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Fairey Campania Aircraft Information

Fairey Campania


Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation
First flight: 16 February 1917
Retired: August 1919
Primary users: Royal Naval Air Service Royal Air Force
Number built: 62

The Fairey Campania was a British ship-borne, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft of the First World War. It was a single-engine, two-seat biplane with twin main floats and backward-folding wings. The Campania was the first aeroplane ever designed specifically for carrier operations.


The Royal Navy was an early leader in carrier aviation and, in the autumn of 1914, purchased the liner Campania for conversion into a seaplane carrier. Operating seaplanes required the carrier to stop to hoist the aircraft out- and in-board by crane, leaving the ship exceedingly vulnerable to U-Boat attacks and the technique fell into disfavour with the Admiralty, who began to seek alternatives. By the middle of 1916, Campania had been fitted with a 200 ft (61 m) flight deck forward and experiments were being carried out into launching aircraft from this. Against this background, the Admiralty issued a specification for a purpose-built, two-seat patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

The aircraft that Fairey designed in response first flew on 16 February 1917. This was the first of two prototypes, designated F.16 and powered by a 250 hp (190 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle IV. The second, powered by an Eagle V of 275 hp (205 kW), was designated F.17. Both prototypes would later see active service operating from Scapa Flow.

Operational history

Trials proving satisfactory, the type went into production and service. Most of the F.17s shipped aboard the carriers Campania, Nairana and Pegasus; the first aircraft joined Campania and the type took its name from her. Only Campania possessed a flight-deck; Campanias operated from this using jettisonable, wheeled bogies fitted to the floats. The aircraft in the other ships took off from the water in the normal way.

The 27 F.22s operated from RNAS air stations. The Campania had an undistinguished career but performed useful work as a spotter aeroplane. In all, 100 aircraft were ordered, but only 62 were completed.

During the War of Intervention, some Campanias from Nairana operated against the Bolsheviks from Arkhangelsk, as well as against the White Finnish defensive positions in Uhtua in autumn 1918 from Kem.

The Campania was declared obsolete in August 1919.


F.16 - 250 hp (190 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle IV
F.17 - 275 hp (205 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle V or 345 hp (257 kW) Eagle III
F.22 - 260 hp (194 kW) Sunbeam Maori II


United Kingdom

Royal Air Force
No. 240 Squadron RAF
No. 241 Squadron RAF
No. 253 Squadron RAF
Royal Naval Air Service

Specifications (F.22)

Data from Fairey Aircraft since 1915

General characteristics

Crew: 2
Length: 43 ft 1 in (13.11 m)
Wingspan: 61 ft 7 in (18.77 m)
Height: 15 ft 1 in (4.59 m)
Wing area: 674.6 ft (62.3 m)
Empty weight: 3,672 lb (1,669 kg)
Loaded weight: 5,329 lb (2,422 kg)
Useful load: 666 lb (303 kg)
Powerplant: 1x Sunbeam Maori II water cooled V-12 engine, 260 hp (194 kW)


Maximum speed: 74 kn (85 mph, 137 km/h) at sea level
Service ceiling: 6,000 ft (1,981 m)
Wing loading: 7.90 lb/ft (38.9 kg/m)
Power/mass: 0.049 hp/lb (0.080 kW/kg)
Endurance: 4 hr 30 min
Climb to 2000 ft (610m): 7 mins


Guns: 1 x .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Gun on Scarff ring in rear cockpit
Bombs: Up to 6 x 116 lb (53 kg) bombs under wings and fuselage.


Taylor, H.A. Fairey Aircraft since 1915. London:Putnam, 1988. ISBN 0-370-00065-x.

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Source: WikiPedia

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