Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a

The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 is a British biplane fighter aircraft of the First World War. It was developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory. It was one of the fastest aircraft of the war, while being both stable and relatively manoeuvrable. 

A formidable fighter, second only to the Sopwith Camel in reputation, the S.E.A was the most successful Royal Aircraft Factory design.

Wartime urgency meant five companies produced 5,125 S.E.5 aircraft in less than 18 months.

The S.E.5a at RAF London was one of a fleet of Hendon-based S.E.5a aircraft operated by the Savage Skywriting company from 1924 to 1930. It was built in Birmingham In 1918 and flew with the RAF Occupation Forces In Germany In 1919.

Royal Aircraft Factory F.E. 2b

The F.E. 2b was originally introduced as a two-seat fighter on the Western Front in late 1915, escorting unarmed reconnaissance aircraft in patrols over enemy lines.

German fighter aircraft could outperform F.E.2s by late 1916. Later F.E.2s were adapted for night bombing.

The fuselage frame of this composite reconstruction at RAF London is the largest original F.E.2b component known. It survived unfinished in the maker’s factory near Lowestoft. It is marked as F.E.2b A6526, which served in three squadrons until being written off by a forced landing on a night bombing sortie on 8 October 1918.

Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 was a British two-seat biplane reconnaissance and bomber aircraft of the First World War designed and produced at the Royal Aircraft Factory. This Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 was on display at RAF London.

This was the most widely used reconnaissance aircraft in the Royal Flying Corps and RAF from 1917, serving with about 21 Squadrons. Its stability meant it lacked manoeuvrability when attacked and casualties remained high.

Nick-named the Harry Tate’ after a music-hall comedian, this stable reconnaissance/artillery spotting aircraft entered limited service in late 1916. 

Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8

This flying replica, in No. 9 Squadron colours, was built in New Zealand by The Vintage Aviator Ltd in 2011, using original R..8 rudder, wing and fuselage parts held by the RAF Museum as patterns. 

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2b

This replica Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2b was at RAF London.

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2b

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was a British single-engine tractor two-seat biplane designed and developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory. Most of the roughly 3,500 built were constructed under contract by private companies, including established aircraft manufacturers and firms new to aircraft construction.

Early versions entered squadron service with the Royal Flying Corps in 1912 and the type served throughout the First World War. Initially used as a reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber, some examples modified as single-seat night fighters destroyed German airships.

The B.E.2b was a very stable aircraft. On 26 April 1915, 2nd Lt William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse attacked Courtrai Railway Station, Cambrai, Northern France flying B.E.2b No 687. Dropping a 100lb bomb he was fatally wounded by ground fire but managed to fly home, being awarded the first Victoria Cross awarded for an aerial action.

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2b

The detailed replica at RAF London was mostly built under contract at the former RAF Museum facility at Cardington in 1983-88. It incorporates a few original B.E.2a fittings and the correct original propeller, and carries the markings of the aircraft in which 2nd Lt Rhodes-Moorhouse won his VC.