Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.5

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.5 was the first reconnaissance aircraft of the Royal Aircraft Factory, which went into mass production and was used in smaller numbers at the beginning of the war.


Development and construction:

In late 1913, the Royal Flying Corps had to deliver its airships to the Royal Navy. As compensation, this received from the British Ministry of Defense around 25,000 British pounds. The money was used to order 24 new reconnaissance planes at Royal Aircraft Factory.

Thus began the development of the Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.5, where the new aircraft was in direct competition with the existing B.E.2. Already before the beginning of the development a quantity of altogether 24 pieces was given up.

The construction was based on the experience of previous models. The R.E.5 was thus a biplane with a solid tailspur gear, the wheels were supported on skids. From the B.E.2 the cockpit was almost completely taken over, so that the pilot sat on the rear seat and the observer in the front seat.

On January 26, 1914, the first flight of the prototype took place. By the time the war began, 16 aircraft had been produced, and not all were delivered to France to the front. One aircraft received the Royal Naval Air Service, others were used for testing purposes. Thus, two aircraft received additional tanks to increase the range and its ability to fly long distances. Another aircraft was given a wind brake, which should significantly shorten the landing because the airfields at the front usually had much shorter runways than those that existed in the UK. On three aircraft, the wings were modified and experimented with suspensions for bombs. Also, tests were done with other engines.



Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.5




Use in the First World War:

In September 1914, the first six Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.5 aircraft were brought to France and assigned to the 2nd Squadron. Another five aircraft followed and were split into different squadrons.

Originally the planes were to be used as reconnaissance planes and bombers, with the bombs and hand grenades had to be thrown out of the cockpit by hand, as there were no brackets for them on the aircraft.

Despite the negative report by Squadron commander John Porte that the R.E.5 aircraft were taking off too slowly, using a runway that was too long and difficult for inexperienced pilots to fly, the aircraft remained at the front until mid-1915.

The last two were withdrawn until September 25, 1915.



Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.5




Technical specifications:

Designation: Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.5
Country: Great Britain
Typ: Reconnaissance plane
Length: 7,98 meters
Span: 13,57 meters
Height: 2,95 meters
Mass: unknown
Crew: Max. 2
Engine: An Austro-Daimler piston engine with 120 hp
Maximum speed: 126 km/h
Reach: unknown
Armament: Up to 27 kg 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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