Experience with earlier models led to the Nieuport Type 17 single-seat fighter in March 1916. Developed over four months, the improved model 17 entered service in 1916, stronger than its predecessors, and with a 110 or 120 hp Le Rhone engine, the new model was highly maneuverable and had high performance with a particularly good rate of climb. A Lewis gun was mounted on the top wing to fire above the propeller with a sliding mount enabling it to be pulled down by the pilot and aimed upwards, thereby permitting an attack on enemy aircraft in their blind spot, from below.
Later in the Nieuport's service life, when a synchronising gear had been perfected to allow the gun to fire through the propeller, a Vickers machine gun was substituted. A number of French squadrons re-equipped with the Type 17, together with Belgan, Italian, Russian and British RFC units, and the type rapidly made a name for itself with aces who included Nungesser, Ball and Bishop.
When used for attacks on German observation balloons, four Le Prieur "firework-type" rockets were attached to each interplane strut, and were fired electrically.
Capt W A Bishop, 60 Squadron, in Nieuport 17, shot down 3 aircraft in single-handed attack on German aerodrome on 2 June 1917. Awarded the VC.
Redfern Nieuport 17
Airdrome Airplanes Nieuport 17
Circa Reproductions Nieuport 17
Engine: Le Rhone, 110 hp
Endurance: 2 hr
Length 19.5 ft. (5.9 m)
Wing span 27.25 ft. (8.3 m)
Height: 8 ft
Weight empty 825 lb (374 kg)
Max wt: 560 kg (1,235 lb)
Armament One machine-gun, and eight Le Prieur rockets
Max speed 107 mph (172 kph)
Ceiling 17,400 ft (5,300 m) fully loaded\Range: 155 sm (250 km)