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Royal Aircraft Factory: books - history and technology

A book on RAF aircraft? Here are books on the history of the aircraft built by the Royal Aircraft Factory (RAF), including the B.E. 2 And S.E. 5.

Fokker Fodder - The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c

Designed as the benchmark against which competitors in the 1912 Military Aeroplane Competition were judged, the B.E.2 outperformed them all and was put into production becoming the most numerous single type in Royal Flying Corps service.
The B.E.2c, a later variant, was designed to be inherently stable and was nicknamed the 'Quirk' by its pilots. Intended mainly for reconnaissance, it was hopelessly outclassed by the Fokker Eindecker fighter and its defenceless crews quickly became known as 'Fokker Fodder'.

The Eindecker, piloted by top scoring German aces such as Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke, made short work of the B.E.2c in the aerial bloodbath coined as the 'Fokker scourge'. Its vulnerability to fighter attack became plain back home and to the enemy who nicknamed the B.E.2c as kaltes fleisch or cold meat. British ace Albert Ball said that it was a 'bloody terrible aeroplane'.

B.E.2c crews were butchered in increasing numbers. The B.E.2c slogged on throughout the war, and its poor performance against German fighters, and the failure to improve or replace it, caused great controversy in Britain. One MP attacked the B.E.2c and the Royal Aircraft Factory in the House of Commons stating that RFC pilots were being 'murdered than killed.
This resulted in a judicial enquiry that cleared the factory and partly instrumental in bringing about the creation of the Royal Air Force.

Author:Paul R. Hare
Specs:160 pages, 24 x 16.5 x 2.1 cm / 9 x 6.5 x 0.83 in, hardback
Illustrations:160 b&w photographs
Publisher:Fonthill Media (GB, 2012)
EAN:9781781550656
Book: Fokker Fodder - The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c

Fokker Fodder - The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c

Language: English

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FE 2b/d vs Albatros Scouts - Western Front, 1916-17 (Osprey)

In the spring of 1916 the deployment of the RFC's FE 2 - with its rotary engine 'pusher' configuration affording excellent visibility for its pilot and observer, and removing the need for synchronized machine guns - helped wrest aerial dominance from Imperial Germany's Fokker Eindecker monoplanes, and then contributed to retaining it throughout the Somme battles of that fateful summer.
However, by autumn German reorganization saw the birth of the Jagdstaffeln (specialised fighter squadrons) and the arrival of the new Albatros D scout, a sleek inline-engined machine built for speed and twin-gun firepower. Thus, for the remainder of 1916 and well into the next year an epic struggle for aerial superiority raged above the horrors of the Somme and Passchendaele battlefields, pitting the FE 2 against the better-armed and faster Albatros scouts that were focused on attacking and destroying their two-seater opponents.
In the end the Germans would regain air superiority, and hold it into the following summer with the employment of their new Jagdgeschwader (larger fighter groupings), but the FE 2 remained a tenacious foe that inflicted many casualties - some of whom were Germany's best aces (including 'The Red Baron').

Contents: Introduction - Chronology - Design and Development - Technical Specifications - The Strategic Situation - The Combatants - Combat - Statistics and Analysis - Aftermath - Bibliography - Index.

Author:James F. Miller
Specs:80 pages, 25 x 18.5 x 0.5 cm / 9.8 x 7.3 x 0.2 in, paperback
Illustrations:photographs and drawings (in b&w and colour)
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2014)
Series:Duel (55)
EAN:9781780963259
Book: FE 2b/d vs Albatros Scouts - Western Front, 1916-17 (Osprey)

FE 2b/d vs Albatros Scouts - Western Front, 1916-17

Language: English

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Mount of Aces - The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a

A fitting testament to a legendary fighter. Arguably, the Sopwith Camel may be the best known British fighter plane of the First World War that took on the mighty and feared Jastas over the killing fields that were the trenches. However, almost all the highest scoring aces including McCudden and Mannock preferred the Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a.
It was well-armed, fast, highly manoeuvrable and a superb gun platform, and yet it was easy and safe for even the most sketchily trained pilot to fly. The S.E.5a was deadly. Not only could it absorb punishment and turn on a penny, it packed a wallop with its .303 Vickers and .303 Lewis machine guns. Over 5,500 examples were produced in the war and Major Edward C. 'Mick' Mannock scored fifty of his seventy-three victories in the S.E.5a.

The S.E.5a helped turn the tide of war in the Allies' favour. After the war, examples took part in air races and were employed in the 'sky-writings' industry for advertising purposes in both Britain and America. And today, all over the world, home-builders are producing reproductions of the S.E.5a for sport and leisure flying, a fitting tribute to a design now nearly a century old and an appropriate memorial to the thousands of pilots who flew it in combat in defence of their country.

Author:Paul R. Hare
Specs:160 pages, 23.5 x 15.5 x 1 cm / 9.25 x 6.1 x 0.39 in, paperback
Illustrations:120 b&w photographs
Publisher:Fonthill Media (GB, 2014)
EAN:9781781552889
Book: Mount of Aces - The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a

Mount of Aces - The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a

Language: English

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SE 5a vs Albatros D V - World War I 1917-18 (Osprey)

Amid the ongoing quest for aerial superiority during World War I, the late spring of 1917 saw two competing attempts to refine proven designs. The Royal Aircraft Factory SE 5a incorporated improvements to the original SE 5 airframe along with 50 more horsepower to produce a fast, reliable ace-maker.
The Albatros D V, a development of the deadly D III of 'Bloody April', proved to be more disappointing. Nevertheless, Albatrosen remained the Germans' most common fighters available when the Germans launched their final offensive on 21 March 1918. Despite its shortcomings, German tactics and skill made the Albatros D V a dangerous foe that SE 5a pilots dismissed at their peril.

This title tells the story of the design and development of these two fighters and concludes with their dramatic fights in the last year of World War I.

Contents: Introduction - Chronology - Design and Development - The Strategic Situation - Technical Specifications - The Combatants - Combat - Statistics and analysis - Aftermath - Bibliography - Further Reading - Glossary.

Author:Jon Guttman
Specs:80 pages, 25 x 18.5 x 0.6 cm / 9.8 x 7.3 x 0.24 in, paperback
Illustrations:photographs and drawings (in b&w and colour)
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2009)
Series:Duel (20)
EAN:9781846034718
Book: SE 5a vs Albatros D V - World War I 1917-18 (Osprey)

SE 5a vs Albatros D V - World War I 1917-18

Language: English

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Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 Manual (1916 onwards) - An insight into the design, engineering, restoration, maintenance and operation (Haynes Aircraft Manual)

The S.E.5a became known as the 'mount of aces' - the aircraft in which the most successful fighter pilots of Britain and her Empire went to war throughout the last 18 months of the First World War.

It was the Spitfire of the Western Front, delivering greater speed, range, firepower and all-round performance than the vast majority of its opposition. Often working in partnership with the more pugnacious Sopwith Camel, the S.E.5 and S.E.5a ensured that no enemy aircraft was safe even a long way behind their own lines as the Royal Flying Corps gradually won air superiority over the trenches.

Pages of the book Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A Manual (1)

This addition to the range of Haynes classic aircraft Manuals delivers an authoritative history of the type's design, development and operational history, as well as a step-by-step guide to the construction, maintenance, restoration and operation of this tremendously significant aeroplane. It covers all marks (S.E.5, S.E.5a, S.E.5b and S.E.5E).

Pages of the book Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A Manual (2)

Click here to know more about the Haynes Aircraft Manuals

Author:Nick Garton
Specs:160 pages, 28 x 22 x 1.3 cm / 11 x 8.7 x 0.51 in, hardback
Illustrations:numerous b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Haynes Publishing (GB, 2017)
Series:Haynes Aircraft Manual
EAN:9780857338464
Book: Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 Manual (1916 onwards) - An insight into the design, engineering, restoration, maintenance and operation (Haynes Aircraft Manual)

Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 Manual (1916 onwards) - An insight into the design, engineering, restoration, maintenance and operation

Language: English

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SE 5/5a Aces of World War 1 (Osprey)

The Royal Aircraft Factory SE 5/5a was, along with the Sopwith Camel, the major British fighting scout of the last 18 months of the war in France. It equipped several major squadrons, the first being No 56 Sqn in April 1917.

This unit became famous for the number of aces it had among its pilots, including Albert Ball, James McCudden, Geoffrey Bowman, Richard Maybery, Leonard Barlow, Hank Burden and Cyril Crowe.
In all, 26 aces flew the aircraft with No 56 Sqn alone. Other well-known units were Nos 1, 24, 29, 32, 40, 41, 60, 64, 2 AFC, 74, 84, 85 and 92 Sqns. A number of Victoria Cross winners also flew SE 5/5as, namely Ball, Mannock, McCudden, Beauchamp Proctor and Bishop. Among the aces, no fewer than 20 scored more than 20 victories.

In all, there were almost 100 SE 5/5a aces, and a large number of them are profiled in this volume. Supporting the text are more than 110 photographs, 37 brand new colour artworks and detailed appendices listing every pilot who 'made ace' on the SE 5/5a.

Contents: Chapter 1: Origins of the SE 5 / 5a - Chapter 2:With the RFC in 1916 - Chapter 3: RFC in 'Bloody April' - Chapter 4: 1917 - Chapter 5: 1918 - Appendices: Aces; Squadrons and bases; Ace SE 5 5as; SE 5 5a pilot awards.

Author:Norman L. R. Franks
Specs:96 pages, 25 x 18.5 x 0.8 cm / 9.8 x 7.3 x 0.31 in, paperback
Illustrations:photographs and drawings (in b&w and colour)
Publisher:Osprey Publishing (GB, 2007)
Series:Aircraft of the Aces (78)
EAN:9781846031809
Book: SE 5/5a Aces of World War 1 (Osprey)

SE 5/5a Aces of World War 1

Language: English

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Last update:15-06-2024