Vickers FB26
Vampire

A single-seat pusher biplane with fixed forward-firing armament.
Vickers FB26 prototype The prototype Vickers FB26 B1484 with Hispano Suiza engine at Joyce Green in 1917.
 
The Vickers FB26 (later named Vampire) was a single-seat day Scout design of 1917. The first prototype (B1484) was powered by a 200 hp Hispano-Suiza engine and carried an armament of three forward-firing Vickers guns mounted in the extreme nose.
 
Trials at Martlesham demonstrated a maximum speed of 124 mph at a service ceiling in excess of 20,000 ft. The prototype was sadly destroyed in a fatal accident following a spin after take-off on 25 August 1917, resulting in the death of Vickers’ Chief Test Pilot Harold Barnwell.
 
Vickers FB26 port rear 2 bladed airscrew One of the few Vickers FB26 built, photographed in the winter of 1917/18.
 
A second aircraft (B1486) was constructed in a night fighter configuration amd was also fitted with a three-gun armament in the nose. This aircraft underwent service trials with 29 (Home Defence) Squadron and 141 Squadron.
 
A further development was also built in 1918 with a 230 hp Bentley BR2 rotary engine. This received the designation FB26A Vampire Mk II with the earlier aircraft being retrospectively known as the FB26 Vampire Mk I.
 
The Mk II was intended as a ground-strafing trench attack aircraft and its nacelle was fitted with some 500 lb of protective armour.
 
In the event however, the Sopwith Salamander was selected for this role and Vickers and the FB26A did not receive a production contract.
 
Vickers FB26A 4 blade prop two guns The Vickers FB26A Vampire II with Bentley rotary engine and four-blade propeller.
 
Orders were placed however for a total of six aircraft (B1484 to B1489).
Of these, it is known that 2 aircraft (B1484 and B1486) were completed as FB26 Vampire Mk I whilst another (B1485) was completed as a Vampire Mk II.
 
It would appear that the last three aircraft in the order were never completed.
 

Variants & Numbers

Six ordered, of which three (two FB26 Vampire Mk I and one FB26A Vampire Mk II) were completed.
 

Specifications

 
FB26 Vampire Mk I
FB26A Vampire Mk II
Powerplant
One 200 hp Hispano-Suiza engine
One 230 hp Bentley BR2 engine
Span
31 ft 6 in
Maximum Weight
2,030 lb
2,438 lb
Capacity
Single pilot; two, or three, fixed forward-firing Vickers guns
Single pilot; two fixed forward-firing Vickers guns
Maximum Speed
124 mph at sea level, 121 mph at 5,000 ft
121 mph at sea level
Endurance
3 hours
2 hours
 
 

Survivors

No examples of the Vickers FB26 and FB26A survive.

Other information