Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8


The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8 was a British two seat single engined general purpose biplane of the First World War, designed by John Kenworthy at the Royal Aircraft Factory in 1913.

Small numbers were used by the Royal Flying Corps over the Western Front in the first year of the war, with the type being used as a trainer until 1916.

The B.E.8 was the definitive development of the earlier B.E 3 type, and the last of the B.E. series to be designed with a rotary engine.

The main changes were that the fuselage now rested on the lower wing, in the normal way for a tractor biplane, and that the tail unit was changed to the B.E.2 pattern.

Three prototypes were built at Farnborough with a single long cockpit for both crew members.

The production aircraft had two separate cockpits and were built by sub-contractors.

The improved B.E.8a of 1915 had new B.E.2c type wings, featuring ailerons instead of wing warping and a revised tail unit.





27 ft 4.5 in (8.344 m)


37 ft 8 in (11.48 m)


9 ft 4 in (2.84 m)

Wing area

368 sq ft (34.2 m2)


1 × Gnome 7 Lambda, 7 cylinder air cooled rotary piston engine,

80 hp (60 kW)


2-bladed fixed-pitch propeller


Maximum speed

70 mph (110 km/h, 61 kn) at sea level


1 hour 30 minutes

Time to altitude

3,000 ft (914 m) in 10 minutes 30 seconds



Small arms operated by crew


1× 100 lb (45 kg) bomb

Share on facebook