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Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10


Two-Seat Quadruplane Fighter Aircraft


United Kingdom | 1917



"Just eight out of the 50 Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 quadruplanes ordered were completed for service with the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/17/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 fighter was the full production-minded realization of the earlier F.K.9 prototype (detailed elsewhere on this site). The types were formed around a single-engine, twin-seat "quadruplane" platform and the F.K.10 model became one of the few quadruplane designs to see formal adoption by a major air service during World War 1 (1914-1918). However, the series managed only eight completed forms before being given up for good. The F.K.9 prototype first-flew in late-1916 and paved the way for the modified (and slightly improved) F.K.10 that followed in 1917.

At this point in the war the biplane was entrenched as the primary fighter standard though a few companies were able to sell the various air services on a monoplane fighter design. The triplane's appearance in 1917 vaulted multi-winged gunnery platforms to the forefront but this dominance was short-lived and the biplane remained the standard. Aeronautical engineers saw the value in adding more wings to an aircraft but this ultimately came at a steep price - drag. Multiple wings provided additional lift and better controlling at the expense of additional air resistance which did not bode well as a strong quality for a fighter to have - speed was still the call of the day as it were. As such, there were many failed experiments in the realm of more-than-three winged aircraft during the war years - the F.K.10 more or less being an exception.

Developed for the reconnaissance-fighter role, the F.K.10 carried a tandem, two-seat crew configuration in which the pilot managed a sole, synchronized and fixed .303 Vickers machine gun at front and the rear gunner / observer was given management of a .303 Lewis Gun set atop a trainable mounting at rear. The fuselage of the aircraft was well-rounded at the front and tapered to the rear with slab-sides running the length. The tail unit was of a traditional single-finned arrangement with elevated horizontal planes positioned along the sides. The engine was held in a compartment at the nose of the aircraft and drove a two-bladed wooden propeller in the usual way. The undercarriage was wheeled and of a "tail-dragger" configuration - the main legs being wheeled for ground running.

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The quadruplane wing arrangement appropriately featured four planes set parallel to one another. A thick supporting structure (called an "interplane strut") was run through all four planes for the needed strength. The stacked wings were noticeably cranked forwards from the bottom-up when viewing the aircraft's side profile. The pilot's cockpit was positioned aft of the engine but under the top-most wing plane and behind the second plane. The third plane was positioned midway along the sides of the fuselage with the fourth plane held low and away from the belly of the aircraft.

Power for the series was to come from a Clerget 9B rotary engine of 130 horsepower, giving it more output than the original prototype's Clerget 9Z rotary of 110 horsepower.

Design of the F.K.10 was attributed to Dutchmen Frederick Koolhoven dating back to 1916's F.K.9 prototype. His surname would go on to drive some of the aircraft designs emerging from the Netherlands during the lead-up to World War 2 (1939-1945).

The F.K.9 impressed enough that a production order for 50 aircraft was signed by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). However the noticeable issue of drag soon limited the need for the quad-winged F.K.10 and only eight were completed in all - the biplane still being the favored wing arrangement for fighters and bombers. Five examples were finished before the formal cancellation of the contract came down though three more followed for the Royal Naval Air Service and saw some testing before the end.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 Two-Seat Quadruplane Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Clerget 9B rotary engine developing 130 horsepower and driving two-bladed wooden propeller at nose.
Propulsion
84 mph
135 kph | 73 kts
Max Speed
10,007 ft
3,050 m | 2 miles
Service Ceiling
211 miles
340 km | 184 nm
Operational Range
455 ft/min
139 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 Two-Seat Quadruplane Fighter Aircraft.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
22.2 ft
6.78 m
O/A Length
27.8 ft
(8.48 m)
O/A Width
11.5 ft
(3.50 m)
O/A Height
1,246 lb
(565 kg)
Empty Weight
2,028 lb
(920 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 Two-Seat Quadruplane Fighter Aircraft .
1 x .303 Vickers machine gun in fixed, forward-firing mounting over the nose, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
1 x .303 Lewis Gun on trainable mounting in rear cockpit.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 family line.
F.K.10 - Base Series Designation; eight examples delivered out of 50 ordered.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 8 Units

Contractor(s): Armstrong Whitworth - United Kingdom
National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (84mph).

Graph Average of 75 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
8
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 1
Image of the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
RECONNAISSANCE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 Two-Seat Quadruplane Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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