S.E.5a in Action (Aircraft 69)
By John F. Connors, Kevin Wornkey
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Pubs 1985 52 Pages
PDF 8 MB
The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a. one of the best known combat airplanes of the First World War, was one of those rather typical British military aircraft, designed for functional instead of aesthetic purposes. Squarish and angular. It had none of the streamlined grace of the German Albatros nor the petite elegance of the French Nieuport. Viewed from the from the S.E.5 rather resembled a farm tractor with wings.
But, what the S.E.5 design lacked in aesthetics was more than made up for In performance. It was fast, capable of making or breaking combat at will. It was sturdy, able to absorb a good deal of punishment; and its pilots could enter a high speed dive with the confidence that the S. E.5's wings would stay on. The S.E.5 did not have the tight turning ability of its compatriot, the Sopwith F.1 Camel, but it was light on the controls, easy to fly, and provided an extremely steady gun platform.
Unfortunately, due to early structural problems and difficulties In finding a suitable engine, the S.E.5 design did not reach its full potential until fairly late in its career. But despite this, the aircraft established an enviable reputation for Itseif, and was flown with great success by some of the British Empire's most famous aces, including Mannock. Mc-Cudden, Bishop, Beau champ-Proctor, and McElroy.