Vickers E.F.B.8

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Vickers E.F.B.8.jpg
Role Fighter aircraft
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Vickers Limited
Designer Rex Pierson
First flight November 1915
Status Prototype
Number built 1

The Vickers E.F.B.8 was a prototype British twin-engined fighter of the First World War. It was abandoned after only one aircraft was built, single-engined fighters being considered to have superior manoeuvrability.

Development and design[edit]

In autumn 1915, as well as the big, cannon armed, Vickers E.F.B.7, Vickers were working on the design of a second twin-engined fighter, the E.F.B.8 (Experimental Fighting Biplane No. 8). This design, which was assigned to Rex Pierson was for a smaller, machine gun armed fighter. With twice the power of Vickers' single-engined pusher Vickers F.B.5 Gunbus, which, while possessing an effective armament, was far too slow, the E.F.B.8 was hoped to have adequate performance.[1] Like the E.F.B.7, the E.F.B.8 was a two-bay biplane with a steel-tube structure with plywood and fabric covering, and powered by two tractor Gnome Monosoupape rotary engines mounted between the wings. It was however, much more compact, with a wingspan 20 ft (6.1 m) less and 500 lb (230 kg) lighter. The gunner, armed with a single Lewis gun was sat in the nose, while the pilot again like the E.F.B.7. sat under the trailing edge of the wings, remote from the gunner and hindering co-operation between them in battle.[2][3]

The E.F.B.8 flew in November 1915, demonstrating good performance, being the fastest twin-engined aircraft of 1915,[4] although not as good as expected.[5] It was not considered manoeuvrable enough for use as a fighter, and with the prospect of better performing single-engined fighters with synchronised guns, was rejected for production.[6] The experience designing it proved useful to Pierson, however, when two years later, he came to develop the Vickers Vimy bomber, much larger but of similar layout.[7][8]


Data from Vickers Aircraft since 1908 [9]

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 98 mph (85 knots, 157 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,520 m)
  • Service ceiling: 14,000 ft (4,300 m)
  • Endurance: 3 hours
  • Climb to 5,000 ft (1,520 m): 10 min


See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ Bruce 1957, p.669.
  2. ^ Mason 1992, pp. 47—48.
  3. ^ Bruce 1957, pp. 669—670.
  4. ^ Bruce 1957, p.670.
  5. ^ Green and Swanborough 1994, p.576.
  6. ^ Bruce 1969, p.93.
  7. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, p.76.
  8. ^ Mason 1992, p.48.
  9. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, p.104.


  • Andrews, C.F. and Morgan, E.B. Vickers Aircraft since 1908. London:Putnam, Second edition, 1988. ISBN 0-85177-815-1.
  • Bruce, J.M. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. London:Putnam, 1957.
  • Bruce, J.M. War Planes of the First World War: Volume Three, Fighters. London:Macdonald, 1969. ISBN 0-356-01490-8.
  • Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. The Complete Book of Fighters. New York, Smithmark, 1994. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.
  • Mason, Francis K. The British Fighter since 1912. Annapolis, Maryland, USA:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.