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. [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. 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. [16][17], Several other prototypes of the production B.E.2 series were produced, including the B.E.5 and the B.E.6. The tailplane was again a new unit – being smaller than that of the B.E.2c and d – and the larger, quadrant shaped vertical fin of the late B.E.2c became standard. Royal Aircraft Factory Be2 at The Shuttleworth Collection Military Pageant 2018 © 2018 Andrew Lloyd - All Rights Reserved 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. 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 B.E.2a designation first appeared on a drawing dated 20 February 1912, which showed an aircraft with unequal span wings with slight dihedral. Unfortunately, in this case the stability was coupled with "heavy" controls and relatively poor manoeuvrability. This was considered desirable to allow the crew's full attention to be devoted to reconnaissance duties. 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. This was fitted to later production aircraft, and retrofitted to earlier production aircraft. [46] It was intended for the fighter to approach a Zeppelin from above, after which the grapnel would be dropped and appropriate manoeuvring employed to strike the surface of the Zeppelin with it: it then would bury itself and explode, causing ignition of the airship's hydrogen gas. 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. 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. Despite a tendency to swing on takeoff and a reputation for spinning, the type had a relatively low accident rate. 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. [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. 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. [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. [13] It first flew on 1 February 1912, again with de Havilland as the test pilot. The main fuel tank remained under the observer's seat. This variant was again distinguished by completely new wings, braced by a single pair of interplane struts per side (as a "single-bay" biplane), and a set of shorter wingspan lower wing panels. [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". 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. 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 new tactic proved very effective. The 2,500 mi (4,000 km) journey, made between 16 November and 12 December 1919, involved a combined 46 hours of flying time. description Object description. The surviving examples continued in use for submarine spotting and as trainers for the rest of the war. 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 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. The ailerons, on upper and lower wings, were joined by light struts. Behind the pilot a curved top decking extended aft to the tail. Early model B.E.2c, with Renault engine, skid undercarriage, no cowling on sump, no cut-out in upper centre section, Operational B.E.2c with RAF 1a engine, "V" undercarriage, streamlined cowling on sump, and cut-out in upper centre section to improve field of fire for gunner. squadron signal be2 in action ww1 rfc raf biplane royal aircraft factory. At least one B.E.2 was dispatched to Egypt to reinforce friendly forces fighting in the Eastern Mediterranean; on 16 April 1915, this aircraft participated in the bombing of El Murra. [20] This won the pilot, Captain William Leefe Robinson, a Victoria Cross and cash prizes totalling £3,500 put up by a number of individuals. The B.E.2 designation was formulated in accordance with the system devised by O'Gorman, which classified aircraft by their layout: B.E. When bombs were to be carried or maximum endurance was required the observer had to be left behind,[12] so it was still necessary to have him sit over the centre of gravity, in front of the pilot. [53], From 1917 onwards, the B.E.2 was generally withdrawn from both the front line and night fighter use. 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. 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. 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. 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. Letoun B.E.2 vznikl jako první stroj navržený ve firmě Royal Balloon Factory (přejmenované na Royal Aircraft Factory v roce 1912). 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. stood for Blériot Experimental, and was used for aircraft of tractor configuration (although in practice, all of the B.E. While the majority of operational B.E.2s served on the Western Front, the type also saw limited use in other overseas theatres. 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. [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. (Chapter II, The Somme), Corgi Edition, 1936, pp. [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 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. Vznik. Like many warplanes since, the B.E.2 was retained in front line service after it had become obsolete, for want of a suitable replacement. Most production aircraft were constructed under contract by various private companies, both established aircraft manufacturers and firms that had not previously built aircraft. About 3,500 were built. [23] Relatively large orders were placed for the new version, with deliveries of production aircraft starting in December 1914. [46] In a similar fashion, the type also was adopted at the Indian Flying School at Sitapur. [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. B.E.2b which followed had revised cockpit coamings, affording better protection to the crew. A B.E.2a in France, 1915 - note "pre-roundel" markings. 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. The B.E.2c was a major redesign which was the result of research by E.T. [35], In the absence of any official policy regarding armament, more aggressive crews improvised their own. Rather, in common with the contemporary Avro 500, the B.E.2 was one of the designs which established the tractor biplane as the dominant aircraft layout for a considerable time. [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. [10], It was first flown by de Havilland on 4 December 1911. In spite of the type's stability it was capable of comprehensive (if somewhat stately) aerobatics, and was by no means a bad trainer.[21]. [8] Later, the Wolseley engine was replaced by a 60 hp (45 kW) air-cooled Renault. 's poor payload, occupied the front seat, where he had a limited field of fire for his gun. 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 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. The UK's latest non-flying reproduction was built at Boscombe Down, Wilts, completed around 2008 and is now displayed with the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection at Old Sarum. 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. To rationalise the supply of spare parts these aircraft were officially designated as the "B.E.2f" and "B.E.2g". 2 was built in 1915 by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company Limited and served with No. Aviation author J.M. This variant was again distinguished by completely new wings, braced by a single pair of interplane struts per side (as a "single-bay" biplane), and a set of shorter wingspan lower wing panels. [19], Early production aircraft had unequal span wings, similar to those fitted on the B.E.1, and at first there was no decking between the pilot and observer's seats, although this was added later. development. Initially used as front-line reconnaissance aircraft and light bombers, variants of the type were also used as night fighters. Ailerons replaced the wing warping of the earlier models, and a triangular fin was fitted to the rudder. 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. [31][32], During the pre-war period, those B.E.2s that had reached service were primarily flown by No 2, No 4 and No 6 Squadrons,[33] who rapidly accumulated an unusually high number of flight hours on the type. 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. 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. The man had a shattered ankle, and the 45-minute flight in the observer's seat spared him an agonizing multi-day journey by camel. [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. This was not an isolated victory: five more German airships were destroyed by Home Defence B.E.2c interceptors between October and December 1916. The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c was the most controversial British aircraft of the First World War. 59.000+ plastic modelers use us. [1] The team responsible for its design came under the direction of British engineer Mervyn O'Gorman, the factory's superintendent. A Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2C (replica) crashed while taking part in a mock dogfight display at Sywell. 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. The Royal aircraft Factory B.E.2-page contains all related products, articles, books, walkarounds and plastic scale modeling projects dedicated to this aircraft. Among other projected weapons intended to attack airships from above, including Ranken darts and small incendiary bombs, was the Fiery Grapnel. Ailerons were used on later models. Both these aircraft were eventually fitted with Renault engines and became more-or less standard B.E.2s. The main fuel tank remained under the observer's seat. [citation needed]. 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. aircraft were flown within a month of each other and had the same basic design, the work of Geoffrey de Havilland, who was at the time both the chief designer and the test pilot at the Balloon Factory. About 3,500 were built, used as fighters, interceptors, light bombers, trainers and reconnaissance aircraft. [29], About 3,500 B.E.2s were built by over 20 different manufacturers. A B.E.2c at the Imperial War Museum in London. 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. 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 type that replaced the B.E.2a and B.E.2b (as well as the assortment of other types in use at the time) in the reconnaissance squadrons of the RFC in 1915 was the B.E.2c, which had also been designed before the war. 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. [49], This was not an isolated victory; five more German airships were destroyed by Home Defence B.E.2c interceptors between October and December 1916. 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. 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. On the night of 2–3 September 1916, a B.E.2c downed the SL 11, the first German airship to be shot down over Britain after over a year of night raids. 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). 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 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. This led the British press to dub it "Fokker Fodder", while German pilots nicknamed it kaltes Fleisch ("cold meat"). [6] Following its first public appearance in early January 1912, aviation publication Flight commented that: "everything one could see of the machine was of singular interest".[7][4]. [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. B.E.1., originally captioned 'The Silent Army Aeroplane'. The wings were of unequal span: upper wingspan was 36 ft 71⁄2 in and lower 34 ft111⁄2 in[4] 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. 7 Squadron RFC from 1916 to 1917. O B.E.2 foi um dos projetos que estabeleceram a configuração biplano impulsionado por tração como dominante por um período considerável. The performance of the early Renault powered models of the B.E. 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. It first flew on 1 February 1912, again with de Havilland as the test pilot. At that time the numbers allocated are more properly regarded as constructors numbers rather than type designations. During 1916, the "c" began to be superseded by the final version, the B.E.2e. [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. 'S seat one pair of B.E.2s were built, used as front-line reconnaissance aircraft light. Army – the True Story '' utilises an original RAF1A V8 powerplant royal aircraft factory be2 and was intended to provide B.E.2... Be fitted with a Scarff ring over the rear cockpit redesign, B.E.2b! Taking part in a similar fashion, the first models used wing.! 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