Bristol F.2A Fighter


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Bristol F.2A Fighter

Known by the appellation of "Fighter" almost from its birth, the F.2 series of two-seat fighter-reconnaissance aircraft designed by Frank Barnwell was to join the ranks of the true immortals of World War I. Designed around the new 190hp Rolls-Royce 12-cylinder watercooled engine, but with provision for the alternative installation of the 150hp eight-cylinder Hispano-Suiza, the F.2A had a single forward-firing synchronised 7.7mm Vickers gun and a Lewis gun of the same calibre on a Scarff ring in the rear cockpit. The first of two prototypes was flown on 9 September 1916, a production contract for 50 aircraft having been placed 12 days earlier, on 28 August. Deliveries began early in 1917, but initial operational experience in April 1917 was disappointing, thanks to the use of incorrect combat techniques. Confidence in the type was restored when newly-evolved methods were proved successful. Meanwhile, the improved F.2B had been evolved, the 51st and subsequent production aircraft being of this standard, and delivery of the F.2B resulting in the withdrawal from frontline use of the F.2A.

Bristol F.2A FighterA three-view drawing (800 x 357)

  Take-off weight1210 kg2668 lb
  Empty weight783 kg1726 lb
  Wingspan11.96 m39 ft 3 in
  Length7.87 m26 ft 10 in
  Height2.89 m10 ft 6 in
  Wing area36.14 m2389.01 sq ft
  Max. speed177 km/h110 mph

Martin Giles, e-mail, 28.11.2009 03:41

Mr Rudnicki is correct about the combat technique. Also, at the time there was an (unfounded) belief that the Bristol suffered from a structural weakness and could not be thrown around with safety (J.M. Bruce). Incidentally the drawing seems to be based on a design development from July 1916 that was never built (I would really like to know who did the drawings for this entire collection!!!). Also the lower wing end plates were added to and removed from the second prototype and the wing gap faired over.


leo rudnicki, e-mail, 29.04.2009 22:04

The incorrect combat technique refers to reliance on flexible defensive guns, the newly-evolved method was the attack with fixed forward firing gun. The WWII Defiant and Roc had only defensive guns. In fighter combat, going defensive is something you do before losing, attacking, something before winning.


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