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Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard


Biplane Fighter Aircraft


United Kingdom | 1918



"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."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/10/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

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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 Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Hispano-Suiza 8Fb V-8 inline piston engine developing 300 horsepower.
Propulsion
145 mph
233 kph | 126 kts
Max Speed
25,000 ft
7,620 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
404 miles
650 km | 351 nm
Operational Range
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 Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
25.5 ft
7.77 m
O/A Length
32.8 ft
(9.99 m)
O/A Width
10.3 ft
(3.15 m)
O/A Height
1,711 lb
(776 kg)
Empty Weight
2,288 lb
(1,038 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 Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard Biplane Fighter Aircraft .
2 x 7.7mm Vickers synchronized machine guns in fixed, forward-firing upper fuselage mounting.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard family line.
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.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 375 Units

Contractor(s): Martinsyde - UK
National flag of Belgium National flag of Bolivia National flag of Canada National flag of Finland National flag of Ireland National flag of modern Japan National flag of Latvia National flag of Lithuania National flag of Poland National flag of Portugal National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Spain National flag of the United Kingdom

[ Belgium; Bolivia; Canada; Finland; Ireland; Japan; Latvia; Lithuania; Poland; Portugal; Spain; Soviet Union; United Kingdom ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (145mph).

Graph Average of 113 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
375
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 Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
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 Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard Biplane Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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