Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.4a


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Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.4a

Designed at Farnborough by H P Folland at the end of 1914, the S.E.4a was one of a series of "Scouting Experimentals" used to study the interplay of stability and manoeuvrability. Unrelated, except in configuration and design authorship, to the high performance S.E.4 of mid-1914, the S.E.4a was a sturdy little single-bay biplane with equi-span wings incorporating 3.5 of dihedral and having no centre section. The square-section fuselage was of conventional spruce construction with steel tubes to accept the loads from the lower wings, and, like the wooden wings and tail unit, was fabric-covered. Full-span ailerons were fitted to both sets of wings, and power was provided by an 80hp Gnome seven-cylinder rotary in a fully circular shortchord cowling. The first of four S.E.4a's built at the RAF flew there on 25 June 1915, and differed from its successors in having faired fuselage sides and an outsize spinner. The fourth and last S.E.4a flew on 13 August that year. The third, flown on 27 July, was at first fitted with an 80hp Le Rhone engine, the Gnome being substiprovided with an 80hp Clerget. In the hands of the RFC, at least one of the S.E.4a's was armed with a 7.7mm Lewis gun mounted on the centre line above the upper wing to clear the propeller disc.

Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.4aA three-view drawing (1280 x 952)

  Wingspan8.38 m28 ft 6 in
  Length6.37 m21 ft 11 in
  Height2.87 m9 ft 5 in

Anonymous, 11.03.2021 17:55

Designed by Harry Folland as an improvement on his pre-World War-I S.E.4, the S.E.4a was ahead of it's time as a fast, single-engine, single-seat scout. Although it was said to have excellent handling characteristics and could do 90mph on the power of only an 80-hp Le Rhone engine, The S.E.4a was considered to be too heavy, too slow, and had too high a landing speed, for operational use. As a result, only four were built.


bill, 20.06.2011 11:53

Lewis gun mounted on the centre line above the upper wing to clear the propeller disc.


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