Vickers FB11

 A three-seat escort fighter with secondary anti-Zeppelin role.
Vickers FB11 ground One of the two Vickers FB11 aircraft photographed at Joyce Green.
 
The Vickers FB11 was a conventional tractor biplane, superficially resembling an enlarged Avro 504 without wing stagger. This appearance was in part due to the use of a long central-skid undercarriage, with wheels on either side. 
 
The intention was to provide a long-range escort aircraft to fly along with a bomber formation and to provide all-round defensive armament.
 
Its main distinguishing feature was a streamlined gunnery ‘pulpit’ mounted over the engine, ahead of the upper wing-centre section. This firing position provided a superlative field of fire over the upper hemisphere and obviated the need for gun synchronisation with the propeller. It was also consistent with its proposed secondary role as an anti-Zeppelin interceptor.
 
Two prototypes were ordered (A4814 and A4815) with A4814 flying for the first time in late September or early October 1916.
 
The airframe had been completed around July but the first flight had been delayed until the autumn due to the late availability of the engine. Power was provided by a 250 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle I engine, driving a two-blade propeller. The pilot sat below the upper-wing trailing edge, just ahead of a conventional defensive cockpit position, equipped as it was with a Scarff-mounted Lewis gun.
 
By the time the FB11 had flown, it was evident that this approach was unlikely to be operationally effective and no production order was received.
 

Variants & Numbers

 
Two prototypes only (A4814, A4815).
 

Specification

 
Powerplant
One 250 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle I
Span
51 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight
4,934 lb
Capacity
Single pilot; Two defensive gunners each with one Lewis gun
Maximum Speed
98 mph at sea level, 96 mph at 5,000 ft
Endurance
4.5 hr
 

Survivors

No examples of the Vickers FB11 survive.

Other information