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Vought VE-7 Bluebird


Biplane Fighter / Trainer Aircraft


United States | 1918



"The Vought VE-7 biplane made up the first two fighter squadrons for the United States Navy through VF-1 and VF-2 - 128 total aircraft were produced into 1928."



Authored By: JR Potts, AUS 173d AB | Last Edited: 09/06/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In 1917 Mr. Birdseye B. Lewis formed an aircraft business with the Vought group, becoming the Lewis & Vought Corporation in the United States. The Vought VE-7 Bluebird, named for Lewis himself, was a biplane designed that same year. Lewis & Vought produced this initial offering as a 2-seat trainer for the United States Army. While being tested and used by the Army, Brigadier General Billy Mitchell commented favorably on the aircraft's flying abilities, rating them as good as or even better than any current fighters of the day. The selected powerplant was the Wright Hispano-Suiza engine designated as HS-8A. With a compression ratio listed from 4.7 to 5.3, Swedish engineer Marc Birkigt increased the power output to 180 horsepower (132 kW) at 2,100 rpm. 49,800 of these engines were eventually produced and made itself a legacy as one of the best engines of its type. Wright-Hispano engines also powered the fabled French SPAD biplane fighters in World War 1.

After World War 1, the US Army cancelled its order for 1,000 aircraft but the US Navy was still very interested in the VE-7 concept and received an evaluation machine in May of 1920. Testing the aircraft proved it sound for USN operational requirements and the adopted the VE-7 as its very first fighter aircraft. Full rate production orders soon followed and demand proved more than the young Vought organization was capable of. The US government had anticipated this and formed the Naval Aircraft Factory (NAF). The factory was established by the United States Navy in 1918 in Philadelphia to assist such companies in solving the problem of aircraft supply versus demand. The Navy Department surmised that it was necessary to build a Navy-owned aircraft factory to guarantee a constant supply of aircraft and to help in obtaining cost data for the comparison against private manufacturing firms. Some 128 VE-7s were ultimately built and the single-seat fighter version of the VE-7 was further designated as VE-7S complete with a faired over front cockpit and room for a single Vickers-brand .30 caliber machinegun off-set left and synchronized to fire through the two-bladed propeller.

The Navy created its first two fighter squadrons in VF-1 and VF-2 and equipped them both with these VE-7s. Fighter Squadron VF-1 was originally established on July 1s, 1922, and operated as VF-1 until July 1, 1934 . Squadron VF-2 was originally established as Combat Squadron Four on September 23rd, 1921, making its home base at Naval Air Station San Diego, California. The squadron was re-designated Fighter Squadron VF-2 on July 1st, 1922 and were assigned these Vought VE-7 biplanes. The squadron, also known as the "Flying Chiefs," operated from the carrier USS Langley.

Lieutenant Virgil C. Griffin made history on October 17, 1922 when he took off in a VE-7 biplane from the deck of the new USS Langley (CV-1) marking the first such action completed from an American Navy carrier.

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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 Vought VE-7 Bluebird Biplane Fighter / Trainer Aircraft.
1 x Wright Hispano E-3 engine developing 180 horsepower and driving two-bladed wooden propeller.
Propulsion
106 mph
171 kph | 92 kts
Max Speed
15,092 ft
4,600 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
290 miles
467 km | 252 nm
Operational Range
738 ft/min
225 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 Vought VE-7 Bluebird Biplane Fighter / Trainer Aircraft.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
24.4 ft
7.45 m
O/A Length
34.4 ft
(10.47 m)
O/A Width
8.6 ft
(2.63 m)
O/A Height
1,391 lb
(631 kg)
Empty Weight
1,938 lb
(879 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 Vought VE-7 Bluebird Biplane Fighter / Trainer Aircraft .
STANDARD:
1 x 7.7mm (.30) Vickers machine gun synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller by way of interrupter gear.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Vought VE-7 Bluebird family line.
VE-7 - Appearing in 1918; produced for the US Army Air Service (14) and the US Navy (39).
VE-7F - Appearing in 1921; 29 examples produced for the US Navy.
VE-7G - Appearing in 1921; 23 VE-7's converted for the US Navy while 1 VE-7 converted for the USMC.
VE-7GF - Appearing in 1921; single example converted from a VE-7.
VE-7H - Appearing in 1924; 9 examples produced for the US Navy.
VE-7S - Appearing in 1925; single example converted from VE-7.
VE-7SF - Appearing in 1925; 11 examples produced for the US Navy.
VE-8 - Appearing in 1918; fitted with Wright-Hispano H engine of 340 horsepower; 2 x Vickers 7.7mm machine guns; decreased wingspan, wing area and overall length performance and MTOW increases; only two produced from original four ordered by the US Army.
VE-9 - Appearing in 1921; 2 examples converted from VE-7 for the US Army; increased performance specs in top speed (119 mph) and ceiling (18,840 ft).
VE-9 - Appearing in 1927; 22 examples produced for the US Army while 17 examples were produced for the US Navy.
VE-9H - Appearing in 1927; observation floatplane aircraft variants for use on USN battleships; sans armament; catapult provision; revised vertical tail section.
VE-9W - Proposed variant; never produced.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Vought VE-7 Bluebird. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 128 Units

Contractor(s): Lewis & Vought Corporation - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (106mph).

Graph Average of 90 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
128
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
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Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
MARITIME / NAVY
TRAINING
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 Vought VE-7 Bluebird Biplane Fighter / Trainer Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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