The Armstrong Whitworth Ara was an unsuccessful British single-seat biplane fighter aircraft of the First World War built by Armstrong Whitworth.
In early 1918, the British Air Ministry wrote RAF Specification Type 1 for a single-seat fighter to replace the Sopwith Snipe. The specified engine was the ABC Dragonfly, a new radial engine which had been ordered into productioon based on promised performance before any testing had been carried out. To meet this specification, Armstong Whitworth's chief designer, Fred Murphy, produced the Armstrong Whitworth Ara, three prototypes being ordered.
The Ara was a two-bay biplane. It had a square fuselage, the engine was covered in a pointed cowling, but with the cylinder heads exposed. The upper wing was low to give the pilot a better upwards view.
As with the other fighters built to meet the Type 1 specification, the Dragonfly engine proved to be the Ara's undoing, demonstrating hopeless reliability. Two of the three prototypes were completed, the first flying in mid-1919. The Ara was abandoned towards the end of the year when Armstong Whitworth closed down its aircraft department.
The Armstrong Whitworth Armadillo was a British single-seat biplane fighter aircraft built by Armstrong Whitworth. The aircraft was a two-bay biplane with a square section fuselage. The engine in the nose was enclosed by a circular cowl with a deep hump above the cowl housing twin 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns.
The Armadillo was designed in early 1918 by Fred Murphy, who had succeeded F Koolhoven as chief designer to Armstrong Whitworth. The F.M.4 Armadillo was developed as a private venture single-seat fighter. The aircraft was powered by a Bentley BR2 rotary engine. The development program began construction of two prototypes.
By the time the Armadillo appeared, in summer 1918, the Sopwith Snipe had already entered large scale production. The Snipe's performance avantage wone out and the Armadillo was abandoned. The project was canceled leaving the second prototype uncompleted.
The Austin A.F.T.3 Osprey was a prototype British fighter triplane of the First World War. Developed by the motor car manufacturer Austin as a replacement to the Sopwith Camel, only one was built, the Sopwith Snipe being preferred.
In 1917, Britain's War Office issued Specification A.1.A for a single seat fighter to replace the Sopwith Camel. To meet this requirement, the Austin Motor Company, already a large scale manufacturer of aircraft, produced a design for a single-engined triplane, the A.F.T.3 Osprey. receiving a licence to build three prototypes as a private venture.
The Osprey was of conventional wood and fabric construction, with single-bay triplane wings. It was powered by a Bentley BR2 rotary engine, and featured the required armament of two Vickers machine guns and a single Lewis gun. The synchronised Vickers guns were mounted ahead of the pilot, while the Lewis gun was mounted on a movable mounting on the centre section of the middle wing, where it had a very limited field of fire, with the large diameter propellor blocking any forward fire.
The first Osprey flew in February 1918, being tested at Martlesham Heath in March. It was heavier than expected, and its performance was inferior to Sopwith's Snipe. When the Snipe was selected as the winner of the competition for the new fighter, Austin abandoned development of the Osprey, with the second and third prototypes not completed. The first prototype was briefly used for trials at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough until at least June 1918.
The Avro 531 Spider was a British fighter aircraft built by Avro during the First World War. It did not proceed past the prototype stage.
An unsponsored private-venture single-seat fighter designed by Roy Chadwick and flown for the first time in April 1918, the Spider made use of a number of Avro 504 components and had a fabric-covered wooden structure with a system of Warren-girder steel-tube interplane struts.
The upper wing was mounted close to the fuselage and directly above the cockpit. In its original form, the Spider was powered by a 110hp Le Rhone 9J nine-cylinder rotary engine, and proved to possess exceptional manoeuvrability, but overall performance was not sufficiently in advance of the contemporary Sopwith Camel to warrant quantity production. Armament comprised one fixed synchronised 7.7mm Vickers machine gun, and a 130hp Clerget 9B rotary was later fitted.
The Spider was a sesquiplane with a largely conventional configuration, but it used Warren truss-type interplane struts, hence the appellation "Spider". In tests, the aircraft demonstrated exceptional performance, handling, and pilot visibility. By the time it flew, the War Office had already selected the Sopwith Snipe for mass production.
A second, refined version, the 531A was apparently never completed, but some of its components seem to have been used to build a derivative design, the 538. This had standard interplane struts and was intended as a racing aircraft. It was never used for this purpose, however, since it was discovered that it had a faulty wing spar, so the Avro firm used it as a hack instead.
The BAT F.K.23 Bantam was a British single-seat fighter biplane produced by British Aerial Transport Company Limited of London during World War I.
Frederick Koolhoven's first design for the British Aerial Transport Company (BAT) was the F.K.22 single-seat fighter. It was a two-bay biplane of wooden construction. It was planned to have a 120hp (90 kW) A.B.C Mosquito radial engine but the failure of this engine led to the installation of the 170hp (127kW) A.B.C.Wasp I in the first and third aircraft. The second machine was fitted with a 100hp (75kW) Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine and was the first to fly at Martlesham Heath in January 1918.
The original contract called for six development aircraft but three aircraft were built as the F.K.23 Bantam I, the second prototype then being renamed the Bantam II. The Bantam I was the same wooden structure but was slightly smaller. Two further prototypes of the larger design were also built followed by at least 9 development aircraft. One aircraft was delivered to the Royal Aircraft Establishment on 26 July 1918, one was delivered to the French at Villacoublay and a further aircraft to the United States Army Air Corps at Wright Field in 1922.
The production Bantam had to be modified due to unsatisfactory spin characteristics of the prototypes. Continuous engine problems and downsizing of the Royal Air Force were factors in no more orders for the Bantam. Koolhoven returned to Netherlands with one aircraft where it was re-engined with a 200hp (149kW) Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial engine. Several examples were operated as civil racing aircraft.
A side-by-side two-seat aerobatic and racing version was developed as the F.K.27 but only one was built.
The armored attack aircraft (Armored Experimental). The first prototype, Spring 1918. The airplane was built with RAF FE.9 fighters components. Three prototypes were built.
The Sopwith Buffalo was a British armored fighter/reconnaissance aircraft of the First World War. A single-engined biplane, two examples of the Buffalo were built by Sopwith to carry out reconnaissance missions low over the trenches while protected against machine-gun fire from the ground, but no production followed, with the end of the war removing the need for such an aircraft.
In July 1918, the British Air Ministry requested Sopwith, who was already building the Sopwith Salamander armored single-seat ground attack fighter, to build an armored two-seat aircraft to carry out the dangerous contact patrol mission. This mission involved flying at low altitude over the battlefield to locate and keep in contact with attacking forces, therefore keeping commanders in touch with the progress of the battle. This exposed aircraft carrying out such missions to heavy small arms fire from enemy trenches, resulting in heavy casualties.
Sopwith's design, the 3F.2 Buffalo, was a single-engined tractor biplane, with its two-bay wooden wings taken from Sopwith's earlier Bulldog fighter. Like the Salamander, the forward fuselage was made out of armor plate, weighing about 750 lb (340 kg), with the bottom of the fuselage 0.315 in (8 mm) thick, with the sides and front of 0.179 in (5 mm) plate. The armored box reached back to the observer's cockpit, protecting the crew together with the fuel tanks and pipes, the carburettor and the magnetos.
The first prototype flew on 19 September 1918, flying to France for evaluation in the field on 27 September. The second prototype, which had its armor extended further aft, flew in October. While tests showed that the Buffalo had good performance, and promised to be an excellent contact patrol aircraft, the end of the war ended plans for large scale production. The two prototypes were sent to No. 43 Squadron, serving with the British Army of Occupation at Bickendorf near Cologne, Germany, but were quickly damaged in crashes.
The Sopwith 2FR.2 Bulldog was a prototype British two-seat fighter of the First World War. A single-engined biplane, the Bulldog was a fighter/reconnaissance aircraft intended to replace the Bristol F.2 Fighter, but was unsuccessful, with no replacement for the Bristol Fighter being purchased.
In August 1917, the Sopwith Aviation Company started design of a two-seat fighter reconnaissance aircraft intended to replace the Bristol F.2 Fighter, and received permission to build prototypes of the Sopwith FR.2. It was intended to power the FR.2 with a 200 hp (149 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8 water-cooled V-8 engine, but the Hispano was in great demand, and it was decided to switch to the new Clerget 11, an eleven-cylinder rotary engine, a change which led to the prospective design being redesignated 2FR.2.
The Bulldog was a compact single-bay biplane resembling the first prototype Sopwith Snipe single-seat fighter. The pilot sat under the upper wing, with his head and shoulders protruding through a large gap in the centre section, while the observer's cockpit was aft of the trailing edge of the upper wing. Armament was two synchronised Vickers machine guns in a hump ahead of the pilot, while the observer/gunner was provided with two Lewis guns, one on a telescopic mounting forward of the observer's cockpit, and the second on a pillar mounting to give rearward defence.
The first prototype appeared early in 1918, but it was overweight and handled poorly. It was quickly rebuilt with much larger two-bay wings, which improved the handling, but the prototype's performance remained disappointing, not even matching that of the aircraft it was intended to replace. The poor performance was in part due to the Clerget engine's failure to provide the expected power, producing only 200 hp (149 kW) instead of the expected 260 hp (194 kW). The second prototype was fitted with a 360 hp (267 kW) ABC Dragonfly radial engine, becoming the Bulldog Mk.II, with the first prototype becoming the Bulldog Mk.I. However, although the Dragonfly gave much more power than the Clerget, it was hopelessly unreliable, with one test pilot stating that "... I never remember being able to get all cylinders to fire at the same time" and "I don't remember that we got a single successful performance with the engine."
Work on a third prototype was abandoned because of the failure of the first two aircraft, although the second prototype continued in use until at least March 1919 carrying out test flights in futile attempts to solve the problems of the Dragonfly.
The Sopwith Swallow single-seat fighter monoplane was basicly an F.1 Camel fuselage built by Boulton & Paul, which Harry Hawker mated with a parasol wing. The Swallow was powered by a 110hp (82 kW) Le Rhone 9J air-cooled nine-cylinder rotary engine and carried the standard armament of twin 0.303 in (7.7 mm) fixed forward-firing, synchronised Vickers machine guns.
Flown for the first time in September 1918, the Swallow (serial number B9276) was delivered to Martlesham Heath for official trials by the RFC on October 29, 1918, remaining there until May 1919. The prototype had several fuel system problems which delayed the trials until after the war ended. The lackluter performance of the Swallow during the trails at Martlesham convinced the Royal Flying Corps that the design did not warrant further development, and the prototype was scrapped.
The Westland Wagtail was a prototype British Fighter aircraft of the First World War. A single engined tractor biplane, the Wagtail was a failure owing to the unreliability of its engine, only five being built.
The Westland Wagtail was designed by Westland Aircraft of Yeovil in 1917 to meet the Royal Air Force Specification IA for a light fighter with superior performance to the Sopwith Camel. Westland's design team, lead by Robert Bruce, the Company's manager and Arthur Davenport, Chief Draughtsman, came up with a design for a small single bay biplane, powered (like the other competitors for the Specification, the BAT Bantam and the Sopwith Snail) by the 170 hp (127 kW) ABC Wasp radial engine. The Wagtail was of conventional wood and fabric construction, with the upper wing centre-section having a large cut-out to improve the pilot's view, and carrying an armament of two Vickers machine guns mounted over the nose.
An order for six prototypes was placed in February 1918, (although the last two were later cancelled) with the first airframe being used for structural tests and not flown. Delays in delivery of engines delayed flight testing of the Wagtail, with the first to fly, serial number C4291, flying in April 1918, two months after the airframe was complete. Testing showed that handling of the Wagtail was good, but also quickly showed that the Wasp was unreliable. Although the Wagtail proved the best of the three Wasp engined fighters tested, the Wasp was officially abandoned in October 1918, which together with the end of the war on 11 November, resulted in it not being adopted as a fighter.
Despite this, two further Wagtails were ordered in 1920, as testbeds for the new 150 hp (112 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial. These two aircraft, which had a shorter nose to compensate for the heavier engine, were delivered in 1921 and remained in use until August 1922.