M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
C.Owers Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 69)
Cecil Kny, managing director of the British D.F.W. firm, went to Germany with Dukinfield Jones in June 1914, to test and select a number of D.F.W. machines to be dispatched to Brooklands. When he returned it was announced that he had ordered three D.F.W. machines. One is a military all-steel machine which is credited with a climbing capacity of 1,000ft. per min. with full military load. The second machine is a fast military-type biplane which is very stable, whilst the third is a scout of the Arrow type. The machines were to be fitted with Beardmore built 120-hp Austro-Daimler engines. None of these were delivered.
The ‘Round Britain’ Beardmore DFW tractor
Entries for the Daily Mail £5,000 Circuit of Britain Race closed on 30 June 1914. The following aircraft had been nominated for the race:
Wm Beardmore & Co Ltd, London and Glasgow.
Biplane, 120-hp Beardmore Austro-Daimler. Pilot: Lt C.H. Collet, RMA. Race No. 2.
Blackburn Aeroplane Co Ltd, Leeds.
Blackburn Hydro-Biplane, 130-hp Dudbridge Salmson. Pilot: Mr Sydney Pickles. Race No 8.
Eastbourne Aviation Co Ltd, Eastbourne.
Tractor biplane. 120-hp Green. Pilot: Mr. F.B. Fowler. Race No. 5.
Grahame-White Aviation Co Ltd, Hendon.
Grahame-White biplane. 100-hp English Monosoupape Gnome. Pilot: Mr Claude Grahame-Wright. Race No. 4.
A.V. Roe & Co Ltd, Manchester.
Roe biplane. 150-hp Sunbeam. Pilot: FP. Raynham. Race No. 7.
Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-on-Thames. Two entries.
1. Sopwith Batboat. 150-hp Sunbeam. Pilot: Mr C Howard Pixton. Race No. 3.
2. Sopwith biplane. 100-hp English Monosoupape Gnome. Pilot: Mr Victor Mahl. Race No. 1.
White and Thompson Ltd, Bognor. Two entries.
1. Curtiss biplane. Two 100-hp Curtiss. Pilot Mr A Loftus Bryan. Race No. 9.
2. Curtiss biplane. 120-hp Beardmore Austro-Daimler. Pilot: Capt Ernest C Bass. Race No. 6.
The race committee had decided to postpone the start until Monday 10 August and the competitors had agreed.
The Beardmore entry was reported in July as rapidly approaching completion. 20 mechanics working on it night and day, in addition to the ordinary staff, and the trial flights are expected to take place at Southampton Water by the end of the month. The Eddies’ column in Flight continued with their interest in the Round Britain aircraft, reporting in the 7 August issue that the Beardmore D.F. W. hydro. Entered for the “Circuit" which is nearing completion at the D.FW works at Brooklands. With the exception of the wings everything in its construction is of steel. The fuselage for instance is built up of four longerons of steel tube connected with struts and cross members of the same material. The struts are joined to the longerons by a special method of welding which, according to Mr. Kyn, does not suffer from the same disadvantages as the ordinary type welding. The interplane struts, which are stream-lined steel tubes, are provided at their lower ends with short levers by means of which they can be detached from the wings without interfering with the adjustment of the bracing cables. It is thus possible to erect and dismantle the wings in a very short time, and in addition this arrangement does away with the necessity of “tuning up” the machine every time it is erected. For military purposes the time thus saved would be of enormous value.
Flight for 14 August 1914, gave the following description of the Beardmore “D.F. W.” Tractor Biplane, that was the second entry for the race with race number ‘2’. The article was illustrated by two sketches and scale drawings showing the floatplane.
The machine was described as being similar to the one that had established a new world’s altitude record of 26,568 feet. The machine was chiefly remarkable for its good streamline fuselage and back-swept wings. The rectangular cross-sectional fuselage was built up from four steel tube longerons meeting at a knife-edge at the vertical rudder post. Struts and cross-members of the fuselage were steel tubing joined, by acetylene welding. Diagonal cross-bracing completes the internal construction of the fuselage, which is of enormous strength, both as regards torsional and bending stresses. The engine was, naturally, a straight six cylinder water-cooled 120-hp British-built Beardmore Austro-Daimler, supported on a steel engine bed. The engine cylinders projected into the airstream. A hemispherical aluminium front cowling gave a neat entry and the fuselage sides were covered with aluminium sheet up to the rear interplane struts. The rear section was covered with fabric. An aluminium turtle deck manufactured out of a single sheet had cutouts for the pilot and passenger and gave the top of the fuselage a particularly good streamline.
The two-bay main planes were swept back in plan with the leading edge curving back at the tips to meet the trailing edges, and were heavily staggered. The upper wing was slightly wider in span than the lower. It was constructed in two sections that met at the centre-line where a cabane of four struts of streamline steel tube carried at their apex a horizontal member to which the two sections of the upper planes were attached. The method of removing the interplane struts was again described in detail.
The reverse camber ailerons of an elongated triangular shape due being hanged at right angles to the aircraft centreline, and were attached to the upper wings only. The triangular tailplane was adjustable but not in flight. The ruder was connected to a continuation of the stern post and a small vertical fin was fitted.
The observer occupied the front aluminium bucket seat and was placed sufficiently forward to be able to look over the leading edge of the lower plane. The pilot’s seat was far back where he had good views in all directions.
For the race a twin float chassis was to be fitted but a land undercarriage could be quickly substituted. The float chassis comprised two sets of streamline steel struts in the form of the letter ‘M’, as seen from the front. The upper apices of the struts joined the two lower fuselage longerons under the motor and under the rear spar of the lower wing. The lower extremities of the struts were connected to transverse tubes to which the twin, sprung, 14 feet long main floats were attached. A small float supported the tail plane when at rest.
The radiator was located underneath the fuselage between the chassis struts. A Bosch ignition and self-starter enabled the machine to be started from the pilot’s cockpit. It was anticipated that the machine would have a speed of 45 to 85 miles per hour, and a climb of 3,500 feet in six minutes with a load of 125 lb in addition to the crew and fuel and water for a six hours flight duration.
The outbreak of the war meant that the race was cancelled and the engineless airframe was sold for £138.13.7 on 28 August 1914. It is unknown whether it was ever completed. Despite the RNAS operating D.F.W. biplanes, there was apparently no interest in acquiring this machine. As far as is known, no photographs of the machine exist.
The next article in Flight to feature the D.F.W. was that of 28 August 1914, Aircraft “Made in Germany” which may be employed against the Allies.’
A note to a list of Admiralty impressed aircraft records that Beardmore have not yet taken over D.F. W. Money is short.
I. Seaplane 120 AD nearing completion. The floats at Beardmore. Sopwiths suggested adding this machine by Admiralty contract subject to usual Admiralty test. Deliver Calshot.
II. Land machine 90 AD not yet ready about one week.
Despite some references stating that the 1914 Circuit seaplane was impressed as No. 891, no confirmation of this has yet been found. No. 891 was more certainly the D.F.W. B.II referred to above. The fate of the Circuit seaplane is unknown.
Beardmore DFW Circuit Floatplane Specifications
Source 1 2 3
Span upper 44 ft 44 ft 0 in 41 ft
Span lower 40 ft - 40 ft
Length 25 ft 0 in 25 ft 0 in -
Chord 5 ft 6 - -
Gap 6 ft 0 in - -
Floats - - 14 ft long
Weights in lbs 1,500 - 1,500
Empty 2,240 - 2,2401
Loaded 450 450 450
Area in ft2 45/85 - 45/80
Notes: 1. With pilot, passenger, and fuel and oil for 6 hours.
1: Flight, 7 August 1914.
2: Flight, 14 August 1914
3: The Aeroplane, 5 August 1914.
Flight, August 14, 1914.
THE "ROUND BRITAIN" MACHINES.
WE continue this week the illustrated description of the machines entered for the Circuit of Britain, with the British-built
Beardmore "D.F.W." Tractor Biplane,
which has been officially numbered 2 in the race. This machine is very similar to the one which established a new world's altitude record lately, by going up to a height of 26,568 ft.
Aerodynamically, the new D.F.W. biplane, constructed by the great British armament firm of Wm. Beardmore and Co., is chiefly remarkable for its good streamline fuselage and back-swept wings, and constructionally it is interesting on account of the fact that it is built of steel practically throughout. The fuselage, which is of rectangular section, is built up of four longerons converging towards the rear, where they meet the rudder post and forming, in the nose of the machine, an exceptionally good entry for the air. Struts and cross members made of steel tubing connect the four longerons,to which they are secured by means of acetylene welding. Diagonal cross-bracing completes the internal construction of the fuselage, which is of enormous strength, both as regards torsional and bending stresses. In the nose of the fuselage are the supports for the engine - a 120 h.p. British-built Beardmore Austro-Daimler - which are also made of steel. A hemispherical nose-piece of aluminium covers the front part of the body, the sides of which are covered with the same material up to the rear inter-plane struts. From this point to the stern the fuselage is covered with fabric laced on. An aluminium turtle back, made out of a single sheet, and having openings cut out for the engine and pilot's and passenger's cockpits, gives the top of the fuselage a particularly good streamline.
The main planes are, as we have already pointed out, of the back-swept or arrow type, and are in addition heavily staggered. The upper plane, which is of slightly greater span than the lower one, is made in two sections joining in the centre to a cabane of the monoplane type consisting of four struts of streamline steel tubes resting with their lower ends on the upper longerons of the fuselage and carrying at the top a horizontal member to which the two sections of the upper plane are secured. The inner ends of the spars of the lower plane are attached to the lower fuselage longerons by means of quick release devices.
Two pairs of steel tube struts on each side connect the main planes and by means of a special lever on the lower end of the struts these can be dismantled in a few minutes without interfering in the slightest with the bracing cables, so that no tuning up is necessary every time the machine is erected. The saving in time thus effected should be of the greatest value in a military machine.
Although the D.F.W. biplane is practically inherently stable laterally ailerons are fitted to the outer extremities of the planes. These ailerons are of triangular shape and have a negative or reversed camber. In normal flight they therefore are slightly negatively loaded, thus tending to increase the lateral stability of the machine. They are operated by means of cables passing round a drum on the control wheel. The latter is mounted on a vertical column, which is free to move in a forward and backward direction and to which are attached the elevator control cables. Steering is effected in the ordinary way by a pivoted foot bar.
The pilot's and observer's quarters are most comfortable in addition to affording an exceptionally good view in practically all directions. The seats themselves are made of aluminium and are of the bucket type, well upholstered with leather. The front seat is occupied by the observer, who is placed sufficiently far forward to be able to look out over the leading edge of the lower plane. The rear seat, on the other hand, is situated so far back that the pilot obtains an unrestricted view in a downward direction, which is of course of great advantage for alighting on the sea.
The tail planes are of the usual type and consist of a flat stabilising plane, the angle of incidence of which can be varied, although not during flight as in previous D.F.W. machines. To the trailing edge of the stabilizing plane is hinged the divided elevator, whilst to a continuation of the stern post is hinged the rudder. A small fixed vertical tail fin is fitted. A small egg-shaped metal float supports the tail planes when the machine is at rest.
For the race round Britain a float chassis was, of course, fitted, but a land chassis can be very quickly substituted should it be desired to use the machine for overland flying. The float chassis consists of two sets of struts made of streamlined steel tube. Both sets are in the form of the letter "M," as seen from the front, and the lower extremities of the struts are connected by a transverse tube to which the floats are attached. The upper ends of the front set of struts join the lower longerons of the fuselage immediately under the engine, whilst the rear struts join on to the lower longerons at the point where are attached the front spars of the lower main plane. The radiator occupies a rather unusual position in being mounted underneath the fuselage between the chassis struts. Bosch ignition and self-starter is fitted, so that it is possible to start the engine from the pilot's seat without any necessity for swinging the propeller. The weight of the machine empty is 1,500 lbs., and a speed range of 45 to 85 miles per hour is expected. It is anticipated that the climbing capabilities of the machine will be at the rate of 3,500 ft. in 6 mins. with a load of 125 lbs. in addition to pilot and observer and sufficient petrol, oil and water for six hours' flight.