H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
Baby. A makers' drawing indicates that a single Lewis gun was the armament (actual or intended) of this single-seat fighter flying-boat (1918).
P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
In the course of 1918, three single-seat fighters were planned by separate companies, each machine being within the Admiralty’s N.1B requirement. One of them, the Supermarine N.1B Baby, N59, is notable as being the first of an extremely select class of British warplane - the single-seat, flying-boat fighter. As was to be expected from Supermarine, the Baby was of very pleasing appearance with an elegant mahogany Linton Hope hull. The 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine was installed between the folding biplane wings to drive a pusher propeller. Maximum speed at sea level when tested in February, 1918, was 117 m.p.h., combined with excellent handling and manoeuvrability. Six months later, in August, the Baby was tested also with the 200 h.p. Sunbeam Arab engine but no production of the machine was undertaken.
F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
Supermarine N.1B Baby
Because progress on the Blackburn N.1B was slow, the Supermarine contender to the same specification was completed and tested before the official requirement was allowed to lapse. Designed by F J Hargreaves, the Baby was of very similar general configuration to that of the Blackburn, but featured a monoplane tail with single tailplane and elevator placed above a single fin and rudder. The hull, also built in mahogany on the Linton-Hope principle, possessed a straight top line, its crosssection being almost circular with a skirted planing bottom. As originally flown, ailerons were only fitted to the upper wings, but were later repeated on the lower wings as well. A small triangular fin was added above the tailplane.
The engine installation, a 200hp Hispano-Suiza pusher engine mounted close under the upper wing centre section, comprised a partly cowled nacelle with flat car-type radiator in front. The front inboard interplane struts were duplicated and located on either side of the wing fold line, thereby maintaining structural rigidity with the wings folded.
First flown in February 1918 by Flight-Lt Goodwin, the Supermarine Baby, N59, well exceeded the performance demanded, returning a sea level top speed of 117 mph; no armament was carried on test, although ballast carried suggested that allowance was being made for a single Vickers gun.
As already stated, the Air Department’s N.1B requirement was abandoned in its original terms, and Supermarine therefore went ahead on its own with development of the Baby, installing a 200hp Sunbeam Arab in place of the Hispano engine. The second and third aircraft, N60 and N61, were not built, but would have also been Arab-powered. N59 underwent official trials in August 1918 with the Arab and, although rather heavier than with the Hispano engine, produced much the same performance figures.
Type: Single pusher engine, single-seat, single-bay biplane flying-boat fighter.
Manufacturer: The Supermarine Aviation Works Ltd, Woolston, Southampton.
Air Department Specification: N.1B of 1917.
Powerplant: One 200hp Hispano-Suiza engine driving four-blade pusher propeller; later one 200hp Sunbeam Arab engine.
Dimensions: Span, 30ft 5 9/16 in; length, 26ft 3 1/2 in; height, 10ft 7in; wing area, 309 sq ft.
Weights: Tare, 1,699 lb; all-up, 2,326lb.
Performance: Max speed, 117 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 25 min 10 sec; endurance, 3 hr.
Armament: None carried on test, but allowance probably made for a single Vickers machine gun.
Prototypes: Three, N59-N61. Only N59 completed, and first flown in February 1918.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919
Type of machine Single-seater Flying-boat.
Name or type No. of machine Supermarine "Baby."
Purpose for which intended Single-seater Seaplane Fighter.
Span 30.5 ft.
Overall length 26.3 ft.
Maximum height 10.6 ft.
Chord 5.5 ft.
Total surface of wings 309 sq. ft.
Engine type and h.p. 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza.
Weight of machine empty 1699 lbs.
Load per sq. ft. 7.5 lbs. per sq. ft.
Weight per h.p. 15.5 lbs. per h.p.
Tank capacity in hours 3 hours.
Speed low down 117 m.p.h.
Landing speed 57 m.p.h.
Disposable load apart from fuel 627 lbs.
Total weight of machine loaded 2326 lbs.