H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
P.V.1. This was an experimental seaplane of 1916, having a Sopwith Baby fuselage and high-lift wings with a view to improving take-off with two 65-lb bombs.
P.V.2 and P.V.2bis. In 1916 the Davis recoilless gun was still viewed hopefully as an anti-Zeppelin weapon, and the P.V.2 single-seat seaplane was designed to carry a 2-pounder gun of the type. It was to be fitted over the top wing and be accessible for loading (ten rounds provided). Before the airframe was completed, the Davis gun was abandoned, and with two Lewis guns above the raised top wing the aircraft was designated P.V.2bis.
P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
During the early part of 1916 Sqn.Cdr. J.W. Seddon, one of the early pioneers of British aviation, was stationed at Port Victoria on the Isle of Grain and was responsible for the investigations which resulted in the construction of the Port Victoria P.V.1. This was an attempt at improving the performance of the Sopwith Baby seaplane, particularly as far as its weight-lifting qualities were concerned. As with any service aeroplane, the tendency was to continue adding more equipment to the steady deterioration of performance.
The standard Baby’s wings were of the popular low thickness/chord type with comparatively little camber. This form of aerofoil gave low drag but possessed accompanying low lift properties. National Physical Laboratory experiments on aerofoil sections with greater camber had shown them to be superior for general weight lifting but a loss of speed was the penalty. Sqn.Cdr. Seddon decided to put the Laboratory investigations to practical test and had a Sopwith Baby modified by fitting a standard fuselage with new wings of identical area but with increased aspect ratio and of heavily-cambered profile. Forward stagger was also increased and new larger floats were installed. The finished conversion weighed some 300 lb. more than the normal Baby but was quite successful in proving that the revised wings enabled the P.V.1 to lift greater loads. With the 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome the top speed was 77 m.p.h. and the height reached was in excess of 8,000 ft. The P.V.1 later contributed to early experiments related to possibilities of launching by catapult in the course of which it took off from a railway truck on the Isle of Grain.
The R.N.A.S. Experimental Construction Depot at Port Victoria was now getting into its stride and followed up the P.V.1 conversion with a completely original design, the P.V.2, for a Zeppelin-intercepting seaplane, single-seat gun-carrier. The armament selected was the Davis 2-pounder with ten rounds and further stipulations were that the top speed was to be 80 kt., operational cruising height 10,000 ft. and endurance 3 hours.
The P.V.2 was drawn up around the 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome, enveloped by a broad-chord cowling, from the periphery of which the fuselage section tapered smoothly to the tail end. The upper wings were mounted direct onto the top longerons, to avoid obstruction of the pilot’s view by struts, while the narrow-chord lower planes passed in one piece well below the underside of the fuselage. Rectangular-section pontoon-type floats were fitted but were changed later for the more refined style of Linton Hope float.
The P.V.2 N.1 presented an altogether extremely attractive appearance for its time, and during its first flight tests in June, 1916, flew successfully with the exception of the aileron control. This fault was rectified by shortening the original broad-span ailerons to half their span and with strengthening them. The P.V.2 was not destined to adhere to the original project of operating with the Davis gun as development of the weapon was terminated.
Rather than abandon the P.V.2 altogether, the machine was rebuilt as the P.V.2bis with the upper wings elevated by 1 ft. on struts, together with the addition of a 2 ft. centre-section, so that they passed over the fuselage and thereby improved the forward view for landing. As a seaplane fighter the P.V.2bis was scheduled to carry a pair of Lewis guns above the upper centresection but apparently only one was fitted eventually.
F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
Port Victoria P.V.2 / P.V.2bis
Aircraft whose designation carried the prefix Port Victoria were those produced by an RNAS unit situated on the Isle of Grain on the northern banks of the Medway estuary in Kent. Originally commissioned as the Royal Naval Aeroplane Repair Depot early in 1915, the name Port Victoria was adopted to distinguish it from the nearby RNAS seaplane base. It later became the Marine Experimental Depot, of which one component came into being as the Experimental Construction Depot under the command of Lt J W Seddon rn.
The first aircraft produced, the P.V.1, was a development of the Sopwith Baby, fitted with high-lift wings to enable it to be flown safely while mounting external bombs and other military equipment. The first original design to be undertaken was the P.V.2, a small twin-float anti-Zeppelin seaplane fighter, intended to be armed with a Davis two-pounder gun. Initially completed with angular pontoon floats, the aircraft, N.1, was a sesquiplane, the lower wing being of short span and chord, and the upper wing of broad chord and span. When viewed from ahead, the interplane and float struts formed a ‘W’, the interplane struts being angled sharply outwards. Power was provided by a 100hp Gnome monosoupape driving a four-blade propeller. The upper wing, in two halves, was attached to the top fuselage longerons providing an excellent field of fire for the Davis gun and uninterrupted upward field of vision for the pilot.
However, by the time N.1 was completed, the Davis gun had been abandoned, and the aircraft was converted into a straightforward fighting scout by mounting two Lewis guns on the upper wings. It was quickly found that these wings created a blind area for the pilot during alighting and the seaplane was rebuilt with a continuous upper wing raised twelve inches above the fuselage, and at this time Linton Hope floats replaced the earlier pontoons. In this form N.1 was re-designated the P.V.2bis and first flown early in 1917 and, although not ordered into production, it proved popular among its pilots and contributed much valuable information for the development of later aircraft from Port Victoria.
Type: Single-engine, single-seat, twin-float sesquiplane fighting scout seaplane.
Manufacturer: RNAS Experimental Construction Depot, Port Victoria, Isle of Grain, Kent.
Powerplant: One 100hp Gnome monosoupape air-cooled nine-cylinder rotary engine driving four-blade propeller.
Structure: Wire-braced wooden box-girder fuselage formed to circular section and fabric-covered; fabric-covered two-spar wings with faired steel tube interplane and float struts.
Dimensions: Span (P.V.2), 27ft 0in; (P.V.2bis), 29ft 0in; length, 22ft 0in; height (P.V.2), 8ft 4in; (P.V.2bis), 9ft 4in; wing area (P.V.2), 168 sq ft; (P.V.2bis), 180 sq ft.
Weights (P.V.2bis): Tare, 1,211 lb; all-up, 1,702 lb.
Performance (P.V.2bis): Max speed, 93 mph at sea level; climb to 3,000 ft, 6 min; service ceiling, 10,000 ft.
Armament: Intended to mount one Davis two-pounder gun above fuselage with ten rounds of ammunition; changed to proposal to mount two Lewis guns above the wing centre section to fire above the propeller.
Prototype: One, N.1 (first flown at the Isle of Grain as P.V.2 in June 1916, and as P.V.2bis early in 1917). No production.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
PORT VICTORIA P.V.2. UK
The Royal Naval Aeroplane Repair Depot was commissioned at the Isle of Grain early in 1915, and to distinguish it from the seaplane station already established there it was named Port Victoria. Ultimately it became known as the Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot and undertook original design work. Its first entirely original design was the P.V.2 single-seat anti-Zeppelin seaplane. Of wooden construction and powered by a 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape rotary, the P.V.2 was an exceptionally clean sesquiplane, the wing cellule being almost devoid of bracing wires with the upper wing attached to the upper fuselage longerons and the lower wing passing beneath the fuselage. The intended armament was a two-pounder Davis gun, although this was never fitted. The P.V.2 was first flown in June 1916 with floats of the pontoon type, these later being replaced by Linton Hope floats. Trials showed considerable promise and it was decided to develop the design further as the P.V.2bis (which see).
Max speed, 95 mph (153 km/h) at sea level.
Time to 3,0 ft (915 m), 5.0 min.
Empty weight, 1,087 lb (493 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,590 lb (721 kg).
Span, 27 ft 0 in (8,23 m).
Length, 22 ft 0 in (6,70 m).
Height, 8 ft 4 in (2,54 m).
Wing area, 168 sqft (15,60 m2).
PORT VICTORIA P.V.2bis UK
The decision to develop the P.V.2 as the P.V.2bis single-seat fighter seaplane resulted in major changes to the original prototype, the most significant being the raising of the upper wing by 1 ft (30 cm) to improve the pilot’s view for alighting and the insertion of centre-section struts. The span and area of the upper wing were increased by introduction of a 2-ft (61-cm) centre section, and the planned armament was two 0.303-in (7,7-mm) machine guns to fire forward and upward above the propeller, although, in the event, only one such gun was apparently fitted. The P.V.2bis was flown early in 1917, providing data for later Port Victoria types.
Max speed, 93 mph (150 km/h) at sea level.
Time to 3,000 ft (915 m), 6.0 min.
Empty weight, 1,211 lb (549 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,702 lb (772 kg).
Span, 29ft 0 in (8,84 m).
Length, 22 ft 0 in (6,70 m).
Height, 9 ft 4 in (2,84 m).
Wing area, 180 sq ft (16,72 m2).