Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7 was a British biplane designed as a reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber for high altitudes.


Development and construction:

Some of the Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.5 aircraft were modified for test purposes to reach a high altitude. On May 14, 1914, a new altitude record of just 5.761 meters was achieved with one of the test aircraft.

For the development the R.E.5 with the production number 22 was taken. Since it was already known that a larger upper wing led to a higher altitude, this was enlarged again in the prototype and semi-circular wing tips and streamlined struts were installed.

In addition, a suspension for an additional tank was attached, which should serve as a bomb. By the weight of 152 kilograms, only a machine gun for the observer could be attached, the pilot remained unarmed.

The aircraft was powered by a 120 hp Beardmore engine.

In October 1915, the first order was placed for 82 aircraft under license from Napier, Austin and Coventry Ordnance Works. Through further orders, the total number of aircraft increased to the end of production to 233 pieces.



Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7




Use in the First World War:

On September 28, 1915, the first aircraft was brought to France and assigned to the 12th Squadron, by the end of the year, the number increased to seven aircraft.

Due to the 120 hp Beardmore engine, the aircraft were underpowered and could not provide the services hoped for. In March 1916, General Trenchard approached the UK Ministry of Defense asking when would replacement aircraft for the Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7 be built and delivered.

Although there was already an alternative with the 140 hp RAF 4a engine, tests in April 1916 in France showed that the additional 20 hp more hardly showed any increase in performance. In addition, the engines at the beginning of the delivery were not mature enough and very susceptible to interference.

On June 20, 1916, the leadership of the Royal Flying Corps issued the order that no more RAF 4a engines should be brought to France for exchange.

In the coming months, the remaining R.E.7 aircraft were replaced by the newer B.E.12 aircraft.

Plans for replacement of the 200 hp RAF 3a engines were rejected.

After being withdrawn from the front, the 12th Squadron used the aircraft as escorts for other reconnaissance aircraft or as a bomber. Since it was technically not yet possible to locate enemy aircraft at this time, the R.E.7 aircraft proved to be solid bombers behind the enemy line, as they were hardly attacked by German fighter jets and flew too high for air defense cannons. In addition, her 152 kg bomb had a very large impact force when it was dropped on enemy positions.

In mid-1916, some of the aircraft were equipped with three seats. In addition to the pilot and the observer should fly a shooter and operate an additional machine gun. Also, a Rolls-Royce Eagle III engine was installed for experimental purposes, which had a much higher performance than the installed Beardmore engines, but since these engines were available only in very limited quantities, the proposal for further modifications was rejected.

At the beginning of 1917, the last R.E.7 aircraft were withdrawn from the front and used for the most part for training purposes.



Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7




Technical specifications:

Designation: Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7
Country: Great Britain
Typ: Reconnaissance plane, bomber
Length: 9,72 meters
Span: 17,37 meters
Height: 3,84 meters
Mass: 1.036 kg empty
Crew: Max. 2
Engine: A water-cooled in-line engine Beardmore with 120 hp
Maximum speed: 135 km/h
Reach: Max. 6 hours
Armament: A 152 kilogram bomb






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.

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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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