MARTINSYDE F. 3 / F.4 Buzzard
In 1917, Martinsyde designed a single-seat biplane fighter powered by a Rolls-Royce Falcon V-12 engine, the Martinsyde F.3, with a single prototype being built as a private venture. A further 6 were ordered in 1917, with the first flying in November that year. Its performance during testing was impressive, demonstrating a maximum speed of 229 km/h.
F.3 – Single-seat fighter biplane. Powered by Rolls-Royce Falcon. Seven built. Tow or three of the F.3 Prototypes were tested and used in the Home Defence activities at Biggin Hill in 1918.
F.4 Buzzard – Single-seat fighter biplane. Powered by 300 hp (220 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8 engine. Main production type.
F.4 Buzzard 1a – Long range escort fighter for Independent Air Force; three built.
The Martinsyde Buzzard was based on the F.3, but powered by a 300 hp Hispano-Suiza 8 engine, the F.4 Buzzard. The Buzzard, like the F.3, was a single-bay tractor biplane powered by a water-cooled engine. It had new lower wings compared with the F.3, and the pilot’s cockpit was positioned further aft, but otherwise the two aircraft were similar.
Biggin Hill Connection
Of the six F.3 pre-production machines, serial numbers B.1490 to 1495, but four of those were split between 39 and 141 squadron.. B.1492 (seen in the colour profile at the right) was delivered to 141 Squadron at Biggin Hill, in May 1918 for testing in the night fighter role. At some point, night-flying markings were applied, (meaning the white areas of the roundels and rudder stripes were toned down or removed) with the red and blue colours. B.1494 was delivered May 18th in night-flying markings to 141 squadron for evaluation.
The good reports of these flight test led to the confirmation of 370 orders for the re-developed F.4 Buzzard aircraft.