Model Airplane News|
RAF B.E. 12
Model Airplane News Cover Art for May, 1964
by Jo Kotula
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The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 was a British single-seat aeroplane of The First World War designed at the Royal Aircraft Factory.
Photos of the RAF B.E. 12
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The B.E.12 was essentially a B.E.2c with the front (observer’s) cockpit replaced by a large fuel tank, and the 90hp RAF 1 engine of the standard B.E.2c replaced by the new 150 hp RAF 4. Aviation historians once considered the type purely as a failed attempt to create a fighter aircraft based on the B.E.2 - that was hastily improvised, and rushed into service to meet the threat of German airpower. While there is little doubt that the F.E. 12 occupies a dusty corner of aviation history, it was probably neither improvised nor rushed. Rather, it seems that the type was developed to test the RAF 4 engine. In mid 1915, the height of the German air superiority, a British single seat tractor aircraftcould not carry an effective forward firing armament because the Allies did not have an effective means of synchronizing the guns with the propellor. The most effective Royal Aircraft Factory single seat fighter at that time was the F.E.8 that had a pusher configuration. It was May 1916 (when the "Fokker scourge", as a period of real German air superiority, was over) that it was decided to fit a synchronised Vickers gun to the F.E. 12 – although armament trials had already been undertaken with upward firing Lewis guns, similar to those used by the night fighter version of the B.E.2c.
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