Royal Aircraft Factory SE5, Old Warden 2009, ©Nigel Key
22 November 1916.
The Scout Experimental 5 (S.E.5.) was designed by Henry 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 S.E.5. was extremely stable, manoeuvrable, 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 arc 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.5a which had an improved Hispano-Suiza 8b engine, producing 200 hp, with 5,265 being built.
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 pursued as a replacement for the S.E.5.a.
The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 was produced from 1917, with 5,205 built.
Hispano-Suiza 8B or Wolseley W.4A Viper, producing 200 hp.
1 x Vickers 0.303” machine gun
1 x Lewis 0.303” machine gun
100 lb (44 kg) Bomb load
The S.E.5 entered service with No. 56 Squadron RFC in March 1917 with the S.E.5a replacing it from June 1917, though deliveries were delayed due to shortage of engines.
By the end of the war, the S.E.5a was employed by a total of 21 British Empire squadrons as well as two U.S. units.
|Crew - 1|
|Wing Type - B-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)|
|Max. Speed - 120mph (193 km/h)|
|Range - 300 miles (483 km)|