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Bernard AB -1 BN2 - France

The Adolphe Bernard AB was a family twin-engined French biplane aircraft, built near the end of the First World War. Ten AB 1 BN2 bombers were produced for the Armée de l’Air but did not reach squadron service; post-war, two civil derivatives were considered but only one aircraft was built.

The AB 1, built near the end of the First World War, was the first original design from the Adolphe Bernard factory, which had previously produced SPAD aircraft to government contracts. It was a twin engine biplane bomber, carrying 600 kg of bombs.

The AB 1 BN2 was a wooden three bay biplane, without stagger but with greater span on the upper planes. Only the lower wings carried dihedral. The outer and mid interplane struts were outward leaning pairs but the inner bay was defined by a complex of struts supporting the engines midway between the wings. Head on, these appeared as a V based on the lower wing but had M and W arrangements seen side-on above and below the engine. The AB 1 used Hispano-Suiza V-8 piston engines, of which type there was a surplus after the Armistice. It had ailerons on both upper and lower wings, externally connected.

Scale model of the Adolphe Bernard AB aircraft
Scratch Build using Balsa Wood

The fuselage of the AB 1 BN2 was flat-sided, with a narrowed but flat topped decking. There was a gunner’s position in the extreme nose fitted with a 7.7 mm machine gun on a TO 4 mounting. The fuselage tapered rearwards with the cantilever tailplane, which carried separate elevators, mounted on top. The fin carried a horn balanced rudder which extended down to the bottom of the fuselage, moving between the elevators.

Its main undercarriage had a wide track, with twin wheels on short axles mounted below each engine on inverted V struts, themselves further braced to the lower fuselage longerons.

The first AB 1 BN2 was built in 1918 and probably flew that year.

Bernard AB
First flight: 1918-9
Primary user: Armée de l’Air
Number built: 12
Crew: 2?
Length: 11.30 m
Wingspan: 18.95 m
Powerplant: 2 × Hispano-Suiza 8 Ab water cooled V-8 piston engine, 180 hp
Maximum speed: 161 km/h

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