BE2c

Specifications

Wingspan: 36 ft 10 in
Length: 27 ft 3 in
Height: 11 ft, 4 in
Empty Weight: 1,370 pounds
Maximum Weight: 2,142 pounds
Powerplant: Single 90hp RAF 1a, Air cooled engine. (other engines also used)
Armament:1-4 Lewis .303 Machine Guns. 2 x 112 pound bombs (flown solo), 10 (max) Le Prieur Rockets.

Performance


Maximum Speed:
72 mph
Service Ceiling: 10,000 ft
Range: 270 miles
Crew: Two

Produced in greater numbers than any other of its type, the BE2c introduced several new features to the basic design, leading to a more reliable and stable aircraft for its intended role of visual reconnaisance which included a mounted camera. A triangular vertical fin was added ahead of the rudder (later increased in area and rounded at the top) and the rounded horizontal stabilizer was replaced with a rectangular tailplane. The first BE2cs kept the undercarriage skids but these were quickly replaced with various types of oleo main landing gear. The main innovation to the 2c was the use of staggered wings and true ailerons installed on both the upper and lower wings. The ailerons replaced the earlier wing-warping controls used on the 2a and the 2b.

Although never intended for armour, as the war escalated the BE2c carried a variety of weapons and soon found a role as a light-medium bomber. Most of the two-seat aircraft carried a single mounted Lewis Gun for the observer in the front cockpit mounted on pipes designed by Capt. L.A Strange. These became known as "Strange Mounts" and were often in place in different locations. "Candlestick" mounts were also positioned in different locations on the fuselage so that the gun operator could change mounts during flight to meet the direction of the threat.A single-seat BE2c was also manufactured as a bomber (later to become the version used as the BE12 with a more powerful 150hp RAF engine) and its stability in the air suited this role well. A fixed firing Lewis Gun on the upper wing was mounted and bomb loads usually consisted of single or dual racks of 112 pounders under the wings, close to the fuselage. A number of BE2cs were also modified to carry Le Prieur rockets for anti-zeppelin missions (balloons were successfully destroyed but never zeppelins by these highly inaccurate rockets) Normally, five rockets were attached to each of the outboard interplane struts.

Various engines were fitted to the BE2c, the most common being the 90hp RAF la. 105hp RAF lb and ld were also used along with the 70hp Renault, Several types of Hispano-Suiza engines and the 90hp Curtiss OX-5. The Curtiss engines were fitted to some 300 BE2cs that were delivered to the Royal Naval Air Service and used for bombing, submarine patrol and flight training. It was during the BE2c's service on the Western Front that its future became precarious. With the rise of the Fokker monoplanes, the BE2c became a favourite target and although it was not shot down in great numbers when compared with other aircraft statistics, the BE2c was considered a fatal liability with its rear-placed pilot and limited maneuverability both aerodynamically and for the gunner.