FBA Type B

The FBA Type B was a French flying boat which only gained interest at the beginning of the First World War and was used by the military.


Development and construction:

In 1913 the businessmen Louis Schreck and André Beaumont merged and founded the Franco-British Aviation (FBA) company which was to specialize in the production of flying boats.

The first flying boat to be built in series was the FBA-Leveque, which was later designated as FBA Type A. This aircraft was a two-seater flying boat, with the occupants sitting side by side. The primary purpose should be military use as a reconnaissance aircraft. After the launch, the aircraft was presented to the French Navy, but they showed no interest in it. Instead, contracts were signed with Austria-Hungary, Denmark, Great Britain, Russia and Italy, which bought several of the aircraft.

On the basis of the FBA Type A, a successor model was already being worked on shortly after its introduction, which should take over most of the properties of the predecessor, but should receive a significant increase in engine performance. The result was the FBA Type B, a flying boat with two occupants sitting next to each other, powered by a 100 HP rotary engine from Gnome, which was designed as a pusher propeller. In contrast to type A, the wings of type B could be folded in to simplify accommodation in an aircraft mother ship, since at this point in time some countries were already experimenting with such ship types and would need corresponding aircraft.

This flying boat was also presented to the French Navy in the summer of 1914, but just like the Type A, the Navy declined to buy it because it was not used for such aircraft at the time.


FBA Type B flying boat


View of the engine of an FBA Type B flying boat


Front view of an FBA Type B flying boat


An FBA Type B flying boat just before launching




Use in the First World War:

Only after the First World War broke out did the French Navy realize the importance and necessity of flying boats as reconnaissance aircraft. In December 1914, the Franco-British Aviation company received an order for the French Navy for a total of 40 flying boats. The British Royal Naval Air Service also ordered 40 flying boats, further orders were received from Russia, Portugal and Italy, the latter mainly using the flying boats in its aircraft mother ship Europe.

In the production period from January to September 1915, a total of 150 flying boats were made. A few flying boats were equipped with a machine gun for defense. With the advent of the first German monoplane fighter planes, the slow and clumsy flying boats were easy prey, which was reflected in the high losses. For this reason, they began to be withdrawn from the front at the end of 1915 and beginning of 1916. Only a few remained in the navy of the respective country to continue to serve as reconnaissance aircraft.




Technical specifications:

Description: FBA Type B
Country: France
Great Britain
Type: Reconnaissance flying boat
Length: 9,14 meters
Span: 13,71 meters
Height: 2,92 meters
Weight: 574 kilograms empty
Crew: Max. 2
Engine: a rotary engine Gnome Monosoupape 9 Type B-2 with 100 HP (74 kW)
Maximum speed: 96 kilometers per hour
Range: Max. 300 kilometers
Armament: 1 machine gun 7,7 mm (with few flying boats)






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