Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c


Back to the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  FIGHTERVirtual Aircraft Museum / United Kingdom / Royal Aircraft Factory  

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c

Second of the Farnborough designs to bear a "Bleriot Experimental" designation as a general-purpose tractor biplane, the B.E.2 appeared in 1912 and provided the basis for a family of variants produced in large quantity for use by the RFC, principally as an unarmed two-seat scout. With modifications to enhance the inherent stability of the basic design, the B.E.2c was developed in 1914 and many of the 1,216 of this variant built were to serve with various ad hoc armament installations. The B.E.2c was a two-bay biplane with unstaggered equispan wings, a conventional tail unit with separate fin, rudder, tailplane and elevators, and an undercarriage incorporating skids to help prevent nose-overs. The 70hp Renault eight-cylinder Vee-type engine powered early production aircraft, but the 90hp RAF la eightcylinder Vee-type soon became standard. Construction of the B.E.2c was of wood throughout, with fabric covering. A variety of mounts was evolved for a single 7.7mm Lewis machine gun in the observer's (front) cockpit, primarily for self-defence. More specifically to serve as a fighter with Home Defence squadrons of the RFC and the RNAS, numerous B.E.2c's were modified as single-seaters, armament comprising a single Lewis gun mounted to fire upwards behind the wing centre section or, in some cases, on the side of the fuselage alongside the cockpit, angled outwards to clear the propeller disc. Flying by night, despite a lack of nocturnal flight aids, B.E.2c's shot down five raiding Zeppelins over the UK during 1916. B.E.2c's were also used for a number of armament experiments.

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2cA three-view drawing (1280 x 906)

  Take-off weight972 kg2143 lb
  Empty weight621 kg1369 lb
  Wingspan11.23 m37 ft 10 in
  Length8.30 m27 ft 3 in
  Height3.45 m11 ft 4 in
  Wing area36.79 m2396.00 sq ft
  Max. speed116 km/h72 mph

Klaatu83, e-mail, 20.09.2014 03:00

This aircraft has frequently been criticized in retrospect for a lack of maneuverability. However, what those critics fail to consider is that this airplane was designed before World War I began, and at the one of the principal considerations of it's design was positive stability. In that sense the designers succeeded, because the B.E.2c was certainly was a stable airplane.


Frank Russell, e-mail, 12.01.2012 04:30

My father flew these as a pilot in the RFC & RAF in WW1


Angela, 21.06.2011 04:53

B.E.2c's were also used for a number of armament experiments.


braden, e-mail, 08.06.2011 10:45

Do you still have the propeller boss?

reply, e-mail, 11.12.2006 04:51

Have in possession clock set into propeller boss with wording on the outer rim of the boss B.E.2.C. 100 hp RAF T5291 LONDON. Is this of significant interest?


Do you have any comments?

Name    E-mail


All the World's Rotorcraft

All rhe World's Rotorcraft AVIATION TOP 100 -