P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
Often alternative combinations of armament were experimented with on the squadrons but only comparatively rarely did a pilot fighting at the Front have a direct say in the design of a fighter aircraft itself. One such case was in the Austin-Ball A.F.B.1 single-seat biplane which was finished in July, 1917. Until the time of his death in action on 7th May, 1917, Ball had kept in direct touch with the evolution of the A.F.B.1. Although an ugly machine, its saving grace was a maximum speed of 138 m.p.h. at ground level on the 200 h.p. of its Hispano-Suiza engine and a good performance in rate of climb and ceiling. The installation of the A.F.B.1’s pair of Lewis guns was of note; that in the fuselage fired through the centre of the propeller shaft, while the other occupied a Foster mounting on the upper centre-section. Despite its abilities the machine was not selected finally for production.
H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
Austin-Ball A.F.B. 1. Apparently at the suggestion of Capt Albert Ball, vc, DSO, MC, this single-seater of 1917 had a Lewis gun on a special mounting for upward tiring only (a form of attack which Ball favoured), and, of greater interest, a second Lewis gun lying between the cylinder blocks of the Hispano-Suiza engine and firing through the airscrew shaft. An existing photograph shows the external Lewis gun, which was mounted at an angle and pointed through the airscrew arc when at its lowest position, with the 'single' (47-round) drum.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
AUSTIN A.F.B.1 UK
Frequently referred to as the "Austin Ball Scout" because the Austin Motor Company incorporated some of the ideas of Capt Albert Ball, VC, DSO, MC, in this fighter’s design, the A.E.B.1 was designed by C H Brooks and was flown for the first time in July 1917. It was of wooden construction with fabric covering, and was powered by a 200 hp Hispano-Suiza eight-cylinder liquid-cooled engine. Armament comprised a single 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Lewis machine gun firing through the hollow propeller shaft, and a similar weapon on a Foster mounting above the upper wing centre section. As originally built, the sole prototype of the A.E.B.1 had slightly sweptback wing surfaces and conventional single-bay bracing, but during the course of development new unswept surfaces accompanied by revised interplane bracing of two-bay form were introduced. The aircraft flew for the first time after these modifications on 17 September 1917. The following data relate to the A.E.B.1 in its original form.
Max speed, 138 mph (222 km/h) at sea level, 120 mph (193 km/h) at 15, 000 ft (4 570 m).
Time to 10,000 ft (3 050 m), 8.9 min.
Endurance, 2.25 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,525 lb (692 kg).
Loaded weight, 2,077 lb (942 kg).
Span, 30ft 0 in (9,14 m).
Length, 21 ft 6 in (6,55 m).
Height, 9 ft 3 in (2,82 m).
Wing area, 290 sq ft (26,94 m2).