The Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8 was the first single-seat fighter aircraft of the Royal Aircraft Factory and at the same time the last pusher propeller aircraft, which was still brought to the front.
Development and construction:
In mid-1915, Royal Aircraft Factory under the direction of J. Kenworthy began the development of a single-seat fighter aircraft. In doing so, Kenworthy based on the basic design of the Airco DH.2 and the Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2, which were already built and used.
Since at this time there was no machine gun synchronized with the motor gearbox, the F.E.8 was again based on the principle of the pressure propeller. This should allow the pilot as large a field of fire as possible, but not the engine and the propeller restricted the field.
What was unusual about the aircraft was that the gondola was made of steel tubes framed with duralumin. This should protect the pilot from enemy fire significantly better than the otherwise used fabric and wooden covers.
The F.E.8 was armed with a 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun, which was initially mounted movable. In later missions, however, showed that it was hardly possible for the pilot to operate the machine gun freehand. This was locked in the course of production and the whole aircraft was used for targeting.
On October 15, 1915, the prototype was flown by the test pilot Frank Gooden for the first time. Subsequently, the transfer to the Central Flying School in Upavon, who also tested the aircraft several times. After being described as stable, manoeuvrable and easy to land, the second prototype was brought to France for testing at the front.
After some adjustments, the production of the first series began in May and June 1916 could be delivered. By the end of the war, a total of 295 aircraft of this type were built.
Use in the First World War:
In June 1916, the 29th Squadron received the first two Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8 aircraft. Since the Squadron was already equipped with the new Airco DH.2, a direct comparison could be drawn. The F.E.8 was slightly faster compared to the DH.2 and the pilot's view was better. However, the DH.2 was easier to fly.
In August 1916, the 40th Squadron was equipped exclusively with the F.E.8 aircraft, followed in October by the 41st Squadron.
At this time, however, the Germans began to use their new Halberstadt and Albatross fighters. These were the F.E.8 clearly superior, so that they were considered obsolete shortly after their introduction at the front.
This inferiority was particularly evident on 9 March 1917 when the F.E.8 aircraft of the 40th Squadron encountered the Albatros D.III aircraft of the German Jagdstaffel 11. 4 F.E.8 aircraft were shot down, four more seriously damaged. One caught fire on landing and was also destroyed. Thereafter, the F.E.8 aircraft were exchanged for the newer Nieuport 17.
The 41st Squadron was the only one to retain these aircraft, but only used them to combat ground targets.
|Designation:||Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8|
|Mass:||406 kg empty|
|Engine:||A Le Rhône or Gnôme Monosoupape 9-cylinder rotary engine with 110 or 100 hp|
|Maximum speed:||151 km/h|
|Reach:||Max. 2 hours and 30 minutes|
|Armament:||A 7,7mm Lewis machine gun|
You can find the right literature here:
The First Air War, 1914-1918
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.
Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide)
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.
World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF
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.
A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness
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.