A.Jackson De Havilland Aircraft since 1909 (Putnam)
De Havilland Biplane No. 2
A two seater of spruce and ash construction with interconnected tail and front elevators, balanced ailerons and simplified undercarriage, built in the same Fulham workshop. The engine, salvaged from Biplane No. 1, drove a single pusher propeller and a first successful flight of 1/4 mile was made by de Havilland at Seven Barrows on September 10, 1910.
In December it went by road to Farnborough where, after a one hour acceptance flight on January 14, 1911, it was purchased by the War Office for ?400 and restyled F.E.I (Farman Experimental). It was repeatedly modified and de Havilland flew it on March 31 with a larger tailplane and rear elevator; and again on April 11 with wing and aileron extensions, 65 sq. ft. in area, which were removed and refitted several times.
Trials over the measured course on Laffan's Plain on May 15 gave the maximum speed as 38 m.p.h. but with the extensions fitted, aileron drag made the aircraft unstable in yaw, partially cured on May 26 by installing new rudders above and below the tailplane. It flew again on July 3 with the front elevator removed but this pushed the CG too far back, corrected next day by moving back the upper mainplane.
Geoffrey de Havilland carried many passengers in this aircraft, including Harold Bolas and Lt. J. T. Ridge on May 5. He completed 80 miles of circuit flying with 17 officers and men of the London Balloon Company on July 28 and three days later reached an altitude of 1,000 ft. On August 2 he flew to Laffan's Plain with Lt. Ridge who then taxied the machine and flew a few yards. During his next lesson on August 5 the aircraft nosed over in a freshening wind but when Lt. Ridge took it out again on August 15 after repairs, a broken bolt loosened two cylinders. The historic engine was beyond repair and the aircraft did not fly again.
SPECIFICATION AND DATA
Construction: By G. de Havilland and F. T. Hearle at Bothwell Street, Fulham, London. S.W.6
Power Plant: One 45 h.p. de Havilland / Iris
Span 33 ft. 6 in. Length 29 ft. 0 in.
Wing area 356 sq. ft.
Weights: All-up weight 1,000 lb.
Performance: Maximum speed 38 m.p.h. Endurance 1 hour 20 minutes
P.Hare Royal Aircraft Factory (Putnam)
With ?1,000 financial backing obtained from his grandfather in anticipation of a legacy, Geoffrey de Havilland gave up regular employment and built two successive aeroplanes of his own design. The first broke up on take-off, fortunately without injury to its creator, but the second was a success, and first flew on 10 September 1910, piloted by de Havilland. This was also his first flight.
A conventional Farman-type pusher biplane with a forward elevator, it was powered by a 45hp horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine which had also been designed by de Havilland and was built for him by the Iris Motor Company of Willesden, north-west London.
De Havilland used the machine to teach himself to fly and then, having almost exhausted the ?1,000, he was appointed designer/test pilot at the Balloon Factory. At the same time he sold his aeroplane to the War Office for ?400, subject to its passing acceptance trials which principally consisted of demonstrating its ability to fly for one hour without adjustment or repair. This de Havilland achieved on 14 January 1911, although, owing to the freezing weather, he was allowed to land twice during the test to thaw out.
As Government property the aeroplane became known as the Farman Experimental or F.E.I. It was the first aeroplane to be classified in accordance with the Factory's system, and was the subject of continual development. First it was cleaned up aerodynamically, which included being fitted with new struts of improved streamline form. By the end of March its tailplane and rear elevator had been replaced by units of increased area, and by 11 April wing extensions had been fitted, enabling de Havilland to take up a number of passengers over the next few days. The extensions were removed early the following month because they were found to have an adverse effect on lateral control, but they were refitted by the end of the month, together with larger rudders, the Factory having realised that the existing rudders were not sufficiently powerful to overcome the drag of the ailerons when the extensions were fitted. By June 12 the tailplane incidence had been increased so that it would produce additional lift, thereby taking all load off the forward elevator. The subsequent tests obviously proved satisfactory, as the F.E.I was flown on 3 July with the front elevator removed. As usual the pilot was Geoffrey de Havilland, who reported that the fore-and-aft trim was not satisfactory. This problem was remedied overnight by re-rigging the wings to alter the position of the centre of pressure relative to the centre of gravity, and the machine was flown on numerous occasions throughout the month without further modifications. On 27 July de Havilland reached an altitude of 920ft, and the following day he gave short passenger flights to eighteen officers and men of the London Balloon Company Territorials, covering about eighty miles in the process.
Lt Theodore Ridge, the Factory's Assistant Superintendent, began to learn to fly on this machine in late July and early August, but on Tuesday 15 August he crashed while landing, damaging the engine, its mountings, the undercarriage and one lower wing.
There is no record of the aeroplane flying again, and officially it was 'reconstructed' as the F.E.2. However, as the latter was actually a totally new aeroplane and was already completed at the time of Ridge's crash, it is most probable that the F.E.I was broken up for spares.
Powerplant: 45hp four-cylinder Iris-built de Havilland engine
span 33ft 0in
wing area 340sq ft;
length 40ft 0in;
Weight: 1,100lb (loaded).
max speed 37mph at sea level;
endurance 1hr 20min.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
De Havilland No. 2/F.E.I
Geoffrey de Havilland's second aeroplane was a single-seat pusher biplane designed and built during 1910. It was powered by a 45 h.p. Iris engine which also was de Havilland-designed and was constructed by the Iris Motor Company of Willesden, London. N.W. On completion, the machine was taken to Litchfield, Hants., for its trials and then to Newbury, Berks., where its owner taught himself to fly on it, his first take-off being accomplished on 10th September, 1910.
Upon de Havilland's appointment in December, 1910, as assistant designer and test pilot at the Army Balloon Factory, the War Office bought the aeroplane for ?400, and it was then housed at Farnborough. There it became the F.E.I, being the first aeroplane to receive an official Factory designation. The F.E.I was flown successfully by de Havilland from its new home during January, 1911, and subsequently by several other pilots until it was crashed during the summer of the same year by Lt. Theodore J. Ridge, the Assistant Superintendent of the Factory. Span, 33 ft. Length. 40 ft. Wing area, 340 sq. ft. Weight loaded. 1,100 lb. Maximum speed, 37 m.p.h.
P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
During 1910 there occurred one of those chance meetings which may sometimes have such far-reaching effects. F. M. Green engaged in conversation with Geoffrey de Havilland who, after having crashed his first aeroplane early in its tests, had constructed another and taught himself to fly on it. De Havilland told Green that, as the financial resources which he had had for pursuing his flying experiments were all but exhausted, it looked as though he might have to terminate such work. At Green’s suggestion, de Havilland applied to the Balloon Factory for a post as designer and test pilot. The outcome was that in December, 1910, he and his friend and assistant, F. T. Hearle, joined the staff of the Factory, taking with them to Farnborough the biplane for which the War Office paid £400. Although at the time it was evident neither to the authorities nor to de Havilland, in this way was the pioneer constructor enabled to carry on his work to such outstanding advantage in later years to the country, and to give immediate impetus to heavier-than-air development at the Factory by delivering to it a reasonably practical aeroplane. The Factory was so enamoured of its new acquisition that it bestowed on it the honour of the first official designation F.E.1.
In design and execution de Havilland’s machine was, without exception, typical of the aeroplanes of the period. The layout was that of the successful Farman-style two-bay biplane with stabilizing and control surfaces carried on four booms fore and aft of the wings. The pilot’s position was the logical one on the leading edge of the lower wings, with the engine and its pusher propeller mounted behind him. Two main wheels and a tailskid formed the landing-gear and ailerons gave the machine its lateral control. The engine was the 45 h.p. unit which had been made to de Havilland’s design by the Iris Motor Company at Willesden. The entire framework of the biplane was of wood, the material resorted to by most of the constructors at the time. Its great virtue was that it was easily worked, without the necessity on the part of the impecunious flyers for any outlay on expensive tools or machines. Besides, wood was strong and cheap and easily repaired after the all-too-frequent mishaps which attended the attempts to stagger off the ground. The structure was braced with tensioned wire and covered with fabric.
Flight, September 24, 1910
BRITISH NOTES OF THE WEEK.
Success of the Havilland Aeroplane.
FOLLOWING upon the wrecked machine described by us in April 9th and 16th last, Mr. G. de Havilland has lost no time in building a fresh biplane fitted with his own engine (see FLIGHT, May 21st), and has this time met with success almost from the start. As the accompanying illustration shows, the new design follows close upon Sommer-Farman lines, while, in order to save time, a single propeller is this time used instead of the specially arranged pair with their bevel-wheel drive. Following upon a few preliminary hops prior to that day, a flight of about a quarter of a mile was accomplished a fortnight ago, the machine leaving the ground after running about 40 yards. Three times since then steadily improved trips have been made, and on Friday last ten or twelve flights of half a mile each - the full extent permitted, without turning, by the ground - were accomplished at heights varying from 20 to 50 ft. Apparently a lift is obtained in less than 40 yards, even when there is no wind, and although the run has to be made on a slight upgrade. Mr. Havilland is particularly pleased with the running of the engine, which seems to be able to do its work even with the throttle partly closed.
Flight, October 22, 1910
BRITISH NOTES OF THE WEEK.
Progress by Mr. de Havilland.
A NOTE to hand from Mr. de Havilland, at Newbury, states that he has been making very satisfactory progress with his biplane. In all, the machine has flown between 30 and 40 miles, and the designer is now feeling quite at home in the air. During last week the machine was idle through the breaking of a connecting-rod, which occurred when the machine was about 50 ft. off the ground. Mr. de Havilland had, fortunately, just previously been practising gliding flight, and so had no difficulty in bringing his machine down safely.
Flight, November 19, 1910
BRITISH NOTES OF THE WEEK.
The Havilland Aeroplane.
SOME very successful flights of long duration have, we learn, been made by Mr. G. de Havilland down at Newbury, and the engine with its new nickel steel connecting-rods is apparently running with perfect consistency and regularity. On one occasion a continuous run of 40 mins. was made, and weather permitting Mr. de Havilland hopes to qualify for the Royal Aero Club certificate during next week. Considering the restricted nature of the trial ground, his progress has been remarkably good, rabbit warrens and railway lines not being by any means conducive to facilitate the acquirement of the art by any novice.
Flight, January 14, 1911
FROM THE BRITISH FLYING GROUNDS.
On Tuesday Mr. De Havilland was out on the biplane designed by himself, and made several good flights. In one of them 10 miles was traversed in a quarter of an hour, his height being about 100 ft.