; 75 h.p. Rolls-Royce Hawk.
Tankage: B.E.2C, R.A.F. la engine: petrol, main pressure tank, 18 gallons; auxiliary gravity tank, 14 3/4 gallons; total 32 3/4 gallons. Oil: 3 gallons. B.E.2C, 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza: petrol, 23 gallons. Oil: 3 gallons. Water: 9 gallons. B.E.2d and B.E.2e: petrol, main gravity tank, 19 gallons; auxiliary gravity tank, 10 gallons; service gravity tank, 12 gallons; total 41 gallons. Oil: 4I gallons.
Armament: Defensive armament ranged from nil to four Lewis machine-guns, by way of various assortments of rifles and pistols. Usually a single’ Lewis gun was carried, for which four sockets were provided about the front cockpit: one on either side, one in front and one behind. The gun had to be lifted manually from one socket to another.
A fixed Lewis gun could be fitted on a Strange-type mounting on the starboard side; the gun fired obliquely outwards and forwards to clear the airscrew. A few B.Es had a Lewis gun mounted behind the pilot’s cockpit for rearwards firing.
Some of the Belgian B.E.2c’s with the 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine had a fixed, synchronised Vickers machine-gun for the pilot and a Lewis gun on a Nieuport-type ring-mounting on the rear cockpit.
Some Home Defence B.Es had a Lewis gun or pair of Lewis guns firing upwards behind the centresection: others carried twenty-four Ranken darts plus two 20-lb high explosive bombs plus two 16-lb incendiary bombs. Ten Le Prieur rockets could also be carried.
Some R.N.A.S. B.E.2c’s had a Lewis gun on an elevated bracket immediately in front of the pilot’s cockpit: the gun fired under the centre-section but over the airscrew.
Bombs were carried in racks under the fuselage and under the inner bays of the lower wings. The bomb-load of the Renault-powered B.E.2C consisted of three or four small bombs of 20 or 25 lb. When flown solo, the R.A.F.-powered B.E.2C could take two 112-lb bombs, one 112-lb and four 20-lb bombs, or ten 20-lb bombs. The pilots of the bomber B.Es usually carried a rifle as a defensive weapon.
B.E.2C. Western Front: R.F.C. Squadrons Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16 and 21; R.N.A.S., Dunkerque; No. 1 Wing, R.N.A.S.; 6th Squadron, Belgian Flying Corps, both R.A.F. 1a and Hispano-Suiza versions. Home Defence: H.D. Detachments of No. .19 Reserve Squadron, consisting of two machines at each of the following aerodromes: Hounslow, Wimbledon Common, Croydon, Farningham, Joyce Green, Hainault Farm, Suttons Farm, Chingford, Hendon and Northolt. These detachments became No. 39 Squadron on April 15th, 1916. Two B.E.2c’s at Brooklands, two at Farnborough, three at Cramlington. Three machines each to training squadrons at Norwich, Thetford, Doncaster and Dover. Squadrons Nos. 33, 39, 50, 51, 75, 141 and No. 5 Reserve Squadron. R.N.A.S., Great Yarmouth (and landing grounds at Bacton, Holt, Burgh Castle, Covehithe and Sedgeford), Redcar, Hornsea, Scarborough, Eastchurch, Port Victoria. South-West Africa: South African Aviation Corps Unit. East Africa: No. 7 Squadron, R.N.A.S.; No. 26 Squadron, R.F.C. Egypt: R.F.C. Squadrons Nos. 14 and 17. Palestine: R.F.C. Squadrons Nos. 14 and 67 (Australian). Mesopotamia: No. 30 Squadron, R.F.C. Macedonia: No. 17 Squadron, R.F.C. India: R.F.C. Squadrons Nos. 31 and 114. Eastern Mediterranean: No. 2 Wing, R.N.A.S., Imbros and Mudros; No. 3 Wing, R.N.A.S., Tenedos and Imbros. Training: used at various training units; e.g., Netheravon; No. 11 Reserve Squadron, Northolt; No. 20 Training Squadron, Wye; No. 26 Training Squadron, Blandford; No. 35 Reserve Squadron, Filton (later Northolt); No. 39 Training Squadron, Narborough; No. 44 Training Squadron, Waddington; No. 51 Squadron, Marham; No. 63 Squadron, Stirling; W/T Telegraphists School, Chattis Hill; School of Photography, Map Reading and Reconnaissance, Farnborough; Air Observers’ Schools at New Romney, Manston and Eastchurch; School of R.A.F. and Army Cooperation, Worthy Down; R.N.A.S. Cranwell; Belgian Flying School, Etampes; Australian Flying School, Point Cook.
B.E.2d. Western Front: R.F.C. Squadrons Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12. 13, 15, 16, 42, H.Q. Communication Squadron. Training: No. 63 Squadron, and mainly as for B.E.2C.
B.E.2e. Western Front: R.F.C. Squadrons Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 21, 34, 42, 52, 53, 100, Special Duty Flight of 9th (H.Q.) Wing, H.Q. Communication Squadron. Eastern Front: used by Russian Flying Corps. Home Defence: obviously distributed on a similar scale to the B.E.2C; Squadrons Nos. 51, 78 and 141 are known to have used the type. Palestine: Squadrons Nos. 14, 67 (Australian), 113, 142; “B” Flight at Weli Sheikh Nuran, formed from No. 23 Training Squadron; “X” Flight at Aqaba. Mesopotamia: No. 30 Squadron. Macedonia: No. 47 Squadron. India: Squadrons Nos. 31 and 114. Training: No. 1 Training Depot Squadron, Stamford; Training Squadrons Nos. 26, 31 and 44; No. 39 Reserve Squadron, Northolt; Chattis Hill, Farnborough, New Romney, Manston, Eastchurch and Worthy Down as detailed for B.E.2C; Advanced Air Firing School, Lympne; R.N.A.S., Cranwell; twelve used by the Americans at Ford Junction; Australian Flying School, Point Cook.
Weights (lb} and Performance:
Aircraft B.E.2C B.E.2C B.E.2C Armoured B.E.2C B.E.2d B.E.2d B.E.2e B.E.2e
Engine Renault R.A.F.1a Hispano-Suiza R.A.F.1a R.A.F.1a R.A.F.1a R.A.F.1a R.A.F.1b
No. of Trial Report - - - - M.30 M.106 M.20 -
Date of Trial Report - April, 1916 - May, 1916 June, 1917 May 10th, 1916 -
Type of airscrew used on trial - - - - T.7448 - T.7448 -
Weight empty - 1,370 1,750 - 1,375 - 1,431 -
Military load - 160 80 - 80 Nil 70 90
Crew - 360 320 - 320 360 360 360
Fuel and oil - 252 200 - 345 - 239 -
Weight loaded - 2,142 2,350 2,374 2,120 1,950 2,100 2,119
Maximum speed (m.p.h.) at
ground level 75 - 949 85-5 88-5 - 90 94
6,500 ft - 72 91 - 75 89-5 82 -
8,000 ft - - - - 73 - 77-3 -
10,000 ft - 69 86 - 71 83 75 -
m. s. m. s. m. s. m. s. m. s. m. s. m. s. m. s.
1,000 ft - - - - 3 00 - 1 36 -
2,000 ft - - - - 7 55 - - -
3,000 ft - - 5 40 - 12 15 - - -
3.500 ft - 6 30 - 10 00 - - - -
4,000 ft - - - - 18 00 - - -
5,000 ft - - - - 24 00 - - -
6,000 ft - - 11 50 - 31 15 - 20 30 12 20
6,500 ft - 20 00 - - 36 00 17 35 - -
7,000 ft - - - - 40 15 - - -
8,000 ft - - - - 52 30 - 32 40 19 20
9,000 ft - - - - 65 10 - - -
10,000 ft - 45 15 26 05 - 82 50 33 40 53 00 26 30
11,000 ft - - - - - - 71 00 -
12,000 ft - - 37 10 - - - 80 00 -
Service ceiling (feet) - 10,000 12,500 - 7,000 12,000 9,000 -
Endurance (hours) - 3 1/4 2 - 5 1/2 - - 3 1/2
Serial No. Type Contractor For delivery to:
952-963 B.E.2C Vickers Admiralty, but transferred to R.F.C.
964-975 B.E.2C Blackburn Admiralty
976-987 B.E.2C Hewlett & Blondeau Admiralty
988-999 B.E.2C Martinsyde Admiralty
1075-1098 B.E.2C Vickers Admiralty
1099-1122 B.E.2C Beardmore Admiralty
1123-1146 B.E.2C Blackburn Admiralty
1147-1170 B.E.2C Grahame-White Admiralty
1183-1188 B.E.2C Eastbourne Admiralty
1189-1194 B.E.2C Hewlett & Blondeau Admiralty
1652-1697 B.E.2C British & Colonial; Contract No. A.2554.A(MA 3) War Office
1698-1747 B.E.2C British & Colonial; Contract No. A.2763 War Office
Between and about B.E.2C War Office
1748 and 1799
Between and about B.E.2C Probably Daimler War Office
2015 and 2092
2470-2569 B.E.2C Wolseley War Office
2570-2669 B.E.2C - War Office
2670-2769 B.E.2C Ruston, Proctor War Office
3999 B.E.2C Blackburn Admiralty
4070-4219 B.E.2C British & Colonial; Contract No. A.3243 War Office
4300-4599 B.E.2C and 2e G. & J. Weir War Office, some transfers to Admiralty War Office
4700-4709 B.E.2C (single-seat) British & Colonial; Contract No. 94/A/14 War Office
4710 B.E.2C - War Office
About 5235 B.E.2C - War Office
Between and about B.E.2C - War Office
5384 and 5445
5730-5879 B.E.2d British & Colonial; Contract No. 87/A/115 War Office
6228-6327 B.E.2d and 2e Ruston, Proctor; Contract No. 87/A/179 War Office, some transfers to R.N.A.S. War Office
6728-6827 B.E.2d and 2e Vulcan War Office
7058-7257 B.E.2d and 2e British & Colonial; Contract No. 87/A/115 War Office
8293-8304 B.E.2C Grahame-White Admiralty
8326-8337 B.E.2C Beardmore Admiralty
8404-8433 B.E.2C Eastbourne Admiralty
8488-8500 B.E.2C Beardmore Admiralty
8606-8629 B.E.2C Blackburn; Contract No. C.P.60949/15 Admiralty
9456-9475 B.E.2C and 2e* - Admiralty
9951-10000 B.E.2C Blackburn Admiralty
A.1261-A.1310 B.E.2C and 2e Barclay, Curie War Office
A.1311-A.1360 B.E.2C and 2e Napier & Miller War Office
A.1361-A.1410 B.E.2C and 2e Denny War Office
A.1792-A.1891 B.E.2C and 2e Vulcan War Office, some transfers to R.N.A.S. War Office
A.2733-A.2982 B.E.2e British & Colonial; Contract No. 87/A/51 War Office
A.3049-A.3148 B.E.2e Wolseley War Office
A.3149-A.3168 B.E.2e - War Office
A.8626-A.8725 B.E.2e British & Colonial; Contract No. 87/A/571 War Office
B.719, 13.723, B.728, B.790 B.E.2e No. 1 (Southern) Aeroplane Repair Depot Rebuilds for R.F.G.
B.3651-B.3750 B.E.2e Vulcan War Office
B.4401-B.4600 B.E.2e British & Colonial; Contract No. 87/A/571 War Office
B.6151-B.6200 B.E.2e British Caudron War Office
C.1701-C.1750 B.E.2e British & Colonial; contract cancelled War Office
C.6901-C.7000 B.E.2e Denny War Office
C.7001-C.7100 B.E.2e Barclay Curie War Office
C.7101-C.7200 B.E.2e Napier & Miller War Office
Between and about
F.4096 and F.4160 (probable batch F.4071-F.4170) B.E.2e - War Office
N.5770-N.5794 B.E.2c Allocated for B.E.2c’s with 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engines, but contract cancelled Admiralty
* 9459-9461 were B.E.2e’s transferred from R.F.G. They were originally numbered A. 1829, A. 1833 and A. 1835 respectively.
Production and Allocation: Official statistics group the B.E.2a, 2b, 2c and 2d together, and show that a total of 1,793 B.Es of these four sub-types were built. Deliveries to the R.F.G. only and R.A.F. were as follows (these figures exclude deliveries to the R.N.A.S.):
Type Expeditionary Force Middle East Brigade Training
Units Home Defence Total
B.E.2C 487 200 294 136 1,117
B.E.2d 136 - 54 1 191
B.E.2e 503 225 9’3 160 1,801
On October 31st, 1918, only 474 B.E.2c’s, 2d’s and 2e’s remained on charge with the R.A.F. Of these, one was with the Expeditionary Force in France; sixty-seven were in Egypt and Palestine; six were at Salonika; six were in Mesopotamia; fifty-eight were on the North-West Frontier of India; four were in the Mediterranean area; and seven were en route to the Middle East. At home, three were at Aeroplane Repair Depots; ten were in store; twenty-one were with Home Defence units; six were with Coastal Patrol units; two were at Aircraft Acceptance Parks; four were in Ireland with the 1 ith Group; and 279 were at schools and various other aerodromes.
Notes on Individual Machines: Used by No. 13 Squadron, R.F.G.: 2017, 2043, 2045, 4079, 4084, 5841 (Manfred von Richthofen’s 32nd victory, April 2nd, 1917). Used by No. 30 Squadron, R.F.G.: 2690, 4141, 4183, 4191, 4194, 4398, 4414, 4486, 4500, 4562, 4573, 4584, 4594. Used at Great Yarmouth Air Station, R.N.A.S.: 977, 1151 (transferred to Chingford), 1155 (transferred to Chingford), 1160 (transferred to Chingford), 1194 (transferred to Eastbourne), 8326, 8417, 8418, 8419, 8492, 8614. Used at No. 1 School of Navigation and Bomb Dropping, Stonehenge: B.4498, B.6155, B.8896, B.8899, C.6939, C.7103, C.7127, C.7131, C.7137. Used by No. 1 Training Depot Squadron, Stamford: A.2946, B.6164, B.8828, C.7055, C.7141, C.7151. Other B.Es: 968 and 969: transferred to South African Aviation Corps; left U.K. on April 3rd, 1915. 980: went to France September 20th, 1915. 1109: R.N.A.S., Redcar. 1127: did not go into British service; was sent to Belgium in exchange for a Farman biplane, which was given the serial number 1127 on arrival in Britain. 1145: R.N.A.S., Redcar. 1675: interned in Holland, 1915. 1688: used in tests of R.A.F. Low Altitude Bomb Sight. 1697: became B.E. 12 prototype. 1700: became B.E.9. 1738: transferred to R.N.A.S.; fitted with 90 h.p. Curtiss engine. 1793: R.A.F. ib engine; was used to test effect of weather on performance, summer, 1916. 2015: experimental installation of multiple pitot tubes on mounting in front of fin. 2037: No. 16 Squadron. 2599: 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine. 2735: transferred to R.N.A.S. 2737: transferred to R.N.A.S.; used by “D” Flight, Cranwell. 3999: W/T experimental machine for Admiralty. 4120: tested with R.A.F. 19-section wings, June, 1916; survived until 1921.4122: fitted with R.A.F. variable-pitch airscrew. 4199: No. 20 Training Squadron, Wye. 4205: armoured B.E.2C. 4312: B.E.2e of No. 67 (Australian) Squadron. 4336 and 4337: transferred to R.N.A.S.; fitted with 90 h.p. Curtiss OX-5. 4362: No. 3 Squadron. 4423: transferred to R.N.A.S.; fitted with 90 h.p. Curtiss OX-5. 4426: transferred to R.N.A.S.; used by “D” Flight, Cranwell. 4524, 4525 and 4526: transferred to R.N.A.S. 6232: B.E.2d; Manfred von Richthofen’s 26th victory, March nth, 1917. 6246: B.E.2d, No. 63 Squadron. 6324: B.E.2e; transferred to R.N.A.S., Cranwell; fitted with 75 h.p. Rolls-Royce Hawk engine. 6325 and 6326: transferred to R.N.A.S.; used by “D” Flight, Cranwell. 6327: transferred to R.N.A.S., Cranwell; fitted with Rolls-Royce Hawk. 6742: B.E.2e, No. 16 Squadron; Manfred von Richthofen’s 19th victory, February 1st, 1917. 8423: R.N.A.S., Cranwell, “D” Flight. 8424: No. 7 (Naval) Squadron; later to No. 26 Squadron, R.F.C., German East Africa. 8623: R.N.A.S., Cranwell, “D” Flight. 9456-9458, 9462-9469 and 9471-9475 all had the 90 h.p. Curtiss OX-5 engine. A. 1350: B.E.2e, No. 44 Flying Training Squadron. A. 1829, A. 1833 and A. 1835: B.E.2e’s transferred to R.N.A.S. without engines. A.2815: No. 16 Squadron; Manfred von Richthofen’s 39th victory, April 8th, 1917. A.2884: “Susanne”, No. 31 Training Squadron, Wyton. A.8694-A.8699: B.E.2e’s transferred to R.N.A.S. without engines. B.723: No. 141 Squadron. B.3655: “Remnant”, A.A.F.S., Lympne. C.6986: flown in Australia by Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service Co., Ltd., in 1921. C.7086: No. 2 Squadron. C.7095: used by Americans at Ford Junction. C.7133: No. 31 Training Squadron, Wyton.
B.E.2C and 2e airframe, without engine, instruments and guns £1,072 10s.
R.A.F.1a engine £522 10s.
70 h.p. Renault £522 10s.
Curtiss OX-5 £693 10s.
Rolls-Royce Hawk £896 10s.
F.Manson British Bomber Since 1914 (Putnam)
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2C/E Bombers
As the 90hp R.A.F. 1A engine became available in sufficient numbers it was adopted as standard in the B.E.2C, replacing the Renault, and this engine was retained in the other two variants, the B.E.2D with dual controls, and the B.E.2E which reached the RFC in France during the Battle of the Somme, No 34 Squadron bringing with it a full complement from England on the 15th. The B.E.2E featured a new single-bay wing-structure and with a substantial upper wing overhang.
Although the B.E.2C, 2D and 2E continued in service on the Western Front throughout much of 1917, their use as bombers declined after the autumn of 1916 owing to their vulnerability to ground fire and enemy fighters, and their inability to carry a worthwhile bomb load.
Powerplant: B.E.2E. 90hp R.A.F.1A; 105hp R.A.F.IB; 150hp Hispano-Suiza; 75hp Rolls-Royce Hawk.
Dimensions: B.E.2E. Span, 40ft 9in; length, 27ft 3in; height, 12ft 0in; wing area, 360 sq ft.
Weights: B.E.2E. Tare, 1,431 lb; all-up (two 25 lb bombs), 2,080 lb.
Performance: B.E.2E (R.A.F.1A). Max speed, 90 mph at sea level.
Armament: A single Lewis machine gun was sometimes carried on a spigot mounting aft of the rear cockpit.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
ROYAL AIRCRAFT FACTORY B.E.2E
First flown in February 1916 and destined to be built in larger numbers than the B.E.2c, the B.E.2e differed from the former in having single bay wings of unequal span and a new tailplane. Provision was made for extra fuel in a tank under the port upper wing and for dual controls, but the former was seldom fitted. The large upper wing overhang was braced from inverted-Vee kingposts above the interplane struts, and the standard engine remained the 90 hp RAF la, as the 105 hp RAF lb that was intended to be used in the B.E.2e did not reach production. From production totalling 1,320 aircraft (plus some B.E.2c and 2d conversions), B.E.2e’s were issued to 11 Home Defence squadrons of the RFC (as well as many units on the Western Front and elsewhere). Like the B.E.2c, the 2e often carried a single Lewis gun in the front cockpit, for which assorted mountings were available. An alternative armament tried by some of the Home Defence aircraft for anti-Zeppelin patrols comprised a quartet of Le Prieur rockets, the launching rails for which were attached to the interplane struts, two each side and angled upwards. Little success was achieved by the B.E.2e as a fighter, its performance being inadequate for aerial combat by 1916, and heavy losses were suffered by the RFC squadrons flying the type in France. Retroactively, the designations B.E.2f and B.E.2g were applied to distinguish, respectively, between those B.E.2e’s converted from 2c’s and those built as 2e’s or converted from 2d’s, as their fuel systems and capacities were significantly different.
Max speed, 90 mph (145 km/h) at sea level, 75 mph (121 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3050 m).
Time to 10,000 ft (3 050 m), 53 min.
Service ceiling, 9,000 ft (2 743 m).
Endurance, 4 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,431 lb (649 kg).
Loaded weight, 2,100 lb (953 kg).
Span, 40 ft 9 in (12,42 m).
Length, 27 ft 3 in (8,31 m).
Height, 12 ft 0 in (3,66 m).
Wing area, 360 sqft (33,44 m2).
G.Swanborough, P.Bowers United States Military Aircraft Since 1909 (Putnam)
The B.E.2 series was introduced by the British Royal Aircraft Factory (later Establishment, or R.A.E.) in 1912. The B.E.2E, of which 12 were bought by the A.E.F. for training in England, differed from early versions in having modified wings with a single bay of struts and extensive overhang on the upper instead of two-bay equal-span wings. Power plant was a 90 h.p. R.A.E. 1A air-cooled V-8 engine.
Span, 40 ft. 9 in.; length, 27 ft. 3 in.; wing area, 360 sq. ft.; gross weight, 2,100 lb.; high speed, 90 m.p.h.
A.Jackson British Civil Aircraft since 1919 vol.1 (Putnam)
Two-seater built by the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, and numerous sub-contractors during the First World War. Eleven warsurplus aircraft converted for pleasure flights and private ownership 1919-20. Full list given in Appendix D, all powered by one 90-h.p. R.A.F.IA except G-EANW, illustrated, which had an 80-h.p. Renault. Span, 40 ft. 9 in. Length, 27 ft. 3 in. A.U.W., 2,105 lb. Max. speed, 90 m.p.h.