|A replica Nieuport 11 in Italian colours|
|Introduction||5 January 1916|
|Retired||Summer of 1917|
|Status||Used as a trainer until the end of the First World War|
|Primary user||Aéronautique Militaire|
|Variants||Nieuport 17, 24bis., 27|
The Nieuport 11, nicknamed the Bébé, was a French World War I single seat fighter aircraft, designed by Gustave Delage. It is famous as one of the aircraft that ended the 'Fokker Scourge' in 1916.
The type saw service with several of France's allies, and gave rise to the series of "vee-strut" Nieuport fighters that remained in service (latterly as trainers) for the rest of the war.
Design and development
The Nieuport 11 was basically a smaller, simplified version of the Nieuport 10 - designed specifically as a single-seat fighter. Like the "10" the "11" was a sesquiplane, a biplane with a full-sized top wing with two spars, and a lower wing of much narrower chord. Interplane struts in the form of a "Vee" joined the single spar lower wing to the broader, twin-spar structure upper wing on each side. While the sesquiplane layout offers reduced drag and a higher rate of climb, as well as improved view from the cockpit, the narrow lower wing tends to flutter and twist under stress, especially at high air speeds. This was a problem with the "vee-strut" Nieuports, as well as the German Albatros D.III and V, which adopted a generally similar wing design.
In 1916 an improved version appeared as the Nieuport 16 which was a strengthened Nieuport 11 airframe powered by a 110 hp (92 kW) Le Rhône 9J rotary engine. Visible differences included a larger aperture in front of the "horse shoe" cowling and a headrest for the pilot. Later versions had a fuselage-mounted synchronized Vickers gun, but in this configuration the combined effect of the heavier 9J engine and the Vickers gun compromised maneuverability and made the craft nose-heavy. The next variant, the slightly larger Nieuport 17 C.1, was designed for the heavier engine and machine gun with a new, full-perimeter ring cowl, and remedied the 16's c.g. problems, as well as improving performance.
The Nieuport 11 reached the French front in January 1916, and 90 were in service within the month.
This small, lightly loaded sesquiplane outclassed the Fokker Eindecker in every respect. Among other features it had ailerons for lateral control rather than wing warping - and its elevator was attached to a conventional tail plane as opposed to the all-moving, balanced "Morane type" stabilators of the Fokker, both features that made it much easier to fly accurately. The Fokker's success was due to its synchronized machine gun which fired forward through the arc of its propeller. At the time, the Allies lacked a similar system, and the Nieuport 11's Lewis machine gun [note 1] was mounted to fire over the propeller, achieving similar results — it was not synchronizable, due to its open bolt firing cycle design. Clearing gun jams and replacing ammunition drums in flight were challenging, and the drums limited ammunition supply. This was eventually resolved in French service by the application of the Alkan synchronization gear to Nieuport fighters from the Nieuport 17 on.[note 2] The British, in the absence of a really satisfactory synchronizer, retained the overwing Lewis, by now mounted on the improved Foster mounting, and employing the new "double" Lewis drum with a capacity of 98 rounds.
By March 1916 the Bébé was being replaced by the improved Nieuport 17, although Italian-built examples remained in first line service rather longer. Thereafter the Nieuport single seat types continued to be widely used as trainers.
- Nieuport 11
- Single-seat fighter-scout biplane. The type was also known as the Nieuport Scout and Nieuport Bebe.
- Nieuport 16
- Improved version. Single-seat fighter-scout biplane, powered by a 110 hp (92 kW) Le Rhone 9J rotary piston engine.
- Luchtvaartafdeling (1 example impressed)
Survivors and reproductions
- the Musée de l'Air at le Bourget in Paris has the sole original surviving Nieuport 11, currently marked as N556 with the personal markings of Commandant Charles Tricornot de Rose, holder of the first military pilot licence. It had previously been marked as N976.
- Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome has had a reproduction Bébé flying in many of their airshows in past years, finished in Victor Chapman's colors, and powered with an original 80 hp Le Rhône 9C rotary engine.
Specifications (Nie 11)
Data from "The Worlds Greatest Aircraft"
- Crew: one, pilot
- Length: 5.8 m (19 ft 0 in)
- Wingspan: 7.55 m (24 ft 9 in)
- Height: 2.4 m (7 ft 10.5 in)
- Wing area: 13 m² (140 ft²)
- Empty weight: 344 kg (759 lb)
- Loaded weight: 480 kg (1,058 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 550 kg (1,213 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Le Rhone 9C nine-cylinder air-cooled rotary engine, 59.6 kW (80 hp)
- Maximum speed: 156 km/h (97 mph)
- Range: 330 km (205 miles)
- Service ceiling: 4,600 m (15,090 ft)
- Rate of climb: 15 mins to 3,000 m (9,840 ft)
- Power/mass: 1.49 kW/kg (0.09 hp/lb)
- Circa Nieuport 11 (replica)
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nieuport 11.|
- Angelucci 1983, p. 53.
- Chant & Taylor 2007, p. 14.
- Fitzsimons 1967/1969, p. 1989.
- Cheeseman 1960, p. 92.
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- Rimell, 1990, p.86
- "Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome - World War 1 Aircraft - Nieuport 11". oldrhinebeck.org. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
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