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AirCo DH.5

United Kingdom (1917)
Picture of AirCo DH.5 Scout / Light Bomber Biplane Aircraft
Picture of AirCo DH.5 Scout / Light Bomber Biplane Aircraft Picture of AirCo DH.5 Scout / Light Bomber Biplane Aircraft

The AirCo DH.5 tried - rather unsuccessfully - to mesh some very distinct design qualities of previous de Havilland designs.


Detailing the development and operational history of the AirCo DH.5 Scout / Light Bomber Biplane Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/16/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

With the vantage point afforded to pilots of the earlier Airco DH.2 model, famous aircraft designer Geoffrey de Havilland set about to create an improved version through the DH.5. The end result was, however, one of de Havilland's more forgettable designs of the war - not highly regarded by either pilots charged with flying her or the historians left to cover her exploits. It did operate with a more useful interrupter gear allowing for better service from a fixed, forward-firing machine gun and held a light bombing capability. First flight was in August of 1916 with service introduction in May of the following year. Its operational limitations left just 552 examples built with the only users becoming the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) of Britain and the Australian Flying Corps (AFC).

The Airco DH.5 biplane scout was somewhat unique in its design - a key quality being the backward-staggered upper wing element which allowed the pilot in a forward-set cockpit much improved views to the front and sides of his aircraft. As a "fighting scout" this proved ideal for spotting one's enemy first certainly held its advantages. The aircraft was powered by a sole 110 horsepower Le Rhone 9J 9-cylinder rotary engine in the nose driving a two-blade wooden propeller unit. A typical biplane wing assembly was used through a single bay approach and applicable struts and cabling provided the needed support as well as control for moving surfaces. The struts leaned noticeably rearwards to compensate for the upper wing placement over the aircraft. Armament was 1 x 7.7mm Vickers machine gun while a modest bomb-carrying capability was also given - 4 x 25lb bombs under the fuselage. With the interrupter gear, the gun could be installed over the engine housing and fired through the spinning propeller blades while also being relatively accessible by the pilot to clear weapon jams.

As unique was the DH.5 design was attempting to be, the aircraft went on to have less-than-stellar performance and the mere appearance of the aircraft along airfields for pilots familiar with "traditional" biplanes was enough to put off most. The stigma against the DH.5 was so great that the model earned an unflattering reputation for instability though this quality was not a proven one. Couple this with the fact that the aircraft required a greater amount of training and experience to be able to handle effectively in a dogfight and the DH.5 was in operational service for no longer than eight months over any front. By January of 1918, the DH.5 was no longer an option and quickly replaced by more acceptable types as the war began to turn a corner - the DH.5 even failed as a basic trainer.

Despite this, the DH.5 was still noted for its rugged construction which led to a sound over-battlefield piece where it operated at its best at low altitudes in the strike role instead of the high altitude (10,000 feet+) dogfighting role where performance dropped considerably. As a dogfighter, the DH.5 was a rather limited value mount for the position of the upper wing blocked a critical rearward view and the sole machine gun armament limited its offensive output against targets in its crosshairs. The light bombload was something of a saving grace for it allowed the DH.5 to operate in the bomber role and strike at unprotected targets.

Five RFC squadrons eventually operated the type (Nos. 24, 32, 41, 64, and 65) and two AFC were also handed the DH.5 (No.2 and No.7 (Training)). None of the airframes survived the test of time as museum showpieces.

Production was seen from AirCo as well as British Caudron, Darracq (of France), and March, Jones, and Cribb.


Picture of the AirCo DH.5 Scout / Light Bomber Biplane Aircraft
Picture of the AirCo DH.5 Scout / Light Bomber Biplane Aircraft



Any available statistics for the AirCo DH.5 Scout / Light Bomber Biplane Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






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: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (102mph).

    Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the AirCo DH.5's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
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
552
552


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: United Kingdom
Service Year: 1917
Classification Type: Scout / Light Bomber Biplane Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Aircraft Manufacturing Company Ltd (AirCo) / de Havilland - United Kingdom
Production Units: 552
Operational Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
Australia; United Kingdom
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the AirCo DH.5 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
22.01 ft


Meters
6.71 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
25.66 ft


Meters
7.82 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
9.12 ft


Meters
2.78 m


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
1,493 lb


Kilograms
677 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Le Rhone 9J 9-cylinder rotary engine developing 110 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
102 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
164 kph


Knots
89 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
273 mi


Kilometers
440 km


Nautical Miles
238 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
16,001 ft


Meters
4,877 m


Miles
3.03 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
815 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
248 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (4):

STANDARD:
1 x 7.62mm Vickers machine gun in fixed, forward-firing position at upper fuselage; synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

OPTIONAL:
4 x 25lb light bombs under the fuselage.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Variants: Series Model Variants
• DH.5 - Base Series Designation