Guest features explore engineering-related themes, other features appear at the bottom.

Flexing Fledgling Wings at Farnborough

The First World War saw British military aviation develop from a small number of squadrons flying unarmed aircraft for reconnaissance to large forces using aircraft designed for a wide range of specialist roles. The Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough played a key part in ensuring that the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Royal Naval Air Service were equipped with aircraft, engines and weapons that met their changing needs.

The Factory grew from the Army Balloon Factory that had been at Farnborough since 1905. Its first aircraft designs appeared in 1911, with the RAF 1 engine in 1913. Aircraft design was in its infancy and not always successful – in 1912 a ban on monoplanes was introduced by the RFC following two accidents; although this was lifted the following year the structural integrity of aircraft was a major concern.

Farnborough tested the strength of aircraft structures using a very simple technique. To simulate the upward flexing of wings as they generated more lift, the aircraft would be turned upside down and sandbags placed on the wing surfaces. The loading would then be gradually increased until the structure failed.

The work of the Factory during the conflict covered the whole gamut of military aviation. Research and development covered engines, aircraft, wireless and weaponry. Wind Channels (tunnels) were used to test aerofoil shapes – the RAF series of aerofoils were widely used in the inter-war years – and a Whirling Arm was used to test propellers. Perhaps the Factory’s most famous design was the SE5a fighter, which entered service in 1917 and was flown by a number of British pilots who became aces, notably Albert Ball and James McCudden, both of whom received the Victoria Cross.

The designer of the SE5a, HP Folland, was one of a number of engineers who went on to leading roles in the British aircraft industry. Folland went on to work for the Nieuport and General Aircraft Company and then Gloster; before setting up Folland Aircraft Ltd in 1937.

Whilst at Farnborough, Folland was involved in a pioneering project to create a radio-controlled aircraft; arguably one of the first steps towards today’s drones, or Unmanned Aerial Systems. Developed under the title Aerial Target the aircraft was intended for use against German airships and as a flying bomb. It may be no coincidence that the V-1 flying bomb project of the Second World War had the cover name Flakzielgerät, a target for anti-aircraft guns!

Farnborough’s Aerial Target was controlled by a radio system developed by Professor AM Low; six examples were built and sent for testing at the RFC experimental works at Feltham, but the machine was not used in operations. 

After the formation of the Royal Air Force in April 1918, the Factory was renamed the Royal Aircraft Establishment and continued to be at the forefront of aeronautical research and development until 1991 when it was merged into the Defence Research Agency.

A survey of the work carried out at Farnborough*gives an idea of its wide-ranging contribution to aeronautical engineering during the First World War, which included:

  • Metallurgical problems of all-metal fuselage construction
  • Evolution of the first practical aeroplane compass
  • Streamlined bracing wires (RAFWires)
  • Variable camber wings and flaps and the initial investigations into the essentials of stability and control
  • Development of aircraft stressing methods
  • Bomb sights
  • Instruments
  • Navigation instruments
  • Variable pitch propellers
  • Techniques to recover aircraft from spins
  • Development of tool steel for aircraft valves
  • Special light alloys for pistons, cylinder heads and cylinder barrels
  • Supercharged aero-engines
  • Oleo undercarriages
  • Automatic remote control of aircraft
  • Inspection methods and services for aircraft and engines

Farnborough has been synonymous with aeronautical excellence for over a century; such work continues with the company Qinetiq, which retains a wind tunnel and other facilities at the site. The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust works to preserve Farnborough’s aeronautical heritage and maintains a museum on the site.

Archives, Royal Air Force Museum

Back to the top

Other Features

The result of a loading test on a Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2a, 1914

The result of a loading test on a Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2a, 1914

by User Not Found | 10 Nov, 2015


Leave a comment
  1. Brianna | Jul 30, 2018
    It takes only few minutes to fill up online loan application form with your full details such as name, gender, age and bank account etc.. These loans are helpful when starting a brand new business or when planning some major expansions.. While availing the loans, the lenders do not make any bias on the basis of your financial stats and credit profile.. plain green loans installment loan for bad credit online | plain green loans direct lender for bad credit loan | plain green loans tribal loans with no credit check | plain green loans uk direct lenders no credit check | plain green loans direct lender installment loans people bad credit
  2. Macie | Jul 27, 2018
    The people having multiple cases of late payments, defaults and CCJs can take out the loan.. This is because the federal loans and other financial aids haven't risen at the rates at which the college fees have.. Personal loan are customized loans which can be awarded depending on the particular requirements and requirements of a parson.. installment loan for bad credit online | loans for bad credit direct lenders
  3. Clarissa | Jul 22, 2018
    No collateral is required to be provided to the lenders for these loans.. The unique thing in these loans is that there is no single faxing formality.. If a consumer has less-than-perfect credit, a secured loan can be used for a highly competitive and cost-effective loan.. zoca loans long term loans no credit check direct lender | zoca loans payday loan online direct lender | zoca loans direct payday loan lenders not brokers | zoca loans payday loans bad credit direct lender no fees | zoca loans payday lenders no credit checks
  4. sewa vila | Jun 16, 2018
    Sewa villa puncak sewa villaSewa villa bukit danau sewa villa bukit danau puncakSewa villa coolibah villa bukit danauSewa villa kota bunga sewa villa bukit danauvilla-puncak bukit danauSewa villa puncak resort sewa villa di bukit danausewa villa puncak bukit danau lot 13 villa bukit danau puncaksewa villa sewa villa puncaksewa villa puncak murah sewa villa di puncaksewa villa puncak 6 kamar sewa villa puncak murahsewa villa puncak bukit danau club house 15 kamar villa puncaksewa villa di puncak bukit danau lot 1 sewa villa di puncak ada kolam renangsewa villa puncak bukit danau lot 5 villa di puncak passsewa villa bukit danau lot 14 sewa villa puncak resortsewa villa puncak 3 kamar sewa villa di puncak resortsewa villa kota bunga murah sewa villa untuk rombongansewa villa di kota bunga sewa villa murahsewa villa puncak kota bunga sewa villa coolibahsewa villa kota bunga sewa villa di coolibahvilla coolibah villa coolibahvilla puncak coolibah sewa villa coolibah murahsewa villa di coolibah sewa villa kota bungasewa villa coolibah murah sewa villa di kota bungasewa villa coolibah villa kota bungasewa villa coolibah kav 28 sewa villa kota bunga murahsewa villa puncak coolibah kav 58 sewa villa 4 kamarsewa villa coolibah kav 59 Sewa Villa 6 kamar villa brajasewa villa coolibah kav 72 Sewa villa 5 kamarsewa villa puncak cendrawasih sewa villa braja bukit danausewa villa puncak bukit danau lot b villa coolibah utamasewa villa puncak villa di puncak cisaruasewa villa komplek villa coolibahsewa villa puncak sewa villa coolibah puncak murahbukit danau sewa villa coolibah untuk robongansewa villa puncak bougenville villa untuk rombonganVilla Braja Bukit Danau sewa Villa sewa villa puncak bougenvillesewa villa bougenvillesewa villa sewa villa di coolibahsewa villa bukit danau puncak villa coolibahvilla bukit danau sewa villa coolibah murahsewa villa bukit danau sewa villa kota bungabukit danau sewa villa di kota bungasewa villa di bukit danau villa kota bungavilla bukit danau puncak sewa villa kota bunga murahsewa villa puncak sewa villa 4 kamarsewa villa di puncak sewa villa puncak bougenvillesewa villa puncak murah Sewa villa 10 kamarvilla puncak villa untuk rombongansewa villa di puncak ada kolam renang villa coolibah utamavilla di puncak pass villa di puncak cisaruasewa villa puncak resort komplek villa coolibahsewa villa di puncak resort sewa villa coolibah puncak murahsewa villa untuk rombongan sewa villa coolibah untuk robongansewa villa murah sewa villa kota bunga murahsewa villa coolibah sewa villa kota bunga 4 kamar
  5. A | Apr 26, 2018
    You’ve got some interesting points in this article. I would have never considered any of these if I didn’t come across this. Thanks!.iq option
  6. Jack | Nov 16, 2017
    I appreciate what you have done here. I like the part where you say you are doing this to give back yet I would expect by every one of the remarks this is working for you too.  movie
  7. Jason | Nov 14, 2017
    I have as of late begun a website, the data you give on this webpage has helped me extraordinarily. Much obliged for the greater part of your time and work.  How to Teach Your Child to Read
  8. Jack | Aug 25, 2017
    Superb article. Exceptionally intriguing to peruse. I truly love to peruse such a pleasant article. Much obliged! continue shaking.  Sage Herb Health Benefits
  9. kang mana | Jul 29, 2017
    It is a Great article. Hy this is terima kasih karena anam seo sudah diijinkan berkmentar anam seo disini. Dengan begitu anam seo akan dapat menitipkan anam seo sesuatu yg sangat bermanfaat anam seo untuk kami tentunya. anam seo sekali lagi sangat enjoy melihat anam seo artikel di website anda. Dengan begitu anam seo bisa terus dapat eksis abis anam seo dalam dunia ember. Untuk itu anam seo beserta segenap kru dan jejaran direksi anam seo 1 anam seo 2 anam seo dan 3 anam seo dan seterusnya akan tetap selalu hadir anam seo di kolom komentar anda :v
  10. Nathan Hudson | Jul 22, 2017

    These beautiful, fully adjustable, rare Elephant hair bracelets are handmade from genuine elephant hair collected from the elephant's tail.

    African Tradition dating back over 1000 years tells us that wearing a bracelet made from elephant hair ensures a prosperous lifestyle and protects the wearer from illness and harm.  It is believed that the elephant is the connection between Heaven and Earth. 
    Each strand on the bracelet is said to represent an aspect of your life: wealth, health, well-being, love, and harmony. Hand Made in South Africa. Please note, that no elephants were harmed in the making of these bracelets.
    Today this belief remains strong in certain areas of contemporary culture. The traditional  elephant hair bracelets has sliding knots allowing it to open so it can fit over your hand. 
    Once it is your hand, you tighten the knots so that it fits your wrist. 
    In recent times a number of designs have been created for you to choose.

  11. seentu | Jul 21, 2017
  12. azizul | Jul 21, 2017

    Nice article 

    <a href="">Bollywood New Mp3 Song Download</a>

  13. Newkj | Jul 18, 2017
    Latest Songs List, Hot New Songs Download Pagalworld Mp3 Songs
  14. Robinjack | Jul 15, 2017
    valuable data on points that bounty are intrigued on for this magnificent post.Admiring the time and exertion you put into your b!..  The Author Incubator
  15. asdff | Jul 14, 2017
  16. اسلام محمد | Jul 12, 2017
    العاب فلاش و العاب المواقع التعليمية هم اهم الاشياء الموجوده حاليا حيث في الاونة الاخيرة عربيا ظهر موقع احد المدارس الاردنية تحت مسمي العاب شبلول وهو موقع ترفيهي اجتماعي تعليمي علي شكل العاب تواصلية اجتماعية العاب فلاش تعليمية يقوم فيها بتقديم الافادة للطلاب و الدروس التعليمية و تعلم بعض المهارات علي شكل العاب محببة لدي الاطفال و ايضا يوجد بعض مواقع الالعاب الاجنبية التي قامت بنفس الدور لتقديم الترفيه و التعليم معا , العب و تعلم في موقع واحد و 
  17. Music Download | Jul 12, 2017
    Songspk Is-largest Collection Pakistani Songs, Bollywood Songs, Indian Songs, Hindi Songs, mp3, with In the PK Song You CAN Also download Latest Indian Movies, the Pop, the Music Remix, wedding and the Video Songs pk
  18. free | Jul 06, 2017

    Thanks to land me on this page where downloading music is easiest. The same way i got on  Jail Mankirt Aulakh Official Punjabi Mp3…Download Free Songs mp3 Songs here

  19. download | Jul 06, 2017
    Thanks to land me on this page where downloading music is easiest. The same way i got on  Jail Mankirt Aulakh Official Punjabi Mp3… Download Free Songs mp3 Songs <a href="">Songs pk</a>
  20. farhankhan | Jul 05, 2017
    <a href="">Gluabi Hat World </a> Mobile Zone PC suite Drivers Firmware Download
  21. farhankhan | Jul 05, 2017
    <a href="" rel="" target="_blank">Emma Ovi</a>
  22. Gluabi Hat World | Jul 05, 2017
    nice article <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Emma Ovi</a>
  23. drones with camera | Jul 05, 2017
    This is a best drone. It has a nice camera. It helps me so much to take attractive photos because it has a fantastic camera. I also take photo from any angle because it is flying
  24. nairy younes | Jul 03, 2017
    تتنوع العاب فلاش وذلك على حسب كل شخص ورغبته فهناك عدة انواع منها وهناك من هي خاصة بالبنات واخرى للاولاد وتعتبر   من اكتر الالعاب انتشارا في الويب وهي محبوبة عند الجميع ولديها جمهور واسع كما انها سهلة اللعب والجميع يمكنه لعبها بسهولة تامة بدون صعوبات تذكر كما ان هناك انواع اخرى متل العاب بنات ومكياج و سيارات الى غير ذلك فلك صنف جمهوره ومحبيه ولكن تبقى العاب بنات الاكتر انتشارا وشعبيتنا في عالم العاب الفلاش كما انها تحتوي على شخصيات معروفة وغنية عن التعريف متل باربي و سندريلا وشخصيات اخرى تركت بصمتها في هذا المجال لهذا اصبح يعتمد عليها كتيرا في صنف العاب بنات الدي تحبه البنات بكترة خاصة في العالم العربي مما يجعل المواقع الخاصة بهذا النوع تزداد يوما بعدالاخر
  25. Sahil Saini | Jul 03, 2017
  26. free pc games | Jul 01, 2017
    FULL PC GAMES DOWNLOAD pc games free download full version free full version pc games FULL PC GAMES DOWNLOADpc games free download full versionfree full version pc games ocean of games youtubers life free ocean of games youtubers life pc games download games for pc pc games download games for pc games for pc free download es download for pc free download games for pc games for pc free downloades download for pcfree download games for pc ftoomky gamesfree downloadable games new games 2017floomky gamesfree downloadable gamesfree pc games 2017free minecraft download sims 3 free downloadfree game downloadsfree minecraft downloadsims 3 free downloadfree games downloadbest pc games best android games action games downloadbest pc gamesbest android gamesaction games download       best pc games 2017 top 10 games for pc free games download best pc games 2017 top 10 games for pcfree games download 
  27. asdfg | Jun 30, 2017
  28. drk | Jun 25, 2017
  29. BHATU | Jun 22, 2017
  30. gym | Jun 21, 2017
    something that we really wait for. Thank you. Jual Alat Fitness
  31. muktasir | Jun 21, 2017
    Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts. Jasa SEO
  32. Sheya | Jun 20, 2017
  33. Kitchen Design Remodel | Jun 12, 2017
    Of some people may be confused about choosing Kitchen Design Remodel Therefore you must choose according to selara to desire your dream kitchen.Kitchen is very important for human life due to cooking but now very many models and kitchen design please Read More . The development of kitchen model designs is very rapid so as not to miss then Click . Unique articles and latest pictures of the kitchen See More .The latest kitchen pictures More .The variety of kitchen designs make us to carefully choose the kitchen model for that please see more . Carpets for the kitchen should also fit the model of the kitchen so click .The kitchen decor is very diverse so you must specify please ana visit us at read info . To find the latest model and kitchen design please visit our website More Info .Articles about kitchen draws please read info . To get the ideal kitchen you have to determine the kitchen please look at click here .      
  34. peetr | Jun 10, 2017
    Much thanks for the sharing! COOL..  italian fashion online
  35. astropay | Jun 09, 2017
  36. hbbg | Jun 08, 2017

    <a href="">resident evil 7 torrent</a>

    <a href="">resident evil 7 download</a>

    <a href="">Nier automata review</a>

    <a href="">nier automata torrent</a>
  37. coc | Jun 08, 2017
  38. ayush | Jun 05, 2017
  39. ayush | Jun 05, 2017
    <a href="">Tubelight Trailer Download in Full Hd, 1080p &amp; 720p Qualities</a>
  40. sustainingtowers | Jun 05, 2017
  41. ayush agarwal | Jun 03, 2017
    Thanks for these articles. Also visit for
  42. ayush agarwal | Jun 03, 2017
    ( <a href="">Free Recharge Tricks</a> )
  43. john | Jun 01, 2017
  44. Ali G | May 31, 2017
    My friend, colleague and expert marketer, Kam, has created that EXACT plan.It’s not an eBook, not one video. It’s an 11-week, over the shoulder, step-by-step plan to making money online.And it’s the same plan that Kam uses every single day to pay for a family of 4 and an office, and live a free lifestyle…Forget everything you “know” about making money on the Internet…read more
  45. Ali G | May 31, 2017

    My friend, colleague and expert marketer, Kam, has created that EXACT plan.It’s not an eBook, not one video. It’s an 11-week, over the shoulder, step-by-step plan to making money online.And it’s the same plan that Kam uses every single day to pay for a family of 4 and an office, and live a free lifestyle…read more . Forget everything you “know” about making money on the Internet…

  46. drk | May 29, 2017
    gasanbieter DA93 followstrom-gas DA100 nofollowstrom-gas24 DA100 nofollowstromanbieter 24 DA100 followstromvergleich DA49 followstrom-gas DA92 follow mit keyStromvergleich DA81 nofollowstrom-gas DA96 nofollowyoutube DA99 nofollowstrom vergleich DA86 followgasanbieter DA46 followpiet DA71 follow ***strom vergleich DA73 nofollow ***stromanbietervergleich DA89 followStromvergleich   DA71 follow mit keystromvergleich DA45 followstromvergleich DA49 followstrom-gas DA53 follow ***MOZ DA90 nofollowDailymotion DA94 followstrikingly DA79 followpbase DA74 follow mit keySoundcloud DA94 nofollowDisqus DA96 nofollowTAZ DA83 follow ***Audio DA80 nofollowstromanbieter DA90 follow mit keystromvergleich DA78 followStromanbieter DA41 follow mit keygasanbieter DA97 followstrom-gas DA89 followstromanbieter DA85 followGasvergleich DA84 followstromanbieter DA88 followstromanbieter DA44 followgasvergleich DA44 followstromanbieter stromanbieter DAStromvergleich DA81 followstromvergleich DA44 DA42 followwechseln DA61 followgoogle DA90 nofollowadobe Da90 nofollowstrom DA100 nofollowstromvergleich DA90 follow DA66 follow
  47. shashank | May 29, 2017
  48. Jackasking | May 29, 2017
  49. Jackasking | May 29, 2017
  50. Voice greetings India | May 27, 2017

    Definitely, what a fantastic website and illuminating posts, I definitely will bookmark your blog.Have an awesome day!

    Best audio conference India

    Audio conferencing system

    Voice greetings India

    teleconferencing solutions india

    investor conference call

    Analyst conference call

    Leave a comment


    *CF Caunter; A historical summary of the Royal Aircraft Establishment: 1918-1948; RAE Report 2150A; 1949