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Two Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b's

Crazy Looking 100-Year Old World War One Aircraft That Still Fly

Initially reaching the Western Front in 1915, the ungainly looking R.A.F. F.E.2 pusher aircraft was one of the unsung stars of the First World War as it was one of the few aircraft that saw near continuous front line service from 1915 through to the end of the war in November 1918.

This highly accurate replica of the F.E.2b is one of only two airthworthy examples in the world - both of which have been built by The Vintage Aviator Ltd in New Zealand. This aircraft wears the colours of 6341 - Zanzibar No.1/Scotch Express, No. 25 Sqd RFC, flown by Capt. Douglas Grinnell-Milne & Corp. D. MacMaster.  Photo: Alex Mitchell, Historical Aviation Film Unit

A two-seat fighter/reconnaissance aircraft, the ‘Farman Experimental 2’ pusher was almost obsolete in this role by the time it reached the front in numbers in early 1916, due in most part to the rapid improvement in German fighter aircraft designs.

At its peak 16 Royal Flying Corps squadrons were using the type. The fighter model (’d’ variant) was eventually withdrawn from combat in April 1917, but the ‘b’ variant was used as a night bomber until late 1918.

This video shows both of TVAL's F.E.2b reproduction aircraft flying together over the New Zealand countryside just after sunset. The second all black aircraft, 'Jess', has been completed as a night bomber variant of the type.

On 16 May 1916 the original 'Scotch Express' was forced down behind enemy lines by Ltn Gontermann of Jasta 5. It was then photographed by its captors and this evidence allowed TVAL to reproduce the colour scheme of their reproduction aircraft with a high degree of accuracy.

Additionally the aircraft features a number of original F.E.2b parts , such as the interplane struts, the oil and fuel tanks, the radiator shutter, wheels and the Beardmore engine.

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