C.Barnes Bristol Aircraft since 1910 (Putnam)
The Bristol Scouts A-D, S.S.A., G.B.1 and S.2A
Concurrently with No. 206, Coanda had been engaged on a different single-seater biplane project at the request of the French· government. This was No. 219, the S.S.A. (Single Seat Armoured) biplane, whose principal feature was the bullet-proof construction of the whole of the front fuselage and cockpit as a single monocoque unit of sheet steel, colloquially known as 'The Bath', enclosing the engine and fuel and oil tanks as well as the pilot's seat, the latter being formed by the shaped contour of the rear bulkhead. The 80 h.p. Clerget rotary engine was enclosed in a sheet cowling with a large steel spinner in front; the spinner was perforated to allow cooling air to enter, but contained a central cone which prevented direct entry of bullets from ahead. The wings were staggered and set very far forward to counteract nose-heaviness, the lower wings being attached to a framework which left a gap between the wing roots and the fuselage. The chassis was of the two-wheeled type, with two skids extended aft so that no tail skid was necessary. The wheels were arranged to castor for cross-wind landing, this being a Bleriot feature esteemed by French pilots. The rear fuselage was very slender and carried a large balanced rudder and Scout-type tailplane and elevators.
When finished, No. 219 was flown at Larkhill by Sippe on 8 May 1914, with a temporary aluminium cowling because of vibration in the steel spinner. A week later the S.S.A. was fitted with a larger rudder before going to Farnborough, but was damaged in a heavy landing. After repairs Busteed flew it again at Filton on 25 June, but an undercarriage bracing wire failed on landing, and he was catapulted out of the cockpit injuring his knees and shoulder. The S.S.A. was badly damaged, but the French authorities agreed to take delivery of it for rebuilding in the Breguet works at Douai, whither it was consigned on 3 July 1914. The S.S.A. was unarmed and was not further developed at Filton, but may be considered a forerunner of the armoured trench fighter exemplified by the Sopwith Salamander of 1918. The very similar RB two-seater, described earlier, may also have been intended as an armoured machine, and was exactly contemporary with the S.S.A.
SPECIFICATIONS AND DATA
Type: Scouts A-D, S.S.A.
Manufacturers: The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co. Ltd., Filton and Brislington, Bristol
Type Scout A Scout B Scout C Scout D S.S.A.
Power Plant 80 hp 80 hp 80 hp 80 hp 80 hp
Gnome or Gnome Gnome, Gnome, Clerget or
Le Rhone Le Rhone Le Rhone or Gnome
110 hp Clerget
or Le Rhone
Span 22 ft 24 ft 7 in 24 ft 7 in 24 ft 7 in 27 ft 4 in
24 ft 7 in
Length 19 ft 9 in 20 ft 8 in 20 ft 8 in 20 ft 8 in 19 ft 9 in
Height 8 ft 6 in 8 ft 6 in 8 ft 6 in 8 ft 6 in
Wing Area 161 sq ft 198 sq ft 198 sq ft 198 sq ft 200 sq ft
198 sq ft
Empty Weight 617 lb 750 lb 760 lb 760 lb 913 lb
750 lb 925 lb
All-up Weight 957 lb 1,100 lb 1,200 lb 1,250 lb 1,200 lb
1,100 lb 1,440 lb
Max. Speed 95 mph 100 mph 93 mph 100 mph 106 mph
100 mph 110 mph
Initial Rate of
Climb 800 ft/min 1,000 ft/min 1,000 ft/min 1,100 ft/min
Duration 3 hours 2 1/2 hours 2 1/2 hours 2 1/2 hours 3 hours
5 hours 2 hours
Accommodation 1 1 1 1 1
Production 1 2 161 210 1
Sequence Nos. 206 229,230 219
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
Built for the Breguet concern, the S.S.A. was a single-seat armoured scout designed by Mons. Henri Coanda under works number 219. It was a tractor biplane powered by the 80 h.p. Clerget, and crashed at Filton during 1914 while being flown by Harry Busteed. The S.S.A. featured a large spinner with an annular cooling slot between itself and the cowling. The whole of the front fuselage was built as a sheet-steel riveted monocoque enclosing the engine mounting, fuel and oil tanks and the pilot's seat, earning the machine its nickname of "The Bath". The two-wheel undercarriage incorporated a pair of skids lengthened at the rear so as to dispense with a tailskid; an early attempt to provide castoring wheels for cross-wind landings was also made.
H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
S.S.A. Although this book is mainly concerned with armament, and not passive protection, the fitting of armour to military aeroplanes inevitably has some place, and in no more fining instance than this single-seat 'scout' built to Coanda's designs in 1914. As in the later Sopwith Salamander, the whole of the forward fuselage, including the cockpit, was of sheet steel construction (in this case monocoque) and even the engine was protected. A few weeks before war came this aeroplane was sent to the Breguet works in France. It may be mentioned in this context that at the Olympia Aero and Marine Exhibition of 1914 The Integral Propeller Co Ltd showed 'an armoured propeller specially designed and built for warplanes'.
P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
In the West Country, at Bristol, Henri Coanda turned his hand to a design for the Breguet firm for a small biplane single-seat scout, the S.S.A. No. 219 which Harry Busteed flew and crashed at Filton early in 1914. The entire front portion of the machine’s fuselage was armoured by constructing it as a riveted sheet steel monocoque, automatically bringing forth the nickname of the Bath. A large spinner with an annular cooling slot faired the propeller into the engine cowling and skids extending to the rear of the wheels took the place of the usual single tailskid. Another advanced feature was the castoring of the wheels as an aid to crosswind landings. When the almost complete lack of ground clearance for the large propeller, then rather an obsession with Coanda, was pointed out to him by the drawing office staff, back came his usual answer “I don’t care, I make so!”.
F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
At Filton, while Barnwell was producing the Scout No 206, Henri Coanda embarked on a new single-seat tractor biplane at the request of the French firm of Breguet, it being intended for production in France. Known formally as the S.S.A. (or Single-Seat Armoured), this aircraft was required to feature armoured protection for the pilot, engine and fuel tank, a requirement met by enclosing all within a single monocoque component of sheet steel, the pilot’s seat being formed by the shape of the rear bulkhead.
An 80hp Clerget rotary engine was contained within a steel cowling with a large hemispherical spinner pierced with radial slots to permit entry of cooling air to the engine. The staggered wings were placed well forward to balance the weight of the armoured ‘bath’, while the tail unit was carried on an exceptionally slender rear fuselage. The undercarriage was also novel in consisting of castoring mainwheels to assist cross-wind landing, while the landing skids extended aft from the wheels, thereby dispensing of the need to provide a tailskid. The tail surfaces were similar to those of the Scout A.
First flown by Sidney Sippe at Larkhill on 8 May 1914 (given the company sequence number 219) suffered a heavy landing on arrival at Farnborough. After repair it was flown by Harry Busteed at Filton on 26 June, but crashed on landing when an undercarriage bracing wire failed. The pilot was slightly injured, although the aircraft itself was severely damaged.
The French authorities however agreed to accept delivery of it at Breguet’s factory, where it was to be rebuilt, and Bristol took no further part in the S.S.A.’s development.
Type: Single-engine, single-seat, single-bay armoured scout biplane.
Manufacturer: The British and Colonial Aeroplane Co Ltd, Filton, Bristol.
Powerplant: One 80hp Clerget rotary engine driving two-blade propeller.
Structure: Steel monocoque front fuselage accommodating pilot, engine, fuel and oil tanks; steel tubular frame structure in wings, rear fuselage and tail, all fabric-covered. Twin castoring mainwheels.
Dimensions: Span, 27ft 4in; length, 19ft 9in; wing area 200 sq ft.
Weights: Tare, 913lb; all-up, 1,200lb.
Performance: Max speed, 106 mph at sea level; endurance, 3 hr.
Prototype: One (sequence No 219; first flown by Sidney Sippe at Larkhill on 8 May 1914); no production.