The B.E.2d was a dual control version of the "c" variant: provided with full controls in the front cockpit as well as in the rear. The early models of the B.E. High degree of reader involvement in supplying information. B.E.2 was almost identical to the B.E.1, differing principally in being powered by a 60 hp (45 kW) air-cooled Renault V-8 engine and in having equal-span wings. 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. Later aircraft added decking between the pilot's and observer's seats. Although by now obsolete, it had to remain on the front line while suitable replacements were designed, tested and brought into service. [33] On 22 May 1913, Captain Longcroft flew his aircraft from Farnborough Airport to Montrose Aerodrome, covering the 550 mile distance in ten hours, 55 minutes, with two intermediary stops. [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. Lewis, Cecil. 2 was built in 1915 by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company Limited and served with No. description Object description. This was not an isolated victory: five more German airships were destroyed by Home Defence B.E.2c interceptors between October and December 1916. Believed to be the first RAF aircraft to land in France in 1914 in support of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) the BE2a was the subject of a number of experiments and was markedly different to the BE1 and BE2. English: The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 models a-f included a range of early British military reconnaissance aircraft up to and including World War I. These were designated according to a system devised by O'Gorman which classified aircraft by their layout: B.E. [11] 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. 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. [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. The Royal aircraft Factory B.E.2-page contains all related products, articles, books, walkarounds and plastic scale modeling projects dedicated to this aircraft. The UK's latest reproduction was built at Boscombe Down, Wilts, and completed around 2008. On the other hand, photographs of B.E.2ds supplied to Belgium make it clear that not only were these re-engined with Hispano engines, but at least some of them had the pilot and observer's seating positions reversed, giving the latter a much better field of fire for his gun(s). Early versions of the B.E.2 entered squadron service with the Royal Flying Corps in 1912; the type continued to serve throughout the First World War. Subsequent Royal Aircraft Factory type designations are inconsistent and confusing. One crashed in transit, three crashed on landing and one went missing (the pilot was killed). B.E.2b which followed had revised cockpit coamings, affording better protection to the crew. These modifications were retrofitted to the majority of the remaining earlier production aircraft. 7 Squadron RFC from 1916 to 1917. A suitable engine was not available in sufficient quantities to replace the aircooled Renault - the RAF 1 being essentially just a higher-revving version of the French engine, so that the improvement in the B.E.2c's performance was less than startling. Most B.E.2ds were used as trainers, but a few supplied to Belgium were used operationally. 8416, of the RNAS, powered by a 90-hp Curtiss OX-5 engine, on the ground, c.1916. Squadron. 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. The numbers allocated to early Royal Aircraft Factory prototypes are more properly regarded as constructor's numbers than as type designations. Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 on Suurbritannias lennukiehitusettevõttes Royal Aircraft Factory konstruktor Geoffrey de Havillandi poolt enne esimest maailmasõda loodud ja sõjas laialdast kasutust leidnud kahepinnaline puitkonstruktsiooniga sõjalennuk. B.E.2 was flown extensively at the Military Aeroplane Competition held on Salisbury Plain in August 1912. 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. types were biplanes rather than the monoplanes typical of the Bleriot company). Other prototypes of the production B.E.2 series included the B.E.5 and the B.E.6, essentially only differing from the B.E.2 in the powerplant installed. [5] The layout of these aircraft came to be seen as conventional, but when it first appeared this was not the case. The B.E.2 was one of the first aircraft designed by what was then called the Royal Balloon Factory (renamed the Royal Aircraft Factory in 1912) under the direction of Mervyn O'Gorman. [51], As early as 1914, some B.E.2as went to Australia, where they served as trainer aircraft for the nascent Australian Flying Corps at Point Cook, Victoria. The 2,500 mi (4,000 km) journey, made between 16 November and 12 December 1919, involved a combined 46 hours of flying time. Some of the Belgian B.E.2cs were similarly modified, while at least one was fitted with a Scarff ring over the rear cockpit. Developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory, the grapnel consisted of a two-inch long hollow steel shaft packed with an explosive charge and fitted with a sharp four-sided nose and metal plates that acted as fins; this would have been attached to a winch-mounted cable and carried by a single B.E.2. [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. Gerdessen, Frits. [4] Later, the Wolseley was replaced by an a 60 hp (45 kW) air-cooled Renault.[6], The B.E.2 was not so called because it was considered a separate type. [61], Volunteers at Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, Angus, Scotland have built a full-size replica B.E.2a (No.471) from original plans and it is now on display. stood for Blériot Experimental, and was used for aircraft of tractor configuration. Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5-Wikipedia [2], At first, the activities of the Factory were limited to the conduct of research into aerodynamics and aircraft design and the construction or design of actual aircraft was not officially sanctioned. A sprung tailskid was fitted, while the wings were also protected by semicircular skids located beneath the lower wings. A B.E.2c at the Imperial War Museum in London. Ailerons replaced the wing warping of the earlier models, and a triangular fin was fitted to the rudder. [6] [35] The surviving examples continued in use for submarine spotting and as trainers throughout the rest of the conflict. To rationalise the supply of spare parts these aircraft were officially designated as the "B.E.2f" and "B.E.2g". From 1917 onwards, the B.E.2 was mostly withdrawn from both the front line and night fighter use. During 1916, the "c" began to be superseded by the final version, the B.E.2e. 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. At that time the numbers allocated are more properly regarded as constructors numbers rather than type designations. There was no fixed vertical fin. 2 had already served in the RFC for two years prior to the outbreak of the Great War, and were among the aircraft that arrived with the British Expeditionary Force in France during 1914. Nonetheless, the B.E.2s were already in use as light bombers as well as for visual reconnaissance; an attack on Courtrai Railway station on 26 April 1915 earning a posthumous Victoria Cross for 2nd Lt. William Rhodes-Moorhouse, the first such award to be made for an aerial operation. It was piloted by Captain H. N. Wrigley, accompanied by Sergeant A. W. Murphy. 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. [10], It was first flown by de Havilland on 4 December 1911. It was not allowed to formally compete in the trials since O'Gorman was one of the judges, but its performance was clearly superior to most of the aircraft competing: on 12 August 1912, the B.E.2 established a new British altitude record of 10,560 ft (3,219 m), while being flown by de Havilland and with Major F. H. Sykes on board as a passenger. This page was last edited on 21 December 2020, at 14:08. This arrangement was adopted so that the aircraft could be flown "solo" without affecting the aircraft's centre of gravity. This was considered desirable to allow the crew's full attention to be devoted to reconnaissance duties. Most production aircraft were constructed under contract by various private companies, both established aircraft manufacturers and firms that had not previously built aircraft. Object details Category Photographs Related period First World War (content) Catalogue number HU 67934 Part of RACKHAM D L … The B.E.2f restoration utilises an original RAF1A V8 powerplant, and made its debut at the Classic Fighters Omaka airshow in April, 2009. By late 1915, the B.E.2 was proving inadequate in defending itself against German fighters such as the then-new Fokker Eindecker, leading to increased losses during the period known as the Fokker Scourge. It had been planned that by this time B.E.2s in front-line service would have been replaced by Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8s and Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8s, but delivery of these types was initially slower than hoped. On later machines, the fin was enlarged to reduce the aircraft's tendency to swing on take-off and to improve spin recovery.[25]. 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). was degraded by any additional weight, and in any case the carriage of this weaponry proved of questionable effectiveness. 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]. 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. Initially used as front-line reconnaissance aircraft and light bombers; … Like all early R.A.F. Early production B.E.2a: note lack of decking between cockpits and the unequal span wings. development. 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. 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. Most production aircraft were constructed under contract by various private companies, both established aircraft manufacturers and firms that had not previously built aircraft. [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. The production was cancelled, and Boddington was killed the following year in an air crash during filming of the movie Von Richthofen & Brown. [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. [17], The B.E.2b which followed the original production standard benefitted from various improvements. B.E.2f serial A1325 has been restored to airworthiness by The Vintage Aviator Ltd in New Zealand,[22] with a B.E.2f reproduction and two reproduction B.E.2cs also well underway by the same firm. The observer, often not carried because of the B.E. An incident illustrating both the poor level of piloting skills with which new RFC pilots were sent to France in 1917 and the level of popularity of the B.E.2e on the Western Front at that time is recorded by Arthur Gould Lee, then a young RFC novice, in his book No Parachute. [10] Relatively large orders were placed for the new version, with deliveries of production aircraft starting in December 1914. 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. In spite of the type's rather unresponsive controls, it was capable of executing comprehensive (if somewhat stately) aerobatics, and was by no means a bad trainer. [18], The designation B.E.2a was assigned to the first production aircraft. British ace Albert Ball described the B.E.2c as "a bloody awful aeroplane". In practice the pilot of a B.E.2c handled 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 tailplane was also completely new, and a triangular fin was fitted to the rudder. 38-40, Corgi Edition, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2014, Articles incorporating text from Wikipedia, 1910s British military reconnaissance aircraft, Norwegian Armed Forces Aircraft Collection, List of aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps, http://books.google.com/books?ei=AmelTY70DceYOuf1rc0J&ct=result&id=3vzyAAAAMAAJ&dq=B.E.2+first+night+fighter&q=%22first+night+fighter%22#search_anchor, http://books.google.com/books?id=dwf57uOIU5kC&lpg=PA110&dq=%223%20September%201916%22%20robinson&pg=PA110#v=onepage&q&f=false, http://thevintageaviator.co.nz/projects/be2, The B.E.2 Series: Historic Military Aircraft No.7, Part 1, The B.E.2 Series: Historic Military Aircraft No.7,Part 2, Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops, https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Royal_Aircraft_Factory_B.E.2?oldid=4789852, Reconnaissance, light bomber, night fighter, trainer, coastal patrol aircraft, Coastal Air Stations at Eastbourne, Hornsea, Great Yarmouth, Port Victoria, Redcar and Scarborough, Training schools at Chingford and Cranwell. [3][38] By this time, prewar aircraft were already disappearing from RFC service. The essential vulnerability of the B.E.2c to fighter attack became plain in late 1915, with the advent of theFokker Eindecker. [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. [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. The c began to be superseded by the final version, the B.E.2e in 1916. Gerdessen, Frits. Vznik. Large databases covering many countries. 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. In mid 1912 orders were placed with the Royal Aircraft Factory and private contractors for small batches of designs deemed to have potential, and these included the B.E.2. [46] At least one pair of B.E.2s were among the aircraft dispatched with No 3 Squadron for use in the Gallipoli Campaign. This situation culminated in what became known as "Bloody April", with the RFC losing 60 B.E.2s during that month.[17]. 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. 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. ", "It was decided by members of BDAC to build a full scale replica of the first aircraft to land on Boscombe Down Airfield", "A replica of the first British plane to land in France during the First World War has been unveiled at Montrose Air Station Heritage Museum", "AFC Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c & B.E.2e", "Aircraft of Central Flying School 1909–1918", The B.E.2 Series: Historic Military Aircraft No.7, Part 1, The B.E.2 Series: Historic Military Aircraft No.7,Part 2, "Further Notes on Full-Scale Experiments", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Royal_Aircraft_Factory_B.E.2&oldid=995520378, 1910s British military reconnaissance aircraft, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Reconnaissance, light bomber, night fighter, trainer, coastal patrol aircraft, Coastal Air Stations at Eastbourne, Hornsea, Great Yarmouth, Port Victoria, Redcar and Scarborough, Training schools at Chingford and Cranwell, 3,500 ft (1,067 m) in 6 minutes 30 seconds, 10,000 ft (3,048 m) in 45 minutes 15 seconds. [note 1]. Certainly, it had a worse climb than the B.E.2c and, strangely, re­verted to the outmoded back-to­-front seating design, hence seriously restricting the use that the observer could make of the defens­ive MG. 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. On the night of 2–3 September 1916, a single B.E.2c was credited with the downing of SL 11, the first German airship to be shot down over Britain after over a year of night raids. One crashed in transit, three crashed on landing and one went missing (the pilot was killed). These were designated according to a system devised by O'Gorman which classified aircraft by their layout: B.E. aircraft the B.E.2 was officially a modified and repaired version of either the S.E.1 or a damaged Breguet aircraft that had been sent to the factory for repairs. An exact breakdown between the different models has never been produced, if only because so many B.E.2s were completed as later models than originally ordered. 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. Like most other prewar types they were relegated to second line duties as quickly as the supply of more modern replacements permitted. [9], The aircraft's tail surfaces consisted of a half-oval horizontal stabiliser with a split elevator mounted above the upper longerons and an ovoid rudder hinged to the sternpost; there was no fixed vertical fin. Sandbag loading tests revealed that the safety margin of the rear spar was somewhat less than that of the front; to remedy this, a revised wing was designed with a deeper rear spar, and consequently a different aerofoil section. On 19 August 1913, Longcroft repeated this trip using a B.E.2 outfitted with an additional fuel tank, lowering the journey time to seven hours, 40 minutes with only one stop midway. By the spring of 1917, however, conditions on the Western Front had changed again, with the German fighter squadrons re-equipped with better fighters such as the Albatros D.III. A short decking was also fitted to the fuselage directly behind the engine which offered protection to th… From the B.E.2c variant on it had been carefully adapted to be "inherently stable"; this feature was considered helpful in its artillery observation and aerial photography duties, most of which were assigned to the pilot, who was able to fly without constant attention to his flight controls. The tail surfaces consisted of a half-oval horizontal stabiliser with a split elevator mounted above the upper longerons and an ovoid rudder hinged to the sternpost. 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. [17] These differed from preceding B.E.1 and B.E.2 in possessing 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. At the outbreak of war these early B.E.2s formed part of the equipment of the first three squadrons of the RFC to be sent to France. The first production order was place with Vickers and shortly afterwards a second order was placed with the Bristol Aeroplane Company. 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. [33], During this time, multiple long-distance flights were conducted using individual B.E.2s, especially by personnel of No. 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. The Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2c was built in the early summer of 1914, intended mainly as a reconnaissance aircraft. 59.000+ plastic modelers use us. 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. O'Gorman got around this restriction by using the factory's responsibility for the repair and maintenance of aircraft belonging to the Royal Flying Corps; existing aircraft that needed major repairs were nominally reconstructed but often actually transformed into new designs, which generally retained few original elements apart from the engine. The ailerons, on upper and lower wings, were joined by light struts. [22] Some aircraft ordered as B.E.2bs were completed as B.E.2cs, and others were built with some of the B.E.2c modifications, such as sump cowlings and "V" undercarriages. 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, in the absence of any actual experience of the use of aircraft in warfare. 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