Our special guest features look in more detail at some of the ways the First World War impacted engineering, and related fields. From medicine to aviation no corner of engineering was left untouched.

The Royal Air Force Museum here considers the effect upon the aviation industry. Previous features can be accessed from the bottom of the page.


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


Credits/footnotes:

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



Other Features

Drawing from S.E.5 and S.E.5a Rigging Notes

Drawing from S.E.5 and S.E.5a Rigging Notes

by User Not Found | 10 Nov, 2015

153 comments

Leave a comment
  1. suisio uibsu | Apr 20, 2017
  2. JEE Main Result 2017 | Apr 19, 2017
    JEE Main Result 2017: The Joint Entrance Examination which is going to Release the JEE Main Result 2017 on this April Last week. JEE Main Result 2017
  3. JEE Main Result 2017 | Apr 19, 2017
    JEE Main Result 2017: The Joint Entrance Examination which is going to Release the JEE Main Result 2017 on this April Last week. JEE Main Result 2017
  4. cchetan upadhyay | Apr 19, 2017

    helpful

    https://www.sevenmentor.com/

  5. dias | Apr 15, 2017
    Wanita murah dengan garansi resmi hanya di Bhinneka Tas Selempang Tas Kanvas Tas Serut Desain Sendiri custom sablon tas kanvas Kreasikan dan dompet anda dengan desain anda sendiri Tersedia banyak model tas wanita selempang kanvas serut dompet hp Bobobobo Wanita Branded Terlengkap jual tas kipling murah.  boboboboidpagewomen s s Belanja Wanita dari 700 brand & desainer lokal serta internasional dengan harga terbaik hanya di Bobobobo dan Kanvas Bahan Berkualitas Ready Stock Kaos Polos polos index dan kanvas dapat mengurangi penggunaan kantong plastik cintai dan jaga bumi anda jual jansport kw bandung.  dengan TERSEDIA BAHAN KANVAS online denim Lunik Store lunik store product online murah bahan jeans online murah produk dari Moslem Kids pelopor anak muslim No 1 di Indonesia terbuat dari bahan jeans yang kuat di lengkapi Daftar Harga tas kanvasunik tas kanvas unik daftar harga Berikut kunjungi blog ini.  daftar harga kami DAFTAR HARGA CETAK Harga dibawah ini sudah termasuk dan jasa cetak Baha DAFTAR POLOS Terlengkap JD ID jd idcategory 875062431 Wanita terlengkap dengan kualitas terbaik Harga Wanita murah ada disini fossil Daftar harga & Spesifikasi Terbaik fossil fossil spesifikasi review jual kipling kw bandung.  lengkap dan daftar harga dari paling murah bisa Anda beli di Blibli Fasilitas Cicilan 0% & Gratis Pengiriman Daftar harga kunjungi blog ini. & Spesifikasi Terbaik Blibli spesifikasi review lengkap dan daftar harga dari paling murah bisa Anda beli di Blibli Fasilitas Cicilan 0% & Gratis Pengiriman Aeropress with Otten  Coffee Mesin Grinder & otten coffee aero press aero press with Aeropress Coffee Maker tampaknya akan menjadi hadiah yang paling tepat untuk anda para penikmat kopi sejati Online Matahari Mall mataharimallp1275 Beli di online shop MatahariMall gratis ongkos kirim! Tersedia banyak pilihan jual cath kidston kw bandung.  varian model dari brand brand berkualitas Cek di sini kunjungi blog ini.  Goodie MURAH ke PONDOK GEDE BEKASI youtubewatch 14 Jan 2017 WASMSTelp di 082260589652 Kami Supplier Produsen Pabrik Toko Spesialis Tempat memproduksi GOODIE Goodie MURAH di CIMAHI JAWA BARAT 7 Des 2016.  WASMSTelp di 082260589652 Kami Supplier Produsen Pabrik Toko Spesialis Tempat memproduksi GOODIE Murah @linorishop Twitter twitterlinorishop The latest Tweets from Murah @linorishop MURAH 50K Kualitas us dan brand distro yg OKE punya! Contact us on WA Instagram photos and jual beli tas ransel wanita.  videos instagramexploretags 297 5k Posts See Instagram photos and videos from ' ' hashtag spunbond murah Barang Promosi Mug zeropromosi201605 tas spun bond murah Konveksi goodie men grosir Custom KANVAS MURAH Kanvas Murah Kanvas Sablon grosir Kanvas Murah Perdana model tas ransel laptop wanita.  Goodie goodie promositag kanvasmurah pouch drawstring maupun souvenir lipat custom Kanvas Sablon 4 Warna kanvas di Tebet Jakarta Selatan produksi Perdana Pembuatan Termurah seindonesia Raya bahan fjb kaskusproduct pembuatan termurah indonesia raya bahan kanvas amp belaco jual ransel sekolah anak sma.  Produk Caleg pengganti kaos Dan masih banyak lagi gansis Pembuatan Termurah seindonesia Raya bahan kanvas & Belaco Etphis C 203 Canvas Mocha YubiStore Yukbisnis store yukbisnis etphisc203canvascoklatkopifashion detail370 Etphis C203 warna mocha berbahan kanvas Dengan model tas ransel anak kuliah.
  6. john | Apr 14, 2017
    Thanks for posting this. Your blog is so interesting and very informative.Thanks sharing. Definitely a great piece of work Thanks for your work. I have as of late begun a web journal, the data you give on this website has helped me incredibly. A debt of gratitude is in order for the greater part of your time and work.David Wilkerson Devotional - The Focus of Prayer Celebrities Deaths Latest Inventions in Technology
  7. Saleem Khan | Apr 13, 2017
    This is really an outstanding understand for me. I enjoy saved it furthermore I am looking before to session breathtaking story's. Notice up fantastic process warehouse space!
  8. chetan | Apr 12, 2017
    Hi <a href="https://www.sevenmentor.com/java-training-classes-in-pune.php">Java classes in Pune</a>
  9. chetan | Apr 12, 2017

    thanks for sharing the content

    https://www.sevenmentor.com/java-training-classes-in-pune.php

  10. Karine | Apr 08, 2017
    Venez shopper votre belle robe de mariée pas cher de haute qualité sur le site persun. Tous les styles de modèles sont offerts pour toutes les silhouettes.
  11. mehndi designs | Apr 07, 2017
  12. chandler holden | Apr 06, 2017
    this is pleasant in addition to meanful. this is trendy blog site. Backlinking can be quite practical matter. you could have definitely served most people exactly who stop by blog site and gives these individuals usefull facts. datacentre equipment disposal
  13. alex | Mar 29, 2017
    Really a great addition. I have read this marvelous post. Thanks for sharing information about it. I really like that. Thanks so lot for your convene. corporate seo packages
  14. clicker heroes wiki | Mar 29, 2017
    Thank you for bringing more information to this topic for me. I’m truly grateful and really impressed.  Absolutely this article is incredible. http://ssapptricks.com/deck-heroes/
  15. Camario | Mar 27, 2017
    Congratulations useful information excellent article continue to write more. thank you. novinhas gostosas
  16. results cgg gov | Mar 26, 2017
    Andhra Pradesh state Intermediate education board has been conducting the exams for every academic year to eligible candidates. Here you get the update on AP Inter Results 2017 1st 2nd Year. Who are studying Intermediate in any institute or college across AP region. results.cgg.gov.in
  17. aasd | Mar 25, 2017

    "Text":http://example.com

    [http://example.com Text]

  18. krithika | Mar 25, 2017

    <a href="http://engineersatwar.imeche.org">Hai</a>

    [url=http://engineersatwar.imeche.org]Hai[/url]

    http://engineersatwar.imeche.org

  19. hrdyjty | Mar 24, 2017
  20. fgebshgrdyuhtfy | Mar 24, 2017
  21. Manish | Mar 24, 2017
  22. Govind Dheda | Mar 24, 2017
    Most of games are you can plays on online like wifi connection and any time connect your wifi and games to play but some games are really to best ever on android. Its means you can play no any wifi (offline) connection required and always fun with games without wifi.no wifi games
  23. Manish | Mar 24, 2017
  24. fastpokemap | Mar 22, 2017
    fastpokemap I am truly delighted to glance at this blog posts which includes plenty of valuable information, thanks for providing such information.
  25. Assignment help | Mar 21, 2017

    I am glad to reach to your website, however our website also offer similar content and we would definitely like to recommend your website to our friends. Check out our link http://www.hndassignmenthelp.co.uk

    Unit 42 Employability Skill assignment help Human resource assignment help

  26. karan | Mar 21, 2017
  27. shahul singh | Mar 21, 2017
  28. Assignment help | Mar 19, 2017

    I am glad to reach to your website, however our website also offer similar content and we would definitely like to recommend your website to our friends. Check out our link http://www.hndassignmenthelp.co.uk

    HND Assignment Help HND Assignment Help HND Assignment Help

  29. Assignment help | Mar 19, 2017
    THANKS FOR THE POST
  30. akashmishra | Mar 18, 2017
    <a href="https://iccct.cricket/cricket-champions-trophy-2017-live-scores-espn-cricinfo/">ICC Champtions Trophy 2017 live</a>
  31. akashgunga | Mar 18, 2017
    https://iccct.cricket/cricket-champions-trophy-2017-live-scores-espn-cricinfo/
  32. Fakhir | Mar 18, 2017
    Cricket is my passion, I love cricket. Currently I am waiting for the <a href="https://iccct.cricket/cricket-champions-trophy-2017-live-scores-espn-cricinfo/">ICC Champions Trophy live 2017</a> matches.
  33. Assignment help | Mar 17, 2017

    I am glad to reach to your website, however our website also offer similar content and we would definitely like to recommend your website to our friends. Check out our link http://www.hndassignmenthelp.co.uk

    HND Assignment Help HND Assignment Help HND Assignment Help

  34. Assignment help | Mar 17, 2017

    HND Assignment Help is the #1 Assignment help company offering hnd business management assignments at most affordable prices and 100% plagiarism free content. Contact for hnd business assignments at hndassignmenthelp@gmail.com. We are pioneer in btec hnd assignments since more than 7 years and have provided btec hnd assignment help for students around the world. Login http://www.hndassignmenthelp.co.uk for more details.

    http://hndassignmenthelp.co.uk/hnd-in-travel-and-tourism/ http://hndassignmenthelp.co.uk/hnd-in-hospitality-management/

  35. Malaika Arora | Mar 12, 2017
  36. Jessica | Mar 07, 2017
    I have bookmarked this page for future reference. iPhone 7S release date
  37. jett mould | Mar 07, 2017
    I think it is the most reliable information for student for their academics .I have something for students It is the most reliable and authentic assignment help review platform where students come to share feedback on assignment writing service provider websites.@ http://topassignmentreviews.com/  
  38. Assignment help website | Mar 07, 2017
    I think it is the most reliable information for student for their academics .I have something for students It is the most reliable and authentic assignment help review platform where students come to share feedback on assignment writing service provider websites.
  39. sie | Mar 07, 2017
  40. blog | Mar 06, 2017
    Thx for writing so good stuff , hope this information is good for all. please post same topic in future for out motivationHow to get back suspended you tube channel
  41. belli | Mar 04, 2017
    Our technician doing solve of outlook, office and windows problems through microsoft customer service number+1-800-805-7863.
  42. nock | Mar 02, 2017
    it is a very useful blog .. thanks .. for more information you should go to the link given mcafee support number
    Mcafee support
    mcafee helpline support
    mcafee technical support
  43. mac | Mar 02, 2017

    Delighted so much to be here lot of interesting things i grab,thanks for disclosing with us.

    Avast Support Number 

    Avast Support

  44. MARINA | Mar 02, 2017
    it is a very useful blog .. thanks .. for more information you should go to the link given window support
    window support number
    window helpline
    window customer care
    window helpline
  45. sarena | Mar 02, 2017
    it is a very useful blog .. thanks .. for more information you should go to the link given Dell Support UK
    Dell Customer Care
    Dell Laptop Tech Support
    Dell Laptop Contact Number
    Dell Laptop Contact Number
  46. bronwen | Mar 02, 2017
    it is a very useful blog .. thanks .. for more information you should go to the link given brother printer support
    brother printer helpline
    brother printer customer service
    brother printer support number
  47. sarena | Mar 02, 2017
    it is a very useful blog .. thanks .. for more information you should go to the link given Canon Printer Helpline Canon Help and Support
    Canon Help Number
    Canon PC Support
    Canon Helpline
    Canon Help Number
  48. movie | Mar 01, 2017

    I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I’m able to bookmark your site 

    watch sachin a billion dream full moviefast and furious 8 songs Sarkar 3 movie actress name

  49. belli | Feb 28, 2017
    With surety, our customer care solves problems of Microsoft windows through windows support number. So please call us on toll-free number+1-800-805-7863. windows support number
  50. marina | Feb 28, 2017
    thanks for shareing this information this is very helpfull for me....if you are requride windows techical support then click here..windows customer service
    windows helpline

    Leave a comment