Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3

The Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3 was a British two-seat multi-purpose aircraft used for training, transportation, messaging and reconnaissance.


Development and construction:

In 1911, the Dutch Frederick Koolhoven, a trained auto mechanic, began to take an interest in aircraft at the company Maatschappij voor Luchtvaart (airline). Since the machines used by the company were not sufficient in flight events and air races in his opinion, he began to develop his own aircraft based on a Farman biplane. After the prototype of the heather was built, the company had to close at the end of the year.

Koolhoven then moved to the French company Deperdussin. In the summer of 1912 he became manager of the British factory of the company and also moved to the UK.

When this company was economically at the end, the change to the British company Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth and Co., where Koolhoven continued his work as an aircraft developer.

When the First World War broke out in Europe, the company, under the direction of Frederick Koolhoven, began to prepare some designs for the Royal Flying Corps. As with other manufacturers, the aircraft received the initials of the chief designer.

The design of the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3 was based on the Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c, which was already built by the company. However, the aircraft should have a simpler construction and thus be faster, cheaper and easier to build than the B.E.2c. To achieve this, the welded joints and complex metal structures in the upper wing were removed. From the B.E.2c the separate cockpit was taken over, with the pilot behind and the observer sitting in front.

The prototype was powered by an air-cooled Renault 70 hp V-8 engine. Seven aircraft were initially built and presented to the British Department of Defense. However, since these aircraft had little performance improvement over the B.E.2c, deployment on the Western Front was rejected.

Frederick Koolhoven then revised the design and developed a new fin and a new helm. The front edge of the aircraft was straightened and it was installed the more powerful RAF 1a engine with 90 hp. The cockpit has also been redesigned. The separated cells were now merged and the two crew members exchanged places, so now the pilot sat in front and the observer behind. This resulted in a better view of the pilot and the observer had a much larger field of fire.

Flights with the prototype in May 1916 showed that the performance had now increased significantly. Then the company received the contract for the construction of 150 aircraft. Under license, another 350 pieces were built by the company Hewlett & Blondeau Limited in Luton.



Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3


A British pilot in front of his Armstrong-Whitworth F.K.3 after the forced landing on the Thessaloniki front in 1917


Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3


An Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3 captured by Bulgaria




Use in the First World War:

Since at the time of introduction of the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3 already the newer types F.K.8 and R.E.8 were about to be delivered, only the 47th Squadron in Salonika was equipped with the aircraft.

A deployment on the Western Front was rejected by the Royal Flying Corps.

For this reason, most aircraft of the type remained in the UK and served for training, transportation or messaging until they were replaced by the Avro 504.




Technical specifications:

Designation: Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3
Country: Great Britain
Typ: Multi-purpose aircraft
Length: 9,84 meters
Span: 12,19 meters
Height: 3,63 meters
Mass: 629 kg empty
Crew: Max. 2
Engine One 8-cylinder V-engine Royal Aircraft Factory IA with 90 hp
Maximum speed: 143 km/h
Reach: Max. 3 hours
Armament: One 7,7-mm Lewis machine gun on turntable






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.

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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.

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