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Westland N.1B Aircraft Information

Westland N.1B


National origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer: Westland Aircraft
First flight: August 1917
Status: Prototype
Number built: 2

The Westland N.1B was a prototype British single-engined floatplane fighter aircraft of the First World War. The first aircraft to be designed by Westland Aircraft, it was a single engined tractor biplane. Despite good performance, only two aircraft were built, the Royal Naval Air Service operating landplane fighters from ships instead.

Development and design

In 1916, the British Admiralty drew up Requirement N.1B for a single seat floatplane or flying boat fighter aircraft to operate from the Royal Navy's seaplane carriers, demanding a speed of 110 mph (177 km/h) and a ceiling of 20,000 ft (6,100 m). Three companies submitted designs in response, Blackburn and Supermarine with flying boats (the Blackburn N.1B and Supermarine Baby), while Westland proposed a floatplane, the Westland N.1B. Westland was rewarded with an order for two aircraft.

Westland's design, which was the first original design built by Westland, was a single engined tractor biplane of wooden construction. It had a deep fuselage, while its two-bay wings were designed to fold to safe space on ship, and were fitted with trailing edge flaps. It was powered by a single Bentley A.R.1 rotary engine (later known as the BR1) and carried an armament of a single sychronised forward firing Vickers machine gun on the nose, and a Lewis gun firing over the upper wing. The first N.1B was fitted with 11 ft (3.35 m) long Sopwith main floats and a 5 ft (1.52 m) long tail float, while the second N.1B had much longer (17 ft 6 in (5.34 m) long main floats, which removed the need for a tail float.

The first N.1B, serial number N16 was first flown by Harry Hawker from Westland's Yeovil factory in August 1917. The two N.1Bs were evaluated at the Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot in October 1917, demonstrating good performance and handling. By this time, however, the Royal Naval Air Service was operating Sopwith Pup landplanes from flying off platforms aboard ships, which did not require the carrier to heave-to in order to lower a seaplane to the water, and was planning to carry out similar operations with the Sopwith Camel, and the N.1B programme was cancelled.

Specifications (Second prototype)

Data from Westland Aircraft since 1915

General characteristics

Crew: One
Length: 26 ft 5 in (8.07 m)
Wingspan: 31 ft 3 in (9.54 m)
Height: 11 ft 2 in (3.40 m)
Wing area: 278 ft (25.8 m)
Empty weight: 1,513 lb (688 kg)
Loaded weight: 1,987 lb (903 kg)
Powerplant: 1x Bentley A.R.1 9-cylinder rotary engine, 150 hp (112 kW)


Maximum speed: 107 mph (93 knots, 172 km/h) at sea level
Service ceiling: 10,400 ft (3,200 m)
Wing loading: lb/ft (kg/m)
Power/mass: hp/lb (W/kg)
Endurance: 2 h
Climb to 5,000 ft (1,520 m): 10 min


Guns: 1x forward firing, synchronised .303 in Vickers machine guns and one Lewis gun above upper wing
Bombs: 2x 65 lb (30 kg) bombs on racks under fuselage

Comparable aircraft

Blackburn N.1B
Supermarine Baby
Port Victoria P.V.9

Bruce, J.M. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. London:Putnam, 1957.
James, Derek N. Westland Aircraft since 1915. London:Putnam, 1991. ISBN 0 85177 847 X.
Mason, Francis K. The British Fighter since 1912. Annapolis, USA:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.

Westland N.1B Pictures and Westland N.1B for Sale.

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Source: WikiPedia

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