Royal Aircraft Factory BE2
(Many variants inc. BE 2c and BE 2e)
The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was a British single-engine tractor two-seat biplane designed and developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory. Most production aircraft were constructed under contract by various private companies, both established aircraft manufacturers and firms that had not previously built aircraft. Around 3,500 were manufactured in all. The Designation B.E = Blériot Experimental (Tractor or propeller-first layout).
Early versions of the B.E.2 entered squadron service with the Royal Flying Corps in 1912; the type continued to serve throughout the First World War. It was initially used as a front-line reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber; modified as a single-seater (B.E.12) it proved effective as a night fighter, destroying several German airships.
The B.E.2 variants were designed for “inherently stable”; this feature was considered helpful in its artillery observation and aerial photography duties.. The stability of the type was however achieved at the expense of heavy controls, making rapid manoeuvring (as in aerial combat) difficult.
By late 1915, the B.E.2 was proving inadequate in defending itself against German fighters such as the then new Fokker Eindecker, leading to increased losses during the period known as the Fokker Scourge. Although by now obsolete, it had to remain in front-line service while suitable replacements were designed, tested and brought into service.
Initial production version of B.E.2. Built in small numbers from late 1912 – still a standard type at the outbreak of war.
Extensively redesigned to enhance stability, with new
tailplane, wings and struts.
The final version, with new single-bay wings.
ROYAL AIRCRAFT FACTORY B.E.2 INFORMATION
Number Built: 3,500
Engine: RAF 1a V-8 90hp
Top Speed: 116 Km/hr