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Pemberton-Billing P.B.23 / P.B.25 Push-Prodge

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1915

Fighter

Pemberton-Billing - P.B.11 - 1915 - Великобритания<– –>Pemberton-Billing - P.B.29 - 1916 - Великобритания


P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)


Among the assortment of pusher scouts hopefully produced by various concerns, there appeared in 1915 a single-seater from the drawing-board of Noel Pemberton Billing. A single-bay biplane, powered by the 80 h.p. le Rhone, the P.B.23E was a sprightly-looking machine, with the pilot seated in a finely-formed, metal-covered nacelle suspended between the wings at midgap and containing the single Lewis gun in its nose.
   The P.B.23E, soon known from its appearance as the Sparklet or Push-Proj, made its first flight at Hendon early in September, 1915, following which the Admiralty placed an order for twenty of a modified version as the Pemberton Billing Scout.
   The revised model, designated P.B.25 by the designer, used wings of swept-back form in place of the straight-edged original style, and the former metal-covered nacelle was replaced by a new one enclosed in fabric. Increased power was provided by the installation of the 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome engine and the Lewis gun was raised to a far more accessible position in the top of the fore-decking of the nacelle. The first of the P.B.25s, 9001, received a slight increase in power over the remainder of the batch by having a 110 h.p. Clerget fitted.
   Despite its competent performance, which included a top speed of 89 m.p.h. with the Monosoupape Gnome, and its advanced conception, the P.B.25 is not known to have been engaged in any operational role.


F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)


Pemberton-Billing P.B.23 and P.B.25

   In the seven months following the first flight of the P.B.9 in August 1914, Noel Pemberton Billing undertook the design of a further dozen aircraft, none of whose manufacture has been confirmed, although one of these may have been the P.B. Boxkite (said to have been allocated the number 1374, and powered by a 50hp Gnome rotary engine). His P.B.23, a single-engine pusher biplane scout, was almost certainly inspired by Geoffrey de Havilland’s Airco D.H.2, which predated it by more than two months.
   However, whereas the D.H.2’s nacelle was mounted directly on the lower wing, the P.B.23 featured a well-streamlined, metal-clad nacelle strut-mounted in the wing gap, with two pairs of plain struts being attached to the upper longerons and the upper wing, and pairs of plain struts to the lower longerons and the lower wing spars. Twin fins and rudders were located inboard on the wide-span tailplane, the entire empennage being carried on four booms which extended aft from the rear spars of the upper and lower mainplanes. The P.B.23 featured parallel-chord unswept wings, the lower wings having pronounced dihedral, but the upper wing being flat. A single, fixed forward Lewis machine gun was located low down in the nacelle’s extreme nose and could, with difficulty, be re-armed from the cockpit.
   The 80hp Le Rhone, fitted initially, was obviously underpowered when the P.B.23 first flew in September 1915, and it was proposed to fit a 100hp Gnome monosoupape. The aircraft failed to impress the War Office, but the Admiralty ordered twenty examples of a modified version (allocated the serial numbers 9001-9020). In fact this version, which emerged as the P.B.25, only superficially resembled the earlier aircraft. The nacelle was lengthened and constructed entirely of wood with fabrics covering. Both wings were swept back eleven degrees, and the lower wing’s dihedral much reduced; the lower fuselage/wing mountings now comprised a pair of N-struts. The vertical tail surfaces were increased in area.
   The first ‘production’ P.B.25, 9001 (officially termed the Scout) was fitted with an uncowled 110hp Clerget rotary engine driving a two-blade propeller, but 9002 was powered by the 100hp Gnome driving a four-blade propeller, and with the latter the aircraft returned a performance about ten per cent better than that of the D.H.2. Be that as it may, the Airco aircraft had already been selected for production and its continued delivery to the RFC squadrons in France was a matter of considerable urgency, so that the P.B.25 does not appear to have reached any operational unit. Moreover, the Scout quickly gained a bad reputation for being particularly difficult to handle during take-off and landing. Examples are known to have flown with the RNAS at Hendon and Eastchurch, but reliable confirmation that all twenty aircraft ordered were completed cannot be gained.
   The accompanying data refers to the Pemberton-Billing P.B.25.


   Type: Single-engine, single-seat, single-bay pusher biplane scout.
   Manufacturer: Pemberton-Billing Ltd., Woolston, Southampton.
   Powerplant: One 100hp Gnome monosoupape nine-cylinder rotary engine; one 110hp Clerget nine-cylinder rotary engine.
   Structure: All-wooden construction, fabric-covered.
   Dimensions: Span, 33ft 0in; length, 42ft lin; height, 10ft 5in; wing area, 277 sq ft.
   Weights: Tare, 1,080lb; all-up, 1,576lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 99mph at sea level; climb to 6,000ft, 8 min 30 sec; range, approx 200 miles.
   Armament: One 0.303in Lewis machine gun on nose of nacelle immediately forward of cockpit.
   Production: Twenty aircraft ordered (9001-9020), but completion of all aircraft has been questioned.


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


PEMBERTON-BILLING P.B.23E UK

   Designed in 1915 by Noel Pemberton-Billing, and built by the company bearing his name, the P.B.23E single-seat pusher fighting scout biplane was of wooden construction, but the nacelle mounted between the wings and accommodating the pilot was unusual for its time in being covered with light alloy sheet metal. Armament consisted of a single 0.303-in (7,7-mm) machine gun mounted in the nose of the nacelle and power was provided by an 80 hp Le Rhone rotary. The P.B.23E was first flown in September 1915, but was not adopted in its original form, being further developed as the P.B.25. No data relating to the P.B.23 appear to have survived.


PEMBERTON-BILLING P.B.25 SCOUT UK

   Known officially as the Scout, the P.B.25 was a development of the P.B.23. The most obvious differences were in the design of the nacelle, which was fabric covered, and in the wing cellule, the mainplanes featuring 11 deg of sweepback and inversely-tapered ailerons. Twenty P.B.25s were ordered by the Admiralty, all but one of these being powered by the 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape, the exception having a 110 hp Clerget rotary. Armament comprised a single 0.303-in (7,7-mm) machine gun mounted on the nacelle. The last P.B.25 was delivered to the RNAS in February 1917, by which time this type had acquired an unenviable reputation, the take-off and landing characteristics being particularly hazardous. Apart from poor flying qualities, its performance was inadequate and, being viewed as something of an anachronism, the Scout was quickly discarded.

Max speed, 89 mph (143 km/h) at sea level.
Time to 6,000 ft (1 830 m), 11 min.
Endurance, 2.5 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,080 lb (490 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,541 lb (699 kg).
Span, 32 ft 11 1/2 in (10,04 m).
Length, 24 ft 1 in (7,34 m).
Height, 10 ft 5 in (3,17 m).
Wing area, 277 sq ft (25,73 m2).


J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)


Pemberton-Billing P.B.23 “Push-Proj”, and P.B.25

  NOEL PEMBERTON-BILLING’S twenty-third design for an aeroplane was a clean little single-seat pusher biplane. It was, in fact, one of the earliest machines to be built to the single-seat pusher scout formula, for it was designed in 1915 and was contemporary with the D.H.2. The first machine appeared under the designation P.B.23, and was powered by an 80 h.p. Le Rhone engine.
  The P.B.23 was characterised by an unusually large gap between the mainplanes, which originally were quite straight in plan view. Ailerons were fitted to upper and lower wings, and were linked by light struts. The lower wings had a pronounced dihedral angle; the upper mainplane was quite flat. The nacelle was mounted mid-way between the wings; it was of good streamline form and was covered with light alloy sheet metal, a somewhat revolutionary constructional idea at a time when fabric and plywood covering was almost universal. The single Lewis gun was mounted in the extreme nose of the nacelle; it was low down relative to the pilot and must have been difficult to reach, even for reloading.
  The tail-booms were remarkable for the total absence of any cross-bracing or interconnecting struts save the short vertical struts which connected with the front spar of the tailplane. They were, however, stayed to the upper and lower ends of the forward interplane struts by cables from the rear spar of the tailplane. The tail-booms were substantial members, and in plan they diverged from the mainplanes to meet the long tailplane just inboard of the twin fins and rudders. The elevator lay between the vertical surfaces; the portions outboard of the fins were fixed surfaces only. There were cut-outs for the movement of the rudders.
  The long forward leg of each undercarriage vee was attached to the nacelle, and the short rear legs were attached to the ends of the front spar of the lower centre-section. The wheels, like the nacelle, were covered with metal. A tail-skid was attached to the bottom of each rudder.
  The original P.B.23 was flown at Hendon at the beginning of September, 1915. There the distinctive shape of the nacelle earned it the nickname of “Sparklet”, but it became more popularly known as the “Push-Proj”; the name signified pusher projectile.
  The P.B.23 was not adopted for Service use in its original form, but twenty machines of a modified type were ordered by the Admiralty. The modified version was officially known as the Pemberton-Billing Scout. The production machines differed in many ways from the prototype P.B.23. Pemberton-Billing regarded the production version as a new design, the P.B.25.
  The most obvious differences lay in the appearance of the nacelle and the sweep-back of the mainplanes. The nacelle was fabric-covered, faired out to an elliptical cross-section; and provision was made for the pilot’s gun to be mounted directly in front of his face, level with his eyes. A streamlined head-rest was also provided. The standard power unit of the production Scouts was the 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape, but 9001 was fitted with the 110 h.p. Clerget engine.
  The lower centre-section bracing consisted of N-struts, and the wide-track undercarriage was attached directly to the lower centre-section. Each wheel was on an independently-sprung half-axle, Sopwith fashion.
  The mainplanes were given a sharp sweep-back of 11 degrees, and inversely tapered ailerons were fitted. As on the P.B.23, landing and flying-wires consisted of duplicated cables faired together to reduce drag. The tail-unit and tail-booms were almost identical to those of the P.B.23, but the area of the fins was increased.
  With the Monosoupape engine the Pemberton-Billing Scout had quite a good performance, but it seems to have found no operational employment. It was probably used for experimental and training purposes, and at least one was at Eastchurch in 1916.


SPECIFICATION
  Manufacturers: Pemberton-Billing Ltd., Woolston, Southampton.
  Power: P.B.23: 80 h.p. Le Rhone. P.B.25: 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape; 110 h.p. Clerget.
Dimensions (production version): Span: 33 ft. Length: 24 ft 1 in. Height: 10 ft 5 in. Chord: upper 4 ft 8 1/4 in., lower 3 ft 10 1/2 in. Stagger: in. Dihedral: upper nil. Sweep-back: 11°. Span of tail: 16 ft 7 1/2 in.
  Areas: Wings: 277 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty: 1,080 lb. Loaded: 1,576 lb.
  Performance (with Monosoupape engine): Maximum speed: 99 m.p.h. Climb to 6,000 ft: 8 min 30 sec; to 15,300 ft: 40 min 30 sec. Endurance: 3 hours.
  Armament: One forward-firing Lewis machine-gun on top of nacelle immediately in front of the cockpit.
  Service Use: R.N.A.S. Stations at Eastchurch and Hendon.
  Production: Twenty Scouts of the P.B.25 type were ordered.
  Serial Numbers: 9001-9020. (9003 was flown at Eastchurch.)


H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)


Pemberton-Billing

P.B.23E and P.B.25. The P.B.23E pusher 'scout' of 1915 carried a fixed Lewis gun in the nose of the nacelle and was almost certainly the first British aircraft to be armed with a fixed gun. The gun on the P.B.23E was set low in the nacelle; in the succeeding P.B.25 it was raised to the top.


O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)


PEMBERTON-BILLING P.B.25

   Twenty P.B.25 single-seat scouts entered service with the RNAS at Eastchurch and Hendon during 1916. They had the serial numbers 9001 to 9020 and 9002 is illustrated. The P.B.25 was developed from the P.B.23 'Push-Proj' of 1915 and was armed with a single Lewis gun firing forward. One 100 hp Gnome or 110 hp Clerget engine. Maximum speed, 99 mph. Endurance, 3 hr. Span, 33 ft. Length, 24 ft 1 in.


Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919


SUPERMARINE PUSHER SCOUT, 1916.
(Commonly called the "Push-Prodge")
  
   Re-designed from original, and fitted with 100 h.p. monosoupape engine; 3 1/2 hours' fuel capacity; Lewis gun and ammunition.
  
  
Speed 98 m.p.h.
Climb:
   6,000 ft. 8 1/2 mins.,
   15,300 40 1/2 mins.


C.Owers British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 81)


Pemberton Billing P.B.23E and P.B.25 Scouts

  The early years of aviation are populated with eccentric inventors and moneyed aeronauts who took to the latest adventurous activity be it ballooning, motor car racing or heavier than air flight. One of the most colourful of these personalities in British aviation, who still stands out today, was Noel Pemberton-Billing. It was his activities as “First Air Member” in the British Parliament that led to his being more than a footnote in aeronautical history, however, that is not the story here.
  Born on 31 January 1881, in Hampstead, Noel soon showed his independent ways when he ran away from home at 14 and caught a sailing tramp to Mozambique. He joined the Natal Mounted Police in South Africa. Was wounded twice in the Boer War, returned to the UK in a hospital ship, returned to South Africa and started the British South African Autocar, combining his interests in journalism and autocars.
  Returning to the UK he became interested in aeronautics around 1904 when he built a glider. In 1909, P-B, as he was known, tried to establish a working aerodrome with factory and facilities for aviators to reside and have their aircraft hangered on the one site. “The Colony of British Aerocraft” in Essex failed within a year. It was to be 1914 before P-B again came to the fore in the aviation press. He made a wager of £500 with Frederick Handley-Page as to whom would be able to learn to fly and obtain their Royal Aeronautical Certificate (RAeS) as a pilot in a day.
  P-B could not get any of the schools at Brooklands lend their valuable aircraft to such a venture and he was forced to purchase his own aircraft, an old 50-hp Farman. He obtained the services of Robert Barnwell of the Vickers School as his instructor, and on the morning of 17 September commenced at 5.45 in the morning. At 9.15 the official observers from the RAeS and P-B took off and performed the required test. Despite stalling, and narrowly avoiding a crash, he went on to perform all the required tests and was awarded Aviator’s Certificate No. 632.
  The following September P-B took over premises in Woolston where he began to construct aircraft. Flight recorded that Pemberton-Billing Ltd were set up as manufacturers and sellers of seaplanes, aeroplanes, and other aircraft carried on by N. Pemberton-Billing, at Southampton. Several machines were built or under construction when the war broke out. P-B completed the “Seven Day Bus” or P.B.9 in six days and 10 hours after chalking out the design on the factory walls! Joining the RNAS as a Temporary Acting Flight Lieutenant, he organised the successful raid on the Zeppelin sheds at Friedrichshafen by Avro 504 biplanes.
  The P.B.23E of 1915 was a single-bay pusher biplane fighter powered by an 80-hp Le Rhone rotary engine, along the lines of its contemporary, the De Havilland D.H.2. A contract was let for a single example that received the RNAS serial No. 8487. The aluminium covered nacelle was suspended between the unstaggered wings on a complex system of struts. The nacelle was of circular cross section and covered with aluminium sheets. A single Lewis gun was mounted low down at the front of the nacelle where it was out of reach of the pilot. The lower wings had a marked dihedral, but the mainplanes had no sweep-back. The tail booms were thick and converged to meet at the rear tailplane spar. Twin fins and rudders were fitted. Unusually the tail booms had no cross bracing. Because of the shape and shiny aluminium finish, the type was given the nick-name ‘Sparklet’ after small, metal soda-syphon charger bulbs.
  The Air Department of the Admiralty weekly reports give some idea of the progress of the machine.
  On 8 August 1915, Sqn Cdrs J.W. Seddon & J.T. Babington went to Supermarine at Southampton, to inspect the P.B.23E. On Sunday, the 29th, the “Experimental Pilot”, Seddon, visited Southampton to inspect pusher scout and see her towed on own wheels to Hendon.
  I went to Southampton with Lieut. Pemberton Billing to run over his 80 H.P. LE Rhone engine Pusher Scout now nicknamed the Push Proj, and to watch her towed to Hendon. This towing experiment was most interesting. The main planes and Empennage were stowed on the top of a fast light lorry, with the crew of five erectors inside, while the tail booms were brought together and shackled and hitched up to the rear of the lorry.
  The start was made about 4.00 a.m. and easy running was made to Winchester until it was quite light, from there the 75 miles to Hendon were made in 3 hours, the speed being often up to 40 m.p.h. On arrival at Hendon the erectors had breakfast and commenced erecting about 10.30 a.m. At 5 p.m. the machine had been erected and trued up and the engine run.
  At 6.0 p.m. I made the initial flight and found the machine nearly in correct balance and extremely nice to handle in the air with a very high performance.
  The report of the ‘Experimental Pilot’ are different from the history of No. 8487 as recorded in Sturtivant & Page, and are therefore detailed hereunder.
  On Monday the 30th, the report noted: - To Hendon for initial flight Push-Proj. The next day he went to Hendon to test Push-Proj. Wednesday he again went to Hendon flying the machine in the a.m. and p.m. before S.C.A. Thursday saw him with Lt Pierren (French Army pilot) and Lt Pemberton Billing, go to Hendon and flying the Push-Proj.
  Under the title “Further Flights in Push-Proj” Seddon recorded that the only additional point of interest to note at present is that a measured speed test has not yet been carried out and that the flight on Thursday was made in considerably gusty weather; while Squadron Comdr. Babington flew the machine in even more disturbed conditions on Friday. Both he and I are able to report that this machine behaves extremely well under such conditions.
  These reports of the machine’s flying qualities were probably the reason why the following report was included in “G” (Armament) section’s report for the W/E 3 September, 1915. A member of “G” Section, Lieutenant Pemberton-Billing, has constructed a new Pusher Machine, which is the best design of single-seater fighting machine yet in existence.
  It is recommended that experiments should be carried out in this machine with various types of mountings for machine guns forthwith. This would necessitate the purchase of the machine and its immediate allocation to the Experimental Station.
  These reports are different from the instability that Andrews and Morgan report in Supermarine Aircraft since 1914, (Putnam, UK, 1989). According to these authors, in the trials at Hendon, No. 8487 showed instability caused by an excessive rearward centre of gravity. Considering the changes made to the wings of the P.B.25, their contention appears to have been correct.
  On Monday 20 September, Seddon went to Southampton re repairs and alterations to P.B. Scout. This probably refers to the damage done when Babington suffered a forced landing on 6 September, in a cornfield one mile from Chingford aerodrome.
  These repairs and alterations appeared to have been satisfactorily carried out, but the chassis looks to require a direct strut between the lower plane and engine bearers.
  The aileron levers have been entirely altered and much better streamlined. A Lewis gun has been mounted in place of the mockup. The Lewis gun was in the extreme nose and out of reach of the pilot.
  Seddon then flew the P.B. Scout from Hendon to the Isle of Grain on Friday 24th, apparently without a serial number. This flight was made without incident, except that I have to remark on the bad qualities of this machine as regards handling on the ground, in the air it is delightful from every point of view.
  With this sort of endorsement, it is not surprising that Pemberton Billing’s Supermarine Aviation Works received a contract for 20 of the improved P.B.25 Scouts, the first being delivered in June 1916.
  No. 8487 had a long life in service. It underwent further modifications as recorded hereunder, but their context in the story of the Pemberton Billing scouts in unknown. The Weekly report of “K” section for W/E 2 June 1916, recorded the 80-hp P.B. Scout being assembled at Port Victoria for the experimental flight with Sub Lt nominated as the pilot. The next report was left blank and the machine fails to be mentioned in following reports until July.
  The Royal Navy Aeroplane Repair Depot at Port Victoria reported for the W/E 28 July 1916, that on Pemberton Billing No.8487. Making new rudder and elevator control clips and fitting to existing stays; soldering wires and making new under shield.
  That for the following week reported:
  Fixing aluminium on nacelle and making all necessary work for alteration of control wires.
  Making new undershield and Pulley control clips. New fair leads for rudder and elevator.
  Work was continuing on the controls and nacelle during the W/E 18 August 1916. Making new control leads for rudder and elevators. Repairing shields and cowl. Fitting Aluminium to nacelle.
  On 3 October, Flt Lt Sanford took the machine up for a 10 minute test flight. Apparently, whatever the work carried out was to modify, it did not work as hoped, as No. 8487 was again stripped of its aluminum from the nacelle and all rudder controls, pulleys, etc., were altered. Modifications were completed by November 1916, the machine still being at Grain when deleted on 7 March 1917.
  Pemberton Billing entered Parliament as the member for East Hertfordshire on 10 March 1916, and it was here that he had the most effect on the British air services. P-B had become less interested in the work of developing his ideas as he became more involved in his various political activities, and now gave up his interests in the company and a new one was formed as the Supermarine Aviation Works Ltd.
  The P.B.25 differed from the P.B.23E in having 11° sweep-back to the mainplanes and inversely-tapered ailerons. A lengthened nacelle was fitted, this time fabric covered, but faired to a streamlined circular cross-section. The undercarriage had two V-struts attached to the lower centre-section. The fins were enlarged to match those of the modified P.B.23E.The first machine, No. 9001, was fitted with a 110-hp Clerget, but the rest had the 110-hp Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine.
  Again, the Admiralty Air Department reports give some background to these machines.
  In the first week of June 1916, a P.B. Scout with 100-hp engine was At the Experimental Section for preliminary flights under Flt Cdr Bone, but the engine was defective. This would have been No. 9001 that was delivered to Chingford on the 6th. Bone tested the machine on the 11th and he reported that the preliminary flights on this machine, show that machine is well balanced and easy to control. A certain amount of trouble has been experienced with the 110 Clerget motor and further trials will be carried out when a more suitable propeller is fitted.
  Harris Booth’s Design Section issued four-bladed propellers Nos. A.D.506M for the P.B. Scout 110 Clerget, and A.D.509M for the P.B. Scout 100 Mono. Propellers 140 and 141 have been sent to Chingford Air Station for trial on the P.B. Scout. Bone tested a new propeller in the W/E 23 June.
  Flt Lt Hardstaff tested the machine on the 26th and reported that exhaustive tests with engine vibrations at various speeds and with various propellers were carried out with the machine on the ground. The lengthened tail appears to balance these machines with engine on. Tests to improve the balance are proceeding.
  In early September 1916, the 4th and 5th Scouts were in course of erection. Several strut sockets on the 4th machine have had to be rejected as it was found that they were not in line with the struts when nacelle was in position.
  All work on these machines is well advanced and it is considered that the remainder could be delivered very quickly if engines (100 Mono) are available.
  This would also greatly assist the firm in their other work as they have no facilities for storing these machines while awaiting
engines.
  An undated report filed with October reports noted that 4 machines of the Pemberton Billing Scout type have now been delivered; 3 more are in the course of erection, and the nacelles, wings and all fittings are ready for the next seven machines. No action has been taken as regards shifting the position of the wheels or fitting the extra rudder on these machines.
  These machines were delivered to Eastchurch. The late Jack Bruce noted that the P.B.25 was promptly given the most ribald and unprintable nickname. W. Geoffrey Moore wrote that I was a type chaser and could not resist climbing into any machine I had not flown. ... It was an absolute beast to fly. Was also known for obvious reasons as “The flying penis. ”
  The high centre of gravity and the pilot’s position in the nacelle did not engender confidence in pilot’s in the event of a less than perfect landing. The controls were also unusual.
  Instead of using cables over pulleys, a system of Bowden cables was used. These would often not work at first then give way to result in control surfaces moving abruptly. These characteristics were less marked once airborne, but making take-off, landing and taxiing distinctly uncomfortable.
  All 20 P.B.25 pushers were delivered. The last eight were delivered to Killingholme without engines. Sir Austin Robinson wrote that Killingholme, until it was cleared out to make room for the American H16s, had much more shed accommodation than was needed for the war flight and the school flight. This contained an accumulation of aircraft, some of current types in store, some of aircraft that nobody had ever quite got round to burning or reducing to produce. One wishes one could now walk round it as it was in 1917 or 1918. We had, as you know, a number of Porte Boats. There were also a large number of Beardmore W.B.IIIs, presumably in case the Fleet came into Immingham and wanted replacements in a hurry. A number of A.D. Boats. A few Pemberton Billing 'Push-Proj’s - I have a photograph of one we assembled and someone tried to make fly. (Author’s underlining).
  The P.B.25 was tested at Grain and used at Eastchurch and possibly Killingholme, but the majority were sent there had no engines. It was unloved and feared by pilot’s, who did not trust its flimsy structure in the event of a nose-over on landing.
  Perhaps the last word on Pemberton-Billing should go to one who worked with him. Joseph C.C. Taylor joined Pemberton-Billing Ltd at Southampton towards the end of 1915. He recalled that Pemberton-Billing was a most dynamic personality, with a great flair for inventing things, and we were always working on one or other of his pet ideas. Many of his inventions were really sound, but years ahead of their time, and for that reason were usually turned down.


Specifications
Source 1 2
Type P.B.23E P.B.25
Span upper 33 ft 0 in 32 ft 11 1/2 in
Span lower 31 ft 0 in -
Chord upper 4ft 2in -
Chord lower 3 ft 6 in -
Length 20 ft 7 in 24 ft 1 in
Height 9 ft 10 in 10 ft 5 in
Airscrew dia 8 ft 0 in -
Span tailplane 16 ft 0 in -
Wing Area - 277 ft2
Empty Weight, lbs - 1,108
Loaded Weight, lbs - 1,541
Max Speed at G.L. - 89
Max Speed at 10,000 ft - 83.5
Climb to 6,000 ft - 11 min
Climb to 10,000 ft - 21 min
Endurance - 2 1/2 hrs
Engine 320-hp Dragonfly -
Sources:
  1. Air Department sketch of Supermarine Push Prog. TNA AIR1/716/27/19/30.
  2. J.M. Bruce data.


Serial Allocation
Serials Contract Notes
8487 C.P.62042/15 P.B.23E
9001-9020 C.P.134727/16 P.B.25. 9007-9011, 9014-9020 delivered Killingholme without engine.

C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Pemberton Billing PB23E, September 1915
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Pemberton Billing PB25, 9001
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Pemberton Billing PB25, 9005
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Side View of the "P.B. Push-prodge", a small fast biplane, built by the Supermarine Co. to the designs of Flight-Lieut. Pemberton-Billing, R.N. The machine was, with a 100 h.p. Mono-Gnome, the fastest biplane of its day, and was regarded as a "pushed projectile", hence its nick-name.
Pemberton Billing PB 23E, the original Push-proj, with its original tail unit, straight wings and powered by an 80hp Le Rhone engine. It was nicknamed the "Sparklet" as its a light alloy sheet-covered nacelle resembled a Sparklet bulb.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
The P.B.23E in a factory setting. The marking on the rudder appears to be a small flag.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
The P.B.23E with enlarged fins. Note the elaborate logos on the rudder.
The sole Pemberton-Billing P.B.23 with 80hp Le Rhone engine, metal-clad nacelle and pronounced dihedral on the lower wing; the aircraft was affectionately known as ‘Sparklet’ or ‘Push-Proj’; the Lewis gun can just be seen projecting from the front of the nacelle.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
P.Lewis - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
Pemberton Billing P.B.23E.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Appears to be assembling the P.B.23E in the field.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
The original caption said that these photographs of the P.B.23E were taken after a crash; however, no damage can be seen on the machine and it is thought that the machine is being assembled, possibly at Hendon after being taken there on 29 August 1915.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
The P.B.23E under construction at the Woolston works of Pemberton Billing Ltd. AHT AL0232-007.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
View of the P.B.23E erected in the Woolston works. The dihedral to the bottom wings stands out markedly in these views. The gun is a mock-up and was positioned out of reach of the pilot. It is not known if the position was changed when the Lewis gun replaced the mock-up. AHT AL0232-008.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Pemberton-Billing P.B.25 with fabric-covered nacelle, swept-back wings, modified undercarriage, and 110 h.p. Clerget engine.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
The first production Pemberton-Billing P.B.25 Scout, No 9001, with 110hp Clerget engine, swept wings and fabric-covered nacelle.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
No. 9001 had a cutout in the top of the nacelle for a machine gun and a two-bladed propeller. The other P.B.25 scouts do not seem to have had this facility for mounting a machine gun although the P.B.25 scouts were assigned to the Eastchurch Gunnery School.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Compare the fabric covered fuselage of the P.B.25 with the aluminum panel covered nacelle of the P.B.23E. The first machine of the contract, No. 9001 had a 110-hp Clerget 9Z rotary engine with two-bladed propeller, and the rear panels to the nacelle are different from the others of the batch that had the 100-hp Monosoupape rotary engine.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
No. 9002 must have been painted a light colour overall as the metal nose cone is the same colour as the rest of the machine.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
No. 9002 showing the four bladed propeller, the different end panels to the nacelle and the very low undercarriage.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
P.B.25 with Gnome Monosoupape engine.
The P.B.25 was ordered for the RNAS, but proved to be unsuited for operational use.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
View of No. 9003, flown by Rochford at Eastchurch, September 1916. The height of the nacelle required ladders to provide access for maintenance. Note the Bristol Scouts in the background.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Rear view of a P.B.25 on a training aerodrome.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
No. 9004 with a Breguet in the background.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Posing with a dark coloured "P.B. Scout", however photographs of the P.B.25 with armament have yet to appear.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
No. 9005 in the dark finish. Only the first couple of machines sported the light finish.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
No. 9005 in the dark finish. Only the first couple of machines sported the light finish.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
No. 9006.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
A dark doped P.B.25 with naval personnel, late delivered machine as its dark doped airframe. Eastchurch. Note the lower wing cockades have a white outline.
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Three RB.25 trainers at Eastchurch, June 1917.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Line up at Eastchurch, June 1917.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
In this view the seven P.B.25 biplanes can be seen to have no engines installed. Nos 9008, two unknown, 9009 and 9007 can be identified on the original print. These three machines were delivered to Killingholme minus their engines.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
This line-up of seven fuselages would appear to be at the Woolston works. The wooden structure of the nacelle is well illustrated.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
The P.B.25 was ordered for the RNAS, but proved to be unsuited for operational use.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Pemberton Billing P.B.25
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Pemberton Billing P.B.25
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Pemberton Billing P.B.25