Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2

B.E.2B.E.2cRoyal Aircraft Factory BE.2BE2cBE.2BE2Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2cB.E.2eRoyal Aircraft Factory B.E.1B.E.2a
The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was a British single-engine tractor two-seat biplane designed and developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory.wikipedia
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Royal Flying Corps

RFCRoyal Flying Corpairman
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.
In March 1915 a bombing raid was flown, with Captain Strange flying a modified Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c, to carry four 20 lb Cooper bombs on wing racks released by pulling a cable fitted in the cockpit.

Avro 500

Avro DuiganAvro Type EAvro 502
Rather, in common with the contemporary Avro 500, the B.E.2 was one of the designs which established the tractor biplane as the dominant aircraft layout for a considerable time.
This aircraft layout dominated aircraft design for twenty years: the Avro 500 and the contemporary B.E.1 are among the first truly practical examples built.

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12

B.E.12Royal Aircraft Factory BE.12BE12
The B.E.9 and the B.E.12 were variants developed to provide the B.E.2 with an effective forward-firing armament.
It was essentially a single-seat version of the B.E.2.

No. 2 Squadron RAF

No. 2 SquadronNo. 2 Squadron RFC2 Squadron
The first contractor-built B.E.2as appeared during the first weeks of 1913; during February of that year, at least two such aeroplanes were delivered to No.2 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps, these were possibly the first examples of the type to enter service.
The Squadron was equipped with a mixture of aircraft types, including the prototype Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2.

Geoffrey de Havilland

Sir Geoffrey de Havillandde Havillandde Havilland, Geoffrey
The first pair of B.E. aircraft were flown within two months of each other and had the same basic design, the work of Geoffrey de Havilland, who was at the time both the chief designer and the test pilot at the Balloon Factory.
Subsequent designs were even more successful: in 1912 he established a new British altitude record of 10,500 feet (3.2 km) in an aircraft of his design, the B.E.2.

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.9

The B.E.9 and the B.E.12 were variants developed to provide the B.E.2 with an effective forward-firing armament.
It was therefore decided to modify an example of the B.E.2c by adding a small wooden box (which soon gained the nickname "pulpit") in front of the aircraft's propeller, which would accommodate a gunner armed with a Lewis gun on a trainable mount.

Royal Aircraft Establishment

Royal Aircraft FactoryRAE FarnboroughRAE
The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was a British single-engine tractor two-seat biplane designed and developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory.
The B.E.1 was basically the prototype for the early B.E.2 but the B.E.2c was almost a completely new aeroplane, with very little common with the earlier B.E.2 types apart from engine and fuselage.

Bristol Aeroplane Company

BristolBristol Engine CompanyBritish and Colonial Aeroplane Company
The first production order was placed with British manufacturing conglomerate Vickers; shortly afterwards, a second order was issued for the type's production by the Bristol Aeroplane Company.
Official War Office policy was to purchase only aircraft designed by the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), and Bristol had already built a number of their B.E.2 two-seater reconnaissance aircraft.

Fokker Scourge

first German fighter acesfirst wave of German acesFokker airplanes
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.
The Fokker Scourge is usually considered to have begun on 1August, when B.E.2c aircraft of No. 2 Squadron bombed the base of FFA62 at 5:00a.m., waking the German pilots, including Boelcke and Immelmann, who were quickly into the air after the raiders.

Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8

R.E.8Royal Aircraft Factory RE.8RE8
It had been planned that by this time B.E.2s in front-line service would have been replaced by newer aircraft, such as the Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 and Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8, but delivery of these types was initially slower than hoped.
Intended as a replacement for the vulnerable B.E.2, the R.E.8 was widely regarded as more difficult to fly and gained a reputation in the Royal Flying Corps for being "unsafe" that was never entirely dispelled.

Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8

F.K.8Armstrong Whitworth F.K.7Armstrong Whitworth FK.8
It had been planned that by this time B.E.2s in front-line service would have been replaced by newer aircraft, such as the Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 and Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8, but delivery of these types was initially slower than hoped.
The aircraft, originally designated the F.K.7, was designed by Dutch aircraft designer Frederick Koolhoven as a replacement for the Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c and the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3.

Night fighter

night-fighternight fightersnightfighter
As early as 1915, the B.E.2c entered service as a pioneer night fighter, being used in attempts to intercept and destroy the German airship raiders.
As early as 1915, a number of B.E.2c aircraft (the infamous "Fokker Fodder") were modified into the first night fighters.

RAF Montrose

MontroseMontrose AerodromeMontrose Air Station
On 22 May 1913, Captain Longcroft flew his aircraft from Farnborough Airport to Montrose Aerodrome, covering the 550 mile distance in ten hours, 55 minutes, with two intermediary stops.
Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3 : Avro 504 A/J/K : Bristol F.2 B : Bristol Scout C/D: Caudron G.3 : Curtiss JN-4 / JN-3 : de Havilland Airco DH1a, DH2, DH4, DH6, DH9 : Maurice Farman MF.7 Longhorn: Maurice Farman MF.11 Shortman : Grahame-White Type XV: Martinsyde S.1 : Martinsyde G.100 Elephant : Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 b/c/d/e : Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 /c : Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b : Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8 : Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8: Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 /a : Sopwith 1-1/2 Strutter : Sopwith Camel : Sopwith Pup : Vickers FB9 :

Albert Ball

Albert Ball V.C.Albert Ball VCBall
British ace Albert Ball described the B.E.2c as "a bloody awful aeroplane".
On 18 February 1916, Ball joined No. 13 Squadron RFC at Marieux in France, flying a two-seat Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c on reconnaissance missions.

Wing warping

wing-warpingwarpingwarped the wings
The B.E.1 was a two-bay tractor biplane – it had parallel-chord unstaggered wings with rounded ends, using wing warping for roll control.

Australian Flying Corps

AFCNo. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
As early as 1914, some B.E.2as went to Australia, where they served as trainer aircraft for the nascent Australian Flying Corps at Point Cook, Victoria.
On 3 July 1912, the first "flying machines" were ordered: two Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 two seat tractor biplanes and two British-built Deperdussin single seat tractor monoplanes.


After the first few aircraft, production machines were powered by a development of the Renault engine, the RAF 1a, and the twin skid undercarriage was replaced by a plain "V" undercarriage.
The RAF 1 was based on the Renault 70/80 hp engine, being intended specifically to replace that engine in the B.E.2c.

Mervyn O'Gorman

O'Gorman, Mervyn
The team responsible for its design came under the direction of British engineer Mervyn O'Gorman, the factory's superintendent.
In the hands of Geoffrey de Havilland the Voisin which had been donated to the Army Air Battalion by the Duke of Westminster was reborn as the B.E.1, a neat biplane with an excellent performance which first took to the air in December 1911.

Avro 504

Avro 504KAvro 504N504
Another B.E.2e was one of the first two aircraft (the other was an Avro 504K) owned by the new Australian airline Qantas when it was founded in Queensland in 1920–1921.
In the winter of 1917–18 it was decided to use converted 504Js and 504Ks to equip Home Defence squadrons of the RFC, replacing ageing B.E.2cs, which had poor altitude performance.

SS class airship

SS class blimpSSSS-class
A number of B.E.2 fuselages were employed as makeshift gondolas for the hastily designed SS class "blimps", which were introduced into service by the Royal Naval Air Service for anti-submarine duties during March 1915.
The prototype SS craft was created at RNAS Kingsnorth on the Hoo Peninsula, and was effectively a B.E.2c aeroplane fuselage and engine minus wings, tailfin and elevators, slung below the disused envelope from airship HMA No. 2 (Willows No. 4) that had been lying deflated at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), Farnborough Airfield.

Edward Teshmaker Busk

BuskE. T. BuskE.T. Busk
The B.E.2c was a major redesign, the result of research by E.T. Busk intended to provide an inherently stable aeroplane.
In 1913 this work was used in the R.E.1 (Reconnaissance Experimental), claimed as the first inherently stable aeroplane, and resulted in the development of the B.E.2c.

No. 1 Squadron RAAF

No. 1 SquadronNo. 1 Squadron AFCNos. 1
The squadron was formed under the Australian Flying Corps in 1916 and saw action in the Sinai and Palestine Campaigns during World War I. It flew obsolete Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2s, B.E.12s, Martinsyde G.100s and G.102s, as well as Airco DH.6s, Bristol Scouts and Nieuport 17s, before re-equipping with the R.E.8 in October 1917 and finally the Bristol Fighter in December.

Bloody April

AprilApril 1917crippling losses
This situation culminated in what became known as "Bloody April", with the RFC losing 60 B.E.2s during that month.
Since late 1916, the Germans had held the upper hand in the contest for air supremacy on the Western Front, with the twin-lMG 08 machine gun-armed Albatros D.II and D.III outclassing the fighters charged with protecting the vulnerable B.E.2c, F.E.2b and Sopwith 1½ Strutter two-seater reconnaissance and bomber machines.

William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse

William Rhodes-Moorhouse2nd Lt. William Rhodes-MoorhouseRhodes-Moorhouse
Nonetheless, the B.E.2s were already in use as light bombers as well as for visual reconnaissance; an attack on Courtrai Railway station on 26 April 1915 earning a posthumous Victoria Cross for 2nd Lt. William Rhodes-Moorhouse, the first such award to be made for an aerial operation.
Seeking to serve on an operational basis, he obtained a posting to No. 2 Squadron on 20 March 1915 at Merville, flying the B.E.2.

Leefe Robinson

William Leefe RobinsonWilliam Leefe-RobinsonLt. William Leefe Robinson
This feat led to the pilot, Captain William Leefe Robinson, being awarded a Victoria Cross and various cash prizes, totalling up to £3,500, that had been put up by a number of individuals.
On the night of 2/3 September 1916 over Cuffley, Hertfordshire, Lieutenant Robinson, flying a converted B.E.2c night fighter No.