Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 Biplane History
The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was designed by Geoffrey de
Havilland and E.T. Busk for use by the Royal Flying Corps as a
reconnaissance and observation platform. It first flew in February
1912 and entered service with the RFC later in the year.
There were several versions of the The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2,
the best known being the B.E.2c which entered service a few months
before the start of WW1. Earlier versions of the B.E.2 had utilised
wing warping but, in an attempt to provide even higher stability, E.T.
Busk redesigned the wings and tail, notably replacing the wing warping
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c
When first used in France during WW1, the B.E.2c
proved to be the perfect stable reconnaissance and observation
platform, however, the development of fighter aircraft resulted
in this aircraft becoming an easy target. It's
high stability and low speed made it impossible to evade
faster more agile enemy fighter planes.
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 in
Once it became obvious that they were no
longer fit for their original purpose, it was decided to use the aircraft
in other roles including: night fighter, trainer, communications and
anti-submarine patrols. All these roles took advantage of the aircraft's
inherent stability without exposing them to enemy fighters.
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2
Approximately 3,500 of these aircraft were produced, helped by the
relatively simplistic design which allowed many contractors with no
previous experience of aircraft construction to build the B.E.2.
This freed up more experienced producers to concentrate on more complex
designs, such as fighters. The majority of the
B.E.2s served with the Royal Flying Corps until being withdrawn
from service in 1919, however most of the WW1 Allied Powers used at
least a small
number of them. Notably this was one of the first two aircraft
purchased by Qantas when the airline was first formed in 1920.
models, model kits and plans of this aircraft have been available in
the market place.
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c Biplane Specifications:
Factory B.E.2 Crew: Pilot and Observer
Factory B.E.2 Length: 27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)
Factory B.E.2 Wingspan: 37 ft 0 in (11.28 m)
Factory B.E.2 Height: 11 ft 1½ in (3.39 m)
Factory B.E.2 Wing area: 371 ft² (34.8 m²)
Factory B.E.2 Empty weight: 1,370 lb (623 kg)
Factory B.E.2 Max takeoff weight: 2,350 lb (1,068 kg)
Factory B.E.2 Engine: Single 90 hp (67 kW) RAF 1a air cooled V-8 (Renault
Factory B.E.2 Maximum speed: 72 mph (63 knots, 116 km/h)
Factory B.E.2 Endurance: 3 hr 15 min
Factory B.E.2 Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c Biplane Armament:
224 lb (100 kg) of bombs
Single .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun