Bristol Scout D

Bristol Scout D
Bristol Scout D

One of the first aircraft produced in large numbers for Britain was the Bristol Scout. Based upon Frank Barnwell’s pre-war racing plane, it was considered fast and maneuverable when it entered service.

The Scout was the first attempt by the Royal Flying Corps to develop a true fighter. Initially unarmed, Lanoe Hawker devised a method for mounting a Lewis gun to the side of the aircraft. In March 1916, the Scout D became the first British fighter to be armed with a synchronized machine gun. Soon outdated by more efficient designs, it was withdrawn from service in the summer of 1916 and used as a trainer.

Bristol Scout D
  • Type: Fighter
  • Manufacturer: British & Colonial Aeroplane Company, Ltd.
  • Entered Service: November 1915
  • Number Built: 210
  • Powerplant: Le Rhône9C rotary 80 hp (60 kW)
  • Wing Span: 24 ft 7 in (7.49 m)
  • Length: 20 ft 8 in (6.3 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 6 in (2.6 m)
  • Empty Weight: 760 lbs (345 kg)
  • Loaded Weight: 1,250 lb (567 kg)
  • Maximum Speed: 100 mph {161 km/h at sea level)
  • Service Ceiling: 16,000 ft (4,877 m)
  • Endurance: 2 hours
  • Crew: 1
  • Armament: 1 Vickers or 0.303 in (7.7 mm) drum-fed Lewis gun


  1. From WikipediaBristol Scout, ""
  2. Bruce, J.M. "The Bristol Scouts" (Windsock Datafile No.44). Berkhamsted, Herts, UK: Albatros Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-948414-59-6.

De Havilland D.H.2

Airco D.H.2 - 1915
De Havilland D.H.2

The D.H.2 biplane was Geoffrey de Havilland’s second design for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company. This highly successful pusher had good maneuverability with an excellent rate of climb. Mounting the engine to the rear of the fuselage permitted the use of a fixed, forward-firing machine gun before the advent of the synchronous machine gun.

Superior to the Fokker E.III, the D.H.2 helped end the "Fokker Scourge." Well past its prime and almost two years after its introduction, some squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps were still equipped with D.H.2s.

De Havilland D.H.2
  • Type: Fighter
  • Entered Service: 1915
  • Number Built: 400
  • Powerplant: Gnôme Monosoupape, 9 cylinder, rotary, 100 hp (75 kW)
  • Wing Span: 28 ft 3 in (8.61m)
  • Length: 25 ft 2.5 in (7.68m)
  • Height: 9 ft 6.5 in (2.91m)
  • Loaded Weight: 1,441lb (653.6kg)
  • Maximum Speed: 93 mph (150 km/h)
  • Service Ceiling: 14,000 ft (4,267 m)
  • Endurance: 2 hrs 45 mins
  • Crew: 1
  • Armament: 1× 0.303 in (7.7 mm) drum-fed Lewis gun


  1. From Wikipedia Airco DH.2, ""
  2. Bruce, J.M. "Warplanes of the First World War – Fighters Volume One". London: MacDonald & Co., 1965.
  3. Cheesman, E.F., ed. "Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War". Herts, UK: Harleyford, 1960.
  4. Goulding, James. Interceptor: RAF "Single Seat Multi-Gun Fighters". London: Ian Allen Ltd., 1986. ISBN 0-7110-1583-X.
  5. Jackson, A.J. "De Havilland Aircraft since 1909". London: Putnam, Third edition, 1987. ISBN 0 85177 802 X.
  6. Mason, Francis K. "The British Fighter since 1912". Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.
  7. Raleigh, Walter. "The War In The Air: Being the Story of the part played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force, Vol I". Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, First edition 1922, 2002 (reprint). ISBN 978-1843424123.
  8. Sharpe, Michael. "Biplanes, Triplanes, and Seaplanes". London: Friedman/Fairfax Books, 2000. ISBN 1-58663-300-7.

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12

RAF BE.12 - 1915
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 was a British single-seat aeroplane of The First World War designed at the Royal Aircraft Factory .

The B.E.12 was essentially a B.E.2c with the front (observer’s) cockpit replaced by a large fuel tank, and the 90hp RAF 1 engine of the standard B.E.2c replaced by the new 150 hp RAF 4. Aviation historians once considered the type a failed attempt to create a fighter aircraft based on the B.E.2 – that was improvised and rushed into service to meet the Fokker threat. Many writers perpetuate this view or something like it. J.M. Bruce, in Warplanes of the First World War (MacDonald, 1968 ISBN 035601473 8) has pointed out that this is simplistic at best and doesn’t fit historically.

The prototype (a modified B.E.2c airframe fitted with the more powerful 150hp (112 kW) RAF 4a air-cooled V12 engine) was already in the process of conversion in June 1915, while the Fokker scourge cannot be said to have started before the first victory by a Fokker E.I on the 1st of August, when Max Immelmann shot down a British aircraft that was bombing Douai aerodrome. At the time the B.E.12 was conceived the necessity for an aeroplane to defend itself was by no means as clear as it became later. Certainly the new type cannot have been produced specifically as an "answer" to the Fokker.

In mid-1915 there was no way for a British single seat tractor aircraft to carry a forward firing armament as the Vickers-Challenger "interrupter" gear did not exist until December and was not available in numbers until the following March. The latest Royal Aircraft Factory single seat fighter of the time, the F.E.8, was a nimble little pusher.
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Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12
  • Type: General purpose aircraft/Fighter
  • Manufacturer: Royal Aircraft Factory, Various
  • First flight: July 28 1915
  • Introduced: August 1, 1916
  • Primary user: Royal Flying Corps
  • Number built: 601
  • Variants:
    • B.E.12: Initial production version powered by a RAF 4a engine – basically a B.E.2c conversion (250 built by Daimler, 50 built by Standard Motors)
    • B.E.12a: With the wings and tail unit of the B.E.2e (50 built by Daimler, 50 built by Coventry Ordnance Works)
    • B.E.12b: Re-engined version powered by a 200hp (149 Kw) Hispano-Suiza engine (200 built by Daimler)
  • Powerplant: 1× RAF-4a air-cooled V12 engine, 150 hp (112 kW)
  • Wingspan: 37 ft 0 in (11.28 m)
  • Wing area: 371 ft² (34.47 m²)
  • Length: 27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 1½ in (3.39 m)
  • Empty weight: 1,635 lb (743 kg)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 2,352 lb (1,069 kg)
  • Maximum speed: 102 mph (89 knots, 164 km/h) at sea level
  • Service ceiling: 12,500 ft (3,810 m)
  • Endurance: 3 hours
  • Climb to: 5,000 ft (1,500 m): 11 minutes
  • Crew: One
  • Armament:
    • Guns: 1× 0.303 in (7.7 mm) synchronised Vickers machine gun- some aircraft carried various arrangements of rearward firing Lewis guns.
    • Bombs: up to 336 lb (150 kg) bombs


  1. Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12. (2010, September 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:55, October 24, 2010, from;=382436860
  2. British Aircraft Directory
  3. Bruce, J.M. (1968). War Planes of the First World War:Volume Two Fighters. London: Macdonald. ISBN 0 356 01473 8.
  4. Bruce, J.M. (1982). The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing). London: Putnam. ISBN 0 370 30084 x.
  5. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.