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Beardmore W.B.IV

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1917


Beardmore - W.B.III - 1917 - Великобритания<– –>Beardmore - W.B.V - 1918 - Великобритания

P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

Two other single-seat fighter designs, intended for the R.N.A.S., appeared from Beardmore in the course of 1917. The W.B.IV was a two-bay biplane designed around the 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza, the engine being installed in the fuselage above the lower wings and driving its propeller by an extension shaft, which was straddled by the pilot in his high-set cockpit in the nose ahead of the leading edge of the wings. N38, the sole W.B.IV built, was notable also in having a streamlined flotation tank faired into the fore-fuselage and at first had floats under each wingtip. The machine carried two guns - a forwards-firing Vickers installed to port in the nose and a Lewis fitted at an upward angle in front of the pilot.

F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

Beardmore W.B.IV

   Encouraged no doubt by the Admiralty’s ready acceptance of radical features in his W.B.III, Tilghman Richards of William Beardmore pursued another naval fighter of even more unusual ingenuity - this time in a two-bay biplane of the Company’s own design, intended to meet Specification N.1A. In order to achieve stability while floating on the sea, following an emergency ditching, not only was the undercarriage capable of being jettisoned but the engine, a 200hp Hispano-Suiza, was located behind the pilot and on the aircraft’s centre of gravity, driving the tractor propeller by an extension shaft which passed between the pilot’s feet. The radiator was placed behind the engine, mounted between the rear interplane struts.
   The pilot was afforded an excellent all-round field of view, his cockpit being raised high in the nose of the aircraft, forward of the wings, and was watertight below the coaming. The fuselage was unusual in itself in being entirely plywood-clad, and another innovation was the provision of a large flotation chamber faired into the underside of the nose and projecting on each side to form a large lateral buoyancy surface. When the W.B.IV first appeared, it also featured floats faired under each lower wingtip. For shipboard stowage the wings could be folded back.
   Three W.B.IVs were ordered by the Admiralty, but only one, N38, came to be built. Flown late in 1917, this sole example was delivered to the RNAS Isle of Grain station for trials which may have included ditching tests without the wing floats fitted. At all events the aircraft was damaged while alighting on the water, the nose buoyancy chamber being damaged with the result that N38 sank.
   Many contemporary observers considered the W.B.IV to have been one of the most advanced aircraft produced during the First World War with regard to its innovative, yet practical features.
   It was, after all, the first British aircraft in which the engine drove a tractor propeller by means of an extension shaft - pre-dating aircraft such as the Westland F.7/30 by at least fifteen years. Its top speed of only 110 mph was, however, considered disappointing by the standards set by contemporary scouts and no production was ordered.

   Type: Single-engine, single-seat, two-bay shipborne fighting scout biplane.
   Manufacturer: William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire.
   Admiralty Specification: N.1A (of 1917)
   Powerplant: One 200hp Hispano-Suiza water-cooled in-line engine driving two-blade propeller through an extension shaft.
   Construction: All-wood construction with ply-covered fuselage. Jettisonable undercarriage and folding wings. Buoyancy chamber incorporated under the front fuselage.
   Dimensions: Span, 35ft 10in; length, 26ft 6in; height, 9ft 10 1/2 in; wing area, 350 sq ft.
   Weights: Tare, 2,055lb; all-up, 2,595lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 110 mph at sea level; climb to 5,000ft, 7 min; service ceiling, 14,000ft; endurance, 2 1/2 hr.
   Armament: One fixed, synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun in port side of nose with breech inside cockpit; and one 0.303in Lewis gun on tripod mounting above the pilot’s windscreen.
   Prototypes: Three ordered (N38-N40) but only N38 completed and flown (1917).

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


   The W.B.IV single-seat shipboard fighter was the first entirely original fighter to be developed by William Beardmore & Company and embodied several interesting features. To provide the best possible view for the pilot, the 200 hp Hispano-Suiza eight-cylinder water-cooled engine was mounted aft of the cockpit and drove the propeller via an extension shaft which passed between the pilot's legs. The cockpit was water-tight, a large flotation chamber was provided in the forward fuselage, wingtip floats were incorporated to stabilise the aircraft in the event of it alighting on the water in an emergency, and the undercarriage was jettisonable. The mainplanes could be folded, and armament comprised a single synchronised 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Vickers gun and a Lewis gun of similar calibre mounted on a tripod ahead of the cockpit. Three prototypes of the W.B.IV were ordered, the first of these flying on 12 December 1917. Performance proved creditable, but the other prototypes were not completed.

Max speed, 110 mph (177 km/h) at sea level, 102 mph (164 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3050 m).
Time to 5,000 ft (1 525 m), 7.0 min.
Endurance, 2.5 hrs.
Empty weight, 2,055 lb (932 kg).
Loaded weight, 2,595 lb (1177 kg).
Span, 35 ft 10 in (10,92 m).
Length, 26 ft 6 in (8,08 m).
Height, 9 ft 10 1/2 in (3,00 m).
Wing area, 350 sq ft (32,52 m2).

J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)

Beardmore W.B.IV

  THE Beardmore W.B.IV was a single-seat fighter intended for use from ships, and much ingenuity had been exercised to meet the requirements of its conditions of service. The design incorporated some remarkably advanced thinking, and in many ways the machine was ahead of its time. It appeared towards the end of 1917.
  The most striking engineering feature of the W.B.IV was the engine installation. The 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine was mounted within the fuselage and directly above the lower wing: it drove the airscrew by an extension shaft. The pilot sat in front of the wings in a high, water-tight cockpit from which he must have had an excellent outlook in all forward and upward directions. The airscrew shaft passed between the pilot’s legs. The radiator was mounted between the rear centre-section struts. The fuselage itself was unusual, for it was covered with plywood.
  This engine installation with its long extension shaft is of great historical interest, for it antedated the Westland F.7/30 by quite fifteen years and the American Bell P.39 and P.63 by twenty years: all of these later types had extension shaft drives with the pilot well forward.
  In the Beardmore W.B.IV further advantage was taken of the rearward position of the engine to build a large buoyancy chamber into the bottom of the forward portion of the fuselage. This chamber projected on either side of the fuselage in the shape of an elongated blister. The undercarriage could be jettisoned if the aircraft were forced to alight on the sea, and when the W.B.IV first appeared it had a float under each lower wing-tip to assist in stabilising the aircraft when on the water. The W.B.IV could float on an even keel, thanks to the position of the engine on the centre of gravity. The wings could be folded. They were of unequal span and chord, and ailerons were fitted to the upper mainplanes only.
  The W.B.IV was delivered to the Isle of Grain station of the R.N.A.S., and there it was literally tested to destruction. It was flown without the wing-tip floats, and may have been used in experiments in alighting on the sea. Whatever the reason, the strenuous endeavours of the Grain pilots ultimately resulted in stoving-in the flotation chamber and the W.B.IV sank. Thus was lost one of the most interesting and advanced aircraft of the 1914-18 war.

  Manufacturers: William Beardmore & Co., Ltd., Dalmuir, Dumbartonshire.
  Power: 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza.
  Dimensions: Span: 35 ft 10 in. Length: 26 ft 6 in. Height: 9 ft 10 1/2 in. Chord: upper 6 ft 3 in., lower 4 ft 9in. Gap: 4 ft 9 in. Span of tail: 11 ft 9 in. Airscrew diameter: 9 ft.
  Areas: Wings: 350 sq ft. Ailerons: each 18-8 sq ft, total 37-6 sq ft. Tailplane: 26-5 sq ft. Elevators: 24 sq ft. Fin: 8 sq ft. Rudder: 12 sq ft.
  Note: The values for the weights and times of climb are from Trial Report No. M.218, dated July, 1918.
  Weights: Empty: 2,055 lb. Military load: 91 lb. Pilot: 180 lb. Fuel and oil: 269 lb. Weight loaded: 2,595 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed at ground level: 110 m.p.h.; at 10,000 ft: 102 m.p.h. Climb to 5,000 ft: 7 min;
to 6,500 ft: 9 min 40 sec; to 10,000 ft: 18 min 20 sec. Service ceiling: 14,000 ft. Endurance: 2 1/2 hours.
  Tankage: Petrol: 37 gallons.
  Armament: One fixed, synchronised Vickers machine-gun mounted on the port side below the upper longeron and with its breech within the fuselage; one upward-firing Lewis machine-gun on tripod above the windscreen.
  Production: Three W.B.IVs were ordered but only one was built.
  Serial Numbers: N.38-N.40 (N.39 and N.40 were not built).

H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)

W.B. IV. Of wholly original design, this single-seat 'ship's aeroplane' of 1917 was remarkable in having the pilot in front of the wings, the Hispano-Suiza engine being mounted in the fuselage over the centre of gravity and driving the airscrew through an extension shaft (compare Westland F.7/30). A fixed synchronised Vickers gun tired out through the nose immediately behind the airscrew on the port side, the breech casing being in the fuselage. The installation was very neat and there were separate case and link chutes. Forward of the watertight cockpit was a sturdy tripod for a Lewis gun.

Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919

The Beardmore W.B.IV. is a single-seater ship's scout designed with flotation gear in the fuselage and a dropping under-carriage. In order to keep the size of the flotation gear which is actually built into the fuselage, down to a minimum, the power unit is placed under the centre-section and over the centre of gravity, the pilot being seated in front astride the airscrew shaft in a watertight cockpit.
   The under-carriage is of the Vee type and is so arranged that by means of a control in the pilot's cockpit the whole undercarriage can be released.
   Two wing-tip floats are fitted as additional stabilizers when the machine is resting on the sea.
Type of machine Biplane.
Name or type No. of machine W.B.IV.
Purpose for which Intended Ship's Scout.
Span 35 ft. 10 in.
Gap 4 ft. 9 in.
Overall length 26 ft. 6 in.
Maximum height 9 ft. 10.5 in.
Chord Top 6 ft. 3 in., bottom 4ft. 9 in.
Total surface of wings,
   including ailerons 850 sq.ft.
Span of tail 11 ft. 9 in.
Total area of tail 50.5 sq. ft.
Area of elevators 24 sq. ft.
Area of rudder 12 sq. ft.
Area of fin 8 sq. ft.
Area of each aileron 18.8 sq. ft. each
   total area 37 ft. 6 In. total.
Maximum cross section of body 12.5 sq. ft.
Horizontal area of body 73 sq. ft.
Vertical area of body 51 sq. ft.
Engine type and h.p. Hispano-Suiza 200 h.p.
Airscrew, diam. and revs. 9 ft., 1,500 r.p.m.
Weight of machine empty 1,960 lbs.
Load per sq. ft. 7.5 lbs.
Weight per h.p. 13 lbs.
Tank capacity in hours 8.5 hours.
Tank capacity in gallons 37 gallons.
   Speed low down 110 m.p.h.
   Speed at 10,000 feet 102 m.p.h.
   Landing speed 45 m.p.h.
   To 5,000 feet in minutes 7 minutes.
   To 10,000 feet in minutes 18 minutes.
Disposable load apart from fuel 340 lbs.
Total weight of machine loaded 2,600 lbs.

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

Beardmore W.B.IV & W.B.V

  In April 1917, the Admiralty Air Board set out the following specification for Type N.1A:
  Type: Single Seater Aeroplane with Folding Wings and with floating device sufficient to enable the machine to alight on and remain on the water in a stable condition for at least 6 hours.
  Load to be carried.
   Pilot 180 lbs
   Vickers Interrupter gun & 250 rounds 60 lbs
   Lewis gun & 3 trays of ammunition 56 lbs
   Fuel for 2 1/2 hours full power at sea level.
   Removable wireless set Type 52a.
   (15 lbs of this weight to be at C.G.) 40 lbs
  Performance loaded as above:
   Speed not less than - 95 knots at 10,000 ft.
   Climb - 10,000 ft in not more than 12 minutes.
   Ceiling at least - 20,000 ft
   A low landing speed is especially desirable and should not exceed 35 knots.
   Detachable slinging device should be fitted.
   The landing chassis should be so arranged that the pilot can slip it after rising from the deck.
   Flushing system for rapidly emptying petrol tank required.
   Provision to be made for the fitting of stick rockets on wing struts.
   Streamline wires - single.
   Folded dimensions to be not greater than 22 ft long by 11 ft wide.
   Strength factor not less than - 8 on front truss and 6 on rear truss.

  The Admiralty Air Department discussed their specification N.1A Type at its Weekly Progress Meeting on 30 October 1917. It was proposed that firms designing scouts for land work should wherever possible keep the centre of the fuselage clear of controls in order that air bags could be fitted when used for ship work. It was agreed that one of the existing type of land fighters should be used for ship work, preferably one with a light loading, and an air cooled engine.
  A minute of 24 August 1917, described the demand for a small folding type of aeroplane for ship use required immediate attention in view of the recent success, and the probable demands for the type in all Light Cruisers.
  This was realised to a certain extent some six months ago, and accordingly two firms, Messrs. Beardmore and Mann Egerton were given orders for experimental types, both of which embodied the 200 Hispano engine, and thus necessitated a rather large type machine which although suitable for the seaplane carrier, will probably not be so convenient for the light cruiser. The experimental types referred to were the Beardmore W.B.IV and the Mann Egerton H.1.
  Both these types were large aeroplanes and would not have been suitable for use on capital ships where the Sopwith Pup was proving useful, and soon to be followed by the Sopwith 2.F1 Camel. What was wanted was more performance in order to be able to attack Zeppelins. No documentation has been uncovered to date to indicate if the N.1A specification had been raised for aircraft to operate from a flat deck aircraft carrier. These fighters developed to the N.1A specification were to be a dead-end, and carrier conversions of landplanes were to be utilised by the RAF on RN aircraft carriers for many years.

The W.B.IV

  Only those designers who have actually attempted the design of this class of machine (that is the ship’s aeroplane) can properly appreciate the difficulties imposed by the requirements of small stowage space on shipboard, and the necessity for some form of emergency alighting and flotation gear for use when a descent on the sea is necessary. This was the introduction to an article in The Aeroplane on the Beardmore W.B.III and IV scouts.
  A completely new design from Beardmore by George Tilghman-Richards, the W.B.IV was a single-seater ship’s scout designed with flotation gear in the fuselage and a dropping under-carriage. In order to keep the size of the flotation gear, which is actually built into the fuselage to a minimum, the power unit is placed under the centre section and over the centre of gravity, the pilot being seated in front astride the propeller shaft. This most unconventional feature of the large single-seat two-bay biplane fighter was two decades before the Bell P-39 Airacobra of 1938 also adopted this arrangement to fit a 37 mm Oldsmobile cannon firing through the airscrew shaft. With the pilot seating in front of the wings he had an excellent view for landing onboard a ship and for fighting.
  The W.B.IV was designed to the Admiralty Air Board’s specification N.1A. The provisions of the specification called for flotation gear to keep the machine afloat for a period of at least six hours in the event of a water landing. To achieve this the W.B.IV had a large buoyancy chamber built into the forward fuselage. The whole fuselage was ply covered. The landing gear could be dropped and wingtip floats were provided under the lower wings as additional stabilizers when the machine is resting on the sea. The wings could be folded for shipboard storage.
  A fixed synchronised Vickers gun was carried on the port side of the fuselage, the breech casing being within the fuselage. A sturdy tripod was mounted forward of the cockpit for a separate Lewis gun. The radiator for the Hispano-Suiza 8B engine was carried between the rear cabane struts.
  Three prototypes were ordered under Contract No. A.S.11542 (BR.68) and they were allocated the serials N38 to N40.
Work on the first machine commenced around May
  A report on the W.B.IV noted that not much progress had been made on the metal work and this was holding up matters. These fittings are expected to be finished in a few days. Another report from around July 1917, noted that the folding air bags under the lower wing leading edge were being dispensed with in favour of wing tip floats. Ample buoyancy can be provided by the fuselage float, the wing tip floats and the air bags in the tail. The construction of the first machine is proceeding very satisfactorily and it is still hoped to finish the machine by the end of the month. The same report noted that the work on the W.B.IV was to be suspended to enable the WB.V to proceed. A later report noted that very little progress had been made on the W.B.IV due to a shortage of labour. Completed in November 1917, the aeroplane that emerged from the Dalmuir works managed to be a handsome aeroplane.
  The W.B.IV was a large two-bay biplane with typical Beardmore fin and balanced rudder. Ailerons were carried on the upper wing only. The machine flew for the first time on 12 December 1917, it was tested at Grain, before it was transported to Martlesham Heath for official testing, arriving there on 20 May 1918. A report around April 1918 noted that the Badin Vacuum pump was being taken out of the W.B.IV and a de Havilland Pump fitted, otherwise machine is ready for trials. These problems would appear to be why it took so long to proceed to Martlesham Heath as it apparently did little flying in the interim. After waiting for a new undercarriage that had delayed trials, these were completed by 3 August.
  While the machine had a credible performance for an aircraft of its size, this was inferior to that of the Sopwith 2F.1 Ships Camel, particularly its climbing performance. The Hispano-Suiza engine was placed such that maintenance would have been difficult. The Sopwith fighter was easier to produce and already tried and tested. Also, there was the change referred to above where a small, light aircraft with an air-cooled engine was preferred to meet the specification. There was to be no production of the W.B.IV, only the first prototype being completed.
  N38 was taken to Grain on 10 August and flown there for ditching trials. These ended when the buoyancy chamber was stove in when alighting on the water and the aircraft sank. This may have occurred on 28 September 1918, when the machine was undergoing ditching trials without the undercarriage. It was officially written off on 12 December
1918. Thus was lost one of the most interesting and advanced aircraft of the 1914-18 war.

Beardmore WB.IV Specifications
Source 1 2
Span upper 35 ft 10 in 38 ft 0 in
Span lower 35 ft -
Length 26 ft 6 in 27 ft 3 in
Height 9 ft 10.5 in 9 ft 8 in
Chord Upper 6 ft 3 in -
Chord lower 4 ft 9 in -
Gap 4 ft 9 in -
Span tail 11 ft 9 in -
Airscrew - AB7402
Diameter 9 ft -
Areas in ft2
  Wings 350 350
  Ailerons 37.61 -
  Tail 50.5 -
  Elevators 24 -
  Rudder 12 -
  Fin 8 ft -
Weights in lbs
  Empty 1,960 2,055
  Fuel & Oil - 269
  Military load - 91
  Crew - 180
  Disposable load (2) 340 -
  Loaded 2,600 2,595
Capacity in gall 37 -
Endurance 8.5 hours -
Speed in mph
  Ground level 110 -
  at 10,000 ft 102 -
Landing speed 45 -
Climb to
  5,000 ft 7 min -
  6,500 ft - 9.7 min
  10,000 ft 18 min 18.3 min
  Ceiling in ft - 14,000
  (1) Jane’s shows each aileron as 18.8 ft2 but the total area incorrectly as 37 ft 6 in.
  (2) Does not include fuel.
  1. Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft 1919.
  2. Performances of British Ship Aeroplanes July 1917 - December 1918. Report M.218 of 7/18. TNA AIR1/708/27/11/02.

C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Beardmore WB.IV N-38
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
The Beardmore W.B.IV (200 h.p. Hispano Suiza Engine), N38, with its midships engine location, aft of the pilot’s cockpit.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Photographed at the Beardmore Company's airfield at Inchinnan, the Beardmore W.B.IV as originally flown with wing-tip floats.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Rearview shows the RNAS type elevator markings. Isle of Grain, 27 September 1918.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
W.B.IV on the Isle of Grain, 27 September 1918. This set of photographs show the type in all its aspects. The radiator was suspended between the rear cabane struts. Note the hoisting gear on the upper centre section.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Additional views of N38. Note the vents in the upper fuselage decking for cooling the buried Hispano-Suiza engine.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Although not elegant, the W.B.IV did have good lines and was an attractive aircraft.
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
Tested at Martlesham Heath, the Beardmore W.B.IV had the original underwing tip floats removed.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
N38 after it was sent to the Isle of Grain, photographed there on 27 September 1918.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
The pilot was seated well forward and was to be able to operate the Lewis gun by hand. No photographs are known that show such a gun mounted on No. N38. Note the shell ejection chutes in the fuselage side; the footstep on the buoyancy chamber.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Beardmore W.B.IV with floats removed. The Vickers gun can be seen on the port side of the nose.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
The single synchronized Vickers gun was partially built into the fuselage of the W.B.IV. The mount for the Lewis gun on the nose is well shown in this view as is the buoyancy chamber. Isle of Grain, 27 September 1918.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Demonstrating how to pull the prop over on the W.B.IV.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
The bouyancy chamber built into the fuselage was well streamlined as this view shows. Isle of Grain, 27 September 1918.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
The wings had to be able to be folded in order to store the machine on board ships. Isle of Grain, 27 September 1918.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Ditching trials of the W.B.IV on 28 September. The undercarriage was dropped before the machine landed in the water. Unfortunately, it stove-in the buoyancy chamber, and the machine is shown under tow after alighting.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Lifting the damaged N38 out of the water after its failed ditching trail.
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
The Beardmore W.B.IV was designed for shipboard use.
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Beardmore W.B.IV
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Beardmore W.B.IV
C.Owers - Beardmore Aircraft of WW1 /Centennial Perspective/ (69)
Beardmore W.B.IV