Airco DH.5

The Airco DH.5 was developed as successor of the Airco DH.2 and received instead of a push propeller a pull propeller and a machine gun synchronized with the transmission of the engine.


Development and construction:

The chief designer of the Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Airco) was commissioned shortly after the introduction of the Airco DH.2 with the development of a successor model.

However, this should combine the performance of a draft propeller with a good view for the pilot. To meet these requirements, a 9-cylinder Le Rhône 9J circulating engine with 110 HP in the front of the aircraft was installed. So that the view was not restricted for the pilot, the upper wing was offset slightly to the rear so that it lay behind the lower wing.

The paneling of the cockpit made of plywood and linen was preserved. As armament, a 7.7-mm Vickers machine gun was mounted, which was initially offset left mounted on the hood of the engine, however, was centered at the beginning of mass production. The machine gun was now also coupled to the gearbox of the engine, so that the propeller stopped automatically for a short time so that a bullet could be shot through.

In August 1916, the first flight of the prototype, followed by test flights in December in France. It showed that the aircraft was inferior to the already used Sopwith Pup and the prototypes of the Sopwith Camel and Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5. Nevertheless, the company received the order for the production of a total of 552 aircraft.



Airco DH.5




Use in the First World War:

From May 1917, the aircraft were delivered to the squadrons on the Western Front. At that time, however, the model was already outdated and the German fighter Albatros D.III clearly inferior, especially since the German aircraft had two machine guns, the British aircraft only one.

Another shortcoming was the sinking flight performance from a height of 3,000 meters, also caused by the backward staggered upper wing clear air turbulence.

The strength of the aircraft was in low-flying attacks. This was particularly evident in August 1917 during the Battle of Cambrai, when German positions were attacked at low altitude.

In January 1918, finally, the last aircraft of this type were withdrawn from the Western Front and replaced by others.



An Airco DH.5 of the Australian Flying Corps in September 1917




Technical specifications:

Designation: Airco DH.5
Country: Great Britain
Typ: Fighter
Length: 6,94 meters
Span: 7,82 meters
Height: 2,77 meters
Gewicht: 458 kg empty
Crew: Max. 1
Engine a 9-cylinder rotary engine Le Rhône 9J with 110 hp
Maximum speed: 164 km/h
Reach: Max. 2 hours and 45 minutes
Armament: one 7,7-mm Vickers machine gun






You can find the right literature here:


The First Air War, 1914-1918

The First Air War, 1914-1918 Hardcover – December 1, 1990

In this concise study, Kennett tells the complete story of World War I's air battles, from Eastern to Western front, from the skies of Europe and its seas to those of the Middle East and Africa.

Click here!



Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide)

Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide) 2nd Edition

Illustrated with detailed artworks of combat aircraft and their markings, Aircraft of World War I: The Essential Aircraft Identification Guide is a comprehensive study of the aircraft that fought in the Great War of 1914–18. Arranged chronologically by theatre of war and campaign, this book offers a complete organizational breakdown of the units on all the fronts, including the Eastern and Italian Fronts. Each campaign includes a compact history of the role and impact of aircraft on the course of the conflict, as well as orders of battle, lists of commanders and campaign aces such as Manfred von Richtofen, Eddie Rickenbacker, Albert Ball and many more. Every type of aircraft is featured, including the numerous variations and types of well- known models, such as the Fokker Dr.I, the Sopwith Camel and the SPAD SVII, through to lesser-known aircraft, such as the Rumpler C.1, and the Amstrong Whitworth FK8. Each aircraft profile is accompanied by exhaustive specifications, as well as details of individual and unit markings. Packed with more than 200 color profiles of every major type of combat aircraft from the era, Aircraft of World War I 1914–1918 is an essential reference guide for modellers, military historians and aircraft enthusiasts.

Click here!



World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF

World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF Hardcover – June 13, 2011

Jack McCleery was born in Belfast in 1898, the son of a mill owning family. He joined the RNAS in 1916 as a Probationary Flight Officer. During the next ten months he completed his training at Crystal Palace, Eastchurch, Cranwell, Frieston, Calshot and Isle of Grain, flying more than a dozen landplanes, seaplanes and flying boats, gaining his wings as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant. In July 1917 he was posted to the newly commissioning aircraft carrier HMS Furious, which would be based at Scapa Flow and Rosyth. He served in this ship until February 1919, flying Short 184 seaplanes and then Sopwith 1½ Strutters off the deck. He also flew a large number of other types during this time from shore stations at Turnhouse, East Fortune and Donibristle.

He served with important and well-known naval airmen including Dunning, Rutland (of Jutland) and Bell Davies VC. He witnessed Dunning’s first successful landing on a carrier flying a Sopwith Pup in 1917 and his tragic death a few days later. He also witnessed the Tondern raid in 1918, the world’s first carrier strike mission. He took part in more than a dozen sweeps into the North Sea by elements of the Grand Fleet and Battle Cruiser Fleet. He carried out reconnaissance missions off the coast of Denmark, landing in the sea to be picked up by waiting destroyers. He witnessed the surrender of the High Seas Fleet. Promoted to Captain, he acted as temporary CO of F Squadron for a time postwar.

Click here!



A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness

A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness Paperback – June 25, 2014

A deeply personal and revealing eyewitness narrative of one airman's life as a bomber pilot in England 's RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service) in WWI. It is a true story, an adventure, and a war memoir carefully constructed from Captain Donald E. Harkness's unpublished diaries, letters, sketches and photographs - only recently uncovered nearly a century later - that documented his remarkable experiences and military adventures over England, France and Belgium. The first book written by a highly decorated WWI flyer from New Zealand that captures the "behind the scenes" life of RNAS pilots, as well as the surprises, terrors, traumas, humor, and sheer excitement of an aerial form of combat never before experienced by anyone, anywhere - and only eleven short years after the Wright Brothers historic flight at Kitty Hawk. With a talent for writing, Don begins an epic journey at a major turning point in history when the world is poised at the dawn of flight, and bracing itself for unknown dangers of unprecedented sophistication and savagery. Don's journal reveals unique insights and vivid imagery of another time and experience, to wit: - the terror and devastation of a Zeppelin bombing raid in London - the training regimen of early flying schools, and their serious & comic episodes - the wonder, awe, and poetry of flying aloft in the majestic heavens - vivid bombing raids, plus the raid that earned him the DSC - his crash-landing and capture - working with the underground to help downed pilots evade capture - London's unrestrained exuberance on Armistice Day; . . . and much, much more.

Click here!






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