Model Airplane News
May, 1967

Model Airplane News Cover for May, 1967 by Jo Kotula Nieuport Model 11 Bebe

Nieuport Model 11 "Bebe"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for May, 1967
by Jo Kotula
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The Nieuport 11, often nicknamed the Bébé, was a French World War I single seat fighter aircraft, designed by Gustave Delage. It is famous as one of the aircraft that ended the 'Fokker Scourge' in 1916.

The Nieuport Model 11 Bebe     The Nieuport Model 11 Bebe

Photos of the Nieuport Model 11 "Bebe"
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The Nieuport 11 was basically a smaller, neater version of the Nieuport 10 - designed specifically as a single-seat fighter. Like the "10" the "11" was a sesquiplane, a biplane with a full-sized top wing with two spars, and a lower wing of much narrower chord and just one spar. A "Vee" interplane strut joined the lower wing with the broader upper wing on each side. The main drawback of this particular layout is that unless it is very strongly built, the narrow lower wing is prone to twist and bend under stress. This was a problem with all the "Vee-Strut" Nieuports, as well as the German Albatros D.III,V and Va, which adopted a generally similar wing design.Nieuport 11s were supplied to the Aéronautique Militaire, the Royal Naval Air Service, the Dutch air service, Belgium, Russia and Italy. 646 were license produced by the Italian Macchi company. Although its own operational career was short, it was the first in a line of single seat "Vee-Strut" Nieuport fighters.

It reached the French front in January 1916, and 90 were in service within the month. It outclassed the Fokker Eindecker in practically every respect. Among other features it had ailerons for lateral control rather than the obsolete wing warping of the Fokker - and its elevator was attached to a conventional tail plane as opposed to balanced "Morane type" elevators, making it much easier to fly accurately. The Fokker's success had largely been due to its synchronized machine gun which fired forward through the arc of its propeller. At the time, the Allies did not possess a similar system, and the Nieuport 11's Lewis or Hotchkiss machine gun was mounted on the top wing to fire over the propeller, achieving similar results. During the course of the Battle of Verdun in February 1916, the Nieuport 11 inflicted heavy losses on the enemy, forcing a radical change in German tactics. By March 1916 the Bébé was being replaced by the improved Nieuport 17. This type was in turn replaced by SPAD S.VII in most French squadrons early in 1917, and by the Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a in British squadrons later in the year. Thereafter the Nieuport single seat types were widely used as trainers.

Here is a video of a restored Nieuport Model 11 "Bebe" :

Click Here for more information about the Nieuport Model 11 "Bebe".

The "Bebe" was fairly short-lived and was replaced by the Model 17 which was quite similar and known as the "Super Bebe". Cleveland offered a kit of this latter airplane. However, with some clever customization, you can easily turn the kit into an "11". It flies very well just like its real-life counterpart.

 Cleveland Model of the Nieuport Model 17     Cleveland Model of the Nieuport Model 17

Cleveland Model of the Nieuport Model 17

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You can buy the plans and patterns that will enable you to make this model right now. Click Here to go to the exact location on the Cleveland Website to get them.

Cleveland Site Location of the Nieuport Model 17

Nieuport Model 17 at the Cleveland Site
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