Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c
British First World War two seated reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber. The BE biplane was developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, between 1911 and 1914. The excellent flying characteristics of the BE2c variant led to its adoption in 1914 as the first reconnaissance aircraft to be ordered in quantity for the Royal Flying Corps.
The BE2c soon showed its value in France as an observation machine, but as air fighting intensified in 1915 it proved totally inadequate in combat. Its lack of manoeuvrability and the observer’s restricted field of fire front the front cockpit made it vulnerable to attacks from German Fokker monoplanes. From late 1916 it was gradually replaced by the RE8 as the principal British reconnaissance machine on the Western Front. Elswhere, BE2s saw action in the Middle East and on anti-submarine patrols. They also served on the home front, shooting down five German airships.
This BC2c, No. 2699, was built by Ruston, Proctor and Co. of Lincoln, problably in 1916. By February 1917 it was with No. 50 Home Defence Squadron, RFC, based at Dover. For the next two years it served with two Night Training Squadrons and No. 51 Squadron RAF. It was withdrawn from service after a forced landing and was transferred to the museum in September 1919.
Engine: 90hp Royal Aircraft Factory 1a
Maximum speed: 75mph (120kph)
Operational ceiling: 10.000ft (3048m)
Endurance: 3 ½ hours
Rifle or cabine for the observer on early models.
Later, up four .303 inch machine-guns on various mountings,
Two 112lb (51kg) or ten 20lb (9kg) bombs.
Wing span: 37ft (11,2m)
Length: 27ft 3in (8,3m)
Height: 11ft 1in (3,4m)
Weight (loaded): 842kg