Самолеты (сортировка по:)
Страна Конструктор Название Год Фото Текст

RAF B.E.2c/B.E.2d

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1914

.Single-engine, single/two-seat, two-bay biplane, as used as support light bomber

RAF - S.E.2 - 1913 - Великобритания<– –>RAF - F.E.2 - 1914 - Великобритания


В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны


РАФ B.E.2c/B.E.2d/B.E.2e / RAF B.E.2c/B.E.2d/B.E.2e

   Весной 1914 года инженер завода РАФ Е.Т.Баск работал над повышением характеристик B.E.2. В результате возник B.E.2c со сдвинутым назад нижним крылом, измененной формой стабилизатора и новой конструкцией шасси без противокапотажных лыж. Кроме того на хвосте появился киль, а на крыльях - элероны. Самолет отличался высокой устойчивостью и мог летать с брошенной ручкой. Незадолго до войны он успешно прошел испытания и был рекомендован к серийной постройке. Одновременно, хотя и в меньшем количестве, выпускался B.E.2d, отличавшийся только небольшим дополнительным бензобаком под верхним крылом. Всего в 1914-15 гг. 22 завода собрали более 1500 B.E.2c и d. 1308 из них было на вооружении RFC.
   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.
   Кроме англичан на B.E.2 летали бельгийцы, норвежцы и русские. Бельгийцы коренным образом переделали 30 полученных от союзников B.E.2c, заменив двигатели РАФ 1a на гораздо более мощные "Испано-Сюизы" и поменяв местами пилота и летнаба. При этом наконец появилась возможность установить в задней кабине нормальную пулеметную турель.

Истребители

   В 1913 году на вооружение Королевского воздушного корпуса был принят самолет РАФ BE.2 - двухместный многоцелевой цельнодеревянный двухстоечный биплан с полотняной обшивкой, разработанный конструкторским коллективом государственного авиазавода "Ройял Эйркрафт Фэктори" (Royal Aircraft Factory, сокращенно - РАФ) под руководством Дж. Де Хэвилленда и Ф.М.Грина. Сокращение BE расшифровывалось как Bleriot Experimental - "экспериментальный самолет типа "Блерио". Так англичане поначалу называли все аэропланы с тянущими винтами и двигателями в носу фюзеляжа.
   Первые модификации ВЕ.2 не несли стрелкового вооружения и использовались на раннем этапе Мировой войны в качестве разведчиков и легких бомбардировщиков.
   В 1914-м инженер завода РАФ Е.Т. Баск спроектировал очередную модификацию аэроплана - BE.2c, на базе которой в следующем году были созданы первые английские импровизированные истребители ПВО, предназначенные для ночного патрулирования и перехвата германских "цеппелинов", совершавших налеты на Англию. Эти аэропланы вооружались пулеметом "Льюис", закрепленным перед кабиной пилота на специальном кронштейне, позволявшем стрелять вертикально вверх или под углом к вертикали. Угол стрельбы можно было в небольших пределах регулировать в полете.
   По имени своего изобретателя - капитана авиации Л.А.Стрейнджа эти установки получили название "лафеты Стрейнджа" (Strange Mount). Необходимость в них обуславливалась тем, что обычная высота полета дирижаблей намного превосходила предельный потолок тогдашних английских перехватчиков. И вести огонь по противнику британские летчики могли только пролетая в нескольких сотнях метров под ним.
   Несмотря на всю сложность подобной тактики и примитивность вооружения, английским пилотам BE.2c удалось сбить три германских дирижабля.
   Иногда, вместо пулеметов на "лафетах Стрейнджа" (или в дополнение к ним) истребители BE.2c вооружались противоаэростатными ракетами "Ле Прие". 10 реечных пусковых установок таких ракет (по пять с каждой стороны) крепились к внешним стойкам бипланной коробки.
   Как правило, истребители ПВО на базе BE.2c были одноместные. Передняя кабина летнаба у них заделывалась, а на ее месте устанавливали дополнительный топливный бак. Но встречались и обычные двухместные машины, просто летчик вылетал на перехват в одиночку.
   BE.2c и его следующий вариант BE.2d, отличавшийся только наличием небольшого дополнительного бензобака под верхним крылом, строились в Великобритании на 22-х заводах массовой серией. Всего построено свыше 1500 экземпляров. Сколько из них применялось в качестве истребителей, точно не известно. Предположительно, речь должна идти о нескольких десятках.
   Большинство BE.2c было оснащено двухрядными восьмицилиндровыми двигателями воздушного охлаждения РАФ 1a мощностью 90 л.с. Реже применялись американские "Кертисс" OX-5 той же мощности или 105-сильные РАФ 1b.

  
Модификации
  
   B.E.2с - двухместный разведчик и легкий бомбардировщик, значительно модернизированный. Верхнее крыло вынесено перед нижним. Крылья оборудованы элеронами, а законцовки их стали не эллиптические, а трапециевидные. Горизонтальное оперение новое, прямоугольное. Вертикальное оперение оборудовано килем. Установлен более мощный двигатель RAF-1 (90 л. с.), уменьшено его капотирование. Шасси без противокапотажных лыж. На эти машины стали ставить пулемет "Виккерс".
   B.E.2d - тот же B.E.2с, но наблюдатель сидел не в передней, а в задней кабине.

  
ЛЕТНО-ТЕХНИЧЕСКИЕ ХАРАКТЕРИСТИКИ
  
   B.E.2c B.E.2d
   Размах, м 10,97 10,97
   Длина, м 8,31 8,31
   Высота, м 3,40 3,40
   Площадь крыла, кв.м 33,50 33,50
   Сухой вес, кг 620 602
   Взлетный вес, кг 970 953
   Двигатель RAF-1 RAF-1
   мощность, л.с. 90 90
   Скорость макс., км/ч 129 129
   Дальность полета, км 300 300
   Набор высоты, м/мин 1500/24
   Потолок, м 3050 3050
   Экипаж, чел 2 2
   Вооружение 1 пулемет 1 пулемет
   44 кг бомб 44 кг бомб


А.Шепс Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты


RAF B.E.2 1912 г.

   Самолет проектировался и строился в 1911-1912 годах с участием известного английского авиаконструктора Джефри де Хевилленда.
   B.E.2 - двухместный двухстоечный биплан деревянной конструкции. Фюзеляж тонкий - деревянный каркас обтянут полотном. Кабины пилота и наблюдателя (пассажира) неглубокие, и люди на треть корпуса находятся в потоке. Двигатель 8-цилиндровый, воздушного охлаждения, рядный, V-образный, установлен на металлической раме. Двигатель частично закапотирован, а цилиндры находятся в потоке. Крылья двухлонжеронные, деревянные, обтянуты полотном. Стойки бипланной коробки также деревянные. Расчалки выполнены из стальной профилированной ленты. Начиная с серии В.Е.2c крылья оборудовались элеронами. Изменены законцовки крыльев. Горизонтальное оперение нерегулируемое, обычной конструкции. Вертикальное оперение также обычное, на машинах серии "а" и "b" безкилевое, начиная с серии "c" уже устанавливался киль. На этих же машинах начали ставить горизонтальное оперение новой конструкции, прямоугольное, большего размаха. Шасси жесткой конструкции, на машинах первых двух серий - с противокапотажными лыжами. Стойки шасси деревянные. Хвостовой костыль с рыжачной амортизацией. Выхлопные коллекторы выводились первоначально под нижнее крыло, позднее - над центропланом или по бортам. Начиная с серии "c" устанавливалось вооружение - 1-2 пулемета. Управление тросовое, причем на учебных машинах - двойное.
   Спроектированный как учебный самолет, с началом Первой мировой войны он использовался и строился как разведчик и легкий бомбардировщик.
   Всего с 1912 по 1916 год двадцатью двумя английскими фирмами построено 3535 машин всех модификаций. С 1916 года они заменялись в строевых частях машинами Де Хевилленд D.Н.4 и D.Н.9. Но отдельные машины эксплуатировались в гражданском варианте до 1925 года.


Модификации

   В.Е.2с - двухместный разведчик и легкий бомбардировщик, значительно модернизированный. Верхнее крыло вынесено перед нижним. Крылья оборудованы элеронами, а законцовки их стали не эллиптические, а трапециевидные. Горизонтальное оперение новое, прямоугольное. Вертикальное оперение оборудовано килем. Установлен более мощный двигатель RAF-1 (90 л. с.), уменьшено его капотирование. Шасси без противокапотажных лыж. На эти машины стали ставить пулемет "Виккерс".
   В.Е.2d - тот же В.Е.2с, но наблюдатель сидел не в передней, а в задней кабине.


P.Hare Royal Aircraft Factory (Putnam)


B.E.2c

   Representing the culmination of E T Busk's investigation into aeroplane stability, the B.E.2c was so different from earlier B.E.2 variants as to be almost a totally new design, yet it retained an obvious family resemblance to its forebears.
   Before and immediately after the outbreak of the First World War inherent stability was almost universally considered to be the most desirable attribute of an aeroplane employed in reconnaissance, the primary function of most military machines at that time. A mount which possessed true inherent stability freed its pilot from the need to make constant control inputs, and allowed him to concentrate his attention upon his military duties.
   To achieve this desirable quality in the Royal Aircraft Factory's most popular design, Busk took production B.E.2b 602, added a triangular fin, substituted a new non-lifting tailplane of almost rectangular planform, and introduced twenty-four inches of positive stagger. This was done by moving the lower wing back to return the centre of pressure to its correct position, following the loss of the lift previously contributed by the tailplane. The wing structure was almost totally new, being of R.A.F.6 aerofoil section, with ailerons replacing the wing-warping used in previous models. The dihedral angle was increased to 3 1/2, and cutouts were made in the trailing edge of the lower wing roots to restore the pilot's view of the ground.
   Busk took the converted 602 for its first flight on 30 May 1914, and thereafter made numerous short flights to enable its stability to be tested and demonstrated. On 9 June it was flown to Netheravon on Salisbury Plain to visit the RFC's 'Concentration Camp'. Its pilot on this occasion was Maj W S Brancker, who, although he was not an experienced pilot, recorded that, after climbing to 2,000ft and setting course, he was able to make the forty-mile journey without placing his hands on the controls until he was preparing to land. He spent his time writing a report on the countryside passing below, although he did admit to the inclusion of a number of extraneous dots and dashes caused by the more violent bumps or gusts.
   This demonstration of the benefits of inherent stability was sufficient to ensure that the B.E.2c was put into production by private constructors to supersede the earlier variants in service with the RFC.
   Meanwhile, 602 again visited the Concentration Camp on 19 June and stayed there for a week, affording a number of pilots an opportunity to experience its stability at first hand, before returning to Farnborough on the 26th. It was handed over to No 4 Squadron in July, and at the outbreak of war returned to the Aircraft Park, where it was dismantled and crated for shipment to France. When finally reassembled it was erroneously numbered 807, a serial which, it was later realised, duplicated one already issued by the Navy, and it was renumbered 1807. As such it saw service with No 2 Squadron until December, when it returned to England to finish its days in a training unit, being finally struck off charge on 14 December 1915.
   Another early variant, 601, was also converted into a B.E.2c. It was fitted with a prototype R.A.F.1a engine, which was dimensionally similar to the Renault but which provided an additional twenty horsepower. On 5 November it caught fire in the air and was completely destroyed, with the tragic loss of its pilot, the aeroplane's designer, Edward Busk.
   Although early production B.E.2cs retained the 70hp Renault engine which powered the earlier variants, the Factory's own R.A.F.1a became the standard powerplant as soon as it was available in sufficient numbers. New vertical-discharge exhaust pipes, terminating just above the upper wing centre-section, together with a neat cowling for the engine sump, distinguished the R.A.F.1a-powered examples. A plain vee undercarriage was introduced at the same time, replacing the twin-skid pattern of the earlier machines.
   The first production machine, built by Vickers and given the serial 1748, was delivered to the Aeronautical Inspection Department at Farnborough by 19 December 1914. It was followed by the first Bristol-built example, 1652, on 4 January 1915, this aircraft becoming the first production example to go to France, which it did on 25 January. By the end of March there were twelve in service, and by the end of the year there were more than ten times that number.
   The B.E.2c's stability was initially well received by service pilots, and remained so in the less demanding theatres of war, earning the machine such affectionate nicknames as Stability Jane or the Quirk. One pilot (Maj WG Moore, Early Bird (Putnam, London, 1963)) wrote of it:
   "But the beauty of these machines was that, once you were up to your cruising height, you could adjust a spring which would hold your elevator roughly in the position you wanted for level flying, and you could afford to ignore totally the violent bumps that threw up one wing-tip and then the other. With your rudder central and held in that position by a spring, you could fly hands-off, because the machine was automatically stable and would right itself whatever position it got into provided there was enough space between you and the ground. We used to try, when well up, to see if there was any position we could put them in from which they would not right themselves if left alone. If you pulled them up vertically (so that they hung momentarily on the propellers) and then let go everything, they would tail slide very gently and then down would go the nose until the machine gained flying speed and everything would be normal again."
   As originally conceived, the B.E.2 was unarmed. When the fitting of armament became desirable, the location of the observer in the front cockpit, which had been done for sound reasons, made the installation of any kind of defensive weaponry almost impossible. Similarly, the Allies' lack of any synchronisation gear, to allow a gun to fire forwards through the propeller disc, rendered the provision of offensive armament equally difficult. However, almost immediately the type entered service attempts were made to arm it, initially with rifles or pistols and later with machine guns, usually the comparatively light, drum-fed Lewis. The rifles and pistols were usually hand held, but the machine guns required a fixed mounting to enable them to be operated with any effect.
   At first the necessary mountings were fabricated, ad hoc, in squadron workshops, but they gradually became standardised into a number of officially adopted types. The earliest of these appears to have been the 'candlestick' mounting, fixed to the cockpit rim, into which a spike or pivot pin attached to the gun could be inserted. This allowed the gun to be swivelled as necessary to engage the enemy, but relied entirely on the observer's skill in avoiding hitting parts of his own machine. This was superseded by the No 2 Mk 1 mounting designed by Lt Medlicott, and frequently known by his name, in which the gun's pivot pin was placed in a socket which was supported from a tube attached to the front centre-section struts, and arranged to slide up and down. A wire guard was frequently fitted which limited the muzzle movement and prevented the observer from shooting his own propeller.
   A 'goalpost' mounting between the cockpits, officially designated the No 10 Mk 1, allowed the observer to fire to the rear, over the pilot's head. This gave some measure of protection against attack, but required courage and co-operation in use because the gun's barrel was barely inches above the pilot's head. It was unusual for a machine to be burdened with the weight of more than one gun, and the observer had to transfer it from mounting to mounting as the need demanded. Wooden racks were often fitted to the fuselage sides, outside the rim of the observer's cockpit, to hold spare ammunition drums.
   Another type of mounting, more common to single-seaters, had a Lewis gun fixed to the fuselage side, firing forward at an angle to miss the propeller and with its muzzle held in place by cross-wires. A number of such installations were made on B.E.2cs to satisfy the whim of the more aggressive pilots.
   None of these arrangements was entirely satisfactory, and they were far from being universally fitted, so for all practical purposes the B.E.2c remained virtually defenceless. Consequently the advent of true fighter aeroplanes, such as the Fokker monoplanes of 1915 and the Albatros biplanes which followed them, meant that the B.E.2c became easy prey, along with its equally unarmed contemporaries. Thus Noel Pemberton Billing was able to shock Parliament, and the nation, with his accusations of incompetence and murder, and so indirectly bring to an end the family of Royal Aircraft Factory aeroplanes.
   A few machines were also fitted with bomb racks, either under the wings to carry four 20lb bombs, or under the fuselage, at the centre of gravity, where one 112lb bomb was the normal load.
   Losses to ground fire, as the B.E.s monotonously patrolled over the trenches on reconnaissance or artillery observation duties, were also a problem and, in an attempt to provide a solution, a small number of machines were fitted with armour plate which covered the forward fuselage. While this effectively protected the engine, fuel tank and crew against small-arms fire, the reduction in streamlining, together with the addition of over 400lb in weight, so reduced performance that the idea was shortlived.
   In common with its predecessors the B.E.2c was used by the Factory as a test bed for a wide range of aeronautical experiments and investigations, a purpose for which its stability and entirely predictable performance made it ideal. The machines used in such experiments were not built at Farnborough, but were standard production machines, built by private contractors and modified as required after inspection.
   An oleo undercarriage incorporating a small buffer-type nosewheel was fitted to a few B.E.2cs, but any improvement in landing, and in handling on the ground, could not compensate for the reduction in performance caused by the increased weight and considerable drag, and it was not adopted for general use.
   Another undercarriage experiment, which was conducted at the School of Aerial Gunnery, Loch Doon, in November 1916, comprised the removal of the wheels of 4721, an early Vickers-built machine, and the substitution of a central float manufactured by S E Saunders. This was simply attached to the undercarriage skids, and a small tail float was also fitted. Neither the intention nor result of this experiment are now recorded, but it is doubtful whether it served any useful purpose.
   Like most other aeroplanes which had a lengthy service career, the B.E.2c was constantly modified and improved with a view either to simplified production or improved performance. It was with the latter object in mind that the wing section was changed early in 1916 from R.A.F.6 to R.A.F. 14, with a consequent slight improvement in rate of climb.
   As its performance became the subject of growing criticism, several attempts were made to re-engine the B.E.2c with the 150hp Hispano-Suiza, this having been the first projected use for this impressive new engine. The first attempt managed to produce one of the ugliest installations of this neat and attractive powerplant that it is possible to imagine. The engine was partially enclosed within a crude cowling which left the sides of the cylinder blocks exposed, and cooling was provided by honeycomb radiators of unusual construction attached to the fuselage sides. A later installation was made in the Bristol-built machine 2599. This was neater without being neat, for the radiators, which this time were fitted above the cylinder heads, still looked like the afterthought which, in reality, they were. Although the sixty per cent increase in power obviously improved the aeroplane's performance, it was then decided to develop new machines to realise the Hispano-Suiza's full potential, and the plan to fit it in the B.E.2c was discontinued.
   For some obscure reason the R.A.F.1a engine was never popular with the RNAS, so some of the few B.E.2cs operated by that service were equipped either with the six-cylinder 75hp Rolls-Royce Hawk or the 90hp Curtiss OX-5, a car-type radiator being used in each case. It seems strange that this simple solution to engine cooling appears not to have been considered by those responsible for the experimental Hispano-Suiza installations.
   When nocturnal bombing raids on London and the eastern counties by the huge German rigid airships brought the war to civilians for the first time, it immediately became apparent that some defensive action was urgently needed, as much to preserve the nation's morale as to prevent the relatively small amount of damage that was being suffered. Here the stable B.E.2c came into its own, for, being easy to fly and to land, it made an admirable night-fighter. However, like most contemporary aeroplanes, it lacked the performance to attack the enemy airships under any but the most favourable circumstances. Whilst they were slower, the airships could better any aeroplane's ceiling, and could ascend at an incredible rate simply by releasing large quantities of ballast. In a commendable attempt to overcome the poor climb and endurance of the B.E.2c compared with that of its intended victim, an experiment was made in 1915 in which the aeroplane was suspended from the envelope of a type SS non-rigid airship. It was intended that the 'airship-plane' would patrol at height until the raiders approached, when the aeroplane would detach itself from the envelope and go into the attack. The experiment was discontinued after 21 February 1916, when a fatal accident occurred after the aeroplane failed to release properly.
   This was not the only connection between the B.E.2c and the Submarine Scout airship, for the S.S.I class consisted of a Willows-type envelope from which was suspended an aeroplane fuselage, the early B.E.2c being one of three types used, complete with engine, propeller and undercarriage skids. No wheels were needed, because ascents and landings were made without forward motion.
   On the night of 2 September 1916 the Schutte-Lanz airship SL11 was spectacularly brought down over Cuffley in Hertfordshire by Lt William Leefe Robinson of No 39 Squadron RFC, flying B.E.2c No 2092, an act for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. This was not the first time that an enemy airship had been brought down, for Flt Sub-Lt Rex Warneford had brought down the Zeppelin L37 with a bomb more than a year previously, but it was certainly the most public instance. Warneford's action had taken place over the Belgian coast, whereas Leefe Robinson's victim fell in flames where most of the population of London could see it. Before the end of the year four more raiders, the Zeppelins L21, L31, L32, and L34, had fallen to the guns of night-flying B.E.2cs.
   The B.E.2c remained in service, in declining numbers, until the end of the war, gradually being superseded by later variants and by newer designs. It saw service with more than a dozen squadrons of the RFC in France, in Home Defence units and training establishments, with the RNAS, and in every theatre of war, including Africa and the Middle East. At one time it was certainly the most efficient and the most numerous aeroplane in use by the British armed forces. That it was allowed to outlive its usefulness was a tragedy that should be blamed upon those who were responsible for its procurement, not upon the machine or its designers.
   The B.E.2c did not survive in service use for very long after the Armistice. At least one was retained as a test vehicle at Farnborough until the mid 1920s, and a small number found their way on to the civil register via the numerous disposal sales held after the war's end. Three examples survive in museums.

   Powerplant: 70hp Renault V-8; 90hp R.A.F.1a V-8
   Dimensions:
   span 37ft 0in;
   chord 5ft 6in;
   gap 6ft 3in;
   stagger 2ft 0in;
   dihedral 31/2°;
   incidence 3 1/2° (R.A.F.6); 4° 9" (R.A.F.14);
   wing area 354 sq ft;
   length 27ft 3in;
   height 11ft 1 1/2in;
   wheel track 5ft 9 3/4in.
   Weights: (R.A.F.1a) :
   1,370lb (empty);
   2,142lb (loaded).
   Performance: (R.A.F.1a) :
   max speed
   86mph at sea level;
   72mph at 6,500ft;
   ceiling: 10,000ft;
   endurance 3 1/4hrs;
   climb
   6min to 3,000ft;
   20min to 6,500ft.


B.E.2d

   Although it was structurally similar to the B.E.2c, this new variant included dual controls, presumably to give the observer a chance of survival if the pilot was hit. The provision of controls in the front cockpit necessitated the elimination of the fuel tank which was previously installed under the observer's seat, to allow the rudder cables and the torque tube linking the two control columns to pass through this space. A large gravity tank was substituted, positioned beneath the upper port wing near its root, and was connected to an additional gravity tank within the fuselage top-decking, between the cockpits. At the same time the capacity of the pressure tank, located immediately behind the engine, was increased from fourteen to nineteen gallons. Thus the B.E.2d had a total fuel capacity of forty-one gallons, compared with the thirty-two gallons of the B.E.2c, giving it a useful increase in endurance, albeit at the expense of a reduction in the type's already leisurely rate of climb.
   Production orders for the B.E.2d were placed in October 1915, and it was built in relatively small numbers by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, Ruston Proctor, and Vulcan. Such great things were expected of the later 'e' variant that all unfulfilled orders for earlier models were changed to the latter type, and consequently many machines which began as B.E.2ds were actually delivered as B.E.2es.
   Use of the B.E.2d was largely confined to training establishments, where its dual controls were a boon, its endurance allowed the best use to be made of favourable weather, and its outdated performance was no real handicap.

   Powerplant: 90hp R.A.F.1a V-8
   Dimensions:
   span 36ft 10in;
   chord 5ft 6in;
   gap 6ft 3in;
   wing area 354 sq ft;
   stagger 2ft 0in;
   dihedral 3 1/2°;
   incidence 4° 9";
   length 27ft 3in;
   height 11ft 0in.
   Performance:
   max speed
   88mph at sea level;
   75mph at 6,500ft;
   ceiling 7,000ft;
   climb
   12min to 3,000ft;
   36min to 6,500ft.


B.E.10

   Designed in May 1914, the B.E.10 was developed from the B.E.2c but had a steel-tube fuselage frame, fabric covered and with a deeper coaming than on previous B.E. types, making it somewhat similar to that of the R.E.5. Its oleo undercarriage incorporated a small 'buffer' nosewheel. The wing span - was slightly reduced from that of the B.E.2c, and the ribs were pressed from alloy sheet. The aerofoil section had a reflex trailing edge, and the full-span ailerons could be operated together as flaps. The rudder was of modified shape, and the small high-aspect-ratio triangular fin anticipated that later adopted for the R.E.8.
   Surprisingly, power was to be provided by the rather outdated 70hp Renault, although it may well have been intended that the dimensionally similar 90hp R.A.F.1a would be substituted for full-scale production.
   No prototype B.E. 10 was built at Farnborough, but four examples were ordered from the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company. The order was cancelled soon after, when it was decided that the B.E.2c would remain the RFC's standard mount, and none were completed, although enough work was done for the Bristol employees to dub it the 'Gas Pipe Aeroplane'.

   Powerplant: 70hp Renault V-8
   Dimensions:
   span 35ft 8in;
   chord 5ft 4in;
   wing area 355sqft;
   length 27ft 1in;
   height 10ft 9in.


B.E.11

   No drawing or description of this project has survived, and it therefore seems unlikely that it ever progressed beyond the concept stage. It is almost certain that it was yet another variant upon the B.E.2 theme.


O.Tapper Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft since 1913 (Putnam)


The B.E.2a, B.E.2b and B.E.2c

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   After the outbreak of war in 1914, the B.E.2a and the B.E.2b soon gave place to the better-known B.E.2c, which was built in large numbers by numerous contractors, including Armstrong Whitworth. The B.E.2c, which was designed to have automatic stability, according to the ideas of T. E. Busk, had a fuselage similar to that of the B.E.2b, but the wings were of new design, being heavily staggered and with ailerons on all four planes; the new tailplane was rectangular and a vertical fin was added to the rudder. Early examples of the B.E.2c had the 70 hp Renault engine and the characteristic undercarriage skids, but later production models were powered by the 90 hp RAF la engine and had a simplified V-type chassis. The B.E.2c gave good service as a reconnaissance aircraft in the opening stages of the war, but it was quickly outclassed and soon became an easy victim of enemy fighters.
   Armstrong Whitworth built eight B.E.2as and twenty-five BE2bs but it has not been possible to trace the Service numbers of these aircraft. The total number of B.E.2cs built by Armstrong Whitworth is uncertain, but two batches built at Gosforth, amounting to 50 aircraft, carried the serial numbers 1780 to 1800 and 2001 to 2029.

   B.E.2c
Span: 37 ft 0 in (11.28m)
Length: 27 ft 3 in (8.31m)
Wing area: 371 sq ft (34.47 sq m)
All-up weight: 2.142 lb (972 kg)


A.Jackson Blackburn Aircraft since 1909 (Putnam)


B.E.2c

   A two-seat trainer, bomber and anti-submarine aircraft of wood and fabric construction designed at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, and first flown in 1914. Powered by the 70 hp Renault and later by the 90 hp RAF 1A, it was built in large quantities by a number of sub-contractors including the Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd who produced 111 for the Admiralty. The aircraft were constructed on the shop floor in the Olympia Works at Leeds, without jigs, and test flown from the nearby Soldiers' Field, Roundhay Park, by Rowland Ding. After his death, caused by the failure of an interplane strut while he was looping a new B.E.2c on its first flight, production testing was completed by R. W. Kenworthy. Surviving records show that Blackburns completed 40 by July 1915, 35 of the final batch of 50 by 29 December 1917, four more in January 1918 and five in February of that year.
   Blackburn-built B.E.2cs, recognisable by the ringed airscrew motif on the fin, were used for training in the UK and on active service in every theatre during the 1914-18 war. Two aircraft, serialled 968 and 969, were shipped to the South African Aviation Corps in April 1915; 3999 was a special aircraft for Admiralty W/T experiments; 1127 was sent to Belgium in exchange for a Maurice Farman biplane; and 9969 is preserved at the Musee de l'Air, Paris.

SPECIFICATION AND DATA
   Manufacturers: The Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd, Olympia Works, Roundhay Road, Leeds, Yorks.
   Designers: The Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hants.
   Power Plants:
   One 70 hp Renault
   One 90 hp RAF 1A
   Dimensions:
   Span 37 ft 0 in Length 27 ft 3 in
   Height 11 ft 11 in Wing area 371 sq ft
   Weights: Tare weight 1,370 lb All-up weight 2,142 lb
   Performance:
   Maximum speed 72 mph Service ceiling 10,000 ft
   Climb to 3,500 ft 6 min Endurance 31 hr
   Blackburn production:
   (a) With 70 hp Renault
   Thirty-seven aircraft comprising 964-975 (quantity 12); 1123-1146 (24); 3999 (1).
   (b) With 90 hp RAF IA
   Seventy-four aircraft comprising 8606-8629 (24) under Contract C.P.60949 15; 9951-10000 (50) under Contract 132110 15.
   Total: 111.


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)


B.E.2c

   The B.E.2c represented the culmination of E. T. Busk's two years of practical experimenting devoted to developing the machine into a stable aeroplane, as a result of which it was ordered in quantity for the R.F.C. and the R.N. A.S. At the time of its appearance in June, 1914, the B.E.2c's role in war was envisaged as that of reconnaissance, and the decision to order it in numbers appeared to be justified. In the event, however, its lack of manoeuvrability which went with such an exceptionally highly-developed stability brought about its downfall in the skies of battle, where it was, perforce, pressed into carrying out duties for which it was not designed.
   The B.E.2c was a direct development of the B.E.2b, but several distinctive changes had been made. Most prominent among these were the adoption of staggered wings, the addition of a triangular tail fin, a revised tailplane of rectangular shape and new wing-tips. At first, the 70 h.p. Renault was given lengthy exhaust pipes which extended along the lower fuselage, but these were shortened in later versions.
   In June, 1914, the prototype was flown from Farnborough to Netheravon by Major Sefton Brancker, who left his starting-point at 2,000 ft. and arrived over his destination at 20 ft. without using the controls, his hands being occupied with writing a reconnaissance report during the flight. When war broke out on 4th August, 1914, this machine was the only B.E.2c flying. The sub-contractors asked to produce the design found, on examination of the plans, that the structure was a comparatively complicated one and was not simple to build. Three months after war was declared, Edward Busk, the person who had done most to develop the machine into a successful flyer, was killed when his B.E.2c crashed on 5th November on Laffan's Plain.

SPECIFICATION

   Description: Two-seat tractor biplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
   Manufacturers: Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hants.
   Power Plant: 70 h.p. Renault.
   Dimensions: Span, 37 ft. Length, 27 ft. 3 ins. Height, 11 ft. 15 ins. Wing area, 371 sq. ft.
   Weights: Empty, 1,370 lb. Loaded, 2,142 lb.
   Performance: Maximum speed, 75 m.p.h. Service ceiling, 10,000 ft. Endurance, 3.25 hrs.


J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)


B.E.2c, 2d and 2e

  EDWARD TESHMAKER BUSK left King’s College, Cambridge, in 1908. He took the Mechanical Sciences Tripos in 1907, and spent a further year at Cambridge in research. From 1909 until mid-1911 he worked with Halls and Co. of Dartford, and in 1911 he began to develop his interest in aviation.
  At that early date he was interested in the problem of inherent stability in aeroplanes, and made some investigations into the nature and causes of wind gusts. Early in 1912, he began to learn to fly at Hendon at the flying school of the Aeronautical Syndicate, Ltd., but did not take his Royal Aero Club certificate.
  In June, 1912, Professor Hopkinson of King’s College recommended Busk to Mervyn O’Gorman, the Superintendent of the Royal Aircraft Factory, for the post of Assistant Engineer Physicist, and Busk took up his appointment on June 10th, 1912.
  His work at Farnborough consisted chiefly of research in aircraft stability and control design. He realised that, in order to carry out his experiments thoroughly, he must complete his flying training: this he did under the tuition of Geoffrey de Havilland, and by the summer of 1913 was sufficiently skilled as a pilot to be able to begin a series of experiments in stability.
  Busk began his investigations with the B.E.2a. He approached his task with perseverance and great courage, for, in establishing the exact degree of instability of the B.E.2a, he flew the machine beyond the limits of its controllability on several occasions. His findings provided data for the design of the R.E.t, which emerged in November, 1913, as the first R.A.F. inherently stable aeroplane, and for a development of the basic B.E.2 design.
  The latter machine was designated B.E.2C, and was flying in June, 1914. The prototype had the fuselage, undercarriage and engine installation of the B.E.2b, but new mainplanes with a marked degree of stagger were fitted. Double-acting ailerons replaced the warp control of the earlier B.Es; a fixed fin was added to the tail unit; and a new tailplane was mounted between the upper and lower longerons, braced to the fin by steel-tube struts. The fuselage was a typical wire-braced box girder, made in two parts which were joined just behind the rear cockpit. The wings had wooden spars, ribs and riblets and, in the earlier B.E.2c’s, the external bracing was by cables. The fin and rudder were made of steel tube. The covering was of fabric throughout, apart from the metal engine cowling and the plywood decking about the cockpits.
  In June, 1914, Major (later Air Vice Marshal Sir) Sefton Brancker flew the prototype B.E.2C from Farnborough to Netheravon. He climbed to 2,000 feet over Farnborough and thereafter did not touch the controls again until he was at 20 feet on the approach to Netheravon. During his flight he wrote a reconnaissance report of the country over which he flew.
  As the summer of 1914 wore on, it became obvious that war was imminent. Aeroplanes were ordered in haste, and it was decided to order the B.E.2C in quantity, since it promised to be superior to the earlier B.E.2 variants in construction and performance. This led to delay, for complete sets of drawings were not immediately available; moreover, some of the contractors for the type had never before built aircraft.
  It would be hard to condemn the decision to order what was at that time large-scale production of the B.E.2c: in fact, it was an act of faith and considerable courage. The aircraft had not been fully tested, but it had already shown itself to be an excellent flying machine with remarkable stability, a quality which promised well for its employment as a reconnaissance machine. At that time, aerial combat had not been thought of, save by a few visionaries; and no-one foresaw that the B.E.’s great stability would put it at a serious disadvantage in aerial fighting.
  The B.E.2c was not, for its day, particularly simple in its construction, and successive modifications were a sore trial to the first contractors for the type. Among the firms who undertook its manufacture were Messrs G. and J. Weir, Ltd., of Glasgow, and the Daimler Co., Ltd., of Coventry. Contracts were also placed with Sir W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth & Co., Ltd., but after study of the drawings that firm represented that the B.E.2C was unnecessarily complicated. They therefore sought and (what is more remarkable) obtained permission to build an aeroplane which would be simpler but equally efficient. The result was the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3.
  A single B.E.2C was taken to France by the Aircraft Park, which arrived at Boulogne on August 18th, 1914. Production machines began to appear late in 1914, but by March 10th, 1915, the seven squadrons in the field could muster a total of only thirteen B.E.2c’s between them. The first unit to go to France equipped throughout with the type was No. 8 Squadron, R.F.C., which arrived on April 15th, 1915.
  The early production B.E.2c’s were very similar to the prototype. They retained the Renault engine and skid undercarriage, but some had a slight refinement in the shape of a cowling over the engine sump. In each outer bay of the wings an auxiliary mid-bay flying-wire was added to the upper front spars. The arrangement of the control cables for the tail surfaces was improved.
  The Renault engine which powered the B.E.2c had provided the basis for original design work undertaken at the Factory with the object of producing a satisfactory British power-unit with a reasonable power/weight ratio. This work began in January, 1913, and culminated in the following year in the appearance of the R.A.F. 1 engine of 90 h.p. Like the B.E.2C, the R.A.F. 1 was not fully tested at the outbreak of war, nor were full sets of drawings available, yet it was ordered in quantity from various contractors. The first R.A.F. 1 was installed in a B.E.2c, but development was delayed by the loss of the engine on November 5th, 1914, when the aircraft in which it was being flown burst into flames at 800 feet above Laffans Plain and crashed. But the crash caused a far greater loss to British aeronautical science than the mere destruction of an engine which could, sooner or later, be replaced: Busk was the pilot of the B.E.2c; and he lost his life.
  The production version of the R.A.F. 1 engine was known as the R.A.F. 1a. Deliveries began in the spring of 1915, and the engine became the standard power unit of the B.E.2C. The exhaust pipes varied considerably in length and configuration, but the twin upright stacks running up in front of the centresection were perhaps the best-known arrangement. Many of the B.E.2c’s built for the R.N.A.S. had long pipes running along the fuselage and terminating just abaft the pilot’s cockpit.
  At about the same time as the introduction of the R.A.F. 1a engine, the B.E.2c’s undercarriage was modified to consist of two simple vees: each vee was made of steel tube with wooden fairings, and there were two steel-tube spreader bars between which the axle lay. Springing was provided by the 44 feet of 3/8-inch rubber shock cord which bound the axle to each vee strut. Some B.E.2c’s were built with an oleo undercarriage similar to that of the F.E.2b and R.E.7, and a few of these machines went to France. The Daimler Company produced some of the oleo-fitted B.E.2c’s.
  Other modifications were introduced as time went on. The tailplane, which was originally made in one piece, was later built in two parts; concurrently, the steel-tube struts bracing the tailplane were replaced by Rafwires.
  Rafwires also replaced the cables which had braced the mainplanes of all early B.E.2c’s. The mainplanes themselves were changed: the early machines had had wings of R.A.F.6 section at an angle of incidence of 3 30', but these were changed for surfaces of R.A.F.14 section at 4 09'.
  For some months the B.E.2C gave good service as a reconnaissance aircraft, and made occasional bombing attacks. One of the earliest exploits of the latter kind was the daring attack on the enemy airship sheds at Gontrode, made by Lieutenant L. G. Hawker on April 19th, 1915. His B.E.2C carried three bombs.
  But in the late summer of 1915, the rather experimental attempts at aerial combat which had occurred up to that time were suddenly superseded by a new fighting technique in which the advantage at first lay wholly with the enemy. The Fokker monoplane was the vehicle which first brought a new weapon into operational use. Armed with a machine-gun which, thanks to a mechanical interrupter gear, could be fired straight ahead through the revolving airscrew, the Fokker spelt doom to many Allied aircraft and particularly B.Es.
  In combat, the B.E.2c proved to be nearly helpless. There were several reasons why this was so. Its stability was such that it could not be manoeuvred rapidly; and even if it had been tractable it could not have been provided with effective armament. No British interrupter gear was available at the time, and the observer’s position in the front cockpit, directly under the centre-section, was a severe obstacle to the fitting of any kind of defensive armament.
  A remarkable variety of gun-mountings were fitted to B.E.2c’s. Most of them were devised by their crews, but all had one thing in common: they were of little practical use and generally reduced the B.E.’s mediocre performance to a dangerously low level. The observer was usually the gunner, and he had to move his Lewis gun bodily from one mounting to another around his cockpit; but from all save the rearmost his field of fire was hedged about by wings, wires and struts. One of the best arrangements of a Lewis gun fired by the pilot was that devised by Captain L. A. Strange of No. 12 Squadron. The gun was mounted on the side of the fuselage and pointed outwards to clear the airscrew: the pilot had therefore to fly crabwise when he wanted to fire.
  The desperation of B.E. crews found expression in a weapon invented by an officer of No. 6 Squadron. From a small winch in the cockpit he lowered a lead weight on a steel cable; this he attempted to entangle in the airscrew of an enemy aircraft by manoeuvring above it. Needless to say, the device was unsuccessful.
  From October, 1915, onwards, throughout the months preceding the Battle of the Somme, the history of the war in the air contains a dreary recital of mounting losses, including many B.E.2c’s, inflicted by the Fokker monoplane. Evidence of the Fokker’s effectiveness and the B.E.2c’s defencelessness is provided by the size of the escort which was detailed to accompany a B.E. of No. 12 Squadron on a reconnaissance flight on February 7th, 1916. The flight was not carried out, but the escort was to have consisted of three other B.E.1c’s, four F.E.2b’s, four R.E.7s and one Bristol Scout - twelve machines in all.
  In addition to its reconnaissance and artillery-spotting activities, the B.E.2c acted as a bomber on many occasions. Captain Strange, then of No. 6 Squadron, had shown what could be done by his attack on Courtrai station on March 10th, 1915: his B.E.2C was armed with only three 25-lb bombs, but he did sufficient damage to delay rail traffic for three days.
  Bombing raids became more frequent as more aircraft became available. The R.F.C.’s first night raid was made by two B.E.2c’s of No. 4 Squadron on the night of February 19th/20th, 1916; the aircraft were flown by Captains E. D. Horsfall and J. E. Tennant. Their objective was Cambrai aerodrome, where Tennant dropped his seven 20-lb Hales bombs on the sheds from 30 feet. Horsfall’s two 112-pounders failed to leave the racks over the target, and did not drop until the B.E. was nearly home again.
  On these raids, as on all bombing missions, the B.E.2C was flown without an observer, for it could not lift both bombs and an observer together. Defensive armament was also reduced to a minimum: the pilot usually had nothing more effective than a rifle or carbine. Bombing attacks on enemy railways were carried out by twenty-eight B.E.2c’s during the preparations for the Battle of the Somme, and on July 1st, 1916, the day of the great offensive itself, a similar number made further attacks. On July 28th, the B.E.2c’s of Nos. 8 and 12 Squadrons dropped fifty-seven 112-lb bombs on the railway junction north of Aubigny-au-Bac.
  After one or two British aeroplanes had been brought down by rifle and machine-gun fire from the ground the R.F.C. asked for armoured aeroplanes. Some B.E.2c’s were provided with armour about and below the cockpits and engine; but its weight (which was no less than 445 lb) and the total absence of streamlining had a detrimental effect upon the machine’s performance. One of these armoured B.E.2c’s was used by No. 15 Squadron, and was flown on ground-strafing duties by Captain Jenkins of that unit during the Battle of the Somme. In three months it was fitted with no fewer than eighty new wings and many other components.
  The B.E.2C was also built in substantial numbers for the R.N.A.S., and that Service was the first to use the type outside France. Two Renault-powered B.E.2c’s reached Tenedos early in April, 1915, to form part of the equipment of No. 3 Wing, R.N.A.S., during the Dardanelles campaign. No. 2 Wing brought six more Renault-powered machines in August.
  Many of the B.E.2c’s built with the R.A.F. la engine for the R.N.A.S. had a small bomb-rack directly under the engine; it could carry three bombs. Some of the R.N.A.S. bomber B.E.2c’s had the front cockpit faired over.
  On April 3rd, 1915, two B.E.2c’s, numbered 968 and 969, left England for South-West Africa. They had been built for the Admiralty but were transferred to the South African Aviation Corps. They arrived at Walvis Bay on April 30th, but were damaged in trial flights and took no part in the South-West African campaign.
  When that campaign was over, some of the officers and men who had taken part in it provided the nucleus of No. 26 Squadron, which arrived at Mombasa with eight B.E.2c’s on January 31st, 1916, for service in German East Africa. The airscrews had not been packed with the machines at Farnborough, so the squadron had to make do with only five spare airscrews, none of which was of the correct type. The B.Es of this squadron did a great deal of excellent work under appalling conditions. On January 30th, 1917, No. 26 Squadron took over three R.A.F.-powered B.E.2c’s of R.N.A.S. type from No. 7 (Naval) Squadron, which had been withdrawn by the Admiralty. It was on one of them, No. 8424, that Captain G. W. Hodgkinson and Lieutenant L. Walmsley made many long-range reconnaissances; the observer carried extra tins of petrol in his cockpit and from them he replenished the tank while in flight.
  In the near East, B.E.2c’s flew and fought with Squadrons Nos. 14 and 17 in Egypt; with Nos. 14 and 67 (Australian) Squadrons in Palestine; with No. 30 Squadron in Mesopotamia, where the B.Es helped to drop food to the beleaguered garrison of Kut-al-Imara; and with No. 17 Squadron in Macedonia, whence that unit went from Egypt in July, 1916. One of No. 30 Squadron’s B.E.2c’s was flown as a single-seat fighting scout: with twenty-five gallons of fuel it had a speed of 88 m.p.h. at 2,000 feet, and climbed to 10,000 feet in twenty-two minutes.
  In India the B.E.2c was flown by No. 31 Squadron and later by No. 114 Squadron also. There it played a part in quelling the unruly tribes of the North-West Frontier.
  The B.E.2C is seldom credited with successes of any kind, but it did perform well on Home Defence duties as an anti-Zeppelin aircraft. Until the enemy began to use the Gotha biplanes in place of his airships, the B.E.2C was the standard British Home Defence aeroplane. In this particular kind of work the machine’s stability was a real asset, for it simplified night-flying and made the aircraft a steady gun platform.
  Five enemy airships fell to the guns of B.E.2c’s: the Schutte-Lanz S.L.11 and the Zeppelins L.32, L.31, L.34 and L.21. The wooden-framed Schutte-Lanz airship was shot down on September 3rd, 1916, by Lieutenant W. Leefe-Robinson of No. 39 Squadron, who received the Victoria Cross for this action. Exactly three weeks later, on September 24th, Second Lieutenant F. Sowrey, also of No. 39 Squadron, shot down the Zeppelin L.32 over Billericay; he was flying a Bristol-built B.E.2C, No. 4112.
  The British and Colonial Aeroplane Co. built ten specially modified B.E.2c’s, numbered 4700-4709, for Home Defence duties. These were single-seaters, and the space normally occupied by the front seat contained an extra petrol tank to increase endurance for anti-Zeppelin work.
  The Home Defence B.Es were armed in a variety of ways. Some carried canisters of Ranken darts, some relied on bombs, but the majority were armed with a Lewis gun firing incendiary ammunition. Experiments were also carried out with Le Prieur rockets: a B.E.2C which had an installation for ten rockets was No. 8407. At Farnborough tests were made with a B.E.2C which had two grapnels attached to cables. These were normally carried under the fuselage and may have been intended to be anti-airship weapons.
  In 1915, a slightly modified version of the design, known as the B.E.2d, appeared. This variant had dual controls and a revised fuel system: there was an external gravity petrol tank under the port upper mainplane, an addition which provided the chief external distinguishing feature of the type. The sides of the forward cockpit were rather lower than on the B.E.2C. The B.E.2d began to come into service in the spring of 1916, but was no improvement on the B.E.2C.
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  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.


SPECIFICATION
  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.
  Dimensions:
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'
Incidence:
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.
Airscrew diameter:
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.
  Service Use:
   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.
Climb to
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 Numbers:
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.

Costs:
   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.



B.E.10

  THE B.E.10 of 1915 was designed as an improvement on the standard B.E.2c. The fuselage was a steel-tube structure, and full-span ailerons-cum-flaps were to be fitted. The wing span of 35 feet 8 1/2 inches was slightly less than that of the B.E.2c, and the aerofoil section of the wings had a reflex trailing edge. The engine was the 70 h.p. Renault.
  Four machines, numbered 1648 to 1651, were ordered from the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co., Ltd., under Contract No. A.2554.A(MA3). When the fuselage structure was studied at Bristol the type was promptly nicknamed “the gas-pipe aeroplane”.
  Construction was begun, but it was decided that the B.E.2c should remain the standard British two-seater, and the B.E.10s were abandoned after only a little work had been done on them.


F.Manson British Bomber Since 1914 (Putnam)


Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2C/E Bombers

   It has been shown that by the end of 1914 the RNAS had deployed a number of seaplanes capable of carrying bombs or torpedoes, and had already demonstrated its ability to strike targets with the relatively small bombs then at its disposal, although as yet no success had attended the use of the aerial torpedo.
   In France the RFC with the British Expeditionary Force was deployed in the field with a heterogeneous collection of aircraft whose pilots were charged with general reconnaissance duties over and immediately beyond the German lines. None of the aircraft hitherto built under War Office contracts had been equipped to carry bombs.
   The onset of aerial combat in the skies over the Western Front during the winter of 1914-15, rudimentary as it was in both tactics and weapons, was but an inevitable presentiment of a more ominous turn of events, and the first recorded raid by the RFC with aerial bombs as distinct from hand grenades, or adaptations thereof appears to have been launched on 11 March 1915 by three B.E.2As of No 4 Squadron, then based at St Omer, against the railway junction at Lille, 38 miles distant; none of the aircraft returned to base, all having succumbed to engine failure.
   The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 variants were the best of the aircraft taken to France by the RFC with Nos 2 and 4 Squadrons in 1914. Designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, the B.E.2 prototype had first flown in 1912, when it was seen to be the best aeroplane attending the Military Trials of that year (though ineligible to be declared the winner). Powered by a 70hp Renault in-line engine driving a four-blade propeller, the B.E.2 was a two-bay biplane of wire-braced wooden construction with fabric covering. Lateral control on the early B.E.2s was by means of wing warping; there was no fin and the rudder was unbalanced.
   The B.E.2 and 2A had attracted adverse comment on account of a lack of protection from the slipstream for the observer, who occupied the front cockpit, and the B.E.2B, produced in small numbers, introduced increased fuselage decking around the two cockpits.
   The next B.E.2 variant, and the most famous and longest-serving, was the B.E.2C, of which a single example accompanied the RFC to France in August 1914. Early production aircraft retained the 70hp Renault, but this engine had provided the basis of a new design produced at the Royal Aircraft Factory that was to emerge as the R.A.F 1 of 90hp. Unfortunately the prototype engine, installed in an experimental B.E.2 at the Factory, was lost when it caught fire and the aircraft crashed, killing Edward Teshmaker Busk. This pilot was the Assistant Engineer (Physics) at Farnborough, and had been largely responsible for much of the investigation and improvement of aircraft stability in flight, improvements that were to be incorporated in the new B.E.2C.
   This version retained the fuselage of the B.E.2B but introduced new wings with marked stagger and ailerons on upper and lower surfaces. A new tailplane was fitted to the rear fuselage between the upper and lower longerons, and a steel-framed, triangular fin was added forward of the rudder.
   Deliveries o f production B.E.2Cs were slow to build up, and by the date of the raid against Lille, mentioned above, only 13 of this type had reached the seven RFC squadrons on the Western Front. And it was in a B.E.2 or 2A o f No 2 Squadron that Lieut William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse won the first Victoria Cross to be awarded to a British airman; on 26 April 1915 he succeeded in dropping his 100 lb bomb on Courtrai railway station from 300 feet and, although mortally wounded, brought his aircraft back to his own base at Merville to make his report. One of the first bombing attacks made by the B.E.2C was that by Lieut Lanoe G Hawker (later also to win the Victoria Cross), who attacked a German airship shed at Gontrode on 19 April.
   It was soon after these early bombing attacks by the RFC that the first German Fokker monoplane fighters began appearing over the Western Front, aircraft that possessed remarkable manoeuvrability for that time; they were, moreover, armed with a synchronized machine gun capable of firing through the propeller arc. The B.E.2s, on account of the stability for which they were applauded while performing bombing and reconnaissance duties, and their lack of agility, were to suffer mounting losses, and it soon became normal practice, whenever aircraft were available, to provide escorts for the vulnerable B.E.s. Efforts were made to fit defensive armament, but this simply served to reduce their performance still more. Because the B.E.2 was only flown as a single-seater when carrying bombs, the bombers were usually fitted with a single, spigot-mounted Lewis gun behind the pilot's cockpit to fire aft! The B.E.2Cs normal bomb load was usually a pair of 112 lb or up to eight 20 lb Hales bombs.
   With a raid by two aircraft of No 4 Squadron on Cambrai airfield on 19/20 February 1916, the B.E.2Cs began operating increasingly at night, and during the preparations for the Battle of the Somme in June and July that year fairly large formations of B.E.s carried out setpiece attacks on important targets behind the German lines; on one occasion about 30 aircraft from Nos 8 and 12 Squadrons dropped 57 112 lb bombs on a key railway junction.
   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.
   B.E.2s also served in smaller numbers with the RNAS, beginning with three B.E.2As taken to France by Wg-Cdr Charles Rumney Samson's Wing in August 1914. One of these aircraft, No 50, survived two year's service, accompanying Samson to the Dardanelles in 1915. Some naval B.E.2Cs which served during that ill-fated campaign with No 3 Wing, RNAS, were employed as bombers, a few being flown as single-seaters with the front cockpit faired over; others carried a rack for three light bombs directly beneath the engine.
   B.E.2Cs also served in the bombing and reconniassance roles in German East Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Macedonia and on the North-West Frontier of India.

   Type: Single-engine, single/two-seat, two-bay biplane, as used as support light bomber.
   Manufacturers: Sir W G Armstrong, Whitworth & Co Ltd, Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Barclay, ( Airle & Co Ltd, Whiteinch, Glasgow; William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire; The Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co Ltd, Olympia, Leeds; The British Caudron Co Ltd, Cricklewood, London, NW2; The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co Ltd, Filton, Bristol; The Daimler Co Ltd, Coventry; William Denny & Bros, Dumbarton; The Eastbourne Aviation Co Ltd, Eastbourne; The Grahamc-Whitc Aviation Co Ltd, Hendon, London NW9; Hewlett & Blondeau Ltd, Clapham, London; Martinsyde Ltd, Brooklands, Surrey; Napier & Miller Ltd, Old Kilpatrick; Ruston & Proctor & Co Ltd, Lincoln; Vickers Ltd (Aviation Dept), Knightsbridge, London; The Vulcan Motor & Kngineering Co (1906) Ltd, Southport, Lancashire; G & J Weir Ltd, Cathcart, Glasgow; Wolseley Motors Ltd, Birmingham.
   Powerplant: B.E.2C. 70hp Renault; 90hp R.A.F.1A; 105hp R.A.F.1B; 105hp R.A.F.1D; 90hp Curtiss OX-5; 150hp Hispano-Suiza. B.E.2D. 90hp R.A.F.1A.
   Structure: Fuselage of wire-braced wooden box girder construction, wooden twin-spar wings; fin and rudder of steel tubular frame construction. Engine part-cowled with aluminium sheet panels, cockpit decking plywood-covered, the remainder of the aircraft fabric-covered.
   Dimensions: B.E.2C. Span, 37ft 0in; length, 27ft 3in; height, 11ft 1 1/2in; wing area, 371 sq ft. B.E.2D. Span, 36ft 10in; length, 27ft 3in; height, 11 ft 0in; wing area, 371 sq ft.
   Weights: B.E.2C. Tare, 1,370 lb; all-up (eight 20 lb bombs), 2,142 lb.
   Performance: B.E.2C(R.A.F.1A). Max speed, 77 mph at sea level, 69 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 5,000ft, 9 min 10 sec; service ceiling, 10,000ft.
   Armament: A single Lewis machine gun was sometimes carried on a spigot mounting aft of the rear cockpit. When flown as a singleseat bomber, the B.E.2C could carry up to two 112 lb bombs or smaller bombs up to an equivalent weight.


P.Lewis British Bomber since 1914 (Putnam)


During 1913 E. T. Busk, one of the experimental pilots at the Royal Aircraft Factory, commenced trials in an endeavour to endow the B.E.2a with improved stability. His findings were embodied in a new version designated B.E.2c, the first of which took to the air in June, 1914. It was based on the fuselage and undercarriage unit used in the B.E.2b, but fresh wings, incorporating four cable-connected ailerons and stagger, made their appearance. A rounded coaming extended fore and aft of the pair of tandem cockpits, and steel tube framing was introduced into the fin and rudder. The 70 h.p. Renault was retained to power the early production B.E.2c, and the Factory had succeeded well in imbuing the machine with great natural stability, a factor then thought to be greatly advantageous to the aircraft in its expected role of reconnaissance. Later, however, this fallacy was to be exposed and heavily emphasized in combat when the resulting lack of manoeuvrability put the B.E.2c in a position of grave disadvantage on operations over the Western Front. As well as being deficient in this respect, the location of the observer in the front cockpit placed a markedly severe restriction on his ability to wield a machine-gun when such armament was eventually brought into play as a defensive measure.
   To enable the B.E.2c to operate as a bomber, it was flown as a single-seater, and one of its first exploits as an offensive weapon took place on 10th March, 1915, when Capt. L. A. Strange of No. 6 Squadron, R.F.C., flew his to Courtrai railway station to drop three 25 lb. bombs which disrupted movements by rail over three days. Another B.E.2c raid was carried out on 19th April, 1915, when the sheds housing German airships at Gontrode were attacked by Capt. Lanoe G. Hawker, who dropped three bombs on them. The B.E.2c normally housed its bomb load in racks beneath the fuselage and inboard under the lower wings, but those built for the R.N.A.S. and equipped with the R.A.F.Ia as the engine were often fitted with a rack, capable of accommodating three bombs, in an unusual position below the engine’s sump. In some cases the R.N.A.S. bomber B.E.2c had its front cockpit faired over. The B.E.2c was also notable as the first to carry out a night raid by the R.F.C. which was made by two of the type on Cambrai aerodrome on 19th February. Numerous other bombing operations were to stand to the credit of the B.E.2c, an aeroplane pressed by the exigencies of war into performing duties for which it had not been developed. Consequently, despite the greatest gallantry displayed by the crews who flew the B.E.2c on operations, the type was castigated owing to the heavy losses which it suffered through being allotted tasks on active service which were never intended to be its metier.


F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)


RAF. B.E.2

<...>
   The next version, the B.E.2C - the most famous of all B.E.s - bore the fruits of research by Edward Teshmaker Busk, the Assistant Engineer Physicist at the Royal Aircraft Factory who, by studying the flying characteristics of a B.E.2A, prepared the first practical data on the stability and controllability of aeroplanes to become available in Britain. Retaining the fuselage, engine installation and undercarriage of the B.E.2B, the prototype B.E.2C first appeared in June 1914, having wings of considerable stagger; ailerons replaced wing warping, and a fixed fin was added forward of the rudder.
   Certainly the stability and control of the B.E.2 had been transformed, and its steadiness in the air seemed to recommend its value as a reconnaissance machine, the role assumed at that time to be the raison d’etre of the military aeroplane. On this account, production orders totalling 144 aircraft had been placed by the Admiralty with commercial sub-contractors before the end of 1914, as well as orders for 146 aircraft placed with the British & Colonial Aeroplane Co Ltd by the War Office. The first Squadron wholly equipped with B.E.2Cs was No 8, and this arrived in France in mid-April 1915. Early aircraft retained the 70hp Renault engine that powered the previous B.E. series, but at about this time production B.E.2Cs began appearing with the Royal Aircraft Factory’s own engine, the RAF 1A, and this had a number of different exhaust manifolds, the best known being a pair of vertical stacks attached to the leading edge of the upper wing. At the same time the B.E.2C’s landing gear underwent change, the twin skids being omitted; a pair of steel tube spreader bars were introduced at the apex of the V-struts, between which passed the wheel axle. Rather later, oleo struts replaced the front tubular V-struts. The wheel axle was not attached rigidly to the spreader bars and springing was achieved by binding the spreader bars with lengths of rubber cord.
   It was in the late summer of 1915 that the B.E.2C entered the most tragic phase of its history, for this was the moment when the Germans introduced their Fokker monoplane scouts, armed with a mechanically synchronized front gun, an innovation that not only revolutionized but generally simplified offensive air combat tactics.
   No 8 Squadron in particular, which had assumed the role of long-range reconnaissance well behind the German lines, now suffered heavy losses under the guns of the enemy scouts, as did the growing number of squadrons equipped with B.E.2Cs. Although pilots took matters into their own hands and attempted to mount Lewis guns on makeshift structures for their defence, these only served to further reduce the B.E.’s already modest performance.
   In truth the one characteristic that had commended the B.E.2C to its crews had been its steady, leisurely flying gait, so much so that, if attacked by an enemy scout, it possessed no agility with which to escape destruction. By September 1915 Nos 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 16 Squadrons (more than half the total) were equipped with B.E.2Cs in France, and all were to suffer very heavy casualties.
   The only remedy available, if the RFC was to continue to perform its allotted reconnaissance role, was to provide fighting escorts, but it was to be several months before suitable escort fighters could be brought into service. In the meantime the ‘Fokker scourge’ continued unabated. Increasingly the B.E.2Cs had also been employed as bombers, both with the RNAS and the RFC, but weighed down with bombs, however small, they were no less vulnerable to enemy scouts than the reconnaissance aircraft. In home skies, however, they came to be used with mounting success in the antiairship role, the first being the destruction of the Schutte-Lanz SL.II, shot down by Lieut W Leefe Robinson over Cuffley, Hertfordshire, on the night of 2/3 September 1916, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross; on the night of the 24th of that month 2/Lieut Frederick Sowrey shot down Zeppelin L32 over Billericay, Essex. Both pilots belonged to No 39 (Home Defence) Squadron. Three other Zeppelins also fell to B.E.2C pilots.
   It was the steadiness as a potential gun platform, as well as the ease with which it could be flown at night, that rendered the B.E.2C a suitable aircraft to counter the German airships, and in this role the aircraft appeared with a variety of weapons, and most Home Defence B.E.2Cs were armed with either single or twin Lewis guns, firing incendiary ammunition from flexible mountings. Some of the RNAS aircraft were flown as singleseat night fighters, the observer’s front cockpit being faired over. Other examples were experimentally flown with Le Prieur rockets mounted on the outer pairs of interplane struts, but in general the addition of such external accoutrements simply deprived the aircraft of the last vestiges of useful speed. B.E.2Cs served widely overseas, and several were employed as single-seat fighters in the Middle East, but with marked lack of success.
   Many attempts were made to improve the B.E.2C’s speed performance, and the experimental installation of the 150hp Hispano Suiza engine early in 1916 certainly bestowed a useful speed of 95 mph at sea level; the increased weight of the engine by some 400lb, however, severely affected the handling of the aircraft, and the few examples were, perhaps surprisingly, confined to training duties.
   The persistence with which the War Office continued to order production of the B.E.2C (as well as the later B.E.2D and B.E.2E, neither of which proved any better as fighting aircraft), fuelled the growing accusations that illogical preference was being afforded for aircraft designed at the State-owned Royal Aircraft Factory - even though every production B.E.2 was manufactured by private sub-contractors.
   The accompanying data refers to the B.E.2C.

   Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay reconnaissance biplane; also anti-airship night interceptor.
   Manufacturers: The Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hants (B.E.2C prototype only). Barclay, Curie & Co Ltd, Glasgow; William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire; The Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co Ltd, Leeds; The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co Ltd, Bristol; The Daimler Co Ltd, Coventry; William Denny & Bros, Dumbarton; The Eastbourne Aviation Co Ltd, Eastbourne; The Grahame-White Aviation Co Ltd, Hendon, London, Handley Page Ltd, London; Hewlett & Blondeau Ltd, Clapham, London; Martinsyde Ltd, Brooklands, Surrey; Napier & Miller Ltd, Old Kirkpatrick, Renfrewshire; Ruston, Proctor & Co Ltd, Lincoln; Vickers Ltd (Aviation Dept), Knightsbridge, London; The Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co (1906) Ltd, Southport, Lancs; G & J Weir Ltd, Glasgow; Wolseley Motors Ltd, Birmingham.
   Powerplant: 70hp Renault; 90hp RAF 1A; 105hp RAF IB; 105hp RAF ID; 90hp Curtiss OX-5; 150hp Hispano-Suiza.
   Structure: Steel tubular construction with ply, metal sheet and fabric covering; cable bracing, later Raf-wire bracing. Two-bay, twin-spar wings with steel tubular interplane struts with wooden fairings. Early aircraft with twin-skid, twin-wheel undercarriage, later replaced by plain V-strut, twin-wheel unit without skids; some aircraft with oleo struts as forward member of V-strut structure.
   Dimensions: Span, 37ft 0in; length, 27ft 3in; height, 11ft 1 1/2 in; wing area, 371 sq ft.
   Weights (RAF 1A engine): Tare, 1,370lb; all-up, 2,142lb.
   Performance (RAF 1A engine): Max speed, 77 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 45 min 15 sec; service ceiling, 10,000ft; endurance, 3 1/4 hr.
   Armament: Varied from none to four Lewis guns, sometimes including a rearward-firing gun on the pilot’s cockpit; anti-airship aircraft were usually armed with single or twin Lewis guns on spigot or flexible mountings, and individual aircraft had provision for canisters of Ranken darts, or up to ten Le Prieur rockets on the interplane struts.
   Production: The best estimate available of the total number of B.E.2Cs built is 1,310, of which about 330 were delivered initially to the RNAS (some were transferred to the RFC).
   Summary of Service: B.E.2Cs served with Nos 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16 and 21 Squadrons, RFC, on the Western Front, and Nos 19 (Reserve), 33, 36, 39, 50, 51, 75 and 141 Squadrons, Home Defence.


W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters


ROYAL AIRCRAFT FACTORY B.E.2c UK

   Second of the Farnborough designs to bear a “Bleriot Experimental” designation as a general-purpose tractor biplane, the B.E.2 appeared in 1912 and provided the basis for a family of variants produced in large quantity for use by the RFC, principally as an unarmed two-seat scout. With modifications to enhance the inherent stability of the basic design, the B.E.2c was developed in 1914 and many of the 1,216 of this variant built were to serve with various ad hoc armament installations. The B.E.2c was a two-bay biplane with unstaggered equi-span wings, a conventional tail unit with separate fin, rudder, tailplane and elevators, and an undercarriage incorporating skids to help prevent nose-overs. The 70 hp Renault eight-cylinder Vee-type engine powered early production aircraft, but the 90 hp RAF Ia eight-cylinder Vee-type soon became standard. Construction of the B.E.2c was of wood throughout, with fabric covering. A variety of mounts was evolved for a single 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Lewis machine gun in the observer’s (front) cockpit, primarily for self-defence. More specifically to serve as a fighter with Home Defence squadrons of the RFC and the RNAS, numerous B.E.2c’s were modified as single-seaters, armament comprising a single Lewis gun mounted to fire upwards behind the wing centre section or, in some cases, on the side of the fuselage alongside the cockpit, angled outwards to clear the propeller disc. Flying by night, despite a lack of nocturnal flight aids, B.E.2c’s shot down five raiding Zeppelins over the UK during 1916. B.E.2c’s were also used for a number of armament experiments. The following data are for the B.E.2c with RAF Ia engine.

Max speed, 72 mph (116 km/h) at 6,500 ft (1 980 m).
Time to 6,500 ft (1980 m), 20 min.
Service ceiling, 10,000 ft (3 050 m).
Endurance, 3.25 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,370 lb (621kg).
Loaded weight, 2,142 lb (972 kg).
Span, 36 ft 10 in (11,23 m).
Length, 27 ft 3 in (8,30 m).
Height, 11 ft 4 in (3,45 m).
Wing area, 396 sq ft (36,79 m2).


O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)


B.E.2c

   The B.E.2c is more often associated with the RFC, yet over 300 aircraft were delivered to the RNAS, where they were employed for bombing duties, for anti-submarine patrols and for training purposes.
   Much has been written about the B.E.2c's dismal failure as a fighting machine with the RFC on the Western Front, its heavy losses in 1915-16 and the 'Fokker fodder' scandal. With the RNAS, however, it earned a somewhat happier reputation, perhaps because it was employed chiefly in theatres of war where the opposition was less vigorous. The RNAS was, in fact, the first service to use the B.E.2c in overseas zones other than France when, in April 1915, two B.E.2cs accompanied the Farmans, Voisins and a Breguet of NO.3 Wing to Tenedos to take part in the Dardanelles campaign. In August 1915 they were joined by six more belonging to NO.2 Wing, RNAS. All these naval B.E.2cs had 70 hp Renault engines, as fitted in the prototype which first flew in June 1914.
   On 13 November 1915 a B.E.2c of No.2 Wing flown by F/Cdr J R W Smyth-Pigott made a daring night-bombing attack on a bridge at Kuleli Burgas spanning the Maritza river, a vulnerable point on the Berlin-Constantinople railway. Smyth-Pigott bombed from 300 ft and was awarded the DSO for his gallantry, though the target was not destroyed.
   Many of the B.E.2cs used as bombers by the RNAS had a small bomb-rack beneath the cowling, as illustrated, and some were flown as single-seaters with the front cockpit faired over.
   In the United Kingdom the RNAS used B.E.2cs for anti-submarine and Zeppelin patrols from coastal air stations until as late as 1918. On 28 November 1916, off Lowestoft, three B. E.2cs flown by F/Lt Cadbury and F/Sub-Lts Pulling and Fane brought down the Zeppelin L21.
   The RNAS received 337 B.E.2cs altogether; 161 with Renault engines, 153 with the RAF la and 23 with the Curtiss OX-5. The last B.E.2c (No. 10,000) left the Blackburn factory on 3 July 1917.

UNITS ALLOCATED
   No.1 Wing, RNAS (Dunkirk), No.2 Wing, RNAS (Imbros and Mudros), No.3 Wing, RNAS (Imbros and Tenedos), No.7 (Naval) Squadron (East Africa). Also coastal air stations at Eastbourne, Hornsea, Great Yarmouth, Port Victoria, Redcar, Scarborough and training schools at Chingford and Cranwell.

TECHNICAL DATA (B.E.2c)
   Description: Two-seat bomber and anti-submarine patrol aircraft. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
   Manufacturers: Admiralty contracts to Beardmore; Blackburn; Eastbourne; Grahame-White; Hewlett and Blondeau; Martinsyde; Ruston, Proctor; Vickers; Vulcan; and G & J Weir.
   Power Plant: 70 hp Renault, 90 hp RAF 1a or 90 hp Curtiss OX-5.
   Dimensions: Span, 37 ft. Length, 27 ft 3 in. Height, 11 ft 1 1/2 in. Wing area, 371 sq ft.
   Weights: Empty, 1,370 lb. Loaded, 2,142 lb.
   Performance: Maximum speed, 72 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 6 1/2 min to 3,500 ft; 45 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 3 1/4 hr. Service ceiling, 10,000 ft.
   Armament: Renault-engined bombers carried up to four 25 lb bombs under engine nacelle. RAF-engined single-seaters carried two 112 lb bombs or ten 20 lb bombs below the wings.


H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)


B.E.2c, d and e. The B.E.2c was never intended to carry armament, but to provide a stable platform for reconnaissance. This very stability was to prove a severe handicap in combat, and even though armament schemes were quickly improvised the firing of a gun from the front (observer's) seat was a matter of great difficulty because of the adjacent wings and bracing members. Rifles, carbines and pistols were carried, and an accompanying photograph is possibly unique in showing a carbine in simulated use. This is of Lee-Metford type. Lewis guns were variously installed. In some instances four sockets were disposed round the observer's cockpit, the gun or guns being interchanged between these sockets as necessary. Sockets were also provided at the sides of the rear cockpit, or behind it, for rearward fire. Capt L. A. Strange of No. 12 Squadron mounted a Lewis gun on the side of the fuselage at such an angle that the line of fire cleared the airscrew, but whether this was the first arrangement of its kind (requiring the pilot to fly crab-fashion) cannot be determined. The common type of mounting which became known as the 'Strange mounting' was of cranked pillar type, having a toothed quadrant and illustrated in connection with the B.E.2e and B.E.12. In March 1917 the Strange mounting for the Lewis gun was improved by Sgt Hutton of No.39 Squadron by fitting a release stud which made the gun or mounting easier to manoeuvre. Other patterns of cranked pillar mounting were improvised and to these the description 'candlestick' mounting was applied. In apparent refutation of the B.E's inferior manoeuvring qualities it has been recorded: 'The Huns were a poor lot and had one violent manoeuvre not dislodged the Lewis guns from their silly candlestick mountings the B.E. might have driven them off.' Some B.E.2cs of the RNAS carried a single Lewis gun on a tall bracket mounting ahead of the cockpit, allowing the gun to be fired under the centre-section but above the airscrew arc. There was at least one instance of a hole being made in the centre-section through which the observer put his head and shoulders to use an unspecified weapon, and there was also an installation of a Lewis gun above the top wing. As many as four guns were carried at a time. One B.E.2c carried two Lewis guns and a Mauser pistol. Oliver Stewart has recalled:
   'Sometimes the observer knelt or stood on his seat to use Lewis guns mounted on brackets linked by a bar between the rear pair of centre-section struts. Sometimes a Lewis gun which could be fired downwards was fitted on the left side of the fuselage alongside the pilot's seat. Another mounting, which was found in numerous forms in the B.E., had one or two Lewis guns on splayed brackets which kept the bullets clear of the disc swept by the airscrew.'
   For Home Defence one or two Lewis guns were installed on Strange mountings to fire behind the centre-section, the ammunition drums being loaded with a mixture of ordinary and 'special' ammunition. Home Defence B.E.2cs and 2es also carried four, six or eight Le Prieur rockets, attached to the outer interplane struts, the launching tubes being set at an upward angle. Armament for Home Defence also included canisters of Ranken Darts, two 20-lb high-explosive bombs and two 16-lb incendiary bombs. 'Bomb boxes' were mentioned, and the R.L. Tube was used to launch incendiary bombs. The Fiery Grapnel, already mentioned in connection with the B.E.2a, was also tested on a B.E.2c. Two of these weapons were carried side by side under the fuselage. In No.6 Squadron a winch was fitted on a B.E.2c to lower a lead weight on a steel cable, the object being to foul the airscrew of an enemy aircraft.
   Bombs were carried either loose in the fuselage or beneath the inner lower wings and fuselage. Some B.E.2cs of the RNAS carried three small bombs under the engine. With the heavier bomb loads the aircraft were flown as single-seaters. Identified loads are four to ten 20-lb, or one 112-lb + four 20-lb, or two 112-lb bombs, and as early as 10 March, 1915, Capt Strange dropped three French bombs weighing 25 lb on Courtrai station. B.E.2cs arc known to have been used on anti-submarine operations, and in this connection it may be noted that the standard bombs used for this work were of 65-lb, 100-lb and 230-lb weight. Loads for the B.E.2e included two 100-lb or one 100-lb + eight 20-lb.
   In August 1916 a B.E.2c was used to test the first installation of the Constantinesco synchronising gear for the Vickers gun, but the only aircraft of the type to have such an installation as standard were those modified by the Belgians. The gun in this instance was mounted above the engine, and a ring-mounting of Nieuport type was fitted over the rear cockpit.
   Armoured seats were developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory and during 1916 an armoured version of the B.E.2c was produced at the same establishment. The armour weighed 445 lb, and armoured B.E.2cs were operated successfully against entrenched German troops. Other applications were low-level photography and the attack of kite balloons. One single-seat B.E.2c had a repositioned and specially armoured cockpit, the armour being built up round the pilot's head and shoulders in a manner reminiscent of Ned Kelly himself. It remains to mention the now-famous installation of five Lewis guns made on a B.E.2c by Lieut C. J. Chabot. The guns were within the undercarriage structure and fired downward at a shallow angle. The installation was never, used operationally.
   No aircraft of 1914-18 was fitted with a greater variety of armament than the B.E.2c, and, notwithstanding its handicaps in combat with other aeroplanes, it endures as the greatest airship-destroyer of all time. On 31 March, 1916, 2nd-Lieut A. de B. Brandon dropped Ranken Darts and an incendiary bomb on the crippled L.15, which then came down on the sea. Some months later, on 3 September, 1916, Lieut W. Leefe Robinson shot down S.L.11 in flames, using a Lewis gun installed on a Strange mounting, of the type illustrated herewith on a B.E.2e. The Lewis gun, firing special ammunition, was also the chosen instrument in the destruction of L.32 (2nd-Lieut F. Sowrey, 24 September, 1916), L.31 (2nd-Lieut W. J. Tempest, 31 October, 1916), L.34 (2nd-Lieut I. V. Pyott, 27 November, 1916) and L.21 (Flt Lieut E. Cadbury, Flt Sub-Lieut G. W. R. Fane and Flt Sub-Lieut E. L. Pulling, 28 November, 1916).
   The stability which cost the B.E.2c so dearly in daylight operations in face of opposing aircraft rendered this same aeroplane a steady platform for what was to become perhaps the most famous aircraft machine-gun of all.


C.Owers Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 69)


The RAF B.E.2c

  The first order for aeroplanes given to Beardmore was for twenty-four 70-hp Renault powered B.E.2c biplanes by the Admiralty in late 1914. (Nos. 1099 to 1122). The first was flown at the firm’s airfield by Dukinfield Jones on 19 February 1915, and delivered to Gosford on 5 March.
  On the night of 27/28 November 1916, a force if nine Zeppelins set out to attack the United Kingdom - L13, L14, L6, L21, L22, L24, L34, L35, L36, and L30 that was forced to return early. L21 had a narrow escape from two B.E.2e ‘fighters’ by skillful manoeuvring. A No. 51 Squadron F.E.2b No. 7680, pursued L21 but its engine dropped revolutions and its pilot, Lt W.R. Gayner, had to give up and just managed to glide to Tibbenham where he crash-landed.
  L21 reached the coast at Yarmouth where he was attacked by Flt Lt Egbert Cadbury in B.E.2c No. 8625, with Flt Sub-Lt G.W.R. Fane in B.E.2c No. 8420, both from Burgh Castle, and Flt Sub-Lt Edward Laston Pulling from Baston in Beardmore built No. 8626. Cadbury pumped four drums of explosive ammunition into the airship while Fane’s Lewis gun froze. Pulling closed in and fired from about 50 feet below the giant. His gun stopped after the second shot and while he tried to clear a jam, the airship started to burn from the stern and fell. Puling had to dive to avoid the falling airship that struck the water with the loss of everyone on board.
  The credit for the victory was given to Pulling who was awarded the DSO while Cadbury and Fane received the DSC. The German Navy also lost L34 this night. It was brought down off Hartepool by 2/Lt Ian V. Pyott in B.E.2c No. 2738 of A Flight, No. 36 Squadron.3


B.E.2c Manufactured by Sir William Beardmore & Co Ltd
Contract No. Engine
Not known 70-hp Renault
C.P.53937/15 90-hp RAF Ia
C.P.79587/15 90-hp RAF Ia
C.P.60949/15 & C.P.153401/15 90-hp RAF Ia
  Another 50 B.E.2c biplanes are known to have been manufactured at Dalmuir but serials for these have not been ascertained.


Журнал Flight


Flight, June 25, 1915.

FLYING AT HENDON.

   LAST Saturday's proceedings opened unofficially with a remarkable demonstration by W. Rowland Ding on a Blackburn-B.E. 2c This machine took the air like a pantomime fairy in the transformation scene, or, to put it in more technical phraseology, like a helicopter. It seemed impossible to stall the machine in the true sense of the word, for when it could climb no more, it - without the aid of the pilot - simply put its nose down and proceeded in a more horizontal attitude. During the afternoon Ding made four other flights, one of which was for the hour test. On this occasion, accompanied by an observer, he reached an altitude of over 10,000 ft., without forcing the machine.
<...>


EDDIES.

   When paying a short visit to Hendon on Thursday of last week I happened to witness one of the prettiest, or perhaps I should say two of the prettiest, bits of flying that I have seen for quite a long time. An officer of the R.F.C. was just starting off on a B.E. 2c of the improved type when Mr. Rowland Ding of the Northern Aircraft Co. started out to test one of the latest Blackburn-built B.E. 2c's of the standard type. Ding was the first to get off, and was followed a few seconds later by the other B.E. Climbing rapidly until they had reached a sufficient altitude, the two pilots started a series of spirals and steeply banked turns, in some of which the machines, if they were not actually banking vertically, were at least 89 degs., 59 mins. and 59 secs, from the horizontal.

***

   It was a beautiful sight to see the two machines circling round one another in graceful curves. Once they were flying level, practically side by side, and it was quite surprising how little difference there seemed to be between the speeds of the two models, the Blackburn standard B.E. 2c being to all intents and purposes as fast as the other. Whether the fact that Ding was flying solo, while the other machine had two on board, had something to do with the slight difference in speed is a question. At any rate the weight of the passenger would not, it appears to me, slow down the speed to such an appreciable extent. It seems more probable that the R.F.C. pilot's engine was not quite up to the mark, while that of the Blackburn B.E., built by the Rolls-Royce firm by the way, was pulling like a demon. This was never more noticeable than when "getting off.'' The angle at which Ding took her up was simply alarming, but there did not seem to be any tendency to stall. This climbing speed is indeed, under present conditions of war, an asset of very high value; it now only remains to incorporate an equally good horizontal speed. When up at a good height Ding repeatedly overclimbed the machine, which could be seen to hesitate for a moment and then quite suddenly flop her nose down until she was at her proper gliding angle. There can be no doubt about the longitudinal inherent stability of this type, and the lateral stability is evidently equally good, judging from the total absence of side-slipping in the steepest of turns.
   In this connection I had an interesting argument with a friend who maintained that it is impossible to make a B.E. 2c side-slip, since, he argues, the machine will, if the rudder is left alone with left-hand warp put on, turn to the left in a circle proportional to the amount of bank. My own idea is that the machine in question can be made to side-slip by the following procedure: Full warp to, say, left, and ruddering to right, gradually returning rudder to central and at the same time pushing elevator lever forward. When the wings are in a nearly vertical position the elevator would, of course, act as a rudder and prevent the tail from swinging outwards, or, in other words, prevent the machine from doing the left-hand turn. The whole experiment, however, is one which I have no particular wish to see carried out in practice, although if attempted at a sufficient altitude it would probably be safe enough, provided that there is no chance of the machine not standing up to the strain.

C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
BE2c #1099, Whitley Bay NAS, Autumn 1915. This Beardmore-built BE2c Used the early RNAS red/white roundels until the red/white/blue roundels were standardized.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
RAF B.E.2
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
RAF B.E.2c 16-й дивизион RFC, 1916г.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
RAF BE.2c с презентационной надписью "SARAN", принадлежавший одному из дивизионов RNAS, 1915г.
А.Шепс - Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты
Разведчик/легкий бомбардировщик RAF B.E.2c RFC
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
The prototype B.E.2C at Farnborough on 2 July 1914. Staggered wings and a tail fin made the aircraft extremely stable.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
The prototype B.E.2C.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg - British Aircraft before the Great War /Schiffer/
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
A "B.E.2c" biplane, with Renault engine, built by the Royal Aircraft Factory.
A.Andrews - The Flying Maschine: Its Evolution through the Ages /Putnam/
The first ‘undisputed truly stable general­purpose aeroplane’, the prototype BE2c of 1913
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
B.E.2C with Renault engine and vee undercarriage.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
BE.2с - экспонат канадского национального военного музея в Оттаве
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Standard production B.E.2C with R.A.F.1a engine.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
B.E.2C with oleo undercarriage.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The BE2c was the definitive version of the BE2 series by the outbreak of war; it was a type that saw distinguished service in the early months. This example is seen with 2 Squadron at Netheravon in June 1914.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
The first Beardmore built B.E.2c RNAS No.1099. February 1915. This occasion appears to be a hand-over to the RNAS. This machine had a 75-hp Wolseley-Renault motor. Tested by Dunkinfield Jones on 8 March 1915, it performed anti-submarine patrols. Due to a crash on landing on 7 June, it was active on an anti-Zeppelin patrol on the night of 15/16 June 1915, when Zeppelins L10 and L11 raided Tyneside. Flt Sub-Lt K.S. Savory left Whitley Bay at 23.50 hours. Savory saw nothing and had to return when his engine began to cease to run correctly. He landed 25 minutes after take-off. After being returned to the makers in September and was back at Whitley Bay in October. No.1099 spun in to the sea on 20 December, and was written off. Flt Sub-Lt G.H. Bettinson was slightly injured.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Beardmore built No.1108 bears the early national marking of the Union flag on the rudder. Note the man on the aerial mast in the background. Tested by Dunkinfield Jones on 11 July 1915, it appears to have served at Chingford and was wrecked by Probationary Flt Sub-Lt P.S.J. Owen on 28 December 1915.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
Early B.E.2c 1145 (70hp Renault) after a mishap at RNAS Redcar in October 1916. Note the bomb rack under the sump and the unusual fin marking.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
No 1738, a Bristol-built B.E.2C with a 90hp Curtiss OX-5 engine, a conversion probably made by Frederick Sage & Co Ltd.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
B.E.2C No. 1744 in German hands. This photograph shows the bomb-racks under the lower wings and fuselage, and external spigot-mountings for the Lewis gun can be seen beside the cockpits.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Allonville and BE2c '1779 of 4 Squadron RFC. The Squadron moved to this airfield in November 1915 and stayed there until February 1916.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
B.E.2cs of 13 Squadron at Gosport on 12 October 1915, en route for France. Aircraft 2017 was built by Armstrong Whitworth, 4084 and 4079 by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, and 2045 by Daimler. The difference in serial styles is noteworthy.
The BE2c Squadrons proved invaluable in the early months of the war, providing timely reconnaissance to the commanders on the ground. Furthermore, it was not long before they were showing their value in co-operating with the artillery on spotting fall of shot: this particular role, in which the RFC squadrons became particularly adept, grew in importance as the land battle became more static.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
BE2c '2026 of 12 Squadron, RFC. This was one of a number of units to use the type operationally on the Western Front - indeed, a BE2c of 2 Squadron was the first British aeroplane to land in France when the RFC deployed in support of the British Expeditionary Force.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
B.E.2c with experimental installation of a Hispano-Suiza engine.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
16 Squadron formed at St Omer in February 1915 during one of the RFC s expansion periods, and was soon heavily engaged on reconnaissance work using a variety of aircraft although, like most units, the BE2c was the main workhorse - indeed, this type remained in service with 16 Squadron until May 1917!
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A later B.E.2c, with an R.A.F.la engine and the vee undercarriage. This particular machine, 2687, was built by Ruston, Proctor, and is fitted with underwing bomb racks.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The beautifully restored B.E.2c 2699 on display at the Imperial War Museum, London.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
A great many aircraft were forced to land behind enemy lines and often they had little more than engine damage. Here BE2c '2742 is seen with German markings after such an instance.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Although the BE2c was by mid 1916 outdated and vulnerable on the Western Front, its inherent stability well suited it for the task of Home Defence and when the RFC took over responsibility for this task from the RNAS it was the BE2c that formed the bulk of the defending fighters to counter the night raids by German Zeppelins. The first success came on the night of 2/3 September 1916 when William Leefe Robinson of 39 Squadron shot down the SL.11. Here the pilot poses in the cockpit of his BE2c - the object being held by the airmen is part of his aircraft that he damaged during the combat.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The same night that L33 fell, 23/24 September, another fell to the guns of 39 Squadron when Lt. Fred Sowrey destroyed the L32. Sowrey is seen here in the cockpit of BE2c '4112. 39 Squadron scored another victory on 1/2 October, when 2nd Lt. Wulfstan Tempest destroyed the L31. L34 was also shot down the same night.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Early production B.E.2C with Renault engine, skid-type undercarriage and cable bracing.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A beautifully finished Renault-powered B.E.2c, the first of a batch built by Wolseley Motors.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
P.Lewis - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
8294, a single-seat night fighter version of the B.E.2c, built by Grahame-White.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
B.E.2C (No.8300) built by Beardmore for the R.N.A.S., showing bomb-rack under the engine.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A production B.E.2c built by Hewlett and Blondeau, one of twenty or so contractors who undertook its manufacture.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
THE GREAT FLIGHT ACROSS SOUTH AFRICA. - General Smuts recently, when accepting the aeroplane subscribed for by the London Chamber of Commerce, had reason to refer to the retaining of the supremacy of the air as being the forerunner of victory. He has intimate knowledge of the activities at the front, and has also in mind the 300 miles South African flight carried out by Captain Moore in the German East African Campaign. In our photograph above, Captain Moore has arrived safely back, the aeroplane being taken, into the hangar.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
Captain Moore, the pilot (on the right), studying the route map before his start on the 300 miles flight in the German East African Campaign.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
BE.2с с ручным пулеметом "Льюис" на лафете Стрейнджа
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
A B.E.2C, No 8624, of the RNAS, probably at Cranwell, modified as a single-seat fighter and armed with a single Lewis gun over the pilot's cockpit. Equipped with Holt flares under the lower wings, this was probably flown as a night fighter.
H.Cowin - Aviation Pioneers /Osprey/
This Royal Aircraft Factory BE 2c, serial no 9951, is one of a known 111-aircraft batch built by Blackburn. This variant made its operational debut in April 1915 and was a marked improvement over the earlier BE 2s, using ailerons, rather than wing warping. Fitted with a 90hp Royal Aircraft Factory-developed RAF Ia engine, the two-seat BE 2c had a top level speed of 72mph at 6,500 feet, dropping to 69mph at 10.000 feet. Besides its primary reconnaissance role, the BE 2 served as a bomber, an anti-submarine patroller and a trainer. Deliveries of the BE 2c to the RFC accounted for 1,117 machines, plus a further 307 operated by the RNAS, of which the aircraft seen here was one.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
Blackburn-built B.E.2c 9969 on display at the Musee de L'Air, Paris, France, in 1980. The sump cowling and wheel covers are missing, and the fin is of the later B.E.2e pattern, a modification frequently carried out in service.
A.Jackson - Blackburn Aircraft since 1909 /Putnam/
9990, a Blackburn-built B.E.2c with the famous airscrew-type badge on the tail.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
A unique aircraft - the highest serial number issued to a British aircraft and an indication of the rapid increase in aircraft production. The RFC initially numbered its aircraft with three or four digits but when the number 10.000 was reached it had already been decided that the system would be unmanageable. Henceforth, aircraft would carry a serial letter and four numbers, giving far more available combinations. This particular BE2c was a Blackburn-built aircraft.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The Home Defence units were still equipped with a range of types, most of which were unable to deal with the new German bombers and super-Zeppelins. The BE2c was still on strength with a number of Squadrons - as here in 58 Squadron's hangar at Cramlington.
--
Photo from Nick Gribble. "One more photo from Marden, Kent. My Grandfather Ernest Gribble is 3rd from left sitting on front row"
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Good upper view of a 2 Squadron BE2c. This type remained in significant numbers on the Western Front during 1916 and was very vulnerable: losses were high as the performance of the aircraft was now grossly inferior to that of the enemy fighter types.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An unidentified B.E.2c photographed from a machine flying above it. Note the squadron marking on the rear decking behind the pilot's cockpit.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An unidentified B.E.2c, one of many on reconnaissance duties over the trenches of the Western Front.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
AIR PATROLLING IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN. - One of our air patrols photographed in the air from another machine.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
A Blackburn-built B.E. C 2 machine in flight at Hendon.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
AT HENDON. - In 19-- it may be that pilots will vol plane into Mitchell's tea gardens for the cup that cheers. The one shown was probably only on a reconnaissance trip. The Bleriot, in the shade of whose wings the tables are set, is that of the late G. Lee Temple.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
NECK AND NECK PAST THE ENCLOSURES AT HENDON. - Mr. J. H. Moore on his biplane, and Blackburn BE.2c.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
Mr. J. H. Moore flying at Hendon Aerodrome on his biplane. On the ground a Blackburn B.E.2C just landed.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
The First Lord of the Admiralty is interested in one of the B.E's.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
Some snaps of the Lord Mayor's Procession: - 2. Fuselage of British B.E.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
Some snaps of the Lord Mayor's Procession: - 3. Port-side wings of British B.E.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
A batch of presentation aeroplanes lined up in England ready to be flown overseas.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
'A gun is stuck on here and a bomb hung on there . . . '; a B.E.2c loaded with a 112lb bomb (below fuselage) and eight Le Prieur rockets, with obvious detriment to its already poor performance.
J.Herris - Weird Wings of WWI /Centennial Perspective/ (70)
Even the British B.E.2 two-seater used Le Prieur rockets.
J.Herris - Weird Wings of WWI /Centennial Perspective/ (70)
B.E.2 armed with a flexible Lewis for the observer seated in the front cockpit.
H.King - Armament of British Aircraft /Putnam/
Demonstrating the use of a Lee-Metford carbine from an early B.E.2c.
F.Mason - British Bomber since 1914 /Putnam/
A B.E.2C single-seat bomber of No 2 Wing, RNAS, at Imbros. This aeroplane, shown carrying 20 lb Hales bombs on racks under the engine and fuselage amidships, was the first to bomb Constantinople, flying from Imbros. The identity of the two naval pilots is not known.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
B.E.2cs at South Carlton in 1917. The aircraft nearest to the camera has had its exhausts modified to discharge to the side instead of over the upper wing, as was usual for machines powered by the R.A.F.la.
K.Wixey - Parnall Aircraft since 1914 /Putnam/
The B.E.2c was one of the types rebuilt at No.3 (Western) Aircraft Repair Depot.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Belgian B.E.2C with Hispano-Suiza engine. The pilot is in the front cockpit, and has a synchronised Vickers gun.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
A Bristol-built B.E.2c armoured with over 400lb of steel plate to protect the engine and crew against ground fire.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A B.E.2c fitted with a 150hp Hispano-Suiza engine. The identity of the gentleman standing in front of it is now known, but, judging by his worried look, he may have been responsible for this remarkably ugly installation.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
The B.E.2d. With 90 h.p. or 100 h.p. R.A.F. engine. Note the petrol tank under the upper plane, and the exhaust pipe projecting upwards.
F.Mason - British Bomber since 1914 /Putnam/
BE.2D, No 2559, at Farnborough in 1916, experimentally fitted with a 150hp Hispano-Suiza engine.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
B.E.2d 4451. Note the gravity tank under the upper port wing. As was common with later examples of the type, this machine has been fitted with the larger, B.E.2e-type fin.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The two-seat BE2d had a maximum speed of just over 88mph (142kph) and a ceiling of 12,000ft (3,700m). The pilot sat in the front cockpit, amidst the woodwork of the struts, while the observer sat behind - with a somewhat better field of view. This particular aircraft, '2785, was with CFS at Upavon.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The BE2, powered by a 60 or 70hp Renault engine - French aero engines were to remain among the best designs throughout the war - carried out a number of military trials, even at one stage being fitted with floats for seaplane tests, and was ordered into production with various British aircraft companies. With its maximum speed of 70mph (110kph) and ceiling of 10.000ft (3.000m) it was on a par with the designs being developed in France and Germany.
O.Tapper - Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft since 1913 /Putnam/
B.E.2c aircraft on the assembly line at Gosforth during the early months of 1915. On the left is the fuselage of the F.K.I single-seat biplane.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
View of the Beardmore works with B.E.2c No. 1115 nearing completion. Tested at Dalmuiron 15 August 1915, it was shipped in crates, to Whitley Bay where Dunkinfield Jones tested it again before it was accepted by the RNAS. Probationary Flt Sub-Lt Arthur Francis Harvey from Chingford. Harvey was killed when he slide-slipped in on a turn at Angmering while en route to Cranwell on 23 March 1917. The machine was repaired, and was again reported wrecked in August and September 1917, and surveyed the following November and stricken.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
The first Beardmore constructed Wight 840, No.1400, under construction in the Beardmore works Dalmuir, with B.E.2c biplanes being assembled in the background.
C.Barnes - Bristol Aircraft since 1910 /Putnam/
B.E.2d and Scout D biplanes ready for dispatch from Filton in 1916.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The occasion which prompted this impressive line-up of Factory designs is unfortunately not recorded, nor is the purpose of the marquee behind them, but the types present suggest a date of mid-1916. Left to right, the aircraft are: B.E.2c, B.E.2c, B.E.2b. B.E.12, Hispano-Suiza-powered B.E.2c, F.E.8, S.E.4a, F.E.2c, F.E.2b, R.E.8, R.E.8, and R.E.7.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An early B.E.2c in use as an instructional airframe. The wing construction is typical of the early R.A.F.6 aerofoil section wings.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A Renault-powered B.E.2c fuselage in use as a car for an SS-class airship. Note the flotation bags attached to the undercarriage skids, the additional fuel tank beneath the fuselage, and the air duct to the ballonet.
J.Davilla - Italian Aviation in the First World War. Vol.1: Operations /Centennial Perspective/ (73)
SS-4 was one of the six Sea Scout airships sold to Italy by the Admiralty. It was sent to Taranto on 4 September 1917 and assembled at Grottaglie by 12 January 1918. The photograph shows it prior to being shipped to Italy. Brian Joyce
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The 'B.E.2xyz' was a heavily modified B.E.2c which took part in a post-war Hendon pageant. In addition to the extra undercarriage for 'inverted landings', it appears to have been rigged with negative stagger, and was almost certainly not capable of safe flight in this form.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A B.E.2c, showing the seatbelt (there were no shoulder straps) and defensive armament, a Lewis gun on a swivel mounting.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Installation of fixed Lewis gun, ammunition drum-rack, and bomb-sight on B.E.2C.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
A CLEAN SOMERSAULT. - An aeroplane mishap near Basingstoke. The machine landed upside down, as will be seen, right across the road. The pilot had a remarkable escape, but being strapped in was absolutely unhurt.
Журнал - Flight за 1916 г.
AN AMPHIBIAN BIPLANE. - Owing to the shedding of a landing wheel when getting away at Hendon on Sunday last, the pilot of a reconnaissance machine chose the lesser of two evils, aud brought his mount safely to rest in the Brent Reservoir. Pilot and passenger escaped with what was a welcome ducking, the day being extremely hot, and the machine was towed safely to the side, practically undamaged.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The burnt-out remains of the B.E.2c in which Edward Busk perished.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
Журнал - Flight за 1915 г.
Behind the firing line in France, with a B.E. 2c passing over. From an original drawing by Roderic Hill, who has been invalided home from the trenches, after having been wounded on Hill 70.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
A BRITISH BOMBING MACHINE CROSSING THE LINES ON THE WAY TO AN ENEMY POSITION. - Such a scene as the above may be witnessed any fine day on the Western Front. A bombing raid carried by the R.F.C. in progress. The aeroplanes are seen maling their way over the lines under heavy anti-aircraft fire. In the lower right-hand corner a small hostile patrol has sighted the raid, and has decided that discretion in the better part of valour. A well-known sector of the lines is here shown, the woods appearing as weird dark shapes on the vast panorama. The long straight roads, so typical of France, stretch away over the wide expanse, dotted with little villages strewn, as it were, carelessly over it. As the eye follows them, fading gradually to an ill-defined horizon, it is baffled by the heavy pall of mist which hangs like a purple curtain abruptly from the sky, above which the summits of clouds appear as giant icebergs.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
BE2c #1099, Whitley Bay NAS, Autumn 1915. This Beardmore-built BE2c Used the early RNAS red/white roundels until the red/white/blue roundels were standardized.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
BE2c
P.Lewis - British Aircraft 1809-1914 /Putnam/
B.E.2c
P.Lewis - British Bomber since 1914 /Putnam/
B.E.2C
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
The B.E.2c in its early standard form.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
BE10
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
RAF B.E.2c