Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Royal Aircraft Factory: F.E.1

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Note: This is a sub-section of Royal Aircraft Factory.

The F.E.1 (Farman Experimental) was the second aircraft built by the pioneer designer Geoffrey de Havilland and first flew in September 1910. He used it to teach himself to fly during late 1910. Although it was not built at the Royal Aircraft Factory it became the first aircraft to bear an official Factory designation.

The 45 hp. engine was built for de Havilland by the Iris Motor Co, to de Havilland's own design. Like the Bristol Boxkite and several other contemporary designs, the F.E.1 closely followed the general lines of early Farman aircraft (in turn based on the early Wright machines), with the pilot seated on the lower wing directly in front of the engine, and a fore-elevator.

On de Havilland's appointment as assistant designer and test pilot at the Army Balloon Factory at Farnborough (later the Royal Aircraft Factory) in December 1910, the War Office bought the aircraft. De Havilland and several other pilots flew it at Farnborough until it crashed on the 15th August 1911 while piloted by Lt. Theodore J. Ridge.

Officially, the crashed F.E.1 was "rebuilt" in September 1911 as the F.E.2 but there is considerable doubt about this as the new plane was a totally new plane.

Sources of Information

  • The Royal Aircraft Factory by Paul R. Hare. ISBN 0-85177-843-7
  • [1] Wikipedia