The numbers allocated to early Royal Aircraft Factory prototypes are more properly regarded as constructor's numbers than as type designations. Show more. [24] The B.E.2c used the same fuselage as the B.E.2b, but was otherwise really a new type, being fitted with new wings of different planform with increased dihedral and forward stagger, and ailerons replaced the wing warping of the earlier models. The B.E.9 and the B.E.12 were variants designed to give the B.E.2 an effective forward-firing armament - the B.E.12 (a single seater) went into production and squadron service, but was not a great success. Some 3,500 B.E.2s were built by over 20 different manufacturers: an exact breakdown between the different models has never been produced, although the B.E.2e was almost certainly the most numerous. The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 is a single-engine two-seat reconaissance and bomber biplane aircraft produced by the British manufacturer Royal Aircraft Factory used by the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. 7 Squadron RFC from 1916 to 1917. [7] The Renault proved a much more satisfactory powerplant than the Wolseley fitted to B.E.1, and performance was further improved when a 70 hp (52 kW) model was fitted in May that year. Busk and was intended to provide an inherently stable aeroplane. B.E.1., originally captioned 'The Silent Army Aeroplane'. The first example, a converted B.E.2b, flew on 30 May 1914 and the type went into squadron service just before the outbreak of war. [29], About 3,500 B.E.2s were built by over 20 different manufacturers. Among other projected weapons intended to attack airships from above, including Ranken darts and small incendiary bombs, was the Fiery Grapnel. types were biplanes rather than the monoplanes typical of the Bleriot company). About 3,500 were built. These modifications were retrofitted to the majority of the remaining earlier production aircraft. [citation needed], B.E.2f A1325 at Masterton, New Zealand, 2009, (With full bomb load usually flown as a single-seater, without machine gun), A similar tactic of firing from below was employed in World War II by German nightfighters with the so-called, Lewis, Cecil, 1936 (Chapter II, The Somme) pp. [53], From 1917 onwards, the B.E.2 was generally withdrawn from both the front line and night fighter use. The B.E.12 (a single-seater) went into production and saw squadron service, however neither variant was ultimately a great success; both designs having been superseded by newer fighter aircraft by the time they were completed. The first production order was place with Vickers and shortly afterwards a second order was placed with the Bristol Aeroplane Company. The airship campaign faltered - this rate of attrition could not be sustained, especially in combination with quite high non-combat losses. The performance of the B.E.2 was inadequate to intercept airships flying at 15,000 feet much less the Gotha bombers that emerged during 1917, and its career as an effective home defence fighter was over. Object details Category Photographs Related period First World War (content) Catalogue number HU 67934 Part of RACKHAM D L … Research based site with hundreds of thousands of data points on pilots, crew and ground crew associated with flying, particularly WW11. Development and construction: In 1911, Royal Balloon Factory under the direction of British engineer Mervyn O'Gorman began developing its own aircraft. The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was the first aircraft used by the United Kingdom in the United Kingdom and although it had been outdated during the First World War until the end of the war. These essentially only differed from the B.E.2 in the powerplant, initially an ENV liquid cooled engine, and since both aircraft were eventually fitted with the standard 70 hp Renault, they became effectively equivalent to the production standard B.E.2. While the majority of operational B.E.2s served on the Western Front, the type also saw limited use in other overseas theatres. [16] Encouraged by this, the RFC took delivery of large numbers of the BE.2e, which promised improved performance, and combined the stability of the B.E.2c with rather "lighter" controls (i.e. The BE2b evolved from earlier aircraft after a great deal of experimental work by the government-owned Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough and proved to be one of the first practical aircraft supplied to the Royal Flying Corps. The performance of the early Renault powered models of the B.E. [5] The layout of these aircraft came to be seen as conventional, but when it first appeared this was not the case. Letoun B.E.2 vznikl jako první stroj navržený ve firmě Royal Balloon Factory (přejmenované na Royal Aircraft Factory v roce 1912). The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 (Blériot Experimental) was a British single-engine two-seat biplane in service with the Royal Flying Corpsduring World War I. [33] A good deal of experimental flying was undertaken during this period, influencing later fuel system and undercarriage design as well as structural strengthening and aerodynamic changes. A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: 'We were called about it at 11.50am and are working with other emergency services at … The ailerons, on upper and lower wings, were joined by light struts. [16][17], Several other prototypes of the production B.E.2 series were produced, including the B.E.5 and the B.E.6. Around 3,500 were manufactured in all. The Royal aircraft Factory B.E.2-page contains all related products, articles, books, walkarounds and plastic scale modeling projects dedicated to this aircraft. Misidentified as a B.E.2c fighter flown by a Canadian who had destroyed a German airship, it was sent to Canada as a war trophy in 1919. It was intended to fit a new version of the RAF 1 - the RAF 1b - but in the event this engine did not achieve production status, and the B.E.2e used the same engine as its predecessor, considerably reducing the expected improvement in performance. 59.000+ plastic modelers use us. The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was a British single-engine tractor two-seat biplane which was in service with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) from 1912 until the end of World War I. In practice, the pilot of a B.E.2 almost always operated the camera, and the observer, when he was armed at all, had a rather poor field of fire to the rear, having, at best, to shoot back over his pilot's head. The 2,500 mi (4,000 km) journey, made between 16 November and 12 December 1919, involved a combined 46 hours of flying time. A flying B.E.2c replica (registered G-AWYI) was built by pilot and engineer Charles Boddington at Sywell, UK in 1969 for use in the film Biggles Sweeps the Skies. stood for Blériot Experimental, and was used for aircraft of tractor configuration (although in practice, all of the B.E. Unable to cope with such a primitive fighter as the Fokker E.I, it was virtually helpless against the newer German fighters of 1916-17. [13] This prompted the setting up of two enquiries; one into the management of the Royal Aircraft Factory, and another into the high command of the Royal Flying Corps, the latter headed by a judge. While the type was designed and developed by the Royal Aircraft Factory, the majority of production aircraft were built under contract by private companies, including well known manufacturers as well as firms that had not previously built aircraft. [13] Sometimes described as a "rebuild" of an existing aircraft, either a Bristol Boxkite or a Breguet, it seems in fact to have been the first aeroplane built at the factory without the subterfuge of being a "reconstruction". Ailerons were used on later models. Large databases covering many countries. Initially used as front-line reconnaissance aircraft and light bombers, variants of the type were also used as night fighters. [9] The main undercarriage consisted of a pair of skids each carried on an inverted V-strut at their rear and a single raked strut at the front: an axle carrying the wheels was bound to the skids by bungee cords and restrained by radius rods. Both aircraft were two-bay tractor biplanes with low-dihedral parallel-chord unstaggered wings with rounded ends, using wing warping for roll control. [35] The surviving examples continued in use for submarine spotting and as trainers throughout the rest of the conflict. The most important difference in the new model was an improvement in stability – a genuinely useful characteristic, especially in aerial photographic work, using the primitive plate cameras of the time, with their relatively long exposures. [11] The B.E.2c used the same fuselage as the B.E.2b, but was otherwise really a new type, being fitted with new wings of different plan form, increased dihedral, and forward stagger. [5] The aircraft was not flown again until 27 December, modified by the substitution of a Claudel carburettor in place of the original Wolseley, which allowed no throttle control. [3][38] By this time, prewar aircraft were already disappearing from RFC service. The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was the second in the Factory's series of experimental tractor biplanes, and was also the prototype for the B.E.2a and the family of aircraft that followed. [30], The B.E.9 and the B.E.12 were variants developed to provide the B.E.2 with an effective forward-firing armament. Other minor modifications were made over the following weeks: the undercarriage wheels were moved back 12 in (30.4 cm), the wings (which originally had no dihedral), were re-rigged to have 1° dihedral, and the propeller was cut down in an attempt to increase the engine speed. [36] While some flew entirely unarmed, or perhaps carried service revolvers or automatic pistols, others armed themselves with hand-wielded rifles or carbines as used by ground troops, or even fitted a Lewis gun. The production machines were designated B.E.2a, to be fitted with the 70hp Renault V8 engine. Initially used as front-line reconnaissance aircraft and light bombers; … Its new number was not allocated because it was considered a separate type. [28], Many B.E.2c and B.E.2d aircraft still under construction when the new model entered production were completed with B.E.2e wings. [47] As a consequence of these losses, the German Army's airship fleet ceased raids over England: German naval airship raiders of 1917 flew at higher altitudes to avoid interception, reducing their effectiveness. [46], A BE2e was lost in aerial combat over Salonika on 3 October 1917: the British pilot and observer were both killed and were buried by "The Bulgurs" with full military honours. These reports largely cleared both Factory management and the RFC commanders responsible for ordering the B.E.2, but the supervisor of the Factory Mervyn O'Gorman was effectively dismissed by a "sideways promotion", and many of the most talented of the factory's designers and engineers followed de Havilland into private industry. This situation culminated in what became known as "Bloody April", with the RFC losing 60 B.E.2s during that month.[44]. The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was a British single-engine tractor two-seat biplane which was in service with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) from 1912 until the end of World War I.About 3,500 were built. Most B.E.2ds were used as trainers, but a few supplied to Belgium were used operationally. Later aircraft added decking between the pilot's and observer's seats. [8], The fuselage was a rectangular section fabric-covered wire-braced structure, with the pilot seated aft, behind the wings and the observer in front, under the centre section. The designation B.E.2a was given to production aircraft. [57], Surviving restored aircraft and reproductions are on display at several museums, including the Imperial War Museum, Duxford; the RAF Museum, Hendon; the Canada Aviation Museum, Ottawa; the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, Paris; the Militaire Luchtvaartmuseum, Soesterberg, Netherlands; United States Army Aviation Museum and the Norwegian Armed Forces Aircraft Collection at Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, Norway. About 3,500 were built. [43], By the spring of 1917, however, conditions on the Western Front had changed again; the German fighter squadrons having been re-equipped with better fighters, especially the Albatros D.III. This was not an isolated victory: five more German airships were destroyed by Home Defence B.E.2c interceptors between October and December 1916. It had been planned that by this time B.E.2s in front-line service would have been replaced by newer aircraft, such as the Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 and Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8, but delivery of these types was initially slower than hoped. (Chapter II, The Somme), Corgi Edition, 1936, pp. This was ostensibly a rebuild of a Voisin biplane, powered by a 60 hp (45 kW) water-cooled Wolseley engine; however, the B.E.1 used only the engine and radiator from this machine, the radiator being mounted between the front pair of cabane struts. Squadron. A streamlined cowling to the sump was also fitted to later models, while a cut-out in the rear of the centre section marginally improved the observer's field of fire, as well as giving the pilot a better view forward over the wing. Otherwise identical to the "c" variant it had full controls in the front cockpit. The c began to be superseded by the final version, the B.E.2e in 1916. The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 (Blériot Experimental) was a British single-engine two-seat biplane which was in service with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) from 1912 until the end of World War I.The "Bleriot" in its designation refers to the fact that, like the Bleriot types it was of tractor configuration, with the propeller in front.About 3,500 were built. In this awkward position, his view was poor, and the degree to which he could handle a camera (or, later, a gun) was hampered by the struts and wires supporting the centre section of the top wing. The B.E.2a designation first appeared on a drawing dated 20 February 1912, which showed an aircraft with unequal span wings with slight dihedral. [46] At least one pair of B.E.2s were among the aircraft dispatched with No 3 Squadron for use in the Gallipoli Campaign. The fuselage was a rectangular section fabric-covered wire-braced structure, within which the pilot occupied the aft cockpit behind the wings and the observer the forward cockpit, this arrangement being adopted so that the aircraft could be flown without a passenger without affecting the aircraft's centre of gravity. In mid-1915 the nature of air war changed with the arrival of the agile Fokker Eindecker with its forward-firing guns. It was initially used as a front-line reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber; modified as a single-seater it proved effective as a night fighter, destroying several German airships. Like all service aircraft of this period, they had been designed at a time when the qualities required by a warplane were largely a matter for conjecture and speculation, in the absence of any actual experience of the use of aircraft in warfare: at this stage all the combatants were still feeling their way and aerial combat, especially the need for reconnaissance aircraft to be able to defend themselves, was not widely anticipated. Like the other significant Royal Aircraft Factory aircraft of the war (B.E.2, F.E.2 and R.E.8) the S.E.5 was inherently stable, making it an excellent gunnery platform, but it was also quite manoeuvrable. Like all early R.A.F. The interceptor version of the B.E.2c was flown as a single-seater with an auxiliary fuel tank on the centre of gravity, in the position of the observer's seat. Later production aircraft also had equal-span wings. The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c was the most controversial British aircraft of the First World War. The first example, a converted B.E.2b, flew on 30 May 1914 and the type went into squadron service just before the outbreak of war. As early as 1915, the B.E.2c entered service as a pioneer night fighter,[19] being used in attempts to intercept and destroy the German Zeppelin airship raiders. Bruce has commented that during this time, compared with their contemporaries, the early B.E.2s demonstrated a high standard of serviceability and reliability: as borne out by the squadrons' maintenance records. [34], The early models of the B.E. 's poor payload, occupied the front seat, where he had a limited field of fire for his gun. Rather, with the contemporary Avro 500, it was one of the designs which established the tractor biplane as the dominant aircraft layout for a considerable time. [10] On later machines this fin was enlarged, to reduce a tendency to swing on takeoff, and to improve spin recovery. During 1916, the "c" began to be superseded by the final version, the B.E.2e. This Royal Aircraft Factory B.E. About 3,500 were built, used as fighters, interceptors, light bombers, trainers and reconnaissance aircraft. Lee, the pilot of the only aircraft to arrive safely, wrote in a letter to his wife: Fortunately, by this time, the B.E.2e was already being rapidly replaced on the Western Front by later types, but this was from several points of view more than a year too late.[29]. Much modified B.E.2d in Belgian service, with Hispano engine, synchronised Vickers gun, improvised gun mounts and gravity tank originally located under top wing removed. Daylight raids by heavier-than-air bombers were also planned.[50]. 8416, of the RNAS, powered by a 90-hp Curtiss OX-5 engine, on the ground, c.1916. A B.E.2c at the Imperial War Museum in London. [citation needed]. The B.E.2c itself was badly damaged in a crash in the United States in 1977 but Boddington's son Matthew returned it to flying condition in 2011. The early models of the B.E. Early production B.E.2a: note lack of decking between cockpits and the unequal span wings. The performance of the B.E.2 was inadequate to intercept the Gotha bombers of 1917, but the techniques it pioneered were used by the later night fighters. Largest collection of Luftwaffe pilot data in the world. [33], During this time, multiple long-distance flights were conducted using individual B.E.2s, especially by personnel of No. This was considered desirable to allow the crew's full attention to be devoted to reconnaissance duties. Many B.E.2c and B.E.2d aircraft still under construction when the new model entered production were completed with B.E.2e wings - to rationalise the supply of spare parts these aircraft were officially designated as the "B.E.2f" and "B.E.2g". [9] These differed from B.E.1 and B.E.2 in having a revised fuel system, in which the streamlined gravity tank below the centre section of the wing was moved to a position behind the engine. A B.E.2a of No.2 Squadron RFC was the first aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps to arrive in France after the start of the First World War, on 26 August 1914. This page was last edited on 21 December 2020, at 14:08. The B.E.1 was a two-bay tractor biplane – it had parallel-chord unstaggered wings with rounded ends, using wing warping for roll control. A B.E.2a of No.2 Squadron was the first aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps to arrive in France after the start of the First World War, on 26 August 1914. The main fuel tank remained under the observer's seat. The wings were of unequal span: upper wingspan was 36 feet 7 1⁄2 inches (11.16 m) and lower 34 feet 11 1⁄2 inches (10.66 m). The B.E.2f restoration utilises an original RAF1A V8 powerplant, and made its debut at the Classic Fighters Omaka airshow in April, 2009. Royal Aircraft Factory Be2 at The Shuttleworth Collection Military Pageant 2018 © 2018 Andrew Lloyd - All Rights Reserved At that time the numbers allocated are more properly regarded as constructors numbers rather than type designations. On 19 May 1917, six pilots, newly arrived in France and still to be allocated to a squadron, were each given a new B.E.2e to ferry between RFC depots at St Omer and Candas. Following its belated withdrawal from operations, the type served in various second-line capacities, seeing use as a trainer and communications aircraft, as well as performing anti-submarine coastal patrol duties. Policy regarding armament, more aggressive crews improvised their own limited use other... With rounded ends, using wing warping for roll control brought into service while at least one pair B.E. An effective forward-firing armament companies, both established aircraft manufacturers and firms had... 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