Vickers FB19

A single-seat, single-engine biplane fighter which saw limited service with the RFC and was also operated in Russia.
Vickers FB19 Mk I port front view A Vickers FB19 Mk I at Brooklands.
 
The Vickers FB19 was evolved from the Barnwell Bullet and the Vickers ES1 and ES2, which are described separately. The FB19 was a single-engine, single-bay biplane, initially flown (FB19 Mk I) with unstaggered wings. It was a compact aircraft with a span of 24 ft and length of 18 ft 2 in. The fuselage was of rounded cross-section, with the pilot sat in line with the wing trailing edge, under the centre-section.
 
The FB19 Mk I prototype was powered by a 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine and the first of two prototypes (A1968 and A1969) which first flew in August 1916.
 
It was armed with a single synchronised 0.303 Vickers machine gun, mounted on the port side of the fuselage. The pilot’s seating position and the aircraft's comparatively broad fuselage restricted the field of view and when tested, the aircraft was considered to be unsuitable for dog-fighting.
 
A single FB19 MkI was sent to Russia for evaluation, resulting in an unknown number of Mk I aircraft being delivered to that country, where they are reported to have been re-engined with the more powerful 130 hp Clerget engine.
 
Vickers FB19 Mk I Soviet forces A Vickers FB19 Mk I in service with Soviet forces; note the clear panels to improve upward view.
 
A revised design, the FB19 Mk II, introduced staggered wings and an increase to 110 hp provided by either a Le Rhône or Clerget engine. Clear panels were also provided in the upper wing centre-section to improve upward visibility.
 
Vickers FB19 Mk II stbd rear view 1917 An RFC Vickers FB19 Mk II photographed in 1917.
 
Some thirty-six FB19s are believed to have been issued to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) although confirmatory contract records have been found for only two Mk Is and twelve Mk IIs. Six early production examples were sent to France in late 1916 for operational evaluation, where they were found to be unsuitable and returned to the UK.
 
Twelve Mk IIs went to the Middle East, five to Palestine and seven to Macedonia. A few Mk IIs served in training establishments.
 
Vickers FB19 MkII A5236 at Deir-al-Belah Vickers FB19 MkII A5236 at Deir-al-Belah (now within the Gaza Strip).
 
The FB19 was more popular in Russia, where as many as twenty or more aircraft are believed to have been operated. A number of unarmed examples are reported to have served as trainers and after the Russian Revolution some aircraft found their way into Bolshevik hands.
 

Variants & Numbers

Prototypes
Two A1968, A1969
FB19 Mk I
100 hp Gnome Monosoupape, unstaggered wings. 53 ordered, number delivered uncertain, serials include A2992. 20 to 30 aircraft believed delivered to Russia.
FB19 Mk II
110 hp Le Rhône or Clerget engine, staggered wings. 12 aircraft, RFC serials A5225 – A5236
 

Specifications

 
FB19 Mk I
FB19 Mk II
Powerplant
One 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape
One 110 hp Clerget engine
Span
24 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight
1,485 lb
1,475 lb
Capacity
Single pilot; one fixed forward-firing Vickers gun
Maximum Speed
102 mph at 10,000 ft
109 mph at sea level, 98 mph at 10,000 ft
Endurance
2.75 hours
3 hours
 

Survivors

No examples of the Vickers FB19 survive.

Other information