Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8
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Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8

Designed under the direction of John Kenworthy, the F.E.8 was the first single-seat fighter evolved as such at Farnborough, where the first of two prototypes was flown on 15 October 1915. Of pusher configuration to allow an uninterrupted forward field of fire for the 7.7mm Lewis gun, the F.E.8 was a two-bay equi-span biplane with a short fuselage nacelle to accommodate the gun, the pilot and a 100hp Gnome Monosoupape nine-cylinder rotary engine, and four slender booms to carry the cruciform tail unit. Construction of the nacelle was of welded steel-tube with aluminium sheet covering; the wings and tail unit used conventional wooden spars and ribs with fabric covering. Trials with the second prototype in France in late 1915 led to a change in the gun installation, which was mounted within the nacelle nose and could be moved through a limited range by means of a control in the cockpit. Production F.E.8s, which began to appear in May and June 1916 from the factories of Darracq Motor Engineering at Fulham and Vickers at Weybridge, had a more practical gun mounting on the nose immediately ahead of the cockpit. Production totalled 220 by Darracq and 50 by Vickers. Service use by RFC squadrons in France began in August 1916, and, although soon obsolescent, the F.E.8 remained in service for a year, becoming the last single-seater of pusher configuration in general use. Trial installations of the 110hp Le Rhone and 110hp Clerget engines were made, but the Monosoupape remained the standard fit.

Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8A three-view drawing (1280 x 860)

    Take-off weight611 kg1347 lb
    Empty weight406 kg895 lb
    Wingspan9.60 m32 ft 6 in
    Length7.21 m24 ft 8 in
    Height2.79 m9 ft 2 in
    Wing area20.25 m2217.97 sq ft
    Max. speed151 km/h94 mph
    Ceiling4636 m15200 ft

Arthur Davies, 14.07.2015

These planes are so great I just love the first world war planes,so happy to see people rebuilding these majestic planes,so they won't be forgotten well done.

Klaatu83, 18.01.2015

The F.E.8 was designed as a single-seat fighter at a time before any practical means was available in Britain to synchronize a machine gun to fire through a propeller without hitting the blades. It's performance was considered to be not quite as good as it's contemporary, the Airco DH-2. However, in the end both aircraft were rendered obsolete by the introduction of superior German fighters with synchronized forward-firing machine guns.

John Potts, 14.07.2013

I found it very interesting, was clearing my dads old garage and found a propeller in the corner with all the markings of F.E.aircraft

pree, 20.06.2011

I would like to see a more detailed view of control cable runs to the tailplane but apart from that it is a good drawing.

, 20.06.2011

Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8

?????????????, 15.09.2009

this isnt what i wanted!!! S**T

?????, 15.09.2009


Craig Bland, 28.05.2009

I have enjoyed the site and description of the plane, I visited your site as a matter of research as I am a French Polisher and am currently restoring and polishing a propellor off of one of these planes, thanks for the info.

adrian smith, 16.11.2008

I would like to see a more detailed view of control cable runs to the tailplane but apart from that it is a good drawing.

Mark, 17.02.2008

Enjoy your site, but just in case you did not know your plane pages are being mirrored or duplicated page per page through the following link at

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