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Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard

United Kingdom (1918)
Picture of Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard Biplane Fighter Aircraft

The fast Martinsyde Buzzard biplane fighter arrived to late to see operational action in World War 1 but managed an existence in the period following.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard Biplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/10/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Martinsyde F.4 "Buzzard" was a British-designed, single-seat fighting biplane appearing in the latter months of World War 1. While not seeing direct combat service in the war, the type went on to stock the Royal Air Force and several other national air services in the years following. The Buzzard was one of the fastest biplanes to appear during the war and, while some 1,500 were on order, the end of the war saw limited production of just 57 examples at the time of the Armistice in November of 1918 and a grand total of approximately 370 aircraft were ultimately completed.

The Martinsyde concern was established in 1908 through a joint venture between H.P. Martin and George Handasyde to create "Martin and Handasyde". During these early years, the firm developed several aircraft types (primarily monoplanes) before World War 1 arrived in the summer of 1914. From then on, the company went on to form one of the largest British aircraft manufacturers of the war. In 1915, Martin and Handasyde's last names were combined to form "Martinsyde". As a private venture initiative, George Handasyde designed a new biplane aircraft in 1917 which came to be known as the "Martinsyde F.3". This aircraft was powered by the Rolls-Royce Falcon V12 engine which gave it strong performance figures that outclassed many fighter types of the time.

The F.3 achieved first flight in November of 1917 and formal evaluation piqued the interest of the Royal Air Force resulting in an order for six trial mounts and a further 150 production quality forms. The prototype was extremely fast by 1917 standards at 140 miles per hour and intended to make all previous fighter forms essentially obsolete. Adoption of the F.3 by the RAF presented its own problem, however, for the Rolls-Royce Falcon engines were committed elsewhere in the war effort. As such, the Hispano-Suiza 8Fb engine of 300 horsepower was substituted and this created the "F.4" designation to signify the change. The aircraft was bestowed the nickname of "Buzzard" to form the "Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard" full designation.

The Buzzard's appearance was very traditional for the time and featured a biplane layout with wing assemblies over and under the single-seat fuselage. Wing design included single bays and staggered parallel struts. The fuselage itself was made up of angled surfaces that promoted a pleasing aerodynamic shape. The forward end housed the Hispano-Suiza V-type engine spinning a two-blade propeller from an aerodynamic spinner assembly. The pilot sat immediately below and aft of the upper wing section in an open-air cockpit behind a small windscreen. The undercarriage was of the static variety and sported two wheels with a tail skid at rear. Armament was a pairing of 7.7mm Vickers-type machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. Complete performance specifications included a top speed of 146 miles per hour, a service ceiling of 24,000 feet and an endurance of 2.5 hours.

The end of the war curtailed the possible wartime reach of the Buzzard though it did go on to appear in other modified forms and in the inventories of many foreign operators. Variants included a more pedestrian twin-seat touring aircraft, a four-seat passenger aircraft, a floatplane and long-range two-seaters. Operators of note would include Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and the Soviet Union. Interestingly, the Royal Air Force lost much interest in the Buzzard after the Armistice and all outstanding contracted airframes were cancelled - only those remaining on the assembly lines were completed as planned.

Had the war gone beyond 1918, the Martinsyde Buzzard would surely have played a major role in the campaigns planned for 1919. Amazingly, a few Buzzards were still in operation in the years leading up to World War 2 (these with the Latvian Air Force). In the post-WW1 years, the Martinsyde concern focused on production of civilian motorcycles. However, a factory fire ultimately lead to its liquidation and the company was no more in 1922.

Any available statistics for the Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard Biplane Fighter 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: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (145mph).

    Graph average of 112.5 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 Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard'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
375
375


  * 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: 1918
Classification Type: Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Martinsyde - UK
Production Units: 375
Global Operators:
Belgium; Bolivia; Canada; Finland; Ireland; Japan; Latvia; Lithuania; Poland; Portugal; Spain; Soviet Union; United Kingdom
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
25.49 ft


Meters
7.77 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
32.78 ft


Meters
9.99 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
10.33 ft


Meters
3.15 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,711 lb


Kilograms
776 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
2,288 lb


Kilograms
1,038 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Hispano-Suiza 8Fb V-8 inline piston engine developing 300 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
145 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
233 kph


Knots
126 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
404 mi


Kilometers
650 km


Nautical Miles
351 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
25,000 ft


Meters
7,620 m


Miles
4.73 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

2 x 7.7mm Vickers synchronized machine guns in fixed, forward-firing upper fuselage mounting.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• F.4 - Base Production Series Designation for single-seat fighter models.
• F.4A - Base F.4 single-seat fighter models converted to two-seat touring type aircraft.
• Type A.Mk I - Base F.4 single-seat models converted to two-seat long-range aircraft.
• Type AS.Mk I - Based on the Type A.Mk I and fitted with floatplane landing system.
• Type A.Mk II - Base F.4 single-seat fighter models converted to four-seat aircraft with cabin.
• F.6 - Base F.4 single-seat fighter models converted to two-seat aircraft.
• A.D.C. 1 - Single-Seat Fighter produced by the Aircraft Disposal Company; fitted with Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar radial piston engine of 395 horsepower.
• A.V. 1 - Single Prototype Example for engine testing.
• Nimbus Martinsyde - Single Production Example by A.D.C. (Aircraft Disposal Company); fitted with Nimbus series engine of 224 horsepower.