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Vickers F.B.5

The British Vickers F.B.5 Gunbus was the first World War I aircraft, which was designed to fight in aerial combat.


The F.B.5 (Fighting Biplane 5) was a double seat, biplane fighter. The gunner was sitting in front of the pilot and used a 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun.

The F.B.5 was ba

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sed on experimental fighter aircraft; from the E.F.B.1 (1913) to the E.F.B.5 (1914). The First flight of the F.B.5 was in July 1914. On 5th February 1915 the first aircraft were delivered to the No.5 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. The No.11 Squadron became on 25th July 1915, the first fighter squadron of history. It was based in Villers-Bretonneux in France. The pilot Gilbert Stuart Martin Insall of this squadron achieved on 7th November 1915, the first victory with an F.B.5. The No.18 squadron of the RFC was founded in November 1915 as a squadron using only F.B.5.

The F.B.5 was powered by a rotary radial engine Gnome Monosoupape with a power of 100 horsepower. The F.B.5 was retired from service in 1916, because the Fokker-Eindecker was much more advanced.

All in all 224 F.B.5 were produced, 119 by Vickers, 99 in France and six were built in Denmark. In 1916 it was replaced by the more advanced Vickers F.B.9; however it was inferior to the German fighters as well.