В.Обухович, А.Никифоров Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
Разведчик-бомбардировщик F.IIIA был дальнейшим развитием F.127 и создавался по требованию командования ВМФ для замены устаревших самолетов Сопвич "Страттер". Первый серийный Фэйри F.IIIA (вначале выпускался в сухопутном варианте) совершил полет в июне 1918 г. Он имел увеличенный размах нижнего крыла и дополнительную пару стоек. На нижнем крыле опять были установлены поплавки. Этот гидросамолет изготавливался с августа 1918 г. в варианте бомбардировщика Фэйри F.IIIB с двигателем Роллс-Ройс "Игл VIII" (370 л. с.) и увеличенной площадью крыла и вертикального оперения.
Было построено двадцать пять машин, которые использовались с прибрежных баз для поиска минных заграждений. Разведчик Фэйри F.IIIC начал поступать в части в ноябре 1918 г. Он имел крылья одинакового размаха. В качестве силовой установки использовался двигатель Санбим "Маори II". В послевоенное время этот вариант был одним из самых популярных самолетов в своем классе.
H.Taylor Fairey Aircraft since 1915 (Putnam)
An alternative design by F. Duncanson to meet the Admiralty specification N.2(a) for a carrier-based seaplane was built in parallel with N9 (F.127). This, the most historically important of these two experimental seaplanes produced by Fairey in 1917, has similarly been known by its serial number, N10, and/or by its constructor’s number, F.128, but it also carried later the designation Fairey III. Although only one aircraft was completed to the original specification, this was modified to become the progenitor of the long succession of Series III variants and subvariants.
N10, slightly larger and heavier than N9, was an equal-span two-bay biplane, also with folding wings, and was fitted with the more powerful 260 hp Sunbeam Maori II twelve-cylinder vee liquid-cooled engine. The fuselage was identical with that of N9, with similar tailplane and elevators, but the fin was of greater area. Full-span variable-camber gear was fitted to the lower wing, with ailerons only on the upper wing. In its original seaplane form the radiators were, like those of N9, mounted as ‘slabs’ on each side of the engine, but when N10 suffered the reverse of a sea-change to become a landplane, with the designation IIIA, as described in the next section, a radiator was installed in front of the engine. The first flight of N10 was made by Lt-Col (then Lt-Cdr) Vincent Nicholl, DSO, DSC, from the Isle of Grain on 14 September, 1917, after delivery on 31 August.
This prototype was destined to be remodified and used for several different purposes after being bought back, like N9, from the Admiralty by Fairey, and was to continue flying for the company in competitions and as a communications aircraft until the end of 1922. Before initially entering civil life in May 1919, it had already completed test and evaluation programmes as a seaplane and as a landplane and had made several hundred take-offs and alightings as a seaplane while using its original floats.
The first public appearance of N10 with its new civil registration, G-EALQ, was in September 1919 at Bournemouth, where the initial post-war contest was held for the Jacques Schneider International Trophy for seaplanes. This had been won at Monaco in April 1914 by Howard Pixton with a Sopwith Tabloid, so, following the rules, the contest was held in Britain and the chosen venue was Bournemouth - with the competition headquarters at Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Because of sea mist over the western end of the 20-nautical-mile triangular racing circuit - from Bournemouth to Swanage Bay, Hengistbury Head (Christchurch) and back to Bournemouth - the contest turned out to be something of a fiasco.
As finally prepared for the race, the Fairey III was a very different aircraft from that which had been delivered to the Royal Naval Air Service more than two years before. Although back on its original floats after the period of operation as a landplane, it was now a single-seat single-bay biplane with the span reduced from 46 ft to 28 ft, and was fitted with a 450 hp Napier Lion twelve-cylinder three-bank liquid-cooled engine - a type which was to power nearly all the future variants in the III series. By no means the fastest aircraft in the race, G-EALQ was certainly the most robust of the floatplanes and would probably have won the contest if this had been held in anything but the calm conditions which prevailed on 10 September, 1919, the day of the race. It was, in fact, the only entry to return to moorings under its own power.
Of the original entries, seven aircraft reached Cowes in time for scrutiny and the elimination trials. These were a Supermarine flying-boat developed from the Baby fighter prototype and fitted with a Lion engine to become the Sea Lion (flown by Sqn Cdr B. D. Hobbs); a Cosmos Jupiter engined development of the Sopwith Baby (Harry G. Hawker); the Avro 539, which might be considered as a BHP (Puma) engined version of the Avro Baby (Capt H. A. Hammersley); a Nieuport-Delage (Lt J. Casale); a Spad (Sadi Lecointe); an Isotta-Fraschini engined Savoia S.13 flying-boat (W/O Janello); and the Fairey III (Lt-Col Vincent Nicholl).
Following a series of misfortunes, and the classification of the Avro as a reserve entry after the elimination trials, only four of these seven aircraft eventually competed. One of two Nieuports (the other had been forced down in the English Channel on its way over) reached Bournemouth on the morning of the race, but suffered a damaged float and had to be beached in a hurry. This aircraft had already been virtually rebuilt a few days earlier after it had struck a buoy and sunk when alighting at Cowes after its flight from Paris via Brighton. The Spad - which had had its span reduced at Cowes in an eleventh-hour effort to get some more speed - had also damaged its floats while being beached at Bournemouth.
The succession of misfortunes was to continue during the contest itself. After the start had been postponed, because of the sea mist, from 2.30 until 4.30 p.m. on 10 September, the proceedings were begun without, apparently, adequate investigation of the visibility conditions in other parts of the circuit, which had to be covered ten times for a total distance of 200 nautical miles. The starting order was by ballot, and the first man off was Nicholl in the Fairey III, On reaching the area of the first turning point he found that Swanage Bay was full of fog, with only the tops of the cliffs to be seen, and the mark-boat was hidden. He returned to the starting point, alighted and withdrew from the race. Hobbs with the Supermarine was the next to take off. He failed to find the first mark-boat and put down on the sea in order to have a look round. On taking off again the Supermarine hit some floating object just before becoming airborne. The hull was holed and the flying-boat sank when it was put down at Bournemouth; Hobbs was duly rescued and the Supermarine was salvaged. Hawker, with the Sopwith, also failed to find the turning point, returned, found his aircraft to be sinking, beached it hurriedly and wrecked the floats.
Meanwhile, the third man away, Janello in the Savoia, completed his two mandatory touchdowns and set off. He evidently saw what he thought was the Swanage mark-boat and continued to make circuits of the course until he had completed the required ten and one more for good measure. Someone with a stopwatch noticed, however, that his lap times were too short for the known speed of the S.13. Janello covered the ten laps in 1 hr 45 min 18 sec, giving a theoretical average speed of nearly 115 knots for the 200 nautical miles. On their return to Bournemouth the crew of the mark-boat announced that they had not seen the Savoia on its circuits and the race was consequently declared to be void.
Because Janello had met the requirements so far as was possible, the Royal Aero Club undertook to propose, at the October meeting of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, that the trophy should go to Italy. The FAI, however, upheld the original decision of the RAeC, but agreed that, as a compliment to Janello’s effort, the next competition for the trophy should be held in Italy.
Another important official appearance of G-EALQ was at Felixstowe and Martlesham Heath (respectively, since 1917, the principal seaplane and landplane experimental testing establishments) where a competition for commercial aircraft was organized by the Air Ministry in August and September 1920. This involved economy and reliability trials at full load, with marks awarded according to a complicated formula, as well as ‘self-control’ (i.e. stability) tests. The competition included a section for amphibians capable of carrying a minimum of two passengers.
For this, the Fairey III appeared, as the only floatplane entrant, in its original equal-span two-bay biplane form with a side-by-side two-seat passenger cockpit behind the pilot and with a combined float and retractable wheel undercarriage. The 1922 edition of Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft described the undercarriage in these words: ‘The retractable wheels are mounted between the floats, and carried on a steel frame, rectangular in plan and triangular in side elevation, hinged at its forward cross-member to the floats and rotatable about this hinge by means of a wheel in the pilot’s cockpit. The top cross-member of this frame is extended and falls into wells in the floats, and is there locked by four undercut hooks which engage in shackles on the frame extension. These hooks are positively engaged by the movement of the operating wheel and form an absolutely secure lock. A laminated wooden tailskid, attached beneath the tail-float, completes the undercarriage arrangements.’
The twin floats were of the single-step type and fitted with long extensions aft of the centre-of-gravity, so that they normally supported the whole aircraft while on the water. The tail-float was needed for flotation support only when the wings were folded, but provided reserve buoyancy if one of the main floats was punctured. These floats, however, had a large reserve of buoyancy and each was subdivided into nine watertight compartments.
A total sum of ?16,000 was offered in prizes for the amphibian section, in which the other competitors were two flying-boats - a Supermarine Seagull and a Vickers Viking III. Lt-Col Vincent Nicholl flew the Fairey III from Hamble to Felixstowe on 5 September, and over to Martlesham the next day. Bad weather delayed the progress of the competition, but the Fairey III completed its reliability and economy test in very rough weather (carrying two air-sick observers) on 17 September and repeated this trial on 20 September.
The results of the amphibian competition were announced on 11 October, 1920. The Fairey III was placed third, but the Air Ministry commented on the ‘considerable advance attained’ by all the entrants, and increased the second prize accordingly - so Vickers received ?10,000, Supermarine ?8,000 and Fairey ?2,000. In some quarters it was not considered that the disparity in performance was such as to justify a ?6,000 difference between the second and third prizes - though quite obviously the Supermarine was a more practical aircraft than the Fairey III, which, in any case, had had to be repaired after running into trouble during the 24-hour mooring tests on 26-27 September.
Among other later uses, G-EALQ operated a communications service to and from Hamble before finally being retired from duty at the end of 1922. It has been recorded that during its lifetime N10’s airframe survived nine engines.
N10 Seaplane (for landplane data see IIIA/B) Span 46 ft 2 in (14 07 m); length 36 ft (10-97 m); height 11 ft 10 in (3-61 m); overall wing area 542 sq ft (50-35 sq m). Empty weight 2,970 lb (1,347 kg); military load 224 lb (101 kg); crew 360 lb (163 kg); fuel (76 gal, 345 litres) and oil 605 lb (274 kg); loaded weight 4,159 lb (1,886 kg). Maximum speed at sea level 104 mph (167 km/h); at 6,500 ft (1,981 m) 97 mph (156 km/h); at 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 94-5 mph (152 km/h). Climb to 2,000 ft (610 m) 3 min 45 sec; to 5,000 ft (1,524 m) 9 min 10 sec; to 6,500 ft (1,981 m) 12 min 35 sec; to 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 23 min 30 sec; service ceiling 14,000 ft (4,267 m). Endurance 4 1/2 hr.
N10 amphibian version Empty weight 3,771 lb (1,711 kg); useful load 543 lb (246 kg); loaded weight 5,250 lb (2,381 kg). Maximum speed at sea level 118 mph (190 km/h); cruising speed 82 mph (132 km/h); landing speed 54 mph (87 km/h).
IIIA and B
Towards the end of 1917, N10 (F.128), which can justifiably be described as the prototype of the long-lived Series III, had been modified to operate as a landplane, with a straightforward V-strut undercarriage replacing the floats, and was given the designation IIIA. This version went into production as a shipborne two-seat bomber with an order for 50 for the Royal Naval Air Service, which was then about to be merged with the Royal Flying Corps to form the Royal Air Force.
The IIIA retained the 260 hp Sunbeam Maori II twelve-cylinder vee liquid-cooled engine, but was naturally faster than its floatplane original. It was armed with a single Lewis gun on a Scarff ring for the observer and could carry bombs in external racks under the fuselage. The IIIA was intended as a replacement for the obsolescent Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutters operating with the RNAS. Production started in 1918 with N2850 (F.220) and ended with N2899(F.269), the constructor’s numbers following F.128 having been taken up by Hamble Baby and Campania production. The first IIIA was flown by Lt-Col G. L. P. Henderson at Northolt on 6 June, 1918.
The Armistice overtook the IIIA and the type saw little if any active service; all appear to have been declared obsolete in 1919. The type was variously fitted with normal wheel and plain skid undercarriages for carrier operations. Wheels were fitted to N2850-2852 (F.220-222) and N2889-2899 (F.259-269) (14); skids were fitted to N2853-2862 (F.223-232) and N2864-2888 (F.234-258) (35); N2863 (F.233) was used for experiments with hydrofoils, or hydrovanes - as they were differently named at the time. These devices were fitted to the front of the undercarriages and designed to make landplane alightings on the sea more or less safe by preventing the aircraft from nosing-over on touchdown. Flotation gear was used to keep the aircraft buoyant until the pilot could be rescued and the aircraft (possibly) retrieved. The rigid skid undercarriage was one of the temporary methods used in the endeavour to find ways of keeping the aircraft straight during take-offs from the short decks, and in developing effective arrester systems. Many experiments with skid undercarriages had previously been made with Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutters and Pups. Hydrovanes and inflatable air bags, externally stowed, were to remain features of shipborne landplanes until the early 1920s.
The IIIB was another variant which went into small-scale production in time for a few to reach at least one seaplane station, Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, before the end of the war. During a relatively short period in service it was used mainly for mine-spotting patrols. The IIIB was a two-seat seaplane designed specifically for bombing duties within the Admiralty N.2(b) requirements and had a fuselage and tail similar to those of the III and IIIA, but with increased wing, fin and rudder areas and with bigger main floats than the III. The two-bay folding wings had pronounced upper-wing overhangs which carried the ailerons. These extensions were braced from kingposts above the outer interplane struts. Camber-changing gear was fitted.
The IIIB was powered by a Maori II which, like that of the IIIA, had a frontal, or nose-type radiator. Armament consisted of a Lewis gun on a Scarff ring for the observer, with provision for bombs, up to a total weight of 600 b, in tubular carriers well below the fuselage. The first flight of the IIIB was made by Vincent Nicholl, from Hamble on 8 August, 1918.
A shock-absorbent mounting for the floats was introduced for the IIIB. In those days the floats of seaplanes were, with a few exceptions, little more than lightweight pontoons made of wood frames covered with plywood. There was no chined keel, but the flat bottoms had ash runners to protect them from beaching damage and there was, in later versions, a shallow step aft. With the IIIB the floats were attached to the undercarriage structure by rubber cord to help to isolate the fuselage from the worst shocks during take-off and alighting.
Serial numbers for sixty IIIBs were allotted - N2225-2229 (F.270-274), at the end of a cancelled Campania contract, N2230-2259 (F.277-306) and N9230-9259 (F.307-336). However, N2233 and at least six others in the second batch (N2246 and N2255-2259) and all in the third batch of thirty were converted on the line to IIICs, so that fewer than thirty IIIBs, were built. Others in the series were later converted to the IIIC standard for civil operations; summary histories of these aircraft will be found in the section on the IIIC.
The weights and performance figures here are based on test reports dated December 1917 (IIIA) and February 1918 (IIIB) as quoted by J. M. Bruce in British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam & Co).
IIIA Span 46 ft 2 in (14-06 m); length 31 ft (9-45 m); height 10 ft 8 in (3-25 m); overall wing area 542 sq ft (50-35 sq m). Empty weight 2,532 lb (1,149 kg); military load 224 lb (102 kg); crew 360 lb (163 kg); fuel (76 gal, 345 litres) and oil 578 lb (262 kg); loaded weight 3,694 lb (1,675 kg). Maximum speed at sea level 109 mph (175 km/h); at 6,500 ft (1,981 m). 107 mph (172 km/h); at 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 104 mph (167 km/h). Climb to 5,000 ft (1,524 m) 7 min 5 sec; to 6,500 ft (1,981 m) 10 min; to 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 17 min 40 sec; service ceiling 15,000 ft (4,572 m). Endurance 4V2 hr. (Developed production aircraft had a higher empty weight and a test-recorded maximum loaded weight of 3,945 lb (1,789 kg); the combined fuel and military load in this case was also higher, at about 895 lb (392 kg), but the overall performance was naturally inferior to that of the prototype.)
IIIB Span 62 ft 9 in (1913 m); length 37 ft 1 in (11-28 m); height 14 ft (4.27 m); overall wing area 616 sq ft (57.22 sq m). Empty weight 3,258 lb (1,478 kg); military load 681 lb (309 kg); crew 360 lb (163 kg); fuel (76 gal, 345 litres) and oil 593 lb (269 kg); loaded weight 4,892 lb (2,219 kg). Maximum speed at 2,000 ft (610 m) 95 mph (153 km/h); at 6,500 ft (1,981 m) 90 mph (145 km/h); at 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 81 mph (130km/h).Climb to 2,000ft (610m)4 min 10 sec; to 6,500 ft (1,981 m) 17 min 50 sec; to 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 37 min 50 sec; service ceiling 10,300 ft (3,140 m). Endurance 4 1/2 hr.
Generally considered to have been the best seaplane designed during the 1914-18 War, the IIIC was also the first general-purpose aircraft for the Royal Naval Air Service, combining the bombing capability of the IIIB with the reconnaissance role of the IIIA. It also combined the design features of these two predecessors, with the float undercarriage and tail unit of the IIIB and the equal-span wings of the III and IIIA. All the thirty-six which were built during and after the war were either converted on the production line or replaced IIIBs already ordered. The serials of the first six, N2246 (F.293), and N2255-2259 (F.302-306), were among a group of IIIBs, and the production batch of thirty, N9230-9259 (F.307-336), were originally ordered as IIIBs and built as IIICs from December 1918. The first of the converted aircraft to fly, N2255 (F.302), was tested by Vincent Nicholl at Hamble in July 1918.
The IIIC arrived too late for operational use in the war. The first aircraft rent in September 1918 for tests at the Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot, Isle of Grain, but a definitive version did not appear until the month of the Armistice, November, when No.229 Squadron (RNAS Great Yarmouth Air Station), for instance, received their first. However, the type did see active service when seven or more took part in the operations in 1919 with the North Russian Expeditionary Force based at Archangel, to which they were taken by the seaplane carrier HMS Pegasus, in June of that year some of the IIICs made a bombing attack on four Russian naval vessels, though without much success, and later some were used to attack rail communications. For his services on that Russian expedition, Flt Lt L. Massey Hilton, later to be a director of the Fairey company, was awarded the DFC. Earlier, the use of the IIIC, in floatplane form, had been proposed for a formation flight to Cape Town - a flight which was not to be made until 1926, with IIIDs.
One good reason for the qualities of the IIIC was the fact that it was powered by a 375 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII, which had an unusually high power/weight ratio for its day and was also very reliable. Because of the extra power available, larger fuel tanks could be fitted, with a total capacity of 120 gallons, giving the aircraft an endurance of nearly six hours. Armament consisted of one forward-firing synchronized Vickers gun for the pilot and one Lewis gun on a Scarff ring for the rear gunner/observer. Bombs were carried on racks under the fuselage. Its fully loaded weight was considerably in excess of that of the IIIA and B, though slightly less than that of the Campania, which had a much greater wing span. The IIICs remained in service with the Royal Air Force until late in 1921, when they were supplanted by IIIDs.
So far as can be discovered, four IIICs (two of them conversions of A/Bs) were registered as civil aircraft. One, N9253 (F.330), registered G-EBDI, had a very short and, for its two occupants, extremely hazardous life. In 1922, Major W. T. Blake, sponsored by the Daily News, accompanied by Capt Norman Macmillan as pilot, and with a cinematographer, Geoffrey H. Malins (replacing Lt-Col L. E. Broome), attempted a round-the-world flight.
The plan was to use four different aircraft, suitably positioned. These were a D.H.9 for the flight from England to Calcutta; a Fairey IIIC seaplane from Calcutta to Vancouver; another D.H.9 from Vancouver to Newfoundland; and a Felixstowe F.3 flying-boat for the final journey to England via Greenland, Iceland, the Faroes and Scotland. It was an extremely ambitious undertaking which was rapidly planned - though the records show that the project was given a reasonable amount of help by the RAF and the Foreign Office.
There was a near-disaster at the start of the flight when, unable to fly over the Alps from Lyons to Turin, the D.H.9 was diverted to Marseilles. This stop was not on the itinerary and no detailed information had been obtained about facilities there. The crew did not apparently know that the nearest aerodrome was 30 miles away at Istres. After searching around, the D.H.9 was put down on a racecourse, damaging the undercarriage and propeller.
However, the story of this part of the world-flight, and of the various ructions which followed, have no place in this narrative. Suffice it to say that the D.H.9 eventually reached Calcutta after the better part of three months and about 100 hours of flying time. There, the IIIC, which had been erected by the RAF after being shipped out from England, was ready and waiting. Major Blake was suffering from appendicitis and had to go to hospital. Capt Macmillan, accompanied by Malins, prepared to take the IIIC on the next stages of the flight. They decided to combine an acceptance test and a flight to Akyab, Burma; if all went well during a 15-minute trial flight, they would set off.
This they did, at 8.30 a.m. local time on 19 August, 1922, and nothing was heard of them for three days. The monsoon conditions were extremely bad, with high winds and torrential rain, so the worst was feared. In fact the IIIC had been forced down by engine failure, probably caused by an air-lock in the fuel system, and had made a successful touch-down in an extremely rough sea. After putting out a sea anchor and examining the engine, they managed to get it started and taxied in high waves to the island of Lakhidia Char, where the floats ran on to a mudbank. There they stayed for two days and three nights waiting for the weather to improve. There was only an hour during which the tide was high enough to permit taxying and take-off. They had no provisions, but were fed with some milk by islanders - one of whom spoke English and took a message to the nearest telegraph station 25 miles away.
At last, on 22 August, the weather improved and they took off at the midday high tide. The starboard float had been found to be waterlogged, but this had been pumped and bailed fairly dry on the previous day and had not since taken in much water. There was not enough fuel to reach Akyab, so they headed for Chittagong, but 15 minutes after take-off the engine started to misfire and finally stopped. After a smooth touchdown they started to work on the engine, but soon stopped when they looked at the starboard float and realized that, by the time they were ready to try to take off, the float might well have become too waterlogged. Once again they decided to taxi. Although the engine later picked up, the float was by then too deep in the water for a take-off attempt and fuel finally gave out when still out of sight of land.
Malins climbed out on the port wing, to be followed later by Macmillan, and they jettisoned everything but essential records. It was by then dark and the last Very cartridge was fired as the IIIC heeled over backwards and sideways until the wings were nearly vertical; five minutes later it turned completely over, remaining afloat mainly by virtue of the empty fuel tanks.
After yet another day and night, during which the tide moved the inverted IIIC towards and then away from land and they were not apparently spotted by two boats which sailed nearby, the inverted upper wings finally got caught up on a mud shoal, effectively mooring the wreckage as the tide turned once again. On 24 August they were spotted and picked up by a launch which had set out for Lakhidia Char after the telegraph message had been received. The launch crew tried to salvage what was left of the IIIC, but the towrope parted and the aircraft sank. The remainder of the plans for the world flight were cancelled.
The three other civil IIICs enjoyed longer and more prosaic lives. One, originally IIIA N2876 (F.246), was registered G-EADZ in the name of the Navarro Aviation Co on 6 June, 1919, for joy-riding, but was not so used. It was bought by Lt-Col G. L. P. Henderson later in the year, converted to IIIC standard (with a four-bladed propeller) and re-registered G-EAMY. This and another IIIC, the first to be flown, N2255 (F.302), also bought by Col Henderson and registered G-EAPV on 1 December, 1919, were shipped to Sweden. During the summer of 1920 G-EAPV made three trans-Baltic flights between Stockholm and Helsinki, carrying passengers and newspapers. It afterwards operated on pleasure flights for the P.O. Flygkompani of Barkarby, Sweden, using skis in winter, and modified to carry one passenger behind the pilot and four others in the rear cockpit (if one can believe the record). It was taken out of service at the end of the year; meanwhile, G-EAMY had crashed in August 1920 following the breakage of a rudder cable.
The fourth civil IIIC, N9256 (F.333), was bought by the manufacturers, registered G-EARS on 17 March, 1920, and used as a two-seat seaplane demonstrator. It was sold to the Aircraft Disposal Co and was shipped to Canada, where it was registered G-CYCF in October 1920. Among several special flights arranged to celebrate and demonstrate civil-flying freedom in 1919 was one on 3 May with a IIIC in Service markings — which may possibly have been N9256. With Sydney Pickles as pilot it was flown from Isleworth to Westminster, where copies of the Evening News were picked up for delivery to Westgate-on-Sea and Margate, Kent, and afterwards flown back to Blackfriars, where it was hoisted on to a barge for the night.
Span 46 ft 1 in (14-0 m); length 36 ft (110 m); height 12 ft 2 in (3-7 m); total wing area 542 sq ft (50-2 sq m). Empty weight 3,392 lb (1,539 kg); military load 170 lb (77 kg); crew 360 lb (163 kg); fuel and oil 878 lb (398 kg); loaded weight 4,800 lb (2,177 kg). Maximum speed at 2,000 ft (610 m) 110-5 mph (178 km/h); at 6,500 ft (1,981 m) 107 mph (172 km/h); at 10,000 ft (3,048 m) 102-5 mph (165 km/h). Climb to 6,500 ft (1,981 m) 9 min 30 sec; service ceiling 15,000 ft (4,572 m). Endurance 5 1/2 hr.
Overload weights and performance: Empty weight 3,549 lb (1,610 kg); military load 247 lb (112 kg); crew 360 lb (163 kg); fuel and oil 883 lb (400 kg); loaded weight 5,039 lb (2,286 kg). Maximum speed at 2,000 ft (610 m) 101 mph (163 km/h); at 6,500 ft (1,981 m) 95-5 mph (154 km/h). Climb to 6,500 ft (1,981 m) 16 min 30 sec; service ceiling 9,100 ft (2,774 m). Endurance 5 hr.
F.Manson British Bomber Since 1914 (Putnam)
Fairey F.128 and Types IIIA-C
During the spring of 1917 F Duncanson completed the preliminary designs of two floatplanes to the Air Board's Specification N.2(A), which called for a single-engine seaplane with folding wings, capable of being flown from a carrier deck using the trolley-separation method. These two aircraft, the Fairey F.127 and F.128, became generally known by their serial numbers, N9 and N10.
The first, powered by a 200hp Rolls-Royce Falcon I engine, failed to meet the performance requirements laid down, but proved to be of exceptional value in tests carried out in the early development of aircraft catapults. First flown on 5 July 1917, N9 was a single-bay two-seat biplane with wings o f unequal span, the top wing, with a 7ft 6in overhang on each side, being wire braced using kingposts. Wing flaps (the so-called camber-changing system patented by Fairey the previous year) were fitted over the full span of the lower wings.
Delivered to the Isle of Grain in June 1918, N9 was embarked in HMS Slinger, a converted mud-carrying vessel fitted with a 60ft-long compressed-air catapult built by Sir W G Armstrong, Whitworth Aircraft Ltd. Trials were completed by Lt-Col Harry Busteed (the first such launches in Britain by a seaplane at sea), before Fairey repurchased N7 from the Admiralty in 1919, fitted it with a 260hp Sunbeam Maori II, and later sold it to Norway.
The second floatplane, N10, powered at the outset by the Maori II engine, was flown by Lt-Col Vincent Nicholl at the Isle of Grain on 14 September 1917 and satisfied all N.2(A)'s performance and load requirements. It was a rather larger aircraft than N9, with equal-span two-bay wings, though the fuselage was identical to that of the single-bay aeroplane. Following successful trials as a seaplane, N10 was converted to landplane configuration to become the Fairey Series III prototype by substitution of the main floats and tail float with plain V-strut, cross-axle wheel undercarriage and tailskid. Trials were flown by RNAS pilots, including performance evaluation while carrying a pair of 112 lb bombs. The Maori II engine was retained, but with frontal radiator, and in this form, re-termed the Fairey IIIA, the aircraft was ordered into production to replace the obsolescent Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutter with the RNAS. The first aircraft, N2850, was flown by Lt-Col G L P Henderson MC, AFC, on 6 June 1918 at Northolt.
Fifty Fairey IIIAs were ordered, of which fourteen featured plain wheel undercarriage and the remainder wheel-and-skid gear - a temporary recourse adopted on then-current deck-operating aircraft in an attempt to keep the aircraft straight during take-off and landing. As far as is known, none of these IIIAs ever reached a squadron, most o f them being used either as trainers or for various trials, although a few may have joined the coastal mine-spotting patrols undertaken after the Armistice. Others are known to have been delivered into storage to await scrapping.
The first production seaplane variant of the basic Fairey III series was the IIIB, intended from the outset to be a bomber, as defined by Admiralty Specification N.2(B) which called for a bomb load of up to 600 lb. To enable this weight to be carried, the wing area was increased from 542 to 616 sq ft, the upper wing being extended to give an overhang of some eight feet on each side. To compensate for the side area of the floats, both fin and rudder areas were increased by about 25 per cent.
Sixty Fairey IIIBs were ordered, but fewer than thirty were built as such, many being completed as IIICs (see below). The first production IIIB to be flown made its maiden flight on 8 August 1918 at Hamble, and subsequent aircraft reached No 219 Squadron at Westgate in Kent the same month. Others joined No 230 Squadron at Felixstowe in October, and No 229 Squadron in Flanders during November. None took part in bombing operations before the Armistice, but subsequently flew mine-spotting patrols over the Thames Estuary with the coming of peace. Two were used to operate a naval mail service between Ostend and Harwich between February and May 1919. In January 1919 No 229 Squadron took up residence at Great Yarmouth for spotting patrols off the Norfolk coast.
The Fairey IIICs first flight actually predated that of the IIIB, the aircraft being flown by Vincent Nicholl in July 1918. It was widely recognised as the best British seaplane produced during the War, an opinion that owed its expression to the excellent 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine, renowned for its great reliability. Retaining the float undercarriage, fuselage and tail unit of the IIIB, and the equal-span wings of the IIIA, the Fairey IIIC featured engine radiators on the sides of the fuselage, and was intended to combine the reconnaissance role of the IIIA with the bombing role of the IIIB. Its normal bomb load comprised either two 230 lb or four 112 lb bombs carried beneath the fuselage. Fairey IIICs were armed with a synchronized Vickers gun and a Lewis gun on the rear cockpit.
Production aircraft were delivered to Nos 229 and 230 Squadrons in November but were prevented from making any war flights against the Germans by the Armistice. However, in 1919, several Fairey IIICs were embarked in HMS Pegasus with the North Russian Expeditionary Force, making their base at Archangel. In June they carried out a bombing attack against four Russian warships and later attacked rail targets.
The last Fairey IIICs were withdrawn from service with the RAF at Kalafrana, Malta, in August 1923, where they had been serving with No 267 Squadron since December 1920.
Type: Single-engine, two-seat two-bay biplane shipborne twin-float seaplane.
Manufacturer: The Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex.
Admiralty Specification: N.2A
Powerplant: One 260hp Sunbeam Maori II twelve-cylinder, in-line engine.
Dimensions: Span, 46ft 2in; length, 36ft 0in; height, 11ft 10in; wing area, 476 sq ft.
Weights: Tare, 2,970 lb; all-up, 4,159 lb.
Performance: Max speed, 104 mph at sea level, 94.5 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 23 min 30 sec; service ceiling, 14,000ft; endurance, 4: hr.
Armament: One 0.303in Lewis gun on rear cockpit. Bomb load, two 112 lb bombs.
Prototype: One, N10, first flown by Lt-Cdr Vincent Nicholl at the Isle of Grain on 14 September 1917.
Fairey Type IIIA
Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane shipborne bomber.
Manufacturer: The Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex,
Admiralty Specification: N.2A
Powerplant: One 260hp Sunbeam Maori II twelve-cylinder in-line engine.
Dimensions: Span, 46ft 2in; length, 31ft 0in; height, 10ft 8in; wing area, 542 sq ft.
Weights: Tare, 2,532 lb; all-up, 3,694 lb.
Performance: Max speed, 109 mph at sea level; climb, 17 min 40 sec; service ceiling, 15,000ft; endurance, 4 1/2 hr.
Armament: One 0.303in Lewis gun on rear cockpit Searff ring.
Prototype: One, N10 (modified); first flown by Lt-Col G L P Henderson at Northolt on 6 June 1918.
Production: 50 aircraft: N2850-N2852 with wheels; N2853-N2862 with skids; N2863 with hydrofoils; N2864-N2888 with skids, and N2989-N2999 with wheels.
Service: A small number of Fairey IIIAs served with No 219 Squadron at Westgate.
Fairey Type IIIB
Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane bomber seaplane.
Manufacturer: The Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex.
Admiralty Specification: N.2B
Powerplant: One 260hp Sunbeam Maori II twelve-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engine.
Dimensions: Span, 62ft 8 1/16in; length, 37ft 1in; height, 14ft 0in; wing area, 570 sq ft.
Weights: Tare, 3,258 lb; all-up weight (with three 230 lb bombs), 4,892 lb.
Performance: Max speed, 97 mph at sea level, 90 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 37 min 50 sec; service ceiling, 10,300ft; endurance, 4 1/2 hr.
Armament: One 0.303in Lew is gun on rear cockpit; bomb load of up to three 230 lb bombs.
Prototype: None. N2225 first flown by Vincent Nicholl at Hamble on 8 August 1918.
Production: 28 aircraft: N2225-N2232, N2234-N2245 and N2247-N2254.
Service: Fairey IIIBs served with Nos 219, 229 and 230 Squadrons, RAF.
Fairey Type IIIC
Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane bomber-reconnaissance seaplane.
Powerplant: One 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII twelve-cvlinder water-cooled in-line engine driving two-blade propeller.
Dimensions: Span, 46ft 1in; length, 36ft 0in; height, 12ft 2in; wing area, 542 sq ft.
Weights: Tare, 3,392 lb; all-up (with maximum bomb load), 5,039lb.
Performance: Max speed, 110.5 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 14 min 15 sec; service ceiling, 17,000ft; endurance (max fuel), 5 hr.
Armament: One synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun and one Lewis gun on rear cockpit; bomb load of up to 460 lb.
Prototype: One, N2246; first Fairey IIIC to fly, N2255, flown by Vincent Nicholl at Hamble in July 1918.
Summary of Service: Fairey IIICs served with No 229 Squadron, RAF, at Great Yarmouth, No 230 Squadron at Felixstowe and No 267 at-Kalafrana, Malta (the latter until August 1923); they also served with the North Russian Expeditionary Force in 1919.
P.Lewis British Bomber since 1914 (Putnam)
Following the F.127 during 1917, there came the Fairey F.128 N10 two-seat patrol seaplane, as an alternative design to Specification N.2(a), bearing also the designation Fairey III to head the subsequently long list of III-series to emanate from Fairey for nearly two decades. Upper-wing overhang had been discarded in favour of equal span, and the machine was fitted with the 260 h.p. Sunbeam Maori II cooled by side radiators. The two-bay wings embodied the firm’s useful Camber Gear and were mounted on a fuselage matching that used on the F.127. Apart from a larger fin, the F.128’s tail unit was the same as that of the F.127. As a seaplane the F.128 did not go into production, but, towards the close of 1917, N10 was stripped of its floats and equipped with a landplane undercarriage of straightforward V-strut type. The Maori’s radiator became a single frontal block. Fifty of the landplane, redesignated Fairey IIIA, were ordered for shipboard use with the R.N.A.S., commencing with F.220 N2850. External racks housed the bomb load, and the single Lewis gun for the observer formed the IIIA’s armament.
Designed to the Admiralty Specification N.2(b), the next Fairey product was the IIIB two-seat bomber seaplane. Powered by the 260 h.p. Maori II and using the same fuselage, tailplane and elevators as its predecessors the III and the IIIA, the folding wings of the IIIB were increased in area by the addition of generous upper surface extensions which carried the pair of ailerons; a larger fin and rudder were also fitted. The Camber Gear was retained and the bomb load of about 600 lb. was slung from under-fuselage racks. The production run of the IIIB was relatively short, only twenty-five coming from Fairey.
Still embracing the same two-seat seaplane category, the IIIC was next in the line of Fairey products. Using the same fuselage and float unit of the earlier III designs, the IIIC changed back to equal-span for its two-bay wings and embodied the IIIB’s tail surfaces. The mixture of two different types resulted in an excellent general-purpose aircraft with a performance enhanced by a first-class engine - the 375 h.p. Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII. Increased fuel capacity gave an endurance of six hours, and side radiators were fitted. N2246 was the IIIC prototype and was completed in September, 1918. The IIIC’s pilot was provided with a synchronized Vickers gun, and his observer was armed with the usual Lewis on a Scarff ring. The IIIC’s bomb load was borne in under-fuselage racks. By the time that production was under way November, 1918, had arrived, and the IIIC was too late for active service in the 1914-18 War.
J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)
Fairey F.128 (Fairey III) and Fairey IIIA
THE second of the two experimental floatplanes built by the Fairey company in 1917 was known as the F.128 or N.10: it owed the latter designation to its official serial number. The two machines were built at the same time.
The F.128 was designed as a two-seat patrol seaplane, and had a more powerful engine than the smaller F.127. The 260 h.p. Sunbeam Maori II was installed in the F.128, and there was a radiator block on each side of the engine. The machine had equal-span wings with two-bay bracing; the mainplanes could be folded, and the Fairey Patent Camber Gear was fitted. The fuselage was structurally identical to that of the F.127, and the same tailplane, elevators and rudder were used; the fin of the F.128 was larger than that of the smaller machine.
The F.128 was the patriarch of the line of Fairey Series III aircraft, and actually had the designation Fairey III. After its tests as a seaplane, N.10 underwent modification at the end of 1917 and reappeared as a landplane. A simple vee undercarriage replaced the floats, and the radiator was installed as a single frontal surface immediately behind the airscrew. In this modified form the machine was redesignated Fairey IIIA.
The Fairey IIIA went into production for the R.N.A.S., and was intended for use as a ship-borne two-seater, doubtless to be a replacement for the well-tried but obsolete Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutter. The Armistice prevented the IIIA from showing its paces in action, and it saw no wide-scale service with the R.A.F. Other forms of undercarriage were fitted to the IIIA, among them a plain skid undercarriage which had no wheels but carried a hydrovane after the fashion of the Sopwith Pups and 1 1/2-Strutters with which experiments were carried out at the Isle of Grain.
Manufacturers: The Fairey Aviation Co., Ltd., Hayes, Middlesex.
Power: 260 h.p. Sunbeam Maori II.
Weights (lb) and Performance:
Fairey III Fairey IIIA Fairey IIIA
No. of Trial Report - N.51 M.220
Date of Trial Report September 14th, 1917 December 10th, 1917 July, 1918
Type of airscrew used on trial F.A.4476 F.A.4476 A.B.4475M
Weight empty 2,970 2,532 2,690
Military load 224 224 449
Crew 360 360 360
Fuel and oil 605 578 446
Weight loaded 4,159 3,694 3,945
Maximum speed (m.p.h.) at
sea level 104 109-5 -
6,500 ft 97 107 -
10,000 ft 94-5 104 97
m. s. m. s. m. s.
2,000 ft 3 45 - - - -
5,000 ft 9 10 7 05 - -
6,500 ft 12 35 10 00 14 00
10,000 ft 23 30 17 40 26 00
Service ceiling (feet) 14,000 15,000 13,500
Endurance (hours) 41 41 -
Dimensions: Span: 46 ft 2 in. Length: Fairey III, 36 ft; Fairey IIIA, 31 ft. Height: Fairey III, 11 ft 10 in.; Fairey IIIA, 10 ft 8 in. Chord: 5 ft 6 in. Gap: 5 ft 7 in. Stagger: nil. Span of tail: 13 ft.
Areas: Wings: 476 sq ft. Ailerons: each 16-5 sq ft, total 66 sq ft. Tailplane: 34-2 sq ft. Elevators: 34-2 sq ft. Fin: 9-8 sq ft. Rudder: 9-8 sq ft.
Tankage: Petrol: 76 gallons.
Armament: One Lewis machine-gun on Scarff ring-mounting on rear cockpit. Bombs could be carried on external racks.
Production and Allocation: See under Fairey IIIB.
Serial Numbers: Fairey III and IIIA prototype: N.10. Production IIIAs: N.2850-N.2899.
THE Fairey IIIA was followed by the Fairey IIIB, a two-seat seaplane designed for bombing duties: it was regarded as falling within the Admiralty class N.2B. The IIIB had the same fuselage and horizontal tail surfaces as the III and IIIA, but the wing area was increased, larger floats were fitted, and increased vertical tail surfaces used. The upper wing had large extensions, braced from king-posts above the outer interplane struts; the wings could be folded, and the Fairey Patent Camber Gear was fitted.
Ailerons were fitted to the upper wing only. The engine was again the 260 h.p. Sunbeam Maori II, and a frontal radiator similar in shape to that of the IIIA was used.
The Fairey IIIB went into small-scale production, and a few examples had reached some seaplane stations before the Armistice. The type remained in service for a relatively short period, during which its principal duty was the making of mine-spotting patrols.
Manufacturers: The Fairey Aviation Co., Ltd., Hayes, Middlesex. Power: 260 h.p. Sunbeam Maori II.
Dimensions: Span: upper 62 ft 8 15/16 in, lower 44 ft 8 7/16 in. Length: 37 ft 1 in. Height: 14 ft. Chord: 5 ft 6 in.
Gap: 5 ft 7 in. Stagger: nil. Dihedral: 1° 30'. Incidence: 4° 30'. Span of tail: 13 ft.
Areas: Wings: 570 sq ft. Ailerons: each 23 sq ft, total 46 sq ft. Tailplane: 34-2 sq ft. Elevators: 34-2 sq ft. Fin: 12-4 sq ft. Rudder: 12-4 sq ft.
Weights and Performance.: No. of Trial Report: N.M.107. Date of Trial Report: February 21st, 1918. Type of airscrew used on trial: F.A.4441. Weight empty: 3,258 lb. Military load: 681 lb. Crew: 360 lb. Fuel and oil: 593 lb. Weight loaded: 4,892 lb. Maximum speed at 2,000ft: 95m.p.h.; at 6,500ft: 90 m.p.h.; at 10,000 ft: 81 m.p.h. Climb to 2,000 ft: 4 min 10 sec; to 6,500 ft: 17 min 50 sec; to 10,000 ft: 37 min 50 sec. Service ceiling: 10,300 ft. Endurance: 4 1/2 hours.
Tankage: Petrol: 76 gallons.
Armament: One Lewis machine-gun on Scarff ring-mounting on rear cockpit. The total bomb load was apparently about 600 lb, and the bombs were carried on racks suspended under the fuselage.
Service Use: Seaplane station, Westgate.
Production and Allocation: The Fairey Aviation Co. built twenty-five Fairey IIIBs. The official statistics for the aircraft on charge with the R.A.F. on October 31st do not differentiate between the Fairey IIIA and IIIB. On that date, the R.A.F. had a total of seventy machines of both types:. two were at coastal stations, twelve were at other units, thirty-six were at Aircraft Acceptance Parks and with contractors, and twenty were in store.
Serial Numbers: N.2230-N.2259: ordered as IIIBs, but some delivered as IIICs. N.9234.
THE Fairey IIIB was closely followed by the IIIC, which was probably the best British seaplane of its day, but which arrived too late to give any operational service before the Armistice. It had the same fuselage and float undercarriage as all its predecessors, but reverted to the original equal-span wings of the Type III. The tail unit was identical to that of the IIIB.
The IIIC had the magnificent Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine, and it was to its power plant that the machine owed its fine performance. Radiators were mounted on each side of the fuselage beside the pilot’s cockpit. The opportunity was taken to fit large fuel tanks, and these gave the IIIC a maximum endurance of six hours. It was essentially a reconnaissance and escort-fighter seaplane, but there can be no doubt that it could have lifted a worthwhile load of bombs had it been required to do so.
It seems probable that the first IIIC, N.2246, was a converted IIIB, and it is equally probable that machines originally ordered as IIIBs were delivered as IIICs. In September, 1918, N.2246 left the Fairey company’s works for the Isle of Grain experimental station, where it underwent its official trials. Apparently it was despatched in such haste that no airscrew was sent with it, for consideration was given to the fitting of a four-bladed airscrew which had belonged to a D.H.4. The official tests were ultimately completed with a suitable airscrew.
Production machines were just beginning to appear in November, 1918, and in that month Great Yarmouth air station received its first IIIC. The IIIC saw operational service, however, for it was one of the types which formed the equipment of the North Russian Expeditionary Force in 1919.
The Fairey IIIC survived in service for a short time, but it was replaced by the more powerful IIID after a year or two. In the years immediately after the war, experimental modifications of the type appeared: one had a ski undercarriage, another had amphibian landing gear.
Manufacturers: The Fairey Aviation Co., Ltd., Hayes, Middlesex.
Power: 375 h.p. Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
Dimensions: Span: 46 ft 1 1/4 in. Length: 36 ft. Height: 12 ft 1 3/4 in. Chord: 5 ft 6 in. Gap: 5 ft 3 in. Stagger: nil. Dihedral: 1° 04'. Incidence: 4° 30' at centre-section, 4° 22' 30" at inner struts, 4° 15' at outer struts. Span of tail: 13 ft.
Areas: Wings: 476 sq ft. Ailerons: each 16-5 sq ft, total 66 sq ft. Tailplane: 34-2 sq ft. Elevators: 34-2 sq ft. Fin: 12-4 sq ft. Rudder: 12-4 sq ft.
Weights (lb) and Performance:
Flight condition Light load Medium load Normal load Overload
No. of Trial Report N.M.238A N.M.238 N.M.238 N.M.247
Date of Trial Report December 9th, 1918 October 26th, 1918 October 24th, 1918 March, 1919
Type of airscrew used on trial F.A.6194 F.A.6194 F.A.6194 F.A.6952
Weight empty 3,392 3,392 3,392 3,549
Military load 170 170 170 247
Crew 360 360 360 360
Fuel and oil 350 678 878 883
Weight loaded 4,272 4,600 4,800 5,039
Maximum speed (m.p.h.) at
2,000 ft 110-5 - 110-5 101
6,500 ft 107 105 107 95-5
10,000 ft 103-5 101 102'5 -
m. s. m. s. m. s. m. s.
2,000 ft 2 20 2 10 2 20 3 40
6,500 ft 8 00 8 30 9 30 16 30
10,000 ft 14 15 17 30 18 00 44 00
Service ceiling (feet) 17,000 15,400 15,000 9,100
Endurance (hours) 2 4 5 1/2 5
Tankage: Petrol: 120 gallons.
Armament: One fixed forward-firing Vickers machine-gun, synchronised to fire through the airscrew; one Lewis machine-gun on Scarff ring-mounting on rear cockpit; 250 rounds for the Vickers gun, three 97-round drums for the Lewis. Bombs could be carried on racks under the fuselage.
Service Use: No. 229 Squadron, Great Yarmouth, and at Felixstowe. Russia: aircraft carrier H.M.S. Pegasus with North Russian Expeditionary Force at Archangel.
Serial Numbers: N.2246 and N.2255; between and about N.9235 and N.9255.
O.Thetford Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 (Putnam)
A development of the earlier IIIA and IIIB, the Fairey IIIC served with the RAF in North Russian in 1919. A total of thirty-five was built, N2255-N2259 and N9230-N9259. IIICs also served with No 229 Squadron at Great Yarmouth until December 1919. Powerplant: One 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII. Span, 46ft 2in; loaded weight, 4,800lb; max speed, 110mph.
O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)
The Fairey IIIA was a landplane conversion of the earlier N.10 twin-float seaplane and fifty were built for the RNAS with the serial numbers N2850 to 2899. Only one (N2850) had been delivered (to Luce Bay) by the Armistice. Served post-war with No.258 Squadron (Luce Bay) and No.272 Squadron (Machrihanish) until March 1919. One 260 hp Sunbeam Maori II engine. Loaded weight, 3.694 lb. Maximum speed, 109 1/2 mph at sea level. Climb, 10 min to 6.500 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 15.000 ft. Span, 46 ft 2 in. Length, 31 ft.
The Fairey IIIB was designed for bombing duties to the requirements of the Admiralty's N.2B specification. Twenty-five IIIBs were built (N2230-2254) and served with No.219 Squadron (Westgate). No.230 Squadron (Felixstowe) and No.229 Squadron (Great Yarmouth). Withdrawn in February 1920. One 260 hp Sunbeam Maori II engine. Loaded weight, 4,892 lb. Maximum speed, 95 mph at 2.000 ft. Climb, 17 min 50 sec to 6.500 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 10,300 ft. Span, 62 ft 9 in. Length, 37 ft 1 in.
The Fairey IIIC was a development of the IIIA and IIIB, and was the last of the Series III to be delivered from the Fairey works before the Armistice of November 1918. In that month the first IIIC was received by Great Yarmouth air station, but it was too late to see any action in the First World War.
Generally considered to be the first general-purpose seaplane for British naval aviation, the IIIC combined the scouting role of the IIIA landplane with the bombing duties of the IIIB seaplane. In configuration, too, it merged the features of the two earlier types, having the equal span wings of the IIIA and the float undercarriage of the IIIB. Its advantage over both its predecessors was in the installation of the powerful Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine which improved the power:weight ratio by as much as 26 per cent.
The first Fairey IIIC (N2246) left the factory in September 1918 and a total of 35 was delivered. Serial numbers were N2255 to 2259 and N9230 to 9259. Fairey IIICs served both at home and overseas until the autumn of 1921, when they were finally supplanted by the more famous IIID.
Despite a relatively brief Service career, the IIICs did see active service, for they equipped part of the North Russian Expeditionary Force in 1919, based at Archangel. They were taken to the scene of action in HMS Pegasus and on 8 June 1919 made a bombing attack on four Bolshevik naval vessels, though without much effect. Later, they attacked enemy rail communications. At least seven IIICs served in action with British Forces in North Russia in 1919. These included N9230, N9231, N9233, N9234, N9238 and N9241. Operations on the Murmansk front are described by Group Capt F E Livock in his book To the Ends of the Air, published in 1973.
No.229 (Great Yarmouth) and No.230 (Felixstowe). Also with North Russian Expeditionary Force in HMS Pegasus at Archangel and HMS Nairana at Murmansk.
TECHNICAL DATA (FAIREY IIIC)
Description: Two-seat general-purpose seaplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturers: Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex.
Power Plant: One 375 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
Dimensions: Span, 46 ft 1 1/4 in. Length, 36 ft. Height, 12 ft 1 3/4 in. Wing area, 542 sq ft.
Weights: Empty, 3,392 lb. Loaded, 4,800 lb.
Performance: Maximum speed, 110 1/2 mph at 2,000 ft, or 102 1/2 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb: 2 min 20 sec to 2,000 ft and 18 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance,5 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 15,000 ft.
Armament: One fixed Vickers gun forward and one manually-operated Lewis gun on Scarff ring aft. Provision for light bomb-load on external racks beneath the wings.
H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
N.10 (Type III) and IIIA. The true begetter of the varied and versatile Fairey Series III aeroplanes, the N.10 floatplane of 1917 had a Lewis gun on a Scarff ring-mounting. The mounting was recessed considerably below the top of the fuselage, like the rear mounting on the F.2, and this type of emplacement was standardised for Fairey types to follow. No bomb load has been identified, and this also applies to the production-type Fairey IIIA, although a military load of 449 lb could be carried.
IIIB. Developed from the IIIA specifically for bombing, this seaplane had increased span and could carry a military load of up to 690 lb. The only identified bomb load is two 230-lb, the bombs being carried in tandem beneath the fuselage. The observer had a Lewis gun on a Scarff ring-mounting.
IIIC. Superior performance distinguished this higher-powered Series III development, which appeared in 1918. In addition to the rear Lewis gun, on its recessed Scarff ring-mounting, a fixed Vickers gun for the pilot has been reported, though no such installation can be identified in photographs. Bombs were certainly carried beneath the fuselage, as on the IIIB.
D.James Schneider Trophy Aircraft 1913-1931 (Putnam)
The Fairey III G-EALQ, sometimes known as the N.10 or by its construction number F.128, was the sole prototype of a carrier-based floatplane built to Admiralty specification N.2 (a) during the summer of 1917. It made its first flight from the Isle of Grain on 14 September, piloted by Lieut-Cmdr Vincent Nicholl, just two weeks after delivery from the Hamble factory to the RNAS.
Powered initially by a 260 hp Sunbeam Maori II twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled vee engine, the Fairey III was of wooden construction, with spruce and ash being used for the mainplane and fuselage structure, the whole being fabric covered. In its original form the aircraft had equal-span two-bay folding mainplanes having full-span variable-camber gear on the lower unit and with ailerons only on the upper unit. There were square-section single-step main floats, and a large tail float.
It was extensively modified at the Isle of Grain experimental establishment for test flying as a floatplane and as a landplane during 1917-19; it was then bought back by the Fairey company for competition and communications flying.
For its 1919 Schneider Trophy outing at Bournemouth, G-EALQ was modified yet again to a single-bay configuration and was powered by a 450 hp Napier Lion twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled broad-arrow engine. After the contest, in which the Fairey III, flown by Vincent Nicholl, retired in the first lap due to complete lack of visibility in the fog which enshrouded the course, this aircraft reappeared in August 1920 with a combined wheel/float undercarriage for an Air Ministry competition for commercial aircraft. It was placed third - and last - in the amphibian section, but won a £2,000 prize. This aeroplane was scrapped in 1922 but was the forerunner of the long line of Fairey III variants and sub-variants which, with one exception, were produced in greater numbers than any other British military type between 1918 and the era of the Royal Air Force expansion scheme in the mid-1930s.
Two-seat twin-float biplane. Wooden construction with fabric covering. Pilot in open rear cockpit, front cockpit faired over.
450 hp Napier Lion twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled broad-arrow engine driving a two-blade fixed-pitch wooden propeller of about 9 ft (2-74 m) diameter.
Span 28ft (8-53m); length 36ft (10-97m); height 10ft 6in (3-2m).
Maximum speed at sea level 108mph (173 8km/h).
Production - one prototype Fairey III built by Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes and Hamble, in 1917.
Colour - believed white upper wing, rear fuselage sides and rudder, with blue lower wing, forward fuselage sides and top decking, fin, tailplane, elevators, main and tail floats.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919
THE FAIREY Type 3 B.
The Fairey 3B was designed as a bomber with the same fuselage as the N10 but the upper plane was increased in span, and larger floats were fitted. The wings and chassis were interchangeable with those of the original type 3.
Type of machine Seaplane.
Name or type No. of machine F.III.B.
Purpose for which intended Sea Bomber.
Span 62 ft. 9 in.
Gap, maximum and minimum 5 ft. 7 in.
Overall length 36 ft.
Maximum height 13 ft.
Chord 5 ft. 6 in.
Total surface of wings 570 sq. ft.
Span of tail 13 ft.
Total area of tail 34.2 sq. ft.
Area of elevators 34.2 sq. ft.
Area of rudder 12.4 sq. ft.
Area of fin 12.4 sq. ft.
Area of each aileron and total area 23 sq. ft.
Engine type and h.p. 260 h.p. Sunbeam.
Load per sq. ft. 8.5 lbs.
Weight per h.p. 18.5 lbs.
Tank capacity in hours 4 1/2 hours.
Tank capacity in gallons 76 gallons.
Speed low down 83 kts.
Speed at 10,000 feet 76 kts.
Landing speed 42 m.p.h.
To 5.000 feet in minutes 12.30 minutes.
To 10.000 feet in minutes 36 minutes.
Disposable load apart from fuel 1041 lbs.
Total weight of machine loaded 4892 lbs.
THE FAIREY Type 3C.
This machine was a further development of the F127 type. Wings and Chassis were still interchangeable with those of the F127 or the type 3B but a more powerful engine - the 375 h.p. Rolls-Royce "Eagle" was installed.
The actual wings were identical with those of the original type 3, and the chassis, and floats were those of the type 3B
Type of machine Seaplane.
Name or type No. of machine F.III.C.
Purpose for which intended Reconnaissance.
Engine type and h.p. 360 h.p. Rolls-Royce.
Load per sq. ft. 10.6 ins.
Weight per h.p. 14 lbs.
Tank capacity in hours 6 hours.
Tank capacity in gallons 120 gallons.
Speed low down 97 kts.
Speed at 10,000 feet 90 kts.
Landing speed 44 m.p.h.
To 5.000 feet in minutes 6.40 minutes.
To 10,000 feet in minutes 17.30 minutes.
Disposable load apart from fuel 1030 lbs.
Total weight of machine loaded 5050 lbs.
Speed low down 78 kts.
Speed at 10.000 feet 74 kts.
Landing speed 38 m.p.h.
To 5, 000 feet in minutes 9.30 minutes.
To 10,000 feet in minutes 38 minutes.
Disposable load apart from fuel 516 lbs.
Total weight of machine loaded 3812 lbs.
Flight, September 4, 1919.
THE JACQUES SCHNEIDER CUP RACE
The Fairey Seaplane
Concerning the seaplane entered by the Fairey Aviation Co. little information is at present available. The machine, as shown in the accompanying photograph, has a strong family resemblance to previous Fairey machines, particularly to the type 3. As, however, the Schneider race is chiefly a speed contest, the wing surface has been reduced, while a higher-powered engine - a 450 h.p. Napier "Lion" - has been fitted.
The race is of such a comparatively short duration that the amount of fuel to be carried is very much smaller than the standard load of the type 3, and consequently the wing loading will probably not work out very much heavier than the standard. The main feature of this, as of previous Fairey seaplanes, is the variable camber wings.
The manner in which the camber is varied during flight is very simple and effective, and constitutes, we believe, a Fairey patent. The whole trailing portion of the wings hinges to the rear spar after the fashion of the usual aileron. It is divided some distance out, and the outer portion constitutes the aileron and works independently of the position of the inner portion, which is operated by a wheel in the pilot's cockpit.
For quick taking-off and for alighting, the trailing portion is pulled down so as to form an angle with the fixed part of the wing, thus virtually increasing the camber; the curve formed is not, of course, a smooth one, but has a marked break in it. For speed work the hinged trailing portion is pulled up to, or above, the line of the actual wing section, thus giving if desired a reflex curvature to the trailing portion of the section. The speed variation obtainable in this manner is very considerable, and results in a reasonably low landing speed, even with a high loading per square foot.
The undercarriage of the Fairey seaplane is of very strong construction, and if the day of the race happens to be a very rough one, the Fairey machine may be able to negotiate a sea which would prove difficult to smaller and more lightly-built machines.