United Kingdom (1917)
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
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.
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.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (102mph).
Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
Graph showcases the AirCo DH.5's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.