Nieuport Nie. 11 Bebe / Scout / Nie. 13
Originally designed for the 1914 Gordon Bennet Cup Contest and reshaped to become the Type 11. A successful fighter of 1916-17, the Nie. 11 (also known as the Nieuport Type 13, based on the wing area in square metres) was a sesquiplane with a half size lower wing. The upper wing with sweepback. Initially the lower wing would warp and sometimes break off in a high speed dive.
The fuselage was rectangular with bulkheads secured by four longerons and diagonally braced with wire. The top of the bulkheads were in the same plane but tapered together toward the rear of the fuselage becoming narrower and shorter. The top of the fuselage was faired into a turtledeck with light formers, longitudinal stringers and covered with plywood, and fitted with a headrest.
Steel tube was used in the cockpit and engine compartment and as needed for wing spar, strut and landing gear mounts. The wood longerons were sometimes made of ash, changing to spruce behind the cockpit. Spruce was also used in the vertical struts and cross members.
The engine bearer/forward bulkhead was heavy-gauge steel plate. There was no front support for the engine. The aluminium engine cowl had strengthening ribs, and sometimes enclosed the entire engine, sometimes had a gap at the bottom. There were two holes at the bottom right for exhaust and ventilation.
Aluminium fairings merged the circular cowling into the flat-sided fuselage. Behind the cockpit the fuselage was fabric covered with plywood panels reinforcing the structure at the rear. In the front cockpit the fabric was attached with hooks and cord for easy access.
The top wing, rear spar was set directly above the lower wings single spar to optimise the load and eliminate the need for inter-strut drag wires. The bottom wings incidence could be adjusted on the ground for different payloads. The wings ribs had ash flanges and limewood webbing. Spruce strips were on the leading and trailing edges of the wings and trailing edges of the ailerons. Push-pull rods moved the ailerons. The tail was made from steel tube and fabric covered. The elevators and rudder used cables for control. A flat, curved spring steel on a reinforced mount served as a tail skid.
The undercarriage was a pair of streamlined drawn-aluminium tubing cross members in a V. An axle with rubber cord shock absorbers on each end spanned the spoked aluminium wheels, covered with aluminium plate.
They were armed with a single Hotchkiss or Lewis machine gun mounted over the top wing. Reloading was by a Foster mount curved rail that allowed the gun to be slid back and down. There were also a number of stops so the gun could be fired upwards. It could also carry eight Le Pruir rockets on the wing struts for attacking balloons.
First introduced in July 1915, the Nie. 11 gained superiority over the Fokker E.III during the Battle of Verdun, ending the “Fokker Scourge”.
They were used by many forces during WW 1, including France, the United States, England, Italy, Belgium, and Russia. At least one captured Nieuport 11 was operated in German markings.
It was produced in England by Nieuport & General Aircraft Co Ltd, in Italy by Nieuport-Macchi as well as the parent company and many sub-contractors in France.
Circa Reproductions Nieuport 11
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