The Royal Aircraft Factory's B.E. series were fine observation planes for the needs of 1914: stable, slow, and forgiving. But those same qualities became liabilities in later warfare when speed and maneuverability were important. Self-defense was problematic because the BEs stuck with the pre-war arrangement of having the pilot in the rear seat, leaving the observer -- if he had a gun at all -- in the difficult position of trying to fire at an angle past the propeller or over the pilot's head against rear attack. By the rise of the Albatros fighters in late 1916 and early 1917, the B.E.'s were helpless and fell in large numbers, a frequent target during "Bloody April". Even after their dark days in spring of 1917, the B.E.2e served on in quieter theaters and roles through the end of the war.

R.A.F. B.E.2e
Role Reconnaissance
Manufacturer R.A.F.
Introduction summer 1916 [1][2]
Primary users U.K. (RFC/RAF)
Number built 1801 [2]
Developed from R.A.F. B.E.2d
Wingspan 12.4 m (40 ft 9 in) [3][4]
Engine 90hp RAF 1a V-8
Armament restricted-arc Lewis MG
45 kg (100 lb) of bombs[3]
Crew 2
Max Speed 130 km/h (80 mph)[5] to
132 km/h (82 mph)[4] to
140 km/h (90 mph) [6][7][3]
Climb 1,800 m (6,000 ft) in 20:30
2,400 m (8,000 ft) in 32:40
3,000 m (10,000 ft) in 53:00[6][7][3][4]
Service Ceiling 2,700 m (9,000 ft) [6][7][3] to
3,000 m (10,000 ft)[5] to
3,400 m (11,000 ft)[4]
Endurance 3:15[4] to 4:00 [6][5][7]

The R.A.F. B.E.2e featured unequal single-bay wings with the large overhung top wings braced from king-posts. It had dual controls, an enlarged fin, and the 90hp RAF 1a V-8 engine. The observer has a Lewis gun in the forward-angle fire position; he could also move that gun to the rail between himself and the pilot.

Large numbers of BE.2e's were built, including some R.A.F. B.E.2c and 2d models that were upgraded to the newer model. It served with the RFC and the RNAS in most theatres, lasting on the Western Front until they could be replaced with the R.A.F. R.E.8 or the Armstrong-Whitworth F.K.8. Some were sent to Russia. After active service, many found new life as trainers. [1]

For more information, see Wikipedia:Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2.

Timeline [note 1]

Game Data

Wings of Glory

Unofficial Stats
Availability Maneuver Damage Dmg Points Max Alt. Climb
16Q4-17Q3 XB -/B 13 7 7

Blue Max/Canvas Eagles

Aircraft Chart

Miniatures and Models

1:144 Scale

1:285/6mm/1:288 Scale


Orthographic Drawings


  1. British usage numbers are approximate, derived from the squadron histories.[8]
  1. 1.0 1.1 Bruce'69, p.364.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lamberton, p.50.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Lamberton, pp.214-215.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Argus Vol. 1, p.20.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Munson, p.54.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Bruce'69, p.370.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Bruce'89, p.28.
  8. Philpott'13, pp.379-444.
  • Argus Books, Airplane Archive: Aircraft of World War One, Volume 1. Great Britain: Argus Books, 1989. ISBN 0-85242-983-5
  • J.M. Bruce. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. Great Britain: Funk & Wagnalls, 1957, 1969. ISBN 0370000382
  • J.M. Bruce, Windsock Datafile 14: RAF BE2e. Great Britain: Albatros Publications, Ltd., 1989. ISBN 0-948414-18-9
  • W.M. Lamberton and E.F. Cheesman, Reconnaissance & Bomber Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Great Britain: Harleyford Publications Ltd., 1962. ISBN 9780900435027
  • Kenneth Munson, Bombers: Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft, 1914-1919. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1968, Blandford Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0753721711
  • Ian Philpott, The Birth of the Royal Air Force. Great Britain: Pen & Sword Books Limited, 2013. ISBN 978-1-78159-333-2