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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Types of Aircraft.


susan kitchen

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Need some help here. I know next to nothing about WW1 Aircraft. During WW2 my Dad was with Bomber command as a Rear Gunner in the Lancasters. So i can tell the difference between, say a spitfire and a Lancaster. But as it's the First War i'm interested in i wondered if there was an Elite plane of that time.

Susan

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Dear Susan,

I fear you may have opened acan of worms here.

A list of the possible contenders would include

Se5

Se5a

Sopwith Camel

Bristol Fighter

Spad

Nieuport 16

Fokker Eindekker

Fokker Triplane

and that is before even starting to think of bombers!

This should be an interesting thread!

Bruce

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Not sure what you mean by "Elite"

Each plane had its share of supporters.

Great Aircraft of the period? more than a few. I would include the Sopwith Triplane. The SE5A, Handley Page 1500,

Vickers Vimy.

Aircraft such as the SE4 which had a fully inclosed cockpit are also overlooked.

The Dutch Aircraft designer Anthony Forker built one or two, ok three nice little planes, with one, two,and three wings.

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Fokker D VII

Nieuport 15 Bebe (rather than the 16)

Spad 7 and 13 (but not the Spad A)

Handley Page O/400

Gotha GIV and GV

Albatros DI & DIII

Dh 4 (but definitely not the Dh9)

Caproni CA 1

Caudron R11

Sopwith Triplane

I wouldn't include the Eindekker - actually a mediocre aircraft apart from its gun mounting.

It all really depends on exactly when in WW1 you are talking about. Unlike say the Spitfire that went right through WW2 albeit in in various versions no WW1 combat aircraft was at its peak for much more than about a year.

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Not sure what you mean by "Elite"

Each plane had its share of supporters.

Great Aircraft of the period? more than a few. I would include the Sopwith Triplane. The SE5A, Handley Page 1500,

Vickers Vimy.

Aircraft such as the SE4 which had a fully inclosed cockpit are also overlooked.

The Dutch Aircraft designer Anthony Forker built one or two, ok three nice little planes, with one, two,and three wings.

Peter

Do you have a photo of an SE 4 with the fully enclosed cockpit?

Was this a"Great War" aircraft presumably the predecessor of the SE5a?

Regards

Fitzee

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Not sure what you mean by "Elite"

Each plane had its share of supporters.

Great Aircraft of the period? more than a few. I would include the Sopwith Triplane. The SE5A, Handley Page 1500,

Vickers Vimy.

Aircraft such as the SE4 which had a fully inclosed cockpit are also overlooked.

The Dutch Aircraft designer Anthony Forker built one or two, ok three nice little planes, with one, two,and three wings.

SE 4 did not have a fully enclosed cockpit - early SE 5s had a partially enclosed cockpit (the only fighter with a fully enclosed cockpit in WW1 was the one off Sage fighter). the HP 1500 and the Vimy were both effectively post WW1

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Just to clarify a celluloid cockpit cover was built for the SE4 but never used as all the pilots refused to fly it if it was fitted. It was quietly discarded. The remarkable thing about the SE4 was its speed of 135 mph which was exceptional for 1914. There was only one SE4 and it crashed on 12th August 1914. The SE4a was a completely different aircraft

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Welcome to the breesy part of the forum Susan,

Technology moved so fast in WWI that a development of an aircraft was a completely different one (like the Lancaster being a development of the Manchester). A plane could go from the elite of its day to being outclassed in the same year.

The Handley Page o/100 showed the way for heavy bombers.

I'd add the Sopwith Pup & 1 1/2 strutter to the fighters mentioned.

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1 1/2 strutter to the fighters mentioned.

The 1 1/2 Strutter was in fact a bomber and a corp recce aircraft as well as a fighter. Indeed if one takes into account the French use it was more a bomber than a fighter.

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Looks a s though it's a trip to the Library. In the meantime i'll leave you boys to talk amongst yourselves.

Many Many thanks for all your replies. You have been such a help.

Susan

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Peter

Do you have a photo of an SE 4 with the fully enclosed cockpit?

Was this a"Great War" aircraft presumably the predecessor of the SE5a?

Regards

Fitzee

As far as I know the only photo of an SE4 shows it fitted with its enclosed cockpit.- This in 1914.

That and its speed of 135 m.p.h. shows how little single seat aircraft had advance by 1918.

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As far as I know the only photo of an SE4 shows it fitted with its enclosed cockpit.- This in 1914.

That and its speed of 135 m.p.h. shows how little single seat aircraft had advance by 1918.

J M Bruces work Warplanes of the First World War vol 2 has two photos of the aircraft both without a cockpit cover. As I said above the plane was never flown with this and it was only ever placed on the aircraft , not fitted. The aircraft was designed by Folland who much later designed the Folland Gnat lightweight jet fighter. The SE 4 was never taken on by the RFC, possibly being considered insufficiently robust. Its rather peculiar undercarriage although reducing drag would have been a liability on a WW1 rough air strip and indeed was to be its downfall collapsing on its final landing.

No it had absolutely nothing to do with the SE5 being very much a one off exercise involving getting the most powerful rotary available at the time (160 hp Gnome) into a very lightweight airframe. If there was any connection with anything it was that its fuselage owed something to G DeHaviland's SE2. The SE5 was designed as an aircraft to make use of the 150 HP Hispano Suiza, this having been ordered without knowing what aircraft it would fit! The only remote connection between the two aircraft was that Folland worked on both, sharing the SE 5 design with Kenworthy. At one point an entirely different design was mooted this being the FE 10 which would have had an observer gunner mounted in a pulpit ahead of the engine and propeller with the pilot behind the engine (like the SPAD A series and the BE 9. The original SE5 design, produced before Britain had a synchronization system had its single Lewis firing through the airscrew hub.

The SE 4 was never a practical proposition as a warplane as it would have been impossible to arm it. without substantial structural alteration, comparing it with some of the 1918 designs is comparing two very different animals a whippet and a racehorse.

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Bonsoir

Here 3 photos of the SE4 a with opened cockpit

Never heard until now about a ww1 aircraft with fully enclosed cockpit ??

1915RAFSE4a.jpg

SE4.jpg

SE4A.jpg

Cordialement

Bruno

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Bonsoir

Here 3 photos of the SE4 a with opened cockpit

Never heard until now about a ww1 aircraft with fully enclosed cockpit ??

1915RAFSE4a.jpg

SE4.jpg

SE4A.jpg

The top and bottom aircraft are SE4As a totally different aircraft from the SE4 (Yes the Royal Aircraft Factory numbering system was illogical and confusing) Only the middle aircraft is the SE4 despite being captioned SE4A! The SE4A with a spinner was the prototype (there were four in total) and was at some time armed with Lewis above the top wing. 2 SE4As served with Home Defence units. Pilots of the time were dead against any attempt to enclose the cockpit (just like the Italian and Japanese pilots of the late 30s) as it could interfere with their vision. The partly enclosed SE5 cockpit covers did not last long, many being removed by the pilots themselves. The little Sage 2 two seat fighter appears to be the only example to fly in WW1 with a fully enclosed cockpit. Although fast for its time (112 mph) and very maneuverable it was dropped in favour of the Sopwith 11/2 Strutter. Just out of interest there was an SE5B which was a very substantial modification of the SE5A.

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Great photo's. Thanks. Susan

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