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Beardmore W.B.III

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1917

Single-seat carrier-borne scout

Beardmore - W.B.II - 1917 - Великобритания<– –>Beardmore - W.B.IV - 1917 - Великобритания

В.Обухович, А.Никифоров Самолеты Первой Мировой войны

Небольшая компания "Бидмор" производила по лицензии самолеты "Сопвич", в том числе истребитель "Пап". Когда командование флотом выдало заказ на палубный истребитель со складывающимся крылом, в "Бидмор" было решено разработать такой самолет на основе истребителя "Пап", который уже применялся на авианосцах. Новый самолет представлял собой деревянный двухстоечный биплан. Крылья были выполнены меньшего размаха, но с большей хордой. Для придания жесткости бипланной коробке при складывании крыльев назад были установлены дополнительные стойки. У нижнего крыла появился центроплан. На первом прототипе для удобства хранения самолета в ангаре было оборудовано складывающееся шасси. Из-за его узкой колеи на нижнем крыле были размещены предохранительные дуги. В последующем устанавливалось обычное шасси с колесами или легкими лыжами, однако дуги сохранились.
   В серию самолет пошел под индексом S.B.3F (Ship-board Folding - "палубный складной"). Вариант S.B.3D (Droopping - сбрасывание) оснащался сбрасываемыми при вынужденной посадке на воду шасси и надувными поплавками. Пулемет "Льюис" устанавливался на центроплане верхнего крыла.
   Было изготовлено 100 истребителей, однако только 36 из них использовались флотом на авианосцах "Фуриус", "Пегасус", "Наирана".
Двигатель 1 х Клерже (110 л. с.)
   размах х длина 7,6x6,1 м
Площадь крыльев 22,57 м2
   пустого 407 кг
   взлетный 585 кг
Максимальная скорость 165 км/ч
Потолок 3800 м
Продолжительность полета 2,75 ч
пулеметное 1 синхронный пулемет
Экипаж 1 чел.

P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

Among the various types of aircraft produced by William Beardmore and Co. was a version of the Sopwith Pup redesigned for Beardmore by G. Tilghman Richards specifically for shipboard use. Saving of space has, from the beginning, always been a primary consideration for naval aircraft and, in the W.B.III, the wings were made to fold by eliminating the stagger and fitting a revised system of struts. To reduce height the main landing-gear folded up into the belly of the fuselage, the length of which had been increased. The S.B.3D designation was applied to the version with jettisonable undercarriage; S.B.3F denoted folding landing-gear. Production W.B.IIIs served with the Fleet and were armed with one Lewis gun on the upper centre-section.

F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

Beardmore W.B.III

   The well-known engineering and shipbuilding firm of William Beardmore & Co Ltd of Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire, became involved in aero-engine manufacture shortly before the outbreak of war in 1914 when it obtained a licence to produce Austro-Daimler engines. Soon afterwards the company received subcontracts to produce the B.E.2C and, rather later, the Sop with Pup. When, in 1916, major sub-contractors were encouraged to originate designs of their own, Lieut G Tilghman Richards was appointed Chief Designer in Beardmore’s aviation department.
   After two designs, the W.B.I (a bomber) and the W.B.II (a reconnaissance aircraft) had failed to receive quantity orders, Beardmore undertook extensive modification of the Sopwith Pup to improve its application to operations aboard ship, principally by reducing its dimensions for storage by introducing folding wings. To do this the Pup’s wings were re-arranged to eliminate stagger, four additional interplane struts were added close to the fuselage to retain rigidity on the wing-fold chord line and to maintain the truss with the wings folded. The fuselage was lengthened by about twelve inches so as to avoid interference between the tailplane and the outboard interplane struts, and folding skids were introduced under the lower wings.
   The prototype W.B.III was in fact produced by modifying a Beardmore-built Pup (9950), originally intended for the Admiralty. Also included was provision to fold the undercarriage into the fuselage beneath the cockpit to reduce storage height; an alternative arrangement was provided to enable the entire undercarriage to be jettisoned in the event of an emergency ditching on water.
   A total of one hundred W.B.IIIs was ordered under the Service designation S.B.3, the S.B.3D being said to denote ‘dropping’ undercarriage, and S.B.3F (for ‘folding’ undercarriage). S.B.3s served aboard hms Furious, Nairana and Pegasus, and at the time of the Armistice fifty-five were on RAF charge, the remainder in store. It is said that a small number was supplied to Japan.

   Type: Single-engine, single-seat shipboard interceptor scout biplane.
   Manufacturer: William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire.
   Powerplant: One 80hp Le Rhone air-cooled rotary engine, or one 80hp Clerget air-cooled rotary engine.
   Construction: Wooden construction throughout with ash longerons and diagonal spacers, spruce wing spars and ribs, and birch riblets. Front of fuselage covered with aluminium sheet, and ply in area of cockpit; remainder fabric-covered.
   Dimensions: Span, 25ft 0in; length, 20ft 2 1/4 in; height, 8ft 1 1/4 in; wing area, 243 sq ft.
   Weights: Tare, 890lb; all-up, 1,289lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 103mph at sea level; climb to 5,000ft, 9 min; service ceiling, 12,400 ft; endurance, 2 3/4 hr.
   Armament: One 0.303in Lewis machine gun mounted over the wing centre section to starboard, angled slightly upwards to fire over the propeller.
   Prototype: One, 9950 (converted Pup, first flown January 1917)
   Production: One hundred aircraft (N6100-N6129 and N6680-N6749)
   Summary of Service: Known to have served aboard ships of the Grand Fleet and aboard hm Carriers Furious, Nairana and Pegasus during 1918-19.

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


   The W.B.III single-seat shipboard fighter was an extensively modified variant of the Sopwith Pup with manually-folding mainplanes and folding main undercarriage members. The prototype (a modified Pup) was officially accepted on 7 February 1917, and 100 production W.B.IIIs were ordered under the official designation S.B.3. Armament comprised a single 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Lewis gun which fired upwards through a cut-out in the upper wing centre section, and the W.B.III could be fitted with either the seven-cylinder Clerget or nine-cylinder Le Rhone 9C rotary, both of 80 hp. The first 13 production W.B.IIIs had folding undercarriages similar to the prototype and were known as S.B.3Fs, but subsequent W.B.IIIs had jettisonable undercarriages (S.B.3D) and flotation equipment. The S.B.3D version saw some service aboard British carriers, one was used in an unsuccessful attempt to fly from the forecastle of the battle cruiser HMS Renown and several were supplied to Japan.

Max speed, 103 mph (166 km/h) at sea level, 98 mph (158 km/h) at 6,500 ft (1980 m).
Time to 6,500 ft (1 980 m), 12.15 min.
Endurance, 2.75 hrs.
Empty weight, 890 lb (404 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,289 lb (585 kg).
Span, 25ft 0 in (7,62m).
Length, 20 ft 2 1/2 in (6,16 m).
Height, 8 ft 1 1/4 in (2,46 m).
Wing area, 243 sqft (22,57 m2).

J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)

Beardmore W.B.III (S.B.3D)

  BEARDMORES were the first manufacturers to build the Sopwith Pup under licence. The earliest production Pups were built under Admiralty contracts for delivery to the R.N.A.S., and soon proved their worth in action.
  In February, 1917, the Grand Fleet Aircraft Committee recommended that the Sopwith Baby seaplanes carried by H.M.S. Campania should be replaced by Pups. A few Pups were sent to the ship for experimental work, and from that time onwards Pups were flown from various types of warship.
  With the initiation of shipboard flying, attention was at once focused on the desirability of saving stowage space on board ship. Beardmores therefore undertook the task of redesigning the Pup so that it would fold up, and so thorough was the reconstruction of the aeroplane that not only did the wings fold, but the undercarriage could also be “retracted” into the bottom of the fuselage; it was, however, a normal vee type when extended. In the event of an emergency landing at sea, the complete undercarriage could be jettisoned. Emergency flotation gear was fitted.
  The modified machine bore the Beardmore type number W.B.III. The most noticeable difference between the Pup and the W.B.III was that the wings of the latter had no stagger and reduced dihedral. Instead of the normal centre-section struts of the Pup, the W.B.III had four full-length interplane struts connecting the upper and lower centre-sections: these struts were joined to the upper longerons by transverse struts.
  The prototype W.B.III was a converted Pup which had the official serial number 9950: it was the last machine of a batch of fifty Pups which were built by Beardmores for the Admiralty. On the prototype, interplane struts were fitted at the inboard ends of the wings; they preserved the bracing truss when the wings were folded. The ailerons were actuated by a system of control rods: upright rods from the cockpit were attached to bell-cranks in the upper centre-section, and the cranks moved long horizontal rods running along the rear spar of the upper wings. Upper and lower ailerons were linked by light struts. Skids were fitted under the lower wing-tips, and could be folded up against the underside of the wings. The W.B.Ill’s fuselage was about a foot longer than that of the Pup.
  Production was undertaken on a modest scale. The early production W.B.Ills resembled the prototype, having the additional interplane struts at the inboard ends of the wings and the rod-operated ailerons. Later aircraft had only a cable connecting the inboard ends of the upper and lower mainplanes, the wingtip skids were discarded, and a simpler and more conventional cable-operated aileron control system was fitted. The standard engine was the 80 h.p. Le Rhone, but some machines may have had the 80 h.p. Clerget.
  There are indications that two different forms of undercarriage may have been fitted; one capable of being jettisoned only, the other capable only of folding. The official designation S.B.3D was applied to the former version of the W.B.Ill, the suffix D denoting “Dropping undercarriage”; the second form was known as the S.B.3F, the F signifying “Folding undercarriage”.
  The W.B.Ill saw service as part of the equipment of some of the early aircraft carriers: at one time H.M.S. Furious had as many as fourteen W.B.IIIs. According to Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, 1920 edition, Japan had a few on the strength of her Naval Air Service.

  Manufacturers: William Beardmore & Co., Ltd., Dalmuir, Dumbartonshire.
  Power: 80 h.p. Le Rhone 9C; 80 h.p. Clerget.
  Dimensions: Span: 25 ft. Length: 20 ft 2 1/2 in. Height: 8 ft 1 1/4 in. Chord: 5 ft 1 1/2 in. Gap: 4 ft 9in. Stagger: nil. Span of tail: 10 ft 1 in. Airscrew diameter: 8 ft 6 in.
  Areas: Wings: 243 sq ft. Ailerons: each 5-75 sq ft, total 23 sq ft. Tailplane: 23 sq ft. Elevators: 11-5 sq ft. Fin: 3-5 sq ft. Rudder: 4-5 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty: 890 lb. Military load: 55 lb. Pilot: 180 lb. Fuel and oil: 164 lb. Weight loaded: 1,289 lb.
  Performance: Date of Trial Report: January 12 th, 1918. Maximum speed at ground level: 103 m.p.h.; at 6,500 ft: 98 m.p.h.; at 10,000 ft: 91 m.p.h. Climb to 5,000 ft: 9 min; to 6,500 ft: 12 min 10 sec; to 10,000 ft: 24 min 20 sec. Service ceiling: 12,400 ft. Endurance: 2 3/4 hours.
  Tankage: Petrol: 18 gallons.
  Armament: The prototype had a vertically-mounted Lewis machine-gun firing upwards through an aperture in the centre-section. Production W.B.IIIs had a Lewis gun mounted above the centre-section to starboard of centre, firing forwards and slightly upwards over the airscrew.
  Service Use: Aircraft carriers H.M.S. Furious, Nairana, Pegasus.
  Production and Allocation: Serial numbers were allotted for 100 Beardmore W.B.IIIs. On October 31st, 1918, fifty-five were on charge with the R.A.F. Of that total, eighteen were with the Grand Fleet; the remainder were in store.
  Serial Numbers: 9950 (converted Pup); N.6100-N.6129; N.6680-N.6749.

H.King Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 (Putnam)

The award to Beardmore of the first large Pup contract for the Admiralty and the special armament provisions connected with this early association having been recorded, it remains to note that the Sopwith Pup aeroplanes ordered as such from William Beardmore & Co Ltd., Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, were Nos. 9901-9950 and Nos. N6430-N6459. From these aeroplanes 9950 was selected for a metamorphosis - a transformation, at least, which represents one of the most imaginative (if one of the less successful) Naval-air undertakings on the British technical record, spattered though this record is with 'make-dos', ‘mods' and 'variants'.
   Stowage-space for Pups in the smaller classes of vessel involved in Naval operations generally and anti-Zeppelin work in particular being clearly at a premium, Beardmore undertook a complete redesign of the Pup accordingly. Not only were the wings (now without stagger, and with less dihedral) adapted to be folded 'Folding Pup' being a popular name for the aircraft but the landing gear likewise was largely 'retractable' into the fuselage. Later the gear was fixed, but could be jettisoned for emergency alighting at sea. Flotation gear, jury struts and wingtip skids were added in the early stages, the control system was redesigned and the fuselage slightly lengthened all these features being connoted by the new designation W.B.III. Though some of the novelties were abandoned or mitigated, one hundred W.B.IIIs were ordered; and though not all reached Service units, at one time the carrier Furious had fourteen of her own.

O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)

Beardmore W.B. III

   The Beardmore W.B. III was introduced during 1917 and, although it can lay claim to no memorable engagements with the enemy, it is nevertheless interesting historically as an early attempt to produce an aircraft exclusively for carrier-borne flying. It was not an original design, being a derivative of the Sopwith Pup, but the ingenuity that went into its modification for aircraft-carrier work was quite remarkable. The adaptation was the work of Mr G Tilghman Richards, and the manufacturers were no strangers to the Pup, as they had been the first company to build Pups under licence for the RNAS.
   The prototype W.B. III (No.9950) was in fact converted from the last batch of Sopwith Pups built at Dalmuir. It differed from the Pup in having folding wings to conserve hangar space aboard ship. Unlike the Pup, the wings had no stagger and the dihedral angle was reduced. The normal centre-section struts were replaced by full-length interplane struts adjacent to the fuselage and the ailerons were operated by control rods, the upper and lower ailerons being rigidly connected by a light strut. This last feature was abandoned in later production aircraft, which reverted to cable controls. Other modifications included wingtip skids and a lengthened fuselage, which was adapted to carry emergency flotation gear, and a remarkable system whereby the undercarriage was retracted to further economise in space when stored.
   Two official designations were applied to the W.B. IIIs in service, S.B.3D and S.B.3F. The former indicated an aircraft with an undercarriage which could be jettisoned in the event of 'ditching', the latter a folding undercarriage. Production orders for 100 W.B. IIIs reached Beardmores (N6100 to N6129 and N6680 to N6749), but it is possible that not all were built. On 31 October 1918, 55 W.B. IIIs were officially 'on charge' but only 18 with the Grand Fleet.

   Aircraft-carriers Nairana and Pegasus. RNAS shore stations at Donibristle, Rosyth and Tlirnholise.

   Description: Single-seat carrier-borne scout. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
   Manufacturers: William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dumbartonshire.
   Power Plant: One 80 hp Le Rhone or 80 hp Clerget.
   Dimensions: Span, 25 ft. (10 ft 4 in folded). Length, 20 ft 2 1/2 in. Height, 8 ft 1 1/4 in. Wing area, 243 sq ft.
   Weights: Empty, 890 lb. Loaded, 1,289 lb.
   Performance: Maximum speed, 103 mph at sea level; 91 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb, 9 min to 5,000 ft; 24 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 2 3/4 hr. Service ceiling, 12,400 ft.
   Armament: One Lewis gun mounted above centre-section firing over airscrew.

H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)

W.B. III. Dating from 1916-17, this very extensively modified Sopwith Pup, for shipboard service, had a single Lewis gun, for which three ammunition drums were provided (one on the gun). Photographs show single (47-round) drums, but a contemporary account mentioned '300 rounds#, suggesting that double (97-round) drums were intended. The gun was at first carried on a tripod mounting, apparently designed at the Grain experimental station, installed forward of the cockpit, so that the gun fired through a hole in the centre-section. Later the gun was mounted slightly to starboard above the centre-section, firing a little upwards over the airscrew.

Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919

   The Beardmore W B. III. was evolved from the Sopwith "Pup" in an effort to turn this machine into a ship-plane, the principal modifications being folding planes and a retractable under-carriage. in order to simplify stowage on board ship. The fuselage and tail unit arc practically of Sopwith design, the overall length being only slightly increased.
   Instead of four short centre-section struts, four long struts, two on either side of the fuselage, are fitted with a short horizontal strut connecting them with the upper longeron of the fuselage. The main planes are unstaggered and hinged at the main rear spar close up to the fuselage.
   Two sets of interplane struts are fitted to each set of main planes one set being placed at the inner edge of the plane in order to preserve the truss when the wings are folded.
   Ailerons are fitted to upper and lower planes and are operated on the Nieuport principle, the upper and lower ailerons being inter-connected by a strut.
   An ordinary Vee-type under-carriage is fitted, the front members of the Vee being hinged, and the rear members equipped with a release device operated from the pilot's seat which allows the under-carriage to collapse into the fuselage, leaving half the wheels exposed. The armament consists of a Lewis gun fitted on a special mounting in front of the pilot's cockpit to allow it to fire through an opening in the centre section.
   Particulars of this machine are given in the following table:
Type of machine Biplane.
Name or type No. of machine W.B.III.
Purpose for which intended Ship's Scout.
Span 25 ft.
Gap, maximum and minimum 4 ft. 9 in., 4 ft. 9 in.
Overall length 20 ft. 2.5 in.
Maximum height 8 ft. 1.25 in.
Chord 5 ft. 1.5 in.
Total surface of wings,
   including ailerons 243 sq. ft.
Span of tail 10 ft. 1 in.
Total area of tail 34.5 sq. ft.
Area of elevators 11.5 sq.ft.
Area of rudder 4.5 sq. ft.
Area of fin 3.5 sq. ft.
Area of each aileron 5.75 sq. ft.
   total area 23 sq. ft.
Maximum cross section of body 4.6 sq. ft.
Horizontal area of body 17 sq, ft.
Vertical area of body 39 sq. ft.
Engine type and h.p. Clerget or Le Rhone 80 h.p.
Airscrew, diam. and revs. 8 ft. 6 in.; 1,200 r.p.m.
Weight of machine empty 880 lbs.
Load per sq. ft. 5.3 lbs.
Weight per h.p. 16.1 lbs.
Tank capacity in hours 2.75 hours.
Tank capacity in gallons 18 gallons.
   Speed low down 103 m.p.h.
   Speed at 10,000 feet 88 m.p.h.
   Landing speed 40 m p.h.
   To 5,000 feet in minutes 9 minutes.
   To 10,000 feet in minutes 24 minutes
Disposable load apart from fuel 300 lbs.
Total weight of machine loaded 1290 lbs.

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

Beard more W.B.II I Folding Pup
  The Beardmore W.B.III provides an example of what not to do to improve a good design. The Sopwith Pups of the RNAS pioneered deck flying and were used on the turret platforms of capital ships as anti-Zeppelin weapons.
  Flt Lt G.M. Bryer served in the RNAS and RAF on the aircraft carriers Furious and Argus. His recollections for the RAF Staff College of his service experiences are detailed and provide a hint as to what operating aircraft with the Fleet was like.
  The carriage of fast climbing fighters in the Grand Fleet had the effect of making the Zeppelins keep higher, and to show themselves less often. This far had the aim of carrying fighters in ships had been attained, but to the pilots detailed to fly them, it seemed monotonous and unsatisfying to go to sea, perhaps five days a week, without sighting a target, or even flying the aeroplane, which took so much work to keep it in flying condition while perched on a tiny platform, exposed to wind, rain, salt spray, condensation, sometimes small-gun concussion and always the inborn hatred of the sailor for anything not of the sea.
  The problem with the Sopwith Pup was that it took up a lot of space and while the Short and Fairey seaplanes had been designed from the start to have folding wings for hangar stowage, the Pup did not. It was decided that the Pup should be modified to have folding wings and the Beardmore Company was selected to produce this variant of the Pup.
  Beardmore had been the first company to produce the Pup under licence and therefore was a logical choice for the task.
  In October 1916, the decision was made to place an order with the Beardmore firm to convert a Sopwith 80-hp Fighter to fly off the deck of a ship, also to supply the water tight cases required.
  Sopwith Pup No. 9950 was selected for the modification program. In order to fold the wings, the wing cellule had to be completely redesigned while retaining the basic Pup components. The centre section was reduced in width and small stub-wings were added against the fuselage for the lower wings. The ailerons were connected by struts. Stagger was eliminated and the wings were hinged at the main rear spar close up to the fuselage. Two sets of interplane struts were fitted to each set of mainplanes to preserve the truss when the wings were folded. The cabane struts of the Pup were replaced by four long struts, two on each side of the fuselage which were connected to the upper longeron by a short horizontal strut. While the fuselage looked the same as the Pup’s it was about a foot longer in order that the interplane struts were not interfered with by the tailplane when the wings were folded. A standard Pup tailplane was used.
  In order to reduce the size of the folded machine the prototype was fitted with a folding undercarriage. The front members of the Vee were hinged and the rear members fitted with a quick device that the pilot could operate from his cockpit. This allowed the wheels to fold up into the fuselage leaving half the wheels exposed. To achieve this track was reduced and because of perceived handling difficulties with this narrow track, folding skids were fitted under the lower wing tips.
  Armament was an upward firing Lewis gun on a tripod mounting in front of the cockpit. As rockets were still considered an anti-Zeppelin weapon, rocket-launching equipment was considered part of the type’s armament.
  The machine was known as the S.B.3 for Sopwith-Beardmore acknowledging the origin of the type. The Beardmore designation of W.B.III was not used by the Admiralty. G.Tilghman-Richards, the head of Beardmore’s design department, acknowledged that it was a re-design of the Sopwith Pup and not a true Beardmore creation.
  The prototype S.B.3F was delivered by rail to the Design Flight at Eastchurch on 2 February 1917, and was accepted on the 7th. It encountered a force landing on 10 March under the control of Flt Lt P. A. Johnston. Recorded under repair on the 12th, on 17 April it was being dismantled. It lost its engine to Sopwith Pup No. 9922 on 1 May, and was finally written off on 19 June 1917.
  One hundred production machines were ordered from Beardmore (N6100-N6129 and N6680-N6749).
  At the Admiralty Air Department’s Weekly Progress Committee of 26 June 1917, it was reported that HMS Furious required machines with dropping undercarriages whereas all the first 15 machines were at present to have the folding chassis. Capt A.V. Vyvyan said that Cdr Dunning had raised the question and it had been arranged for all Furious’s machines to have drooping undercarriages. In fact, Vyvyan stated that it appeared to him that no one wanted the folding undercarriage. In reply Cdr Longmore informed the Meeting that 15 of the first order and 20 of the second order were to have the folding chassis and they would still be of use in the cruisers such as Yarmouth, that had small stowage spaces and were unable to take machines with the standard type chassis. The name of the type was discussed and it was agreed that they be known as the Sopwith Beardmore or S.B. Type. They were designated with folding undercarriages, and S.B.3D with dropping undercarriages. It appears that most of the S.B.3F types were converted to the dropping undercarriage as official RNAS lists show only the S.B.3D in service.
  On the S.B.3D the interplane struts at the end of the wings were discarded. The ailerons were connected by cables. The Lewis gun was mounted above the centre section and the cut-out was done away with. Air bags were run along the underside of the leading edge of the lower mainplanes where the lay almost flush under the wing, and, in the case of a forced alighting on the sea, could be inflated from the cockpit. Lt W.G. Moore made a test of this equipment when he ditched his Pup (a folder) that had a hydrovane and air bags in Sheerness Harbour.
  At the Meeting of 3 July, Cdr Longmore reported how he had visited Cassandra, Furious and Beardmores at Glasgow and the Air Stations at East Fortune and South Shields. Cassandra's view was that because of the extra weight placed on their Sopwith Pups in the form of air bags, gas bottles, etc., it would be better for the whole of the order for the folding Pups to have the dropping chassis and to abandon the folding chassis altogether. This would mean that when the machine got off and dropped its chassis it would have a clear gain of about 50 lbs less weight and also less head resistance.
  As noted above, Beardmore had been visited, and had agreed to provide all their order with dropping undercarriages. The first machine with folding chassis had been delivered to Cassandra and if possible, the second machine would be got out in time, i.e. by Friday of this week when “Cassandra" sails, and substituted for the first machine which would be taken back by Beardmores and altered. No. N6100 had been delivered to Cassandra on 3 December 1917. The second machine was allotted to Yarmouth and the allocations would have to be amended accordingly.
  Despite the decision by the Air Department to call the machines the S.B. the next time it came up in the Minutes it was headed “Beardmore Folders” and were commonly known as Beardmore Folding Pups. The item reported that Cassandra’s machine, No. 6100, had not much performance. Preliminary trials with No. 6102 at Grain showed it was not the wing air bags that were causing the trouble. Further trials were to be carried out without the chassis and if this did not explain the trouble, the centre section would be looked to. Cdr Longmore stated that he thought the fault was with the centre-section and that Cdr Rutland agreed with him. He proposed that the centre section befilled in and a “Vindex” gun mounting fitted. A good gun mounting is required for these Folder Pups. To a suggestion that a new one should be developed, while it was agreed to, it would take some time to introduce and it was finally decided to press on with the trials of the 2 machines at Grain and await results as to performance. Nos. N6102 and N6103 were the two machines at Grain, both arriving in July 1917. Construction had been halted for a month as the ship carrying the Le Rhone engines had been sunk in the Channel. No. N6104 did not fly until 10 August 1917.
  At the next Meeting Longmore reported on Nos. N6102 and N6103 at Grain. N6103 was officially allocated to Grain
on 20 June 1917, but the acceptance test flight took place on 10 July at Dalmuir by A. Dukinfield Jones. The following trials were being carried out at Grain. On one machine a Climb Test for ceiling without chassis and a speed test at 10,000 feet finishing with a landing in the water. Machine then to befitted with a 100 Mono Gnome with special carburettor. After which trials to be repeated.
  On the other machine - accurate type trials with chassis on, wing air bags, etc., as supplied. The centre section filled in and gun fixed on after spar to obtain accurate figures.
  Late August saw Longmore reporting that the first few of the Beardmore Folders had been turned out but it was not considered that they were entirely satisfactory. Modifications were suggested by the Admiralty Technical Department and even though this would mean a delay of three weeks as long as the demand for Pups can be met, the modifications should be gone on with.
  At the next Meeting Longmore was able to give the results of testing of the Beardmore Folders at Grain.
  With chassis on: 10.000 ft in 20 min 45 sec as against similar test before modification showing - 9,000 ft in 28 min and a speed of 78 mph at 10,000 ft against 76 mph at 9,000 ft.
  Despite this improvement, Capt Vyvyan carried the news to the next Meeting that pilot's in seaplane carriers do not now want the Beardmore Folders. It was pointed out that this was due to the failure of the original machine. The modifications were now being incorporated and deliveries would start this week. Despite this, it was reported that the gun mounting had now been settled and was being fitted but that it would not be satisfactory owing to the very bad view.
  More problems arose with a report of stating that the Class 1 modifications asked for by T.1N Section (Technical Section) affecting the ailerons would cause greater delay than was at first anticipated. The strength of these machines was found to be below requirements and delivery would therefore be delayed about one month.
  Longmore submitted a minute in August 1917 wherein he noted that the present Sopwith Beardmore Folder has not a very good performance, and can only be regarded as makeshift until some better type appears. By January 1918, the USN noted that the S.B.3D Sopwith Beardmore with dropping chassis and carrying airbags, which is a modified Pup; not a satisfactory machine & is being superseded by the Sopwith 2F.1 Camel with detachable fuselage which has a much better performance.
  Difficulties in construction, changes and the Admiralty wanting Beardmore to concentrate on airship building in June 1917, led to delays in the production of the S.B.III biplanes. Delays in engine allocation saw many delivered straight into store without engines.
  Sir Austin Robertson recalled that at Killingholme there were also a large number of Beardmore WB.Ills, presumably in case the Fleet came into Immingham and wanted replacements in a hurry.
  The S.B.III was not popular with pilots. The modifications had changed the Pup from a superlative pilot’s aeroplane to a mediocre one. Some S.B.III Folders did serve in the Fleet. On 21 October 1918,18 were with the Grand Fleet and 55 were in storage.
  Flt Sub-Lt Stuart D. Culley joined the RNAS in Canada in 1917. After preliminary training and the seaplane course, it being necessary or all Fleet pilots to be qualified in these types of aircraft, he was sent in 1918 to undertake deck flying training in HMS Nairana. He was then ordered to join HMS Cassandra, a light cruiser of the then new “C” class, in the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet.
  The aircraft on this cruiser consisted of one folding wing Sopwith "Pup” fitted with a 80 H.P. Le Rhone engine. The aircraft was housed in a small steel hangar, barely large enough to accommodate it with its wings folded. No flying platform was available, but two troughs were fitted on the forecastle with a quick release gear. This gear comprised a trestle to hold the tail in flying position. On top of the trestle there being a groove to guide the tail skid. The pilot opened the engine full out and pulled a toggle in the cockpit which operated an ordinary bomb release anchored to the deck at one end and engaged with a cable attached to the aircraft. On release, the aircraft accelerated quickly and left the deck with a shorter run than a normal take-off.
  The folding wing "Pup” was specially designed for anti-Zeppelin work and every consideration had been given to saving weight. The undercarriage struts and axle were made of duralumin while the fabric on the planes and fuselage was coated not more than two coats of clear dope.
  The armament consisted of one Lewis gun mounted on the top centre section and fitted with one 97 round drum of ammunition known as “ZPYT” being a mixture of Brock and Pomeroy explosive bullets together with a certain amount of tracer and ordinary ammunition.
  I was the only pilot and had with me two mechanics, one fitter and the other a rigger.
  During the period I was in H.M.S. Cassandra I found it difficult to maintain flying practice even though the Captain was quite sympathetic. Only once could I obtain the permission of the Admiral to fly my aircraft off the deck, and go to Donnibristle for practice flying involving a day’s absence which was not encouraged as the Fleet was normally at two hours notice. I therefore became less qualified as a pilot and more qualified as a Naval Officer, being required to keep my “day on” as Officer of the Watch, whilst the ship was in harbour, and the “morning” watch, when at sea, besides acting as an assistant to the Navigating Officer at other times.
  As noted in Chapter 2, Culley was to earn fame when he brought down the Zeppelin L53 while flying a Beardmore-built Sopwith 2F.1 Camel from a towed lighter.
  Geoffrey Moore served on HMS Furious and wrote that the Sopwith Pup was a very controllable and pleasant to fly fighter. Some we had in Furious were modified by Beardmore’s to fold for passing down a hatch and stowing between decks. This folding rather spoiled their performance and handiness; to make them fold conveniently they reduced some of the wing stagger, consequently they did not handle as nicely as the standard series. I used to give little exhibitions of aerobatics for the entertainment of the fleet but was never happy when doing this in a folder on a account of some lack of response in the controls, and I was always wondering whether, if subjected to exceptional strain, they would 'fold’ in the air.
  Flt Lt G.M. Bryer noted that Prudence had produced a small aeroplane, with air-bags in the fuselage and a detachable undercarriage, for use in ships. It was based on the Sopwith “Pup” design, with an 80 H.P. Le Rhone engine and built by Beardmores. It was slow in speed and climb. It carried only one gun, on the top plane, for explosive ammunition. This gave way to a more effective weapon the Sopwith 2F.1 Ships Camel. Its performance was little less than that of the standard “Camel”, but was far ahead of the Beardmore “Ship Scout” or the “Pup”.
  A few Beardmore W.B.III fighters were sent to Japan for their Navy’s interest in setting up an air service. The type soon disappeared after the Armistice.

Serial Allocation Beardmore WB.III
Serial Contract No. Notes
9950 C.P.117318/16 Last Sopwith Pup of this contact for 50 Pups by Sir William Beardmore & Co Ltd. Converted to prototype S.B.3F.
N6100-N6129 A.S.775/17 & A.S.14577 Majority converted to S.B.3D type.
N6680-N6749 A.S.77517 & A.S.12856 S.B.3D. 42 were cancelled on 5 February 1918, but reinstalled. Most straight to store.

Beardmore W.B.III Specifications
Source 1 2 3 4 (2) 4 (3) 5 (4)
Span 25 ft 25 ft 1 in 25 ft - - 25 ft 3 in
Span folded - - - - - 10 ft 6-in
Length 20 ft 2 1/4 in 19 ft 4 in 20 ft 2.5 in - - -
Height 8 ft 1 1/4 in 8 ft 8 in 8 ft 1.25 in - - 8 ft 6 in
Height S.B.3F - - - - - 6 ft
Gap - - 4 ft 9 in - - 4 ft 5 in
Chord - - 5 ft 1.5 in - - 5 ft 1 1/2 in
Incidence - - - - - 1° 30’
Span tailplane - - 10 ft 1 in - 10 ft 1 in
Airscrew Dia - - 8 ft 6 in - - -
Wing area, ft2 243 - 243 218.5 236 236
Aileron area, ft2 - - 23 - - 22
Tail (total), ft2 - - 34.5 - - 23
Elevator area, ft2 - - 11.5 - - 11.8
Rudder area, ft2 - - 4.5 - - 4.2
Fin area, ft2 - - 3.5 - - 3.3
Weights in lbs
  Empty - - 880 828 849 -
  Fuel & Oil - - - 181 165 -
  Military load - - - 49 36 -
  Crew - - - 180 180 -
  Disposable load (1) - - 300 - - -
  Total - - 1,290 1,238 1,230 -
Fuel in gall - - 18 - - -
  at GL 103 mph - 103 mph - - -
  at 2,000 ft - - - - 78.5 kts -
  at 6,500 ft 98 mph - - - 74 kts -
  at 10,000 ft 91 mph - 88 mph 78 kts 68.5 kts -
Landing - - 40 mph - - -
Service Ceiling 12,400 ft - - - - -
Endurance, hrs 2 3/4 - 2.75 3 2 3/4 -
Engines 80-hp Le Rhone or 80-hp Clerget - 80-hp Le Rhone or 80-hp Clerget 80-hp Le Rhone 80-hp Le Rhone -
  (1) Excluding fuel.
  (2) Beardmore Folder. Date Trial Report 08 Feb 1917.
  (3) Beardmore Folder (Air Bag). Date Trial Report 03 Sept 1917.
  (4) Probably relate to prototype No. 9950.
  1. J.M. Bruce Data.
  2. Types of British Seaplanes, Flying Boats and Ship’s Aeroplanes.TNA. AIR10/96.
  3. Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft 1919. Arco Publishing USA 1990.
  4. Tables of Performances of Seaplanes & Flying Boats. 31 October 1917. TNA AIR1/708/27/11/03.
  5. The Sopwith Pup, Bruce, J.M., Page, G & Sturtivant, R. Air Britain, UK. 2002.

W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
Although designed to have a folding undercarriage, most W.B.IIIs had one of jettisonable form.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore WB.III N6101
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore WB.III N6748
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
Бидмор S.B.3D
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
The second production Beardmore W.B.III with jettisonable undercarriage, as adopted for the subsequent S.B.3D version for naval use.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
No. N6101 shows the centre-section cut and mount for the Lewis gun and the double interplane struts at the sub-wing root next to the fuselage. The logo on the fin is the Beardmore designation 'W.B.III.' Points to note include the tricoloured elevators and the white outer ring to the wing cockades on a clear doped wing; the poor streamlining of the fuselage cross section to the engine cowling; and the large folding wingtip skids; the strut connecting the ailerons. In November 1917, the axle of the S.B.3 was being strengthened and it is proposed that strengthened axles be sent to Rosyth to replace those presently fitted to machines. The Lewis gun tray rack is also being modified to clear the pilot's knees.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore S.B.3 No. N6102 on the Isle of Grain, 10 October 1917. N6102 was delivered to Grain for erection on 24 July 1917. It underwent testing by Sqn Cdr Harry R Busteed. Note the single interplane struts next to the fuselage and the cable connecting the ailerons.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore S.B.3 No. N6102 on the Isle of Grain, 10 October 1917. N6102 was delivered to Grain for erection on 24 July 1917. It underwent testing by Sqn Cdr Harry R Busteed. Note the single interplane struts next to the fuselage and the cable connecting the ailerons.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore S.B.3D No. N6708 has the modified wing that allowed for an over-wing Lewis gun mount. Note the steel tube undercarriage struts, ailerons connected by a cable and the lack of the folding wing tip skids. The long pitot would be for testing purposes. These photographs of N6708 were used to illustrate the type in the recognition manual Types of British Seaplanes, Flying Boats and Ships Aeroplanes.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore N6708 with the wings folded. Delivered to Grain on 13 December 1917, this SB.IIID was with HMS Nairana by the W/E 13 April 1918. It appears to have served with Nairana when not ashore being finally deleted when at Rosyth in late 1918.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
A standard late production Beardmore W.B.III (S.B.3D). Obvious differences between this and the Sopwith Pup include the absence of wing stagger, the extra interplane struts close to the fuselage adjacent to the wing-fold line, the lengthened fuselage aft of the cockpit and the lengthened tailskid to allow ground clearance with the wings folded.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore N6708 taking flight. The modifications lost the Sopwith Pup's flying characteristics and it was not popular with pilots.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
S.B.3D on a dummy deck for landing trials.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
This photograph is thought to be some sort of trial of arrestor gear. Note the ropes leading to the landing gear of this S.B.3D. The man knelling at the rear has a handling bar attached to the rear fuselage.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore S.B.3D fighters taking off from HMS Nairana.The machines apparently ran down the ramp and dropped onto the flight deck - note the splay of the wheels - and then, hopefully, attained flight speed before they left the deck.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
S.B.3D leaving HMS Nairana with the dazzle-painted aircraft carrier Furious in the background.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
S.B.3D fighter take-off from HMS Nairana in the Firth of Forth. It appears that one of these machines were engaged on operations.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
A Beardmore W.B.III leaves the steep forward launching platform of HMS Pegasus (HMS Nairana ???) in 1918.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Transporting an RAF S.B.III. Note the jury strut inserted between the wings when folded. This replaced the double struts used on a few of the very early S.B.III scouts.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Delivered to Killingholme, probably into store, N6748 was at No. 6 AAP Renfrew where this photograph was most probably taken. This machine had an 80-hp Le Rhone but is shown without an airscrew.
N6748 in the Beardmore works. Note the fuselage of one of the two Beardmore W.B.V ship aeroplane to the right background. N6748 was the second last machine from the batch N6680 to N6749. It was delivered to Killingholme Reserve in the W/E 23 February 1918, and probably was never flown. There appears to be no engine mounted when photographed. There was a lack of engines for the S.B.3D and many were delivered to store engineless.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Прототип SB3 в положении для хранения в ангаре авианосца.
No. 9950 complete showing the undercarriage folded and the machine completely folded. This machine had an adjustable tailplane but the production machines did not. Note the narrow track of the folding undercarriage that required folding wingtip skids under the lower wing. A heightened tailskid was necessary to provide clearance for the wings in the folded position. Note the Lewis gun on its tripod mount firing through the upper wing centre section cut out.
The aeroplane which has suffered 'compressibility' is the first Beardmore W.B.III (modified Pup No. 9950) which is the subject of a note in the text and which led to a new Service type (S.B.3D).
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Sopwith Pup No. 9950 undergoing its transformation into the Beardmore W.B.III prototype. Air bags are installed in the fuselage, the folding wings have been added with the modified centre-section that eliminated the cabane struts of the Pup, and a folding landing gear was installed for stowage aboard capital ships, not a retractable landing gear. The R.34 airship gondola may be seen in the background. (AHT AL0305-16 to AL0305-18)
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
These photographs, dated 28 April 1917, pose a mystery. It shows what appears to be a composite Sopwith Pup/Beardmore W.B.III. It has a Pup fuselage, wings without stagger but with upper and lower ailerons connected by strut-like members, centre-section supported on what looks like standard Pup centre-section struts, it was being used for flotation tests of air bags when photographed. The date of the photograph is about two months earlier than the appearance and first flight of the first production W.B.III. No. 9950 had a forced landing on 10 March 1917, and may not have been repaired before it was deleted on 19 June. If the W.B.III bits did not come from No. 9950, then where else could they come from?
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
N6117 in a precarious position that illustrates the position of the handling bar in the rear fuselage. The cockades are outlined in white on the clear doped wings. This machine was delivered to Grain Test Depot on 17 October 1917, but was wrecked at Grain owing to the engine failing to pick up during trials, which were therefor not completed. Deleted on 3 January 1918.
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
S.B.3D version for naval use.
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
Beardmore S.B.3D
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore W.B.III early
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore W.B.III late
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore W.B.III early
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore W.B.III late
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore W.B.III early
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/
Beardmore W.B.III late