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Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10

United Kingdom (1917)
Picture of Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 Two-Seat Quadruplane Fighter Aircraft

Just eight out of the 50 Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 quadruplanes ordered were completed for service with the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 Two-Seat Quadruplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 10/28/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 fighter was the full production-minded realization of the earlier F.K.9 prototype (detailed elsewhere on this site). The types were formed around a single-engine, twin-seat "quadruplane" platform and the F.K.10 model became one of the few quadruplane designs to see formal adoption by a major air service during World War 1 (1914-1918). However, the series managed only eight completed forms before being given up for good. The F.K.9 prototype first-flew in late-1916 and paved the way for the modified (and slightly improved) F.K.10 that followed in 1917.

At this point in the war the biplane was entrenched as the primary fighter standard though a few companies were able to sell the various air services on a monoplane fighter design. The triplane's appearance in 1917 vaulted multi-winged gunnery platforms to the forefront but this dominance was short-lived and the biplane remained the standard. Aeronautical engineers saw the value in adding more wings to an aircraft but this ultimately came at a steep price - drag. Multiple wings provided additional lift and better controlling at the expense of additional air resistance which did not bode well as a strong quality for a fighter to have - speed was still the call of the day as it were. As such, there were many failed experiments in the realm of more-than-three winged aircraft during the war years - the F.K.10 more or less being an exception.

Developed for the reconnaissance-fighter role, the F.K.10 carried a tandem, two-seat crew configuration in which the pilot managed a sole, synchronized and fixed .303 Vickers machine gun at front and the rear gunner / observer was given management of a .303 Lewis Gun set atop a trainable mounting at rear. The fuselage of the aircraft was well-rounded at the front and tapered to the rear with slab-sides running the length. The tail unit was of a traditional single-finned arrangement with elevated horizontal planes positioned along the sides. The engine was held in a compartment at the nose of the aircraft and drove a two-bladed wooden propeller in the usual way. The undercarriage was wheeled and of a "tail-dragger" configuration - the main legs being wheeled for ground running.
The quadruplane wing arrangement appropriately featured four planes set parallel to one another. A thick supporting structure (called an "interplane strut") was run through all four planes for the needed strength. The stacked wings were noticeably cranked forwards from the bottom-up when viewing the aircraft's side profile. The pilot's cockpit was positioned aft of the engine but under the top-most wing plane and behind the second plane. The third plane was positioned midway along the sides of the fuselage with the fourth plane held low and away from the belly of the aircraft.

Power for the series was to come from a Clerget 9B rotary engine of 130 horsepower, giving it more output than the original prototype's Clerget 9Z rotary of 110 horsepower.

Design of the F.K.10 was attributed to Dutchmen Frederick Koolhoven dating back to 1916's F.K.9 prototype. His surname would go on to drive some of the aircraft designs emerging from the Netherlands during the lead-up to World War 2 (1939-1945).

The F.K.9 impressed enough that a production order for 50 aircraft was signed by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). However the noticeable issue of drag soon limited the need for the quad-winged F.K.10 and only eight were completed in all - the biplane still being the favored wing arrangement for fighters and bombers. Five examples were finished before the formal cancellation of the contract came down though three more followed for the Royal Naval Air Service and saw some testing before the end.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (84mph).

    Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
8
8


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 1917
Type: Two-Seat Quadruplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Armstrong Whitworth - United Kingdom
Production: 8
Global Operators:
United Kingdom
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
22.24 ft


Meters
6.78 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
27.82 ft


Meters
8.48 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
11.48 ft


Meters
3.5 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,246 lb


Kilograms
565 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
2,028 lb


Kilograms
920 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Clerget 9B rotary engine developing 130 horsepower and driving two-bladed wooden propeller at nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
84 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
135 kph


Knots
73 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
211 mi


Kilometers
340 km


Nautical Miles
184 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
10,007 ft


Meters
3,050 m


Miles
1.90 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
455 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
139 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

1 x .303 Vickers machine gun in fixed, forward-firing mounting over the nose, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
1 x .303 Lewis Gun on trainable mounting in rear cockpit.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• F.K.10 - Base Series Designation; eight examples delivered out of 50 ordered.