Twin-Seat, Single-Engine Biplane Fighter Prototype
The Farman HF.30 simply could not overcome its inherent issues during its prototype phase - leaving just one aircraft constructed during World War 1.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Farman concern of France entered the airplane business in 1907 when its founder, Henry Farman, purchased a Voisin aircraft and decided to improve upon the type. In 1909, the company began making its own aircraft with the Farman III series. The global aeroplane industry then benefitted immensely when World War 1 (1914-1918) arrived in the summer of 1914 for any-and-all aircraft were required by the fighting air services of the day.
By 1916, the war had fallen into a stalemate involving trenches and artillery volleys. The French Air Service was now in need of a more modern two-seat fighter class aircraft and therefore set a requirement around this need. Farman responded by creating a biplane (of unequal span, single bay wing arrangement) aircraft utilizing the typical construction methods of the day - canvas over wood, fixed undercarriage, open-air cockpits and wire-and-strut bracing. Power was from a single Canton-Unne X-9 water-cooled radial piston engine of 160 horsepower driving a two-bladed wooden propeller at the nose. The two crew were seated in tandem with the rear crewman managing a flexible 7.7mm Lewis machine gun. The pilot had access to a single 7.7mm Vickers at front. The finalized design became known as the Farman "HF.30" (also the "F30" or "F30A" in some sources, not to be confused with the earlier Farman "Type 30" twin-seat, pusher-arranged design).
Overall dimensions included a length of 23.10 feet, a wingspan of 36 feet and a height of 9.8 feet. Empty weight was 1,500lb against an MTOW of 2,425lb.
A prototype was first-flown in December of 1916 as the war raged on. Testing continued into the spring of 1917 but failed to showcase the Farman design as winning design - issues consistently centered on stability and a clumsy center-of-gravity. As such, engineers took the aircraft "back to the board" and revised it to become the "HF.30B". This time the fighter was powered by a Salmson 9Za 9-cylinder water-cooled radial piston engine of 260 horsepower and its wingspan was shortened by nearly six feet (and arranged with twin bays with parallel struts). Conversely, the fuselage was lengthened by over three feet. First-flight of this aircraft was recorded in July of 1917 and a maximum speed of 133 miles per hour was reached. The aircraft could stay airborne for about 2.5 hours and manage an initial rate-of-climb of 895 feet-per-minute.
These changes, however, were not enough to fix the inherent problems of the HF.30 design after testing ensued during the latter half of 1917. In 1918, the design was once-again addressed this time with an expansion of the upper wing assembly to 45.10 feet. A first-flight of the "HF.30B-AR 2" was had in 1918 but the project was wholly abandoned that same year as there proved better alternatives available.
Only the single prototype aircraft was all that was completed for the HF.30 project