Biplane Aircraft of the World
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Biplane Aircraft vs the Monoplane

 

Biplane History
The word "biplane" literally means two planes or wings. From the Wright brothers' first flight on December 17, 1903, in their biplane aircraft the Wright Flyer I, until a few years before WW2, the biplane literally ruled the skies. WW1 saw the biplane rapidly developed from a simple mobile aerial observation and artillery spotting platform into a specialized war machine with dedicated interceptors, fighter-bombers and heavy bombers. Mono-planes and Tri-planes were tried by both sides in the fighter role in WW1 with some success, but none remained in front line service for long, being replaced with biplanes as soon as improved aircraft designs became available.

Biplane Use Between WW1 and WW2
Between the wars the biplane became a mail carrier, passenger carrier and a play thing of the rich. This was due, in part, to the large number of surplus military biplane aircraft available at relatively low prices. Monoplanes had existed from a very early date but only became dominant with the introduction of new monocoque designs in the later part of the 1930's. Up to this time the biplane was the best available aircraft design solution.

Biplane Service during WW2
By the outbreak of WW2 most operational military aircraft were monoplanes, with the notable exception of basic biplane trainers, which included the Boeing Kaydet, Bucker Bu-131 Jungman and the de-Havilland dh82a Tiger Moth biplanes. Many civilian biplanes were eventually pressed into service with military forces during WW2, but this was out of necessity rather than choice. One notable exception was the Fairey Swordfish biplane, which remained the Royal Navy's main carrier borne torpedo bomber from 1935 until the end of WW2, regardless of the numerous attempts to replace it with newer biplane and monoplane aircraft designs.

Biplane Aircraft Production After WW2
After WW2 ended, many ex military biplane trainers were sold cheaply on the civilian market for use as trainers, crop dusters and personal private biplane aircraft transports. Biplane aircraft were still manufactured after WW2 for special purposes, the American Pitt's Special was designed as an advanced aerobatic biplane aircraft and the largest single engine biplane, and the Russian Antonov AN2 was designed as a "land anywhere" flying truck primarily for agricultural use although, due to it's outstanding STOL capabilities and ruggedness, it was used in considerable numbers by the Soviet armed forces for dropping paratroops.

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