Airco DH.2 and DH.5, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland
In 1915 the DH.2 was legendary aircraft designer Geoffrey de Havilland's second design for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company.Originally the DH.2 was configured to have a flexible mounting for the .303 in. Lewis machine gun so that the pilot could place it in the left or the right hand side of the cockpit pod. Subsequently the machine gun was firmly mounted to the centre of the fuselage centre allowing the pilot to aim the aircraft instead of the gun. This turned the DH.2 into a capable fighting machine despite its most challenging opposition during the first half of 1916 being the modern looking Fokker E.III 'Eindekker' which as the name indicates, was a monoplane. Powered by the 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape the DH.2 would serve as a front line fighter in France for the whole of 1916. The Airco DH.5 was one of the first WW1 British fighters to be developed which featured an interrupter mechanism to allow the gun to fire through the spinning prop. Designer Geoffrey de Havilland was well aware of the visibility benefits afforded by his early DH.2 design, and so the backward stagger of the DH.5's top wing was his attempt to provide the pilot of this 'tractor' aircraft with the same degree of visibility as that of the older 'pusher' design.
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Pioneer replica builder Walt Redfern was the first to make plans available for full scale Fokker Dr.1 and Nieuport 24 aircraft, and he subsequently also produced a fine reproduction DH.2 which was designed for homebuilders. The Redfern DH.2 featured some changes to the airframe, including the use of 4130 chrome-moly steel tube in areas like the fuselage pod where timber was originally used, and the use of a 125 hp Kinner radial in place of the original Gnome Monosoupape rotary.