The Handley Page Type O was an early biplane bomber used by Britain during the First World War. At the time, it was the largest aircraft that had been built in the UK and one of the largest in the world. It was built in two major versions, the Handley Page O/100 (H.P.11) and Handley Page O/400 (H.P.12).
As early as December 1914 during the First World War the Royal Navy's Director of the Air Department, Captain Murray Sueter requested “a bloody paralyser” of an aircraft from Frederick Handley Page for long-range bombing. The phrase had originated from a Commander Samson who had returned from the front
Handley Page responded to the Navy's requirements with a biplane with a wingspan of 100 ft/30 m (the original source of the O/100 designation). The first prototype flew on 7 December 1915 and featured a glazed cockpit and armor sufficient to protect from rifle fire around the crew compartment and engines. The aircraft proved somewhat underpowered, so the glazing and armor were deleted on the second prototype that flew the following April and formed the basis for series production of the machine. A total of 46 of the O/100s were built.
The Short Bomber was a British two-seat long-range reconnaissance, bombing and torpedo carrying aircraft designed by Short Brothers as a land-based development of the very successful Short Type 184 (of which more than 900 were built and many exported).
The Bomber was a three-bay biplane of wooden structure with fabric covering, originally developed from the Short 184 seaplane's fuselage combined with wings developed from those on the Short Admiralty Type 166 seaplane. The fuselage was of box section with curved upper decking mounted on the lower wing. The tailplane included a split elevator with a single fin and rudder. The undercarriage consisted of a four-wheeled assembly under the nose and a skid under the tail.
The crew of two sat in tandem open cockpits behind the wing; initially the observer/gunner sat in the forward cockpit so that he could stand up to operate the machine-gun mounted on the upper wing. This somewhat precarious activity was rendered unnecessary by the invention of the gun-ring mounting; in production aircraft the pilot occupied the forward cockpit with the gunner behind him in the rear cockpit, which was fitted with dual controls.
The Airco DH.3 was a British bomber aircraft of the First World War. The DH.3 was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, Chief Designer at the Aircraft Manufacturing Company in 1916 as a long range day bomber. It was a large biplane with wide-span three-bay wings, slender fuselage, and a curved rudder. It was powered by two 120 hp (89 kW) Beardmore engines mounted as pushers between the wings. In addition to tail skid landing gear, two wheels were placed beneath the nose to prevent bumping.
A second prototype, designated D.H.3A was built with more powerful (160 hp/119 kW) Beardmore engines, and a production order for 50 placed by the War Office. This order was cancelled however before any could be completed, because Strategic bombing was not thought to be worthwhile and twin engined bombers were claimed to be impracticable. The two prototypes were scrapped in 1917.
The DH.10 was a development of the DH.3 which first flew in March 1918 but was too late to see squadron service during the war.
Designed in 1916 by Geoffrey de Havilland, the D.H.4 was the only British design manufactured by the Americans. It was easily identified by its rectangular fuselage and deep frontal radiator. Versatile, heavily armed and equipped with a powerful twelve cylinder engine, this biplane daylight bomber was fast.
Sometimes called the "Flaming Coffin," its huge fuel tank was dangerously positioned between the pilot and observer, hindering communication. Produced in vast numbers, 6295, of which 4846 were built in the United States, many D.H.4s were modified for civilian air service after the war.
The Airco DH.9 (from de Havilland 9) - also known after 1920 as the de Havilland DH.9 - was a British bomber used in the First World War. A single-engined biplane, it was a development of Airco's earlier, highly successful DH.4 and was ordered in very large numbers for Britain's Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force.
Its engine was unreliable, and failed to provide the expected power, giving the DH.9 poorer performance than the aircraft it was meant to replace, and resulting in heavy losses, particularly over the Western Front. The subsequently-developed DH.9A had a more powerful and reliable American Liberty L-12 engine.
The DH.9 was designed by de Havilland for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company in 1916 as a successor to the DH.4. It used the wings and tail unit of the DH.4 but had a new fuselage. This enabled the pilot to sit closer to the gunner/observer and away from the engine and fuel tank. The other major change from the DH.4 was the choice of the promising new BHP/Galloway Adriatic engine, which was predicted to produce 300 hp (224 kW) and so give the new aircraft an adequate performance to match enemy fighters.
By this time, as a result of attacks by German bombers on London, the decision was made to almost double the size of the Royal Flying Corps, with most of the new squadrons planned to be equipped with bombers. Based on the performance estimates for the DH.9 (which were expected to surpass those of the DH.4), and the similarity to the DH.4, which meant that it would be easy to convert production over to the new aircraft, massive orders (4,630 aircraft) were placed.
The prototype (a converted DH.4) first flew at Hendon in July 1917. Unfortunately, the BHP engine proved unable to reliably deliver its expected power, with the engine being de-rated to 230 hp (186 kW) in order to improve reliability. This had a drastic effect on the aircraft's performance, especially at high altitude, with it being inferior to that of the DH.4 it was supposed to replace. This meant that the DH.9 would have to fight its way through enemy fighters, which could easily catch the DH.9 where the DH.4 could avoid many of these attacks.
While attempts were made to provide the DH.9 with an adequate engine, with aircraft being fitted with the Siddeley Puma, a lightened and supposedly more powerful version of the BHP, with the Fiat A12 engine and with a 430 hp (321 kW) Napier Lion engine, these were generally unsuccessful (although the Lion engined aircraft did set a World Altitude Record of 30,500 ft (13,900 m) on 2 January 1919) and it required redesign into the DH.9A to transform the aircraft.
The first deliveries were made in November 1917 to 108 Squadron RFC and first went into combat over France in March 1918 with 6 Squadron, and by July 1918, nine squadrons operational over the Western Front were using the type.
The DH.9's performance in action over the Western Front was a disaster, with heavy losses incurred, both due to its low performance, and engine failures (despite the prior de-rating of its engine). For example, between May and November 1918, two squadrons on the Western Front (Nos. 99 and 104) lost 54 shot down, and another 94 written off in accidents. The DH.9 was however more successful against the Turkish forces in the Middle East, where they faced less opposition, and it was also used extensively for coastal patrols, to try and deter the operations of U-boats.
The Avro 529 was a twin-engined biplane long-range bomber of the First World War. Two prototypes were built but no production ensued.
The Avro 529 was Avro's second twin-engined aircraft and their second attempt at a heavy bomber. Their first in both categories was the Pike, developed in early 1916 to Royal Flying Corps (RFC) guidelines for a short-range bomber. The Pike arrived too late to secure orders from the RFC who would order the Handley-Page O/100 and for the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) who had ordered the Short Bomber. Nonetheless, after trials of the Pike, the Admiralty ordered two prototypes of an enlarged Pike for a long range bomber role. This was the Type 529.
Like the Pike, it was a large twin-engined biplane of the then-standard wood and canvas construction. It had three-bay wings without sweepback, dihedral or stagger, partly to facilitate wing folding. The vertical tail was different to that of the Pike: it had a small, roughly triangular fin and a rudder with a round balance surface above the fin, a reminder of Avro's "comma" rudder form.
The fuselage was rectangular in cross-section and seated three in separate cockpits. The pilot sat just forward of the wing leading edge, there was a gunner's position (with emergency dual control) mid-way between the trailing edge and the tail and the front gunner/bomb-aimer's position was in the nose. Both gunners' positions were provided with a 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Gun mounted on a Scarff ring. The landing gear used two main wheels on split axles, plus a tail-skid.
The two prototypes differed from each other chiefly in their powerplants. The first, just known as the Avro 529 had a pair of uncowled Rolls-Royce Falcon water-cooled in-line engines mounted midway between the wings. Each produced 190 hp (140 kW) and drove four-bladed, opposite-handed wooden airscrews. It carried 140 gal (636 L) of fuel in a tank in the centre fuselage.
The second machine, designated Type 529A had a pair 230 hp (170 kW) BHP in-line water-cooled engines, cowled and mounted in nacelles on the lower wing. These drove wooden, two-bladed airscrews. In this aircraft fuel was held in a pair of 60 gal (273 L), one in each nacelle. Fuel was pumped from these to 10 gal (45 L) tanks above the engines by wind-driven pumps, and fed to the motors under gravity.
The type 529A had slightly different wings to the first prototype, 13 in (33 cm) greater in span, smaller in area and hence of higher aspect ratio. It was about 8% lighter.
Another difference between the two prototypes were the arrangements for the bomb-aimer. In the first machine, this was done from the seat of the front cockpit, but in the 529A there was provision for a prone bomb-aimer's position with a small window, noticeable in side view. From there, he communicated with the pilot by Gosport tube. The 529A could carry 20 50 lb (20 kg) bombs racked nose up inside the fuselage between the lower wing spars.
The Type 529 was, even with the B.H.P. engines rather low powered, but seems to have handled well apart from poor elevator control. There was no production order and the type was not developed further.
The Airco DH.10 Amiens was a British twin-engined medium bomber designed and built towards the end of the First World War. It served briefly with the RAF postwar.
The DH.10 was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland to meet the requirements of Air Board Specification A.2.b for a single- or twin-engined day bomber. It was a development of the earlier Airco DH.3 bomber, which had flown in 1916, but had been rejected by the War Office because of a belief that strategic bombing would be ineffective and that twin engines were impracticable.
The first prototype flew on 4 March 1918, powered by two 230 hp (186 kW) Siddeley Puma engines mounted as pushers. When evaluated by the RAF, the performance of this prototype was well below expectation, reaching only 90 mph (145 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,572 m) with the required bomb load. Owing to this poor performance, the DH.10 was redesigned with more powerful engines in a tractor installation.
The second prototype, known as the Amiens Mark II was powered by two 360 hp (268 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines and first flew in April 1918, showing greatly superior performance and proving to be faster than the DH.9A while carrying twice the bomb load. While shortages of the Eagle meant that the Amiens Mark II could not be put into production, it proved the design for the definitive aircraft, the Amiens Mark III, which was powered by the more readily available 395 hp (295 kW) Liberty 12 from America, as was the DH.9A. Following successful evaluation, large orders were placed, with a total of 1,291 ordered.
First deliveries of DH.10s were to No. 104 Squadron RAF in November 1918, flying a single bombing mission on 10 November 1918 before the Armistice ended the First World War. Postwar, DH.10s equipped 120 Squadron, which used them to operate an air mail service to the British Army of Occupation on the Rhine. Amiens were also used by 97 Squadron (later re-numbered as 60 Squadron) which deployed to India. It provided support to the Army on the North-West Frontier, being used for bombing operations in the Third Anglo-Afghan war. DH.10s were also used by 216 Squadron in Egypt, where they provided an air mail service between Cairo and Bagdhad, starting on 23 June 1921.
The Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo was a British twin-engine reconnaissance torpedo biplane built the First World War by Blackburn Aircraft.
In 1916, the Blackburn Aircraft Company designed and built two prototypes of an anti-submarine floatplane designated the Blackburn G.P. or Blackburn General Purpose. It was not ordered but Blackburn developed a landplane version as the Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo (Reconnaissance Torpedo Type 1).
The first aircraft was delivered to Martlesham Heath in January 1918. Test results were disappointing, with the rear fuselage being prone to twisting and the aircraft suffering control problems, which lead to the existing order for 50 aircraft being cut back to 20, most of which were already part built.
From the sixth aircraft onwards, they were powered by the more powerful Rolls-Royce Falcon III engine replacing the 250 hp (120 kW) Rolls-Royce Falcon II.
The Kangaroo entered service later that year with No. 246 Squadron RAF based at Seaton Carew, County Durham which had six months of wartime operations and they sank one U-Boat, UC-70, which was spotted lying submerged on the sea bottom near Runswick Bay on 28 August 1918 by a Kangaroo flown by Lt E. F. Waring, the U-boat being badly damaged by a near miss by a 520 lb (240 kg) bomb and finished off by the destroyer HMS Ouse, and damaged four others. Aircraft were sold on the civil market at the end of the war. They saw considerable service as converted for commercial use they could carry eight passengers.
Aircraft registered G-EAOW was one of four types competing to win the Australian government prize of £ 10,000 for the first flight from England to Australia. The aircraft had to make an emergency landing at Suda Bay, Crete with a suspected sabotaged engine, the aircraft and the race were abandoned.
After the war the RAF used three aircraft (named Pip, Squeak and Wilfred after popular cartoon characters) under contract as dual-control trainers for refresher training but by 1929 the last Kangaroo had been withdrawn from service and scrapped.
The Bristol Braemar was a British heavy bomber aircraft developed at the end of the First World War for the Royal Air Force. Only two prototypes were constructed.
The prototype Braemar was developed in response to the establishment of the Independent Air Force in October 1917, as a bomber capable of the long-range bombing of Berlin if necessary. A large triplane, it had internal stowage for up to six 250 lb (110 kg) bombs.
The initial design featured a unique engine installation with a central engine room housing all four engines. The engines were to be geared in pairs and power taken from the engines to the four propellers by power shafts. This design was abandoned early in development, and both the completed Braemars had a conventional engine installation, with the engines in inline tandem pairs, driving pusher and tractor propellers. However, the engine-room design was resurrected later in the Braemar's development life, for the proposed steam-powered Tramp.
The first prototype Braemar flew on August 13th 1917, with four Siddeley Puma engines of 230 hp (170 kW) each. The prototype showed generally good performance with a top speed of 106 mph (171 km/h), but there were complaints from the test pilots about the view from the cockpit and the controls, and so the next aircraft produced was an improved version designated Braemar Mk.II. The Mk.II had considerably more power, in its four Liberty L-12 engines of 400 hp (300 kW), which gave it an improved speed of 125 mph (201 km/h).
The Braemar never entered service with the RAF, and the two prototypes were the only Braemars built. The Braemar design was subsequently developed as the Pullman passenger aircraft.
The Handley Page V/1500 was a British night-flying heavy bomber built by Handley Page towards the end of the First World War. It was a large four-engined biplane, which resembled a larger version of Handley Page's earlier O/100 and O/400 bombers, intended to bomb Berlin from East Anglian airfields. The end of the war stopped the V/1500 being used against Germany, but a single aircraft was used to carry out the first flight from England to India, and later carried out a bombing raid on Kabul during the Third Anglo-Afghan War. It was colloquially known within the fledgling Royal Air Force as the “Super Handley”.
While the V/1500 had a similar fuselage to that of the O/100, it had longer-span, four-bay biplane wings and was powered by four 375 hp (280 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines mounted in two nacelles, so two engines were pulling in the conventional manner and two pushing, rather than the two Eagles of the smaller bomber. Construction was of wood and fabric materials. A relatively novel design feature was the gunner's position at the extreme rear of the fuselage, between the four fins.
The Vickers Vimy was a British heavy bomber aircraft of the First World War and post-First World War era. By October 1918, only three aircraft had been delivered to the Royal Air Force, one of which had been deployed to France for use by the Independent Air Force. The war ended, however, before it could be used on operations.
Reginald Kirshaw "Rex" Pierson, chief designer of Vickers Limited Aviation Department designed a twin-engine biplane bomber, the Vickers F.B.27 to meet a requirement for a night bomber capable of attacking targets in Germany, a contract being placed for three prototypes on August 14, 1917. Design and production of the prototypes was extremely rapid, with the first flying on November 30, 1917, powered by two 200 hp (150 kW) Hispano Suiza engines. It was named after the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Owing to engine supply difficulties, the prototype Vimys were tested with a number of different engine types, including Sunbeam Maoris, Salmson 9Zm water cooled radials, and Fiat A.12bis engines, before production orders were placed for aircraft powered by the 230 hp (170 kW) BHP Puma, 400 hp (300 kW) Fiat, 400 hp (300 kW) Liberty L-12 and the 360 hp (270 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines, with a total of 776 ordered before the end of the First World War. Of these, only aircraft powered by the Eagle engine, known as the Vimy IV, were delivered to the RAF.
It achieved success as both a military and civil aircraft, setting several notable records in long-distance flights in the interwar period, the most celebrated of which was the first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by Alcock and Brown in June 1919.