Bristol Fighter                   Sopwith Pup


The Scout Experimental 5 (S.E.5.) was designed by H.P.Folland, J. Kenworthy and Major Gooden of the Royal Aircraft Factory.

The S.E.5. was developed around the Hispano-Suiza 8a engine, which produced 150 hp, and proved to have excellent performance but tended to be unreliable.

The first prototype was flown on the 22nd of November 1916 with a second being manufactured to the same specification which tragically proved to have a design fault in the wing.

Both of the prototypes were destroyed in crashes, with Chief test pilot Major Gooden being killed in the first prototype on 28th of January 1917.

A third prototype was produced with the wing weakness strengthend which led to the S.E.5. to be a very strong aircraft allowing it to be dived at very high speed.

The S.E.5. was extremely stable, manoeverable, relatively easy to fly and could reach a speed of 138 mph making it safer to fly especially for novice pilots.

Armed with a synchronised 0.303" Vickers machine gun to shoot through the propeller and a 0.303" Lewis machine gun 'Foster mounted' on the top wing, the pilot could fire from below an enemy aircraft as well as with two guns firing forward.

After producing 77 S.E.5's attention was turned to the improved S.E.5.a which had an improved Hispano-Suiza 8b engine, producing 200 hp, with 5,265 being built.

The Hispano-Suiza 8b engine proved to be unreliable. due to gear reduction problems. and so was replaced by the Wolseley Viper engine producing 200 hp solving the engine problem.

A further prototype variant of the S.E.5 was manufactured in April 1918, namely the S.E.5.b. It had a streamlined nose, spinner and wings of an unequal span. The reduced drag from the streamlined nose was negated by the extra drag from the larger upper wing and as there was no real benefit from the design it was not persued as a replacement for the S.E.5.a.

Specifications: -
Wing Type:Bi-plane
Length:20ft 11in (6.38m)
Wingspan:26ft 11in (8.11m)
Height:9ft 6in (2.89m)
Empty Weight:1,531lb (694kg)
Max. Weight:2,048lb (929kg)
Engine: Hispano-Suiza 8B or Wolseley W.4A Viper.
Max. Speed:120mph (193km/h)
Range:300 miles (483km)
Armament: -
Machine Guns:1 x 0.303" Vickers (sync.)
1 x 0.303" Lewis
Bombs:4 x 25lb Cooper Bombs
Variants: -

Single seat fighter powered by Hispano Suiza 8a engine producing 150 hp.

Improved version of SE5 powered by Hispano Suiza 8a or Wolseley Viper engine both producing 200 hp.

Experimental prototype, with semi-sesquiplane wings, streamlined nose and retractable radiator.

United States assembled SE5a powered by Wright-Hispano E engine producing 180 hp and with plywood skinned fuselage.
Bristol Fighter                   Sopwith Pup
©Nigel Key S.E.5 (Old Warden 2009)

'G-EBIA', serial number F-904, never saw service and was purchased new after the war by Major J.C. Savage.

It was restored for the Shuttleworth Collection at RAE Farnborough and flew again in 1959. The original Hispano-Suiza engine was replaced with a Wolseley Viper engine in 1975.

The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5. 'G-EBIA' is part of the Shuttleworth Collection, based at Old Warden, where it can be seen today.

Photographs © Nigel Key, Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 (Old Warden 2010) Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 (Old Warden 2010) Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 (Old Warden 2009)
Old Warden 2010
Old Warden 2010
Old Warden 2009
Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 (Old Warden 2009) Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 (Old Warden 2009) Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 (Old Warden 2008)
Old Warden 2009
Old Warden 2009
Old Warden 2008

Related Links: -
Shuttleworth Page -
Shuttleworth Gallery Page -
Official Shuttleworth Website -
2011 Airshow Calendar -
Military Airshows in the UK -
Shuttleworth Collection