Nieuport 17 Fighter History
Introduced during WW1 in 1916, the French Nieuport 17 fighter was a single seat biplane of wood and canvas construction. Many of the allied air forces acquired the Nieuport 17 and in consequence many well known Allied fighter aces of the era flew the Nieuport 17 fighter plane in combat, these included Albert Ball V.C., Billy Bishop V.C. and Mick Mannock V.C.
Nieuport 17 Fighter Design
The Nieuport 17 WW1 fighter did have one obvious weak point in it's design, the lower wing was smaller and weaker than the upper one, when violent manoeuvres were undertaken the lower wing could break, collapse of even fall off. This apparent design fault in the Nieuport 17 must be taken in context, there was an inverse link between mass and agility, reinforcing the wings made the aircraft slower and less agile and therefore more likely to loose an aerial combat.
Many types of fighter aircraft were lost due to structural failures in WWI, including the Nieuport 17 biplane, sadly it was one of the problems pilots had to face as an occupational hazard, there was little time to develop, test and evaluate new biplane fighters like the Nieuport 17 due to the necessities of war.
Nieuport 17 Fighter Performance
The Nieuport 17 WWI fighter was highly manoeuvrable, and possessed an excellent rate of climb, this performance enabled the Allies to end the so called "Fokker scourge" with the assistance of the British Airco DH.2 fighter, the Fokker Eindecker which had achieved such aerial dominance for the Germans had finally met it's equals.
Nieuport 17 Biplane Specifications:
Wing Span: 8 m (26 ft 9 1/4 in)
Length: 5.8 m (19 ft)
Height: 2.4 m (7 ft 10 1/2 in)
Empty Weight: 375 kg (827 lb)
Gross weight: 560 kg (1,235 lb)
Maximum Speed: 165 km/h (102 mph)
Service Ceiling: 5,300 m (17,390 ft)
Range: 249 km (155 mi)
Engine: Single 110/130 hp Le Rhone 9Jb rotary engine
Nieuport 17 Armament: Single Vickers 0.303 in machine-gun firing through the propeller arc or a 0.303 in Lewis gun mounted "over-wing", occasionally both guns were fitted but were found to adversely affect the fighters performance.