The Be2, designed by the Royal Aircraft Factory (RAF) ,was in fact an evolution of the early Geoffrey De Havilland and FM Green design, officially based on damaged Blériots and Voisins aeroplanes. It was named Be 1, for Blériot experimental, and was the first aircraft especially designed for a military use.
Powered by a 70 HP Renault engine the first flight took place in 1912, thus proving its stability in flight, the main quality sought for observation aircraft.
In spite of being a valuable asset for photography and observation, its stability became a definitive handicap versus the first German fighters, such as the Fokker E III, becoming easy meat and suffering heavy casualties. The Be2s earned inglorious nicknames : Stability Janes, The Quirk or Bits of Everything…
Several variants were built, from Be2a to Be2g, each one with some improvements, still without really bringing outstanding performance to this prewar design.
Reconnaissance and bombing were the mains tasks devoted to the Be2s, soon relegated to night bombing and Zeppelin hunters.
The Be2f developed in 1916, was in fact and official designation for old Be2c fuselages with Be2e wings and stabilizers, thus slightly improving the performance of the type.
Memorial Flight is finishing a reproduction aircraft built according to the original drawings. It will be powered by a 90 HP RAF engine.
|Work on the Be2f|
See the "News" page for latest infos on the restoration.
Click on the pictures for more details.
|- The cockpit at daylight and at night (The clinometer is lacking at the moment).|
|- Photoscope of the fuselage prior to covering.|
As the aircraft is being finished as a night bomber, a fully working electric lighting system, copied from the original one, will be installed. Thus, the cockpit will be entirely lit up, and the Be2 will be equipped with navigation lights. A morse light is fitted under the fuselage and activated with a morse key located inside the cockpit.
This video shows the lighting system of the fuselage in action (cockpit lights, rear navigation light, morse light) :
Holt luminous flares will also be installed under the wings. They burnt for 1 minute and were used to enlight the grass field and allow the pilot to estimate the height of the aircaft when landing.
The aircraft had a first engine run on November 30th 2012. Let's watch it :
|Max Weight:||649 kg|
|Max speed:||145 km/h|
|Armament:||Several bombs, 1 or 2 Lewis machine guns|