1917 Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5


Early Aeroplanes 1907-1918

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In 1906 the Army Balloon Factory relocated from Aldershot to Farnborough Common. In 1912 it was renamed the Royal Aircraft Factory (RAF) under its new designer Geoffrey de Havilland who later founded his own company. The RAF S.E.5 (Scout Experimental 5) was a biplane fighter of WW I. One of the fastest aircraft of the war, it was both stable and relatively manoeuvrable. In most respects the S.E.5 had superior performance to the rival Sopwith Camel, both aircraft being capable dogfighters of the era. But problems with the Hispano-Suiza engine, particularly the geared-output H-S 8B-powered early versions, meant that there was a chronic shortage of S.E.5’s until well into 1918. While the first examples reached the Western Front before the Camel, there were fewer squadrons equipped with the S.E.5 than with the Sopwith fighter. Together with the Camel, the S.E.5 was instrumental in regaining allied air superiority in mid-1917 and maintaining it for the rest of the war, ensuring there was no repetition of “Bloody April” 1917 when losses in the Royal Flying Corps were much heavier than in the Luftstreitkräfte. The S.E.5s remained in RAF service for some time following the Armistice that ended the conflict; some were transferred to various overseas military operators, while a number were also adopted by civilian operators. [Wikipedia].

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Dimensions 47.5 × 34.5 cm