Aircraft Type Index

WW1 Fighter Planes Index



Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A WW1 Fighter

The S.E.5 was designed by Henry P. Folland and J. Kenworthy of the Royal Aircraft Factory in Farnborough and first flew in November 1916. The S.E.5 initially utilised the 150-hp V8 Hispano-Suiza 8a engine which proved to be unreliable in service resulting in the famous 200hp Wolseley Viper powered S.E.5a. It is of note the Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 and the Sopwith Camel fighters were largely responsible for the allied forces gaining air superiority following the disastrous events of Bloody April" in 1917, and maintaining this position until the end of the war by which time over 5000 aircraft had been produced.

Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A WW1 Fighter


Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a Armament:

  • Single .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun firing through the propeller arc using interrupter gear
  • Single .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun mounted on the upper wing via a Foster mount
Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a Specifications:
  • Crew: Pilot only
  • Length: 20 ft 11 in (6.38 m)
  • Wingspan: 26 ft 7 in (8.11 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 6 in (2.89 m)
  • Wing area: 444 ft (22.67 m)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 1,988 lb (902 kg)
  • Engine: Single 200 hp (150 kW) V8 Wolseley Viper
  • Maximum speed: 138 mph (222 km/h)
  • Maximum Range: 300 miles (483 km)
  • Service ceiling: 17,000 ft (5,185 m)

SE5A WW1 Fighter

SE5A WW1 Fighter

WW1 S.E.5 fighter aces

Famous allied fighter aces who flew S.E.5s during the latter part of WW1 included Albert Ball, Billy Bishop, Edward Mannock and James McCudden. The pictures opposite depict  Albert Ball credited with 44 victories who died in a crash in france in May 1917 aged 20 and William Avery Bishop, better known as "Billy Bishop" who was credited with 72 victories and was the top Canadian ace of WWI.


Albert Ball

William Avery Bishop AKA Billy Bishop

Albert Ball

Billy Bishop


Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A

Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A Fighter

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