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Biplane - trainers, fighters, bombers, and scouts, history, accomplishments,
pictures, sounds, specifications and a scale radio control airplane guide.

Technology has accounted for giant leaps in aviation design, yet the basics of aircraft design remain virtually the same since the first biplane took to the sky.

The first biplane to be used during combat was called a "scout". The biplane was primarily used for the observation of enemy forces over the horizon where the forces could not be seen by ground troops.

In 1914 the Royal Flying Corps manual declared that biplane reconnaissance aircraft were so valuable that "each side will strive to prevent the other side making use of it." That is what gave birth to the fighter biplane.

The biplane of World War I played a crucial role in shaping future combat. Air superiority has been responsible for the winning of battles, and eventually wars.

During World War I, the biplane ruled the skies. Arming it was not an easy task. A bullet fired from one of their own weapons could severely damage its own wooden propeller or wing strut. Initially biplane pilots and observers were armed with pistols and sometimes rifles. When the machine gun was mounted on the early biplane, it was not immediately successful. Low powered biplane performance was severely taxed with the additional weight. As more powerful engines and sturdier biplane aircraft entered service, the machine gun became the weapon of choice. By 1915 the biplane armed with one or two machine guns was used to attack enemy ground positions.

Although history shows that a biplane from the United States was used to drop bombs in 1910, in 1911 the Italians used the biplane in action against the Turks. Initially the pilots or observers in the biplane dropped small artillery shells over the sides.

Before the beginning of World War I a number of European nations were working on a more efficient biplane, specifically produced for the role of bombing. Although the English experimented with a bomber biplane prior to the War, it wasn't until later that they produced a dedicated biplane bomber.

The first bomber biplane of World War I was the Voisin, produced by France. Its airframe was made from steel and its crew consisted of a pilot and bombardier. The Voisin biplane was powered by a 70 hp pusher prop, and carried 132 lbs. of ordnance. The biplane proved particularly valuable when bombing Zeppelin bases. The Voisin biplane continued in production throughout the War, receiving improvements as technology was developed. Through the years improvements were added until it was finally powered by a 155 hp engine and could carry 660 lbs. of ordnance.

Eventually it was realized that the drag produced by two wings and their bracing greatly affected biplane speed. By the end of World War I, engines became lighter and more powerful, and aircraft designers started favoring the monoplane. However, the biplane remained in service into World War II, and many continue flying today as trainers and recreation aircraft.
 








 
Biplane

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Biplane A

Versatile Czech biplane deployed between the wars, used for attack and observation: Aero A.11

U.S. trainer biplane built to easily switch from the use of wheels to pontoons.  It made the first underway U.S. aircraft carrier landing on Oct. 26, 1922:  Aeromarine 39B

U.S. Navy biplane seaplane used primarily after the First World War as a trainer: Aeromarine Model 40F

Unusual configuration German biplane used for observation during WW1: AGO C

German first War biplane used for observation, which had dangerous handling issues:  AGO C 4

Only Italian built fighter biplane of World War I: Ansaldo A.1

Biplane made in numerous variants during WW I: Albatros

Biggest one engine biplane in the world today: Antonov An-2 Colt

First German production fighter biplane produced after WW1: Arado Ar 64

In-line engine biplane successor to the Ar 64:  Arado Ar 65

Primary German biplane trainer employed before and during WW II: Arado Ar 66

Among the top fighter biplane airpcraft ever to fly: Avia B.534



Biplane B to C


Main RAF fighter biplane between the wars: Bristol Bulldog

Smallest biplane: Starr Bumblebee II

Historians generally agree that its the top overall biplane of World War I: Martinsyde Buzzard

Observation biplane produced by Germany during WW1: AEG C-IV

WW I biplane that downed more enemy planes than any other aircraft: Sopwith Camel

U.S. Navy biplane used for reconnaissance between the wars: Vought Corsair Biplanes

The final fighter biplane ever made: Fiat CR.42


Biplane D


Austrian-Hungarian stagger wing biplane used as a primary fighter through mid 1917:  Hansen-Brandenburg D1

German biplane originally deployed over Bavaria:  Pfalz D.III

One of the top single engine bomber biplane of World War I: de Havilland DH-4

Airliner biplane that first flew in 1934. Some still fly today: De Havilland DH-89 Dragon Rapide

U.S. amphibian biplane first deployed in 1934 that flew for the military throughout WW II: Grumman Duck


Biplane F


First biplane of the new RAF in 1918: Bristol F2B

Final U.S. fighter biplane made from wood: Boeing F4B

U.S.M.C. fighter bomber biplane deployed between the wars: Curtiss F8C Helldiver

First successful French biplane designed by Gabriel Voisin to complete a circle when piloted by Henri Farman: Farman 1

First ever fighter biplane: Vickers F.B. 5 Gunbus

The top German fighter biplane of World War I: Fokker D.VII


Biplane G to P


Germany's main twin engine bomber biplane of WW I: Gotha G

Biplane with two engines, used as a bomber by Germany during World War I: AEG G-IV

Fastest British biplane when introduced: Gloster Gauntlet

Final RAF fighter biplane: Gloster Gladiator

Main German fighter biplane between the wars: Heinkel He-51

One of the world's best fighter bomber biplane aircraft that saw action in WW II: Henschel Hs-123

Soviet ground attack biplane used into WW II: Polikarpov I-15 Chaika


Biplane N to R


First dedicated Allied WW I fighter biplane: Nieuport 11

One of the favorite flying aces biplane of World War One: Nieuport 17

World War I biplane flown by the American Expeditionary Force: Nieuport 28

High performance biplane often seen at airshows today: Pitts Special

Primary biplane of the Royal Navy in 1916: Sopwith Pup

German biplane used as a bomber with four engines driving one propeller: Linke-Hoffman R.II


Biplane S


Russia's four engine biplane used as WW1 strategic bombers: Sikorsky S-21 Ilya Muromits

Last U.S. Navy dive bomber biplane: Curtiss SBC Helldiver

German biplanecopy of a French design deployed at the end of WW I: Siemens Schukert

Early WW1 biplane used for observation and as a fighter:  Scout

The top English fighter biplane of World War I: Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A

First RAF all-metal fighter biplane used between the wars: Armstrong Whitworth Siskin

RAF biplane that were deployed just prior to the end of WW I: Sopwith Snipe

The top French fighter biplane of World War I: Spad XIII

Set a number of single engine biplane speed records: Beech Staggerwing

U.S. trainer biplane used before and during WW II: Boeing Stearman

First English biplane with a machine gun firing through the propeller arc: Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter

Modern biplane recreational amphibians, sold as kits or ultralites: Super Petrel

RAF torpedo bomber biplane that was used throughout World War II: Fairey Swordfish


Biplane V to W


RAF twin engine bomber biplane deployed between the wars: Vickers Vimy

General aviation biplane produced from 1919 to 1947: Waco biplanes

First powered biplane to fly under pilot control: Wright Flyer