P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
During 1917 the Admiralty’s Air Department continued to request designs from the R.N.A.S. Experimental Construction Depot at Port Victoria on the Isle of Grain, the P.V.4 being followed by a single-seat fighter seaplane which was to encompass also the role of light bomber. Two versions were built - the P.V.5 N53 sesquiplane and the P.V.5a with wings of equal span. Floats of Linton Hope style were intended to be used and the engine scheduled was the elusive 150 h.p. Smith Static which was late in arriving for the pair of prototypes.
Finally, the 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza was installed in the P.V.5 and the machine was mounted on floats of refined pontoon style. Its companion P.V.5a was fitted with the more powerful 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza and received the intended Linton Hope floats. Each machine was armed with a single Vickers gun in front of the cockpit. Both machines were quite successful in their trials but neither was considered to be required for production.
F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
Port Victoria P.V.5 and P.V.5A
At the beginning of 1917 the system of British aircraft procurement and supply came under scrutiny with a reorganization of the Air Board. This, among other things, led to the transfer of aircraft supply to the Ministry of Munitions, and the Admiralty’s Experimental Construction Depot at Port Victoria hovered on the brink of extinction. At that time, two new aircraft were nearing completion, ordered by the Air Department to meet the need for a single-seat fighting scout seaplane, capable also of light bombing duties.
These aircraft, which differed markedly from each other, were the P.V.5 and P.V.5A; both had been designed for the 150hp Smith Static and were awaiting this engine when the Depot’s future was threatened. In due course, owing to the non-delivery of the Smith engine, it was decided to go ahead with the P.V.5 with a 150hp Hispano-Suiza, but to abandon the P.V.5A. The former aircraft, N53, was an attractive twin-float sesquiplane, clearly based on the P.V.2, with the main floats and high-lift wings braced together with struts appearing as a ‘W’ when seen from the front. The engine was neatly enclosed in an unusual annular cowling with the faired valve covers just breaking the external contours. Although designed for Linton Hope floats, N53 was completed with flat-bottom pontoons, canted outwards so as to force water spray away from the propeller and engine radiator, and to provide some measure of shock absorption. A single synchronized Vickers gun was mounted immediately forward of the cockpit, and a pair of 65lb bombs could be carried in the fuselage.
It is said that the P.V.5 was first flown in July 1917, but did not undergo official trials until September. It proved very popular among its pilots, being manoeuvrable and pleasant to fly. Climb and ceiling were, however, disappointing and the maximum speed was lower than specified in the Admiralty requirement. Soon after these trials had been completed, it was decided to resurrect the P.V.5A - conventional by comparison with the P.V.5 in being a single-bay biplane with wings of equal span. The aircraft, N54, was completed around the end of 1917 with Linton Hope floats, and powered by a 200hp Hispano-Suiza. Completing its official trials in April 1918, it returned a much better performance than its predecessor, albeit sacrificing its pleasant flying qualities.
Not surprisingly, however, as almost eighteen months had elapsed since the issue of the original requirement, the Sopwith Baby, Pup and Camel had demonstrated their ability to meet almost all the Admiralty’s shipborne aircraft scouting requirements, and any further need for the P.V.5s had disappeared.
Type: Single-engine, single-seat, twin-float sesquiplane (P.V.5) and single-bay biplane (P.V.5A) fighting scout/light bomber.
Manufacturer: RNAS Experimental Construction Depot, Port Victoria, Isle of Grain.
Powerplant: P.V.5. One 150hp Hispano-Suiza engine; P.V.5A. 200hp Hispano-Suiza.
Dimensions: P.V.5. Span, 32ft 0in; length, 25ft 6in; height, 9ft 9in; wing area, 245 sq ft. P.V.5A. Span, 33ft lin; length, 26ft 9in; height, 13ft 1in; wing area, 309 sq ft.
Weights: P.V.5. Tare, 1,788lb; all-up, 2,456lb. P.V.5A. Tare, 1,974lb; all-up (no bombs), 2,518lb.
Performance: P.V.5. Max speed, 94.5 mph at sea level; climb to 6,500ft, 20 min 15 sec; service ceiling, 9,900ft. P.V.5A. Max speed, 102.5 mph at sea level; climb to 6,500ft, 9 min; service ceiling, 13,700ft.
Armament: Both aircraft armed with one synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun forward of cockpit on top decking. P.V.5 could carry two 65lb bombs.
Prototype: P.V.5, N53 (believed first flown in July 1917); P.V.5A, N54. No production.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
PORT VICTORIA P.V.5 UK
Shortly after the Depot initiated work on the P.V.4, it was asked to develop a single-seat fighter seaplane also capable of performing light bombing tasks with two internally-stowed 65-lb (29,5-kg) bombs. To meet this requirement, two different aircraft were designed and built, the P.V.5 and the P.V.5a. The former was developed from the P.V.2bis and employed a similar sesquiplane wing cellule devoid of flying wires and braced by struts to the float undercarriage. The wings employed a high-lift aerofoil section, the armament comprised a single synchronised 0.303-in (7,7-mm) machine gun plus the two 65-lb (29,5-kg) bombs specified and power was provided by a 150 hp Hispano-Suiza engine. Fitted with pontoon-type floats rather than the Linton Hope floats for which it had been designed, the P.V.5 was flight tested in mid-1917 with promising results, but the original requirement had been overtaken and development was discontinued.
Max speed, 94 mph (151 km/h) at 2,000 ft (610 m).
Time to 2,000 ft (610 m), 4.83 min.
Empty weight, 1,788 lb (811 kg).
Loaded weight, 2,456 lb (1114 kg).
Span, 32 ft 0 in (9,75 m).
Length, 25 ft 6 in (7,77 m).
Height, 9 ft 9 in (2,97 m).
Wing area, 245 sq ft (22,76 m2).
PORT VICTORIA P.V.5a UK
Designed along more conventional lines than the P.V.5, the P.V.5a was an equi-span single-bay biplane with cable bracing, sharing with the former type only the fuselage, tail surfaces and armament. The pontoon-type floats were supplanted by Linton Hope floats, the internal accommodation for a bomb load was eliminated and a 200 hp Hispano-Suiza engine was fitted. Work on the P.V.5 and 5a was initiated in parallel, but work on the latter was discontinued early in 1917, and only reinstated after the P.V.5 had flown, the P.V.5a commencing flight test in the spring of 1918. It proved inferior to the P.V.5 in terms of manoeuvrability and pilot’s view, but was satisfactory in most other respects. Development was discontinued after completion of flight testing as no service requirement for this category of aircraft existed.
Max speed, 102 mph (164 km/h) at 2,000 ft (610 m).
Time to 2,000 ft (610 m), 2.33 min.
Endurance, 2.5 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,972 lb (894 kg).
Loaded weight, 2,518 lb (1142 kg).
Span, 33 ft 1 in (10,08 m).
Length, 26 ft 9 in (8,15 m).
Height, 13 ft 1 in (3,99 m).
Wing area, 309 sq ft (28,71 m2).
J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)
Port Victoria P.V.5 and P.V.5a
WORK on the design of the P.V.4 had hardly begun when Port Victoria was asked by the Air Department of the Admiralty to design a single-seat seaplane for fighting and light bombing duties. The specification to which the machine was to be designed required a maximum speed of 85 knots (98 m.p.h.) at 6,500 feet with a load consisting of two 65-lb bombs (which were to be stowed within the fuselage), a machine-gun and ammunition, and fuel for four hours. The specified power-unit was the same 150 h.p. Smith Static radial as had been promised for the P.V.4.
Once again the designers had to assume that the engine would be available and would give its specified performance. On these assumptions it was considered that the terms of the specification could be fulfilled, and two different seaplanes were designed and subsequently built. These aircraft were known as the P.V.5 and P.V.5a.
The P.V.5 was clearly a development of the P.V.2, for it had the same sesquiplane layout: the wings were braced by struts to the undercarriage without the use of flying-wires, and a high-lift aerofoil section was employed.
In order to provide comparative data, the P.V.5a was designed on more conventional lines. It was an equal-span single-bay biplane with cable bracing - the R.N.A.S. never standardised Rafwires for interplane bracing as did the R.F.C. - and a typical thin aerofoil section was used.
Both machines had similar fuselages and tail-units, and both were designed with Linton Hope floats.
Construction of the P.V.5 and P.V.5a was well advanced by the end of 1916 but, in common with the P.V.4, both were held up for lack of engines. In the history of the P.V.4 it has already been related how Wing-Commander G. W. S. Aldwell’s representations to the Air Department resulted in the delivery of a 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza and a 190 h.p. Rolls-Royce Falcon, neither of which could be fitted to the P.V.4. The Hispano-Suiza was ultimately fitted to the P.V.5, however, and the machine was flown with it.
In January, 1917, the Air Board was reorganised, and responsibility for the supply of all aircraft was transferred to the Ministry of Munitions. In due course, the Experimental Construction Depot at Port Victoria came under scrutiny and was near to being closed down, but eventually it was decided to complete the P.V.5 and abandon the P.V.5a.
When completed, the P.V.5 emerged as a handsome single-bay biplane with a neatly faired fuselage and strut-braced tailplane. It was not fitted with the Linton Hope floats for which it was designed. They were replaced by special pontoon-type floats, each of which had an outwards slope on its bottom surface in order to provide the good shock absorption of a V-bottom float and yet keep the spray out of the airscrew. The floats performed their intended purpose very well, but suffered a number of misfortunes.
As an aeroplane, the P.V.5 proved to be thoroughly satisfactory and won the praise of all its pilots. The view from the cockpit was excellent, manoeuvrability was good, and the machine was comfortable to fly. The performance did not come up to specification because an unsuitable airscrew was used during trials, and because the engine and its mounting were considerably heavier than the designed installation.
Despite the earlier decision to abandon it, the P.V.5a was eventually completed, and was fitted with a 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine. Linton Hope floats were fitted.
The P.V.5a was quite a good aeroplane, and its performance was better than that of the P.V.5 and of the original specification, thanks to its more powerful motor. In terms of manoeuvrability and pilot’s view, the P.V.5a was inferior to the P.V.5 however, and the pity is that the P.V.5 was not also given the 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza. However, by the time the two machines were tested it was decided that they were no longer needed for Service requirements, and development ceased.
Manufacturers: R.N.A.S. Experimental Construction Depot, Port Victoria, Isle of Grain.
Power: P.V.5: 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza. P.V.5a: 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza.
Dimensions: P.V.5: Span: upper 32 ft, lower 21 ft. Length: 25 ft 6 in. Height: 9 ft 9 in. Chord: upper 6 ft, lower 3 ft 6 in. Gap: 4 ft. P.V.5a: Span: 33 ft 1 in. Length: 26 ft 9 in. Height: 13 ft 1 in. Chord: 5 ft. Gap: 5 ft.
Areas: Wings: P.V.5, 245 sq ft; P.V.5a, 309 sq ft.
Armament: Both aircraft had one fixed forward-firing Vickers machine-gun mounted on top of the fuselage and synchronised to fire through the revolving airscrew; P.V.5 could carry two 65-lb bombs inside the fuselage.
Serial Numbers: P.V.5: N.53. P.V.5a: N.54.
Weights (lb) and Performance:
Aircraft P.V.5 P.V.5a
No. of Trial Report - N.M. 150
Date of Trial Report September 6th, 1917 April 22nd, 1918
Type of airscrew used on trial A.B.684 A.B.7282
Weight empty 1,788 1,972
Military load 192 112
Pilot 180 180
Fuel and oil 296 254
Weight loaded 2,456 2,518
Maximum speed (m.p.h.) at
2,000 ft 94-5 102-5
6,500 ft 94-5 102-5
10,000 ft - 100
m. s. m. s.
2,000 ft 4 50 2 20
6,500 ft 20 15 9 00
10,000 ft - - 17 40
Service ceiling (feet) 9,900 13,700
Endurance (hours) - 2 1/2
Tankage (gallons): Petrol 36 41
Oil 4 5
H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
P.V.5 and P.V.5a. The P.V.5 of 1917 was a fighter bomber, carrying two 65-lb bombs internally. The pilot had a Vickers gun mounted on top of the fuselage.