Be2 aircraft. A royal aircraft factory 1912 be2 aircraft has relocated to auckland and will be based with the new zealand warbirds collection at ardmore airfield 25kms south of auckland city. Most production aircraft were constructed under contract by various private companies both established aircraft manufacturers and firms that had not previously built aircraft. Intended for use as a long range reconnaissance and bombing aircraft the be12 was pressed into service as a fighter in which role it proved disastrously inadequate mainly due to its very poor manoeuvrability.
A sole be2 made up one half the inventory of two aircraft for newly founded quantas of australia the australian flying corps afc was another wartime operator of the be2. The royal aircraft factory be2 was designed with emphasis on stability which made it particularly suitable for reconnaissance for the british army on the western front. Two aircraft were built in early 1912 numbered be3 and be4 but as at the time the royal aircraft factory was forbidden from building aircraft the two aircraft were officially rebuilds of a paulhan biplane and a bristol boxkite respectively but the only parts reused were the engines.
The royal aircraft factory be2 models a f included a range of early british military reconnaissance aircraft up to and including world war i. It was essentially a single seat version of the be2. Other operators of the useful biplane became belgium estonia greece navy the netherlands sole example norway south africa and the united states with the american expeditionary force aef.
It was designed by geoffrey de havilland. In mid 1915 the nature of air war changed with the arrival of the agile fokker eindecker with its forward firing guns. The normal observers cockpit of the be2c was removed allowing the engine the standard air cooled raf 1a of the be2 to be moved rearwards while the wingspan was increased and a larger fin was fitted.
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