Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.3

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.3 was a British biplane that was built before World War I and was used to train pilots.


Development and construction:

In December 1911, Royal Aircraft Factory began developing a biplane with a rotary engine to compare it to the water-cooled and air-cooled V8 engine of the B.E.1 and B.E.2 aircraft.

The responsible chief designer John Kenworthy oriented himself at the wings at the B.E.2, staggered these however more strongly.

In order to accommodate the larger engine, the hull was further adapted and reinforced accordingly.

In early 1912, two prototypes were built, which were classified as B.E.3 and B.E.4, with the aircraft differing only in engine size. However, since the company at that time still had no license to build aircraft, they were officially built by the Paulhan and Bristol companies.

The first flight of the B.E.3 took place on 3 May 1912 by the test pilot Geoffrey de Havilland. Equipped was the prototype with a 50 hp Gnome Omega engine. After several test flights on May 13, 1912, the first passengers were taken and the plane was handed over to the Royal Flying Corps for further tests.

The first flights of the B.E.4 took place on June 24, 1912. This prototype was handed over to the RFC on August 8 and received in September a 70 hp Gnome engine for comparison.

John Kenworthy modified another prototype so far that this could be equipped and tested on February 28, 1913 with a 140 hp double-row Gnome engine. This aircraft was then classified as B.E.7.



Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.3




Use of the aircraft:

The prototypes of the B.E.3 and B.E.4 were handed over to the 3rd Squadron and served there for experimental purposes for communication. Thus, various methods have been tested to communicate by means of radio and light between a ground station and the aircraft.

In December 1912, two more aircraft of the variants were delivered to the Central Flying School, in January 1913, the 4th Squadron also received an aircraft.

After two fatal accidents and one accident, the remaining three aircraft were reinforced and the rudders adjusted.

Until the summer of 1914, these remained in the Central Flying School.




Technical specifications:

Designation: Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.3
Country: Great Britain
Typ: Training plane
Length: 8,31 meters
Span: 12,04 meters
Height: unknown
Mass: unknown
Crew: Max. 2
Engine: A Gnome rotary engine with 50 hp
Maximum speed: unknown
Reach: unknown
Armament: none






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