Vickers E.S.1

The Vickers E.S.1 was a British single-seater reconnaissance aircraft developed at the beginning of the First World War and of which only three aircraft were built.


Development and design:

The chief test pilot of Vickers Limited Harold Barnwell began developing a single-seater reconnaissance aircraft at the end of 1914. The prototype was secretly built without the knowledge of his superiors and the management of the company. For this he borrowed a Gnome Monosoupape engine from another department to power his aircraft.

At the beginning of 1915 the prototype was finished and Barnwell made the first flight with the airplane. Since probably the center of gravity was wrongly calculated, the airplane crashed and was completely destroyed.

Since in the meantime the company management was informed about the prototype, they knew the design and commissioned after the crash the designer Rex Pierson with the construction of a further prototype, now however with the correct calculation of the center of gravity.

The aircraft classified as Vickers E.S.1 (Experimental Scout) had a wooden fuselage covered with fabric. The two wings were attached continuously, the pilot had his seat at the rear end of the upper wing which restricted his view downward as well as upward strongly. It was also powered by a Gnome Monosoupape engine.

In August 1915 the prototype could be flown for the first time. After some further tests in France, the high speed of about 180 kilometers per hour was particularly convincing. Beside some modifications at the fuselage a synchronized Vickers machine gun was attached, with which the pilot could shoot through the propellers.

After the successful conversions, two more prototypes were built. Beside a modified fuselage the upper wing was cut in to give the pilot a better view upwards. For the propulsion a 110 HP Clerget or Le Rhône engine was used.

The company did not receive an order for the series production, because the airplanes were considered difficult to land by the pilots and the flying of the airplanes tired them too much. However, the knowledge of the three airplanes was later to be incorporated into the development of the Vickers FB19.


Vickers E.S.1


Vickers E.S.1


Vickers E.S.1




Use in the First World War:

One of the three aircraft remained in France after the tests and was used there as an unarmed reconnaissance aircraft. After an accident with the pilot Captain Patrick Playfair the aircraft was repaired and brought to Great Britain.

Once there it was again equipped with a Vickers machine gun and served in the 50th squadron to defend the island from German attacks.




Technical data:

Designation: Vickers E.S.1
Country: Great Britain
Type: Reconnaissance plane
Length: 6,17 meters
Span: 7,46 meters
Height: 2,44 meters
Weight: 446 kg empty
Crew: Max. 1
Engine: A Clerget or Le Rhône 110 hp (82 kW) rotary engine
Maximum speed: 180 km/h
Range: Max. 2 hours
Arming: 1 x 7,7 mm Vickers machine gun






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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