Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8
B.E.8 prototype.jpg
B.E.8 prototype
Role Two-seat general purpose biplane
Manufacturer Various (designed at Royal Aircraft Factory)
Designer John Kenworthy
First flight 1913
Introduction 1914
Retired 1916
Primary user Royal Flying Corps
Number built approx 70

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8 was a British two-seat single-engined general purpose biplane of the First World War, designed by John Kenworthy at the Royal Aircraft Factory in 1913.[1] Small numbers were used by the Royal Flying Corps over the Western Front in the first year of the war, with the type being used as a trainer until 1916.

Development and design[edit]

The B.E.8 was the definitive development of the earlier B.E 3 type, and the last of the B.E. series to be designed with a rotary engine. The main changes were that the fuselage now rested on the lower wing, in the normal way for a tractor biplane, and that the tail unit was changed to the B.E.2 pattern. Three prototypes were built at Farnborough with a single long cockpit for both crew members. The production aircraft had two separate cockpits and were built by sub-contractors. The improved B.E.8a of 1915 had new B.E.2c type wings, featuring ailerons instead of wing warping and a revised tail unit.

Operational history[edit]

Both models of the aircraft entered service with the Royal Flying Corps and a small number served in France in 1914 and early 1915 but most were used by training units.[2]


Production aircraft with wing warping.
Production aircraft with ailerons.


 United Kingdom

Specifications (BE.8)[edit]

Data from British Aeroplanes 1914-18[3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 (pilot, observer)
  • Length: 27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)
  • Wingspan: 39 ft 6[4] in (12.04 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 4 in (2.84[5] m)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Gnome rotary engine, 80 hp (60 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 70 mph (113 km/h)
  • Endurance: 1​12[6] hours
  • Rate of climb: 285[7] ft/min (1.4 m/s) 


  • Small arms operated by crew
  • 1× 100 lb (45 kg) bomb

See also[edit]

Related lists



  1. ^ Hare 1990, p. 171.
  2. ^ Hare, 1990 p. 174
  3. ^ Bruce 1957, p.376.
  4. ^ BE.8a span 37 ft 8½ in (11.49 m)
  5. ^ Angelucci 1983, p. 22.
  6. ^ Hare 1990, p. 175.
  7. ^ Climb to 3,000 ft (910 m) in 10 min 30 s


  • Angelucci, Enzo. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft, 1914-1980. San Diego, California: The Military Press, 1983. ISBN 0-517-41021-4.
  • Bruce, J.M. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. London: Putnam, 1957.
  • Bruce, J.M. The Aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing) . London: Putnam, 1982. ISBN 0-370-30084-X.
  • Hare, Paul R. The Royal Aircraft Factory. London:Putnam, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-843-7.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). London: Orbis Publishing, 1985, p. 2819.