Airco DH2 (1915-1918)

Airco DH2


Airco DH2 Biplane History
By the later part of 1915, during WW1, the German air force was dominating the air space over the Western Front as a result of the "Fokker Scourge". This was primarily due to their development of "synchronised interrupter gear", which allowed them to fire through the propeller arc without hitting their own propeller blades.
In the middle of 1915 Geoffrey de Havilland designed the DH2 for Airco without the benefit of such a device. It was designed as a pusher aircraft for the Royal Flying Corps to use as a fighter during WW1. This design allowed a machine gun to fire ahead without the propeller being in the way. An additional advantage of the pusher configuration was that the castor oil spray thrown out by rotary engines did not blow into the pilots face.

The Airco DH2 Biplane and the "Fokker Scourge" during WW1
When this biplane was introduced into RFC service in February 1916, it arrived with the German Fokker Eindecker monoplane fighters having air superiority over the whole Western Front. The Airco DH2 was able to help end the so called "Fokker Scourge", which had lasted for many months, even though only a few squadrons were equipped with the aircraft. This was achieved buy using it to escort bombers and observation aircraft that the Imperial German Fliegertruppen had little choice but engage.

The "Fokker Scourge" was by no means ended by this aircraft alone, but combined with the introduction of the excellent Nieuport 11. The Introduction of the German Halberstadt D.II and the Albatros D.I fighters finally rendered the Airco DH2 virtually obsolete as a fighter aircraft. By this time a total of 453 had been produced.

Airco DH2 Ace pilots
The two most famous pilots to have flown this biplane in WW1 were James McCudden and Lanoe Hawker. Hawker died in combat in November 1916 following a lengthy dogfight with Manfred von Richthofen, also known as the Red Baron. Richthofen was flying the new Albatros D.II which was both faster and a little more agile than Hawker's Airco DH2.

Various scale models, model kits and plans of this aircraft have been available in the market place.

Airco DH2 Biplane Specifications:

Airco DH2 Crew: Pilot only
Airco DH2
Length: 25 ft 2 in (7.69 m)
Airco DH2
Wingspan: 28 ft 3 in (8.61 m)
Airco DH2
Height: 9 ft 6 in (2.91 m)
Airco DH2
Wing area: 249 ft (23.13 m)
Airco DH2
Empty weight: 942 lb (428 kg)
Airco DH2
Max takeoff weight: 1,441 lb (654 kg)
Airco DH2
Engine: Single 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine
Airco DH2
Maximum speed: 93 mph (150 km/h)
Airco DH2
Range: 250 mi (402 km)
Airco DH2
Service ceiling: 14,000 ft (4,265 m)

Airco DH2 Biplane Armament:

Single .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun using with a 47-round magazine.

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