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1

Vickers Vimy

Designed late in World War I as a strategic bomber, the Vickers FB.27 Vimy had excellent handling and impressive lifting capacity for its size, carrying a 2,476lb bombload. It entered service with the RAF too late for active participation in the war, but was rescued from obscurity by two record-breaking long-distance flights in 1919. On 14-15 June 1919 pilot Captain […]

2

Ader avion III

Whenever a sceptic wants to cast doubt on the Wright brothers’ claim to be “firsl to fly”. he is likely to cite the experiments of French engineer Clément Ader. Where most aviation pioneers studied the flight of birds, Ader perversely, modelled his flying machines on bats. His weirdly gothic steam-powered monoplanes were sufficiently impressive to attract financial hacking from the French army, but whether they […]

3

Vickers Viscount

The world’s first turboprop airliner, the Vickers Viscount was one of the Pew British aircraft to make an impact on the American market. Hugely popular with passengers, it offered a distinctly more comfortable, quieter, and faster ride than its piston-engined equivalents, as well as giving travellers an excellent view from its relatively large windows. The Viscount took time to find its market. The first […]

4

Vickers Gunbus

While it did not remotely resemble the modern idea of a fighter aircraft, the Vickers F.B.5 Gunbus(F.B. stood lor Fighting Biplane) was nevertheless one of the first machines to be purpose-built for air-to-air combat. Initially ordered by the British Admiralty, the biplane eventually served with both the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. Viekcrs needed to find a way of […]

5

Sopwith Camel

The famous Sopwith F.1 Camel destroyed more German aircraft than any other World War I fighter, although it also had an unfortunate reputation for killing its own pilots. It was named for the “hump” over the two Vickers machine guns mounted in front of the cockpit. The aircraft was powered hy a rotary engine, and engine, armament, and pilot were all concentrated at the […]

6

Airco D.H.9A

The Airco D.H.9 was designed as an improvement upon the same company’s successfuI day bomber,  the D.H.4. In particular, the pilot’s and observer’s cockpits were moved closer together, improving in- fligh communication between the  two crew members. Unfortunately when first introduced in 1917, the D.H.9’s performance proved inferior to the earlier machine. This was rectified by replacing its problematic Siddeley engine with the American […]

7

Airco D.H.4

Designed by Geoffrey dc Havilland, the Airco D.H.4 is regarded as the best single-engine day bomber of World War I. It outpaced all but the fastest German fighters and defended itself effectively; the pilot operated a fixed forward-firing Vickers gun and there was a moveable Lewis gun on the observer’s gun ring. The one major design drawback was the distance between […]

8

Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a

It is debatable whether the nifty S.E.5a or the Sopwith Camel was the finest British single-seat fighter of World War I. Certainly, the former was easier to fly, killing and maiming far fewer Allied pilots than the unforgiving Camel. The S.E.5 (“S.E.” for “Scout Experimental”) was designed to exploit the potential of the innovatory Hispano-Suiza in-line engine; the S.E.5a, which was […]

9

Nieuport 17

The elegant and agile Nieuport single-seaters were the premier French fighters over the Western Front in 1915-16. The type 17, the most famous of the breed, equipped renowned fighter squadrons such as the American expatriate Escadrille Lafayette squadron, and was the mount of many famous air “aces”, including Britain’s Albert Ball and France’s Georges Guynemer. The Nieuports’ most distinctive feature was the “sesquiplane” […]

10

Vickers Wellington

The twin-engined Wellington, affectionately known the “Wimpy”. was the RAF’s most advanced bomber aircraft going into World War II. It boasted a “geodetic” construction patented by inventor Barnes Wallis, its fuselage and wings being formed from a latticework of intersecting aluminium units, but could only be fabric-covered, a major disadvantage. However, the resulting airframe was light, damage-resistant, and easily repaired. This was extremely fortunate, […]