R.A.F. B.E.2a

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R.A.F. B.E.2a
Royal Aircraft Factory BE2 captured.jpg
Role Reconnaissance
Manufacturer R.A.F.
Designer Geoffrey de Havilland
First flight late 1912 [1]
Introduction 13 Aug 1914 [2]
Primary user RAF Type A Roundel.svg U.K. (RFC/RAF)
Number built ~15 [1][2]
Developed from R.A.F. B.E.2
Variants R.A.F. B.E.2b
Wingspan 10.7 m (35 ft)[3][4][note 1] or 11.3 m (37 ft) [5]
Propeller Diam. 2.69 m (8 ft 10 in)[4]
Engine 70hp Renault
Armament none, or 45 kg (100 lb) of bombs[5][3]
Crew 2
Max Speed 110 km/h (70 mph) [6][5][3][4]
Climb 910 m (3,000 ft) in 9:00[5][4]
2,100 m (7,000 ft) in 35:00[6][5][4]
Service Ceiling 3,000 m (10,000 ft)[6][5][3][4]
Endurance 3:00 [6][5][3][4]

The R.A.F. B.E.2a was an improved B.E.2 with decking to protect the observer and cover the fuel tank and stronger struts. Both planes were good experimental vehicles for their time but unsuited realities of combat three years later in 1915. B.E.2a's served in France but also in the Dardanelles and Egypt. [1] They performed both reconnaissance and light bombing.[2]

The earliest B.E.2a's had unequal-span wings, but later models had equal-span wings, and some of the earlier models were refitted. The Royal Aircraft Factory built only five; the rest were subcontracted to a variety of builders. Before the war they were extensively used by Squadrons 2, 4, and 6, and some had their skid undercarriage replaced by a three-wheel oleo version.[7]

B.E.2a № 347 was the first R.F.C plane to land on French soil after the outbreak of the war on 13 Aug 1914. It remained in service until late summer of 1915, when it started moving only to training and to quieter fronts.[7]

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

Timeline [note 2]

References

Notes
  1. Early B.E.2a's had a wingspan of 11.8 m (38 ft 7.5 in).[4]
  2. British usage numbers are approximate, derived from the squadron histories.[8]
Citations
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bruce'69, p.352.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lamberton, p.46.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Angelucci, p.22.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Bruce'66, p.12.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Lamberton, pp.214-215.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Bruce'69, p.356.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bruce'66, p.8.
  8. Philpott'13, pp.379-444.
Bibliography
  • Enzo Angelucci, ed. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft, 1914-1980. New York: The Military Press, 1983 edition. ISBN 0-517-41021-4.
  • 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