The midly successful Nieuport 16 biplane fighter was the earlier Nie 11 design modified to accept a more powerful - and heavier - engine.
Detailing the development and operational history of the Nieuport 16 Biplane Fighter Aircraft. Entry last updated on 5/15/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
At its core, the Nieuport 16 was the Nieuport 11 aircraft modified to accept a new, more powerful engine installation in the Le Rhone 9J rotary of 110 horsepower. However, in both form and function its appearance and battlefield role changed very little and, as such, it retained much of the capability of the earlier design. This led to an aircraft with a heavy frontal section and deteriorated handling characteristics due to high wing loading. Lacking synchronized gear, a single Lewis Gun machine gun was set over the upper wing element to help clear the spinning propeller blades and this kept the weapon awkwardly far from the pilot's reach in the event of an ammunition misfeed. The biplane wings, retained from the Nie 11, were of equal span and braced by V-struts.
The Nie 16 was introduced on January 5th, 1916 and operated in the fighter / bomber escort / balloon-busting role. In the latter, the V-struts supported four Le Prieur rockets to each wing for added firepower. Once available in number, the Nie 16 quickly superseded Nie 10 and Nie 11 fighters in circulation and some of the stock were eventually given Alkan synchronization gear so machine guns could be fitted to the fuselage and fired through the spinning propeller blades. Of course this also meant that even more weight was added to the frontal section of the aircraft which further worsened the "heavy nose" attitude already exhibited by the aircraft.
The Nieuport 16 was eventually superseded itself by the Nieuport 17 model (detailed elsewhere on this site) which offered improvements in both performance and handling - leaving the Nie 16 as nothing more than a stepping stone design on the road to a more viable fighter type.
In its finalized form, the Nie 16 showcased a maximum speed of 103 miles per hour.
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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (103mph).
Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.