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Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8 Aircraft Information

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8

Royal Aircraft Factory BE.8

First flight: 1913
Primary user: Royal Flying Corps
Number built: approx 70

The Royal Aircraft Factory BE.8 was a British two-seat single-engined scout biplane of the First World War, designed by the Royal Aircraft Factory. Small numbers were used by the Royal Flying Corps over the Western Front in the first year of the war, with the type being used as a trainer until 1916.

Development and design

The BE.8 was the last of the Bleriot Experimental types to be designed with a rotary engine. A conventional 1910s biplane with a fixed tailskid landing gear. It also had a pair of skids mounted forward to prevent the aircraft nosing over on rough ground. Three prototypes were built at Farnborough with a single long cockpit for both crew members. The production aircraft had two separate cockpits and where built by sub-contractors. An improved BE.8a in 1915 had new wings the wing warping replaced by ailerons and a revised tail unit.

Operational history

The aircraft entered service with the Royal Flying Corps and a small number served in France between 1914 and 1915 but most were used by training units.


Production aircraft with wing warping.
Production aircraft with ailerons.


United Kingdom

Royal Flying Corps
No. 1 Squadron RFC
No. 2 Squadron RFC
No. 3 Squadron RFC
No. 5 Squadron RFC
No. 6 Squadron RFC
No. 9 Squadron RFC

Specifications (BE.8)

Data from British Aeroplanes 1914-18

General characteristics

Crew: 2 (pilot, observer)
Length: 27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)
Wingspan: 39 ft 6 in (12.04 m)
Powerplant: 1 x Gnome rotary engine, 80 hp (60 kW)


Maximum speed: 70 mph (113 km/h)
Endurance: 1 hours
Rate of climb: 285 ft/min (1.4 m/s)


Small arms operated by crew
1x 100 lb (45 kg) bomb

Bruce, J.M. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. London:Putnam, 1957.
Bruce, J.M. The Aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing) . London:Putnam, 1982. ISBN 0 370 30084 x.
Hare, Paul R. The Royal Aircraft Factory. London:Putnam, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-843-7.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985), 1985, Orbis Publishing, Page 2819

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8 Pictures

Living Warbirds: The best warbirds DVD series.

Source: WikiPedia

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