Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8

The Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 was a British two-seat multi-purpose aircraft, which was next to the R.E.8 among the best of its type.


Development and construction:

Since the basic construction of the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3 was considered quite robust, a successor model was already being used at the beginning of production.

The Dutch aircraft designer Frederick Koolhoven reworked the fuselage at the version, initially classified as F.K.7, and enlarged it. The wings were enlarged.

To drive a water-cooled Beardmore engine with 160 hp should serve a stronger performance than the F.K. 3 to achieve.

In the design of the prototype initially received only the observer a 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun on a turntable. Only with the start of production was a rigid Vickers machine gun mounted on the engine cover, which could be operated by the pilot. However, the built-in Armstrong-Whitworth synchronization mechanism was quite vulnerable and had to be exchanged in later aircraft for a Constantinescu gearbox.

Also, the suspension with oil shocks turned out to be a lack, as they were often broken at the unpaved airfields at the front. Some of these were exchanged for a chassis of the fighter Bristol F.2, which led to a general lack of production.

The advantage proved to be the built-in double control, whereby the observer could take over the aircraft if the pilot should fail or be killed.

In May 1916, the prototype flew for the first time and on June 16, this was the testing of the Royal Flying Corps Central flight school in Upavon. Since the simultaneously presented Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 has not yet been sufficiently tested, the company Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft initially received an order for 50 aircraft with the classification F.K.8. By the end of the war, this was increased several times with a total of 1.650 aircraft were built.



Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8


Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8


Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8


Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8




Use in the First World War:

After the production began, the 35th Squadron was first equipped with the aircraft in January 1917. In the following months other squadrons followed in France, Macedonia, Palestine and Great Britain.

The aircraft were used primarily as reconnaissance aircraft, but also served for light bombing. The plane was able to carry up to six phosphorus smoke bombs or up to 73 kilograms of bomb load.

Since the successor model of Bristol could not be completed on time due to difficulties with the new engine, remained the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 until the end of the war at the front.

The last aircraft were removed with the dissolution of the 150th Squadron on 18 September 1919 in Kirec in Greece from the Royal Flying Corps.

Some aircraft were still used after the war by civil airlines.




Technical specifications:

Designation: Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8
Country: Great Britain
Typ: Multi-purpose aircraft
Length: 9,58 meters
Span: 13,26 meters
Height: 3,33 meters
Mass: 869 kg empty
Crew: Max. 2
Engine: A water-cooled 6-cylinder inline engine Beardmore with 160 hp
Maximum speed: 150 km/h
Reach: Max. 3 hours
Armament: One 7,7-mm Lewis machine gun on turntable

One rigid 7,7mm Vickers machine gun

Up to 73 kilograms of bombs






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.

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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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