|Manufacturer||Nieuport & General Aircraft|
|First flight||13 April 1920|
The Nieuport London was a British night bomber aircraft designed in the First World War. A twin-engined triplane, the London was dogged by the unavailability and unreliability of its engines, and did not fly until 1920. Only two were built.
Development and design
In 1918, Henry Folland, chief designer of the Nieuport (England) Ltd (later to become the Nieuport & General Aircraft Co Ltd.), formerly of the Royal Aircraft Factory and designer of the S.E.5, designed the Nieuport London to meet the RAF Type VII specification for a night bomber, an order for six Londons was placed in July 1918.
The London was a twin-engined triplane with equal span, two-bay wings, powered by the new ABC Dragonfly radial engine. It was designed for ease of production, and was built of wood with use of metal fittings minimised. The angular fuselage was covered by ¼ inch (6 mm) thick wooden boarding joined by Tongue and groove joints, techniques more usually found in furniture manufacture. The fabric covered wings were unstaggered and had ailerons fitted to each wing, while the tail unit had a prominent ventral fin similar to that fitted to Folland's S.E.5 and Nighthawk fighters. Bombload was 2,250 lb (1,023 kg), while as the London was solely intended to operate by night, defensive armament was limited to a pair of Lewis guns in the nose.
The end of the First World War meant that the RAFs needs for heavy bombers could be met by the existing Vickers Vimy, and the last four Londons were cancelled in December 1918. Despite the great expectations placed on the Dragonfly, which had been ordered into large scale production prior to testing being carried out, and formed the powerplant for many of the types planned to equip the Royal Air Force of 1919, the engine was disappointing, with the prototype Londons being delayed by many months before engines were delivered, with the first eventually flying on 13 April 1920, followed by the second in July. Despite its simple structure and angular lines, handling proved excellent, it being possible to remove the ailerons from the lower two sets of wings while not adversely affecting control. Although Folland had designed a civil transport version capable of carrying 13 passengers or heavy loads of cargo or mail, Nieuport and General closed down in August 1920, ending development of the London.
Data from The British Bomber since 1914 
- Crew: Two
- Length: 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m)
- Wingspan: 59 ft 6 in (18.14 m)
- Height: 17 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
- Wing area: 1,100 ft² (102 m²)
- Airfoil: RAF 15
- Empty weight: 4,380 lb (1,991 kg)
- Loaded weight: 8,650 lb (3,932 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × ABC Dragonfly I 9-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 320 hp (239 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 100 mph (87 knots, 161 km/h) at sea level
- Service ceiling: 18,000 ft (5,500 m)
- Wing loading: 7.86 lb/ft² (38.5 kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 0.074 hp/lb (0.12 kW/kg)
- Endurance: 4 hours
- Climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 30 min
- Guns: 2x .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis guns on Scarff ring in nose
- Bombs: 9x 250 lb (114 kg) bombs or equivalent
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Mason 1994, p.124.
- Bruce 1957, p.321.
- Lewis 1974, pp.109-110.
- Mason 1994, p.125.
- Flight 2 December 1920, p.1239.
- "The Nieuport "London" Night Bomber". Flight, 2 December 1920. pp. 1231–1239
- Bruce, J.M. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. London:Putnam, 1957.
- Lewis, Peter. The British Bomber since 1914. London:Putnam, Second edition 1974. ISBN 0-370-10040-9.
- Mason, Francis K. The British Bomber since 1914. London:Putnam, 1994. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.