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Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus)

United Kingdom (1915)
Picture of Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus) Scout Biplane Aircraft
Picture of Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus) Scout Biplane Aircraft

The Vickers type FB.5 armed biplane scount originally was unveiled through the Type 18 Destroyer at the London Aero Show in 1913.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus) Scout Biplane Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/15/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The FB.5 (also known as the "Gunbus") was of a biplane type design for the scouting role. What set the system apart from earlier examples was that this aircraft was the first scout type to be armed. In that way alone, one could argue that the FB.5 was aviations first "real" fighter aircraft. The design proved solid by 1913 standards and evolved from the showcase Type 18 "Destroyer" (later redesignated to EFB.1 "Experimental Fighting Biplane No. 1") to the FB.5 and FB.9 models.

The FB.5 was powered by a rotary pusher Monosoupape engine of 100 horsepower mounted to the rear of the nacelle. The system was crewed by two personnel seated in tandem though interestingly enough arranged with the pilot in the middle of the design and the observer to the front (later aircraft would be of traditional front engine design with the observer/rear gunner seat behind the pilot who, in turn, sat behind the front-mounted engine). Naturally this forward positioning of the observer was necessitated by the placement of the engine but it also afforded the individual a grand view of happenings to the front of the aircraft, not to mention a great field of fire for his single or twin machine guns. Armament generally consisted of a single 7.7mm drum-fed Lewis machine gun though a dual 7.7mm machine gun array was also reportedly used.

The FB.5 was fielded with the No.11 Squadron stationed in France in mid 1915, effectively making them the world's first true "fighter" squadron. The system displayed a fair amount of success and lasted long enough to be unseated by the ever-advancing hordes of German fighter aircraft. The FB.9 was an attempt to improve the FB.5 model series to a new standard and featured rounded wingtips and tailplane along with a more aerodynamic nose design. Production consisted of 309 examples of both FB.5 and FB.9 types being produced in the United Kingdom while 99 further types were produced in France under license.

Any available statistics for the Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus) Scout 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: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (70mph).

    Graph average of 75 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 Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus)'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
224
224


  * 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: 1915
Classification Type: Scout Biplane Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Vickers Limited - UK
Production Units: 224
Global Operators:
Denmark; France; United Kingdom
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
27.17 ft


Meters
8.28 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
36.52 ft


Meters
11.13 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
11.52 ft


Meters
3.51 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,224 lb


Kilograms
555 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
2,050 lb


Kilograms
930 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Gnome Monosoupape 9-cylinder rotary engine developing 100 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
70 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
113 kph


Knots
61 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
249 mi


Kilometers
400 km


Nautical Miles
216 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
8,999 ft


Meters
2,743 m


Miles
1.70 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
310 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
94 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

1 OR 2 x 7.7mm machine gun(s) in front observer's cockpit
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Type 18 "Destroyer" - Design as debuted in the 1913 Aero Show in London.
• EFB.1 "Experimental Fighting Biplane No. 1) - Redesignation of the Type 18 model.
• FB.5 "Gunbus" - Production Model Designation
• FB.9 - "Improved FB.5" model variant; tailplane and wingtips rounded; redesigned nose section.