|Designer||Geoffrey de Havilland|
|First flight||early 1912 |
|Primary user||U.K. (RFC/RAF)|
|Number built||~32 |
|Wingspan||10.7 m (35 ft)-11.3 m (37 ft) |
|Propeller Diam.||2.69 m (8 ft 10 in)|
|Armament||none, or 45 kg (100 lb) of bombs|
|Max Speed||110 km/h (70 mph)-117 km/h (73 mph)|
|Climb||300 m (1,000 ft) in 2:55|
910 m (3,000 ft) in 9:00
2,100 m (7,000 ft) in 35:00
|Ceiling||3,000 m (10,000 ft)|
The R.A.F. B.E.2 was a design dating back to 1912. B.E. stood for "Blériot Experimental", or -- more generally -- a tractor biplane. Like the BE.1 before it, twin forward skids were provided to prevent a tip-over during landing. There was considerable variance in the first B.E.s, both in chosen engine and configuration such as equal-span or unequal-span wings. In the earliest BE's, the observer sat exposed in the forward seat with no cowling or decking in front of him, as if his seat were directly bolted to the top of the cut-away fuselage. Thirty BE.2s were assigned to the Expeditionary Force in 1914. 
Judged by the standards of 1917, it is easy to criticize the B.E.2. But by the standards of 1912 it was an impressive and advanced aircraft.
For more information, see Wikipedia:Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2.
Timeline [note 1]
- British usage numbers are approximate, derived from the squadron histories.
- Bruce'69, p.350.
- Lamberton, p.46.
- Bruce'66, p.12.
- Lamberton, pp.214-215.
- Philpott'13, pp.379-444.
- J.M. Bruce. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. Great Britain: Funk & Wagnalls, 1957, 1969. ISBN 0370000382
- J.M. Bruce, Profile Publications 133: The B.E.2, 2a & 2b. Great Britain: Profile Publications, Ltd., 1966.
- W.M. Lamberton and E.F. Cheesman, Reconnaissance & Bomber Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Great Britain: Harleyford Publications Ltd., 1962. ISBN 9780900435027
- Ian Philpott, The Birth of the Royal Air Force. Great Britain: Pen & Sword Books Limited, 2013. ISBN 978-1-78159-333-2