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Aircraft Manufacturing Company Ltd / Airco DH 1

Airco-DH1-01

 

Geoffrey de Havilland was hired by the Airco firm in June of 1914 as lead designer and began developing the Airco "DH.1". The DH.1 was a two-seat reconnaissance scout biplane fitted with a water-cooled inline engine in a "pusher" arrangement.
 
Geoffrey de Havilland piloted the prototype DH 1 fighter and reconnaissance aircraft on its first flight in early 1915. A two‑seat pusher biplane with the observer in the front cockpit, which also housed a forward‑firing machine‑gun, the DH 1 was powered by a 70‑hp Renault engine, instead of the originally specified 120­hp Beardmore powerplantand the War Office ordered 49 examples. Appearing at the beginning of 1915, it was tested by Geoffrey de Havilland. Airco was fully committed to building Farman aircraft and employed a sub-contractor, Savages Ltd of Kings Lynn, but because of their inexperience, production of the DH.1 was delayed. An order for 100 was placed with Savages of Kings Lynn and production models differed from the prototype in having dual controls, a modified nacelle, reinforced brac­ing wires and a simplified undercarriage.

 

Beardmore engines eventually became more plentiful and with this engine the type was designated DH.1A. With an all-up weight increase of nearly 136 kg (300 lb), including a 10% additional fuel load, it was 13 km/h (8 mph) faster than the DH 1 and had a more rapid rate of climb.

At the end of 1915, the first five DH.1s off the production line had been alloated to training units. The remainder of the first batch were fitted with the 120 hp Beardmore and re-designated DH.1a.
 
Six DH.1a from the first batch saw service in the Middle East, and a further 44 were assigned to Home Defence units. No 14 Squadron had six DH1As which were operational in Palestine from the summer of 1916 on escort duty. The second batch of 49 was again built by Savages Ltd, but only 73 of the total number saw service with RFC units. Some sur­vived in Britain until 1918, but all had been withdrawn from service before the Armis­tice.

 

DH 1
Engine: Renault, 70­hp
Span: 12.50 m / 41 ft 0 in
Length: 8.82 m / 28 ft 11.25 in
Height: 3.4 m / 11 ft 2 in
Empty weight: 615 kg / 1354 lb
Loaded weight: 927 kg / 2044 lb
Maximum speed: 132 km/h / 80 mph
Ceiling: 4114 m / 13,500 ft
Endurance: 4 hr
 
DH 1A
Engine: Beardmore, 120­hp
Span: 12.50 m / 41 ft 0 in
Length: 8.82 m / 28 ft 11.25 in
Height: 3.4 m / 11 ft 2 in
Empty weight: 1610 lb / 730 kg
Loaded weight: 2340 lb / 1061 kg
Maximum speed: 144 km/h / 90 mph
Ceiling: 4114 m / 13,500 ft
Endurance: 4 hr
 
DH 1A
Engine: Austro-Daimler, 120­hp
Span: 12.50 m / 41 ft 0 in
Length: 8.82 m / 28 ft 11.25 in
Height: 3.4 m / 11 ft 2 in
Empty weight: 1610 lb / 730 kg
Loaded weight: 2340 lb / 1061 kg
Maximum speed: 144 km/h / 90 mph
Ceiling: 4114 m / 13,500 ft
Endurance: 4 hr
 
 

Airco-DH1-ld

 

 
 
 
 


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