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Aircraft Manufacturing Company Ltd / Airco DH 5




Designed in 1916 with pronounced negative stagger of its mainplanes in an attempt by Geoffrey de Havilland to combine the performance of the tractor biplane with the cockpit visibility of pusher aircraft, the Airco D.H.5 was intended to replace the single seat DH2. With conventional construction of wood and fabric, landing gear of fixed tailskid type, and powered by an 82-kW (110-hp) Le Rhóne 9J rotary engine, the initially unarmed prototype, A5172, was built in late 1916. It was sent to France for service trials in December 1916, armed with a forward-firing Vickers gun fixed to move upwards through a 60 degree arc.

After satisfactory performance, the D.H.5 was ordered into production and 549 were built by Airco; the Dar-racq Motor Engineering company; March, Jones & Cribb; and the British Caudron company. These differed from the prototype in having the fixed 0.303-in (7.7-mm) Vickers gun fitted with Constantinesco interrupter gear. The D.H.5 was of wooden construction with plywood and fabric skinning.


Prototype DH.5


Deliveries to Nos 24 and 32 Squadrons in France began in May 1917.

Easily outflown by contemporary fighters at altitudes above 3050m and after suffering fairly heavy losses in November 1917, the D.H.5 was used for ground-attack sorties with four 11-kg (25-lb) Cooper bombs. D.H.5s were put to such use in the battle of Cambrai in autumn 1917. By this time S.E.5as had begun to replace D.H.5s and their first-line service life of eight months had ended by January 1918, after which they were used for training in Britain.

One D.H.5 was experimentally fitted with a 45 degrees upward-angled Vickers, though no D.H.5s were used for Home Defence.

Production of D.H.5s totalled about 550, built by Airco (200), and sub-contracted to the British Caudron Company (50), The Darracq Motor Engineering Company (200), and March, Jones and Cribb (about 100). For experimental purposes a single example was powered by an 82-kW (110-hp) Clerget rotary engine.




DH 5
Engine: Le Rhone 9J, 110 hp or Clerget 9Z, 100 hp, or Gnome Monosoupape, 100 hp
Wingspan: 25 ft 8 in / 7.8 m
Length: 22 ft 0 in / 6.7 m
Height: 9 ft 1.5 in / 2.7 m
Empty weight: 1010 lb / 458 kg
Loaded weight: 1492 lb / 676 kg
Max speed: 102 mph / 164 kph
Ceiling: 16,000 ft / 4876 m
Endurance: 2 hr 3 min
Armament: 1 x .303 Vickers mg
Bombload: 4 x 250 lb


 Airco DH.5

Engine: one 82-kW (110-hp) Le Rhóne rotary piston
Wingspan: 7.82 m / 25 ft 8 in
Length: 6.71 m / 22 ft 0 in
Height: 2.78 m / 9 ft 1 in
Wing area: 19.70 sq.m / 212.05 sq ft
Max take-off weight: 677 kg / 1493 lb
Empty weight: 458 kg / 1010 lb
Maximum level speed at 3050m (10,000 ft): 164 km/h / 102 mph / 89kt
Climb to 1980m (6,500ft): 6 minutes 55 seconds
Service ceiling: 4875m / 16,000ft
Endurance: 2 hours 45 minutes
Armament: one fixed forward-firing 7.7-mm (0.303-in) Vickers machine-gun, plus four 11.3-kg (25-lb) bombs on underwing racks
Accommodation: 1





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