Incident Royal Aircraft Factory B.S.1 609,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 302071
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Date:Thursday 27 March 1913
Type:Royal Aircraft Factory B.S.1
Owner/operator:Royal Aircraft Factory
Registration: 609
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Farnborough Airfield, Farnborough, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Farnborough Airport, Farnborough, Hampshire (EGLF)
Destination airport:
In 1912, a team at the Royal Aircraft Factory, led by Geoffrey de Havilland, started design of a single seat scout, or fast reconnaissance aircraft, the first aircraft in the world specifically designed for this role. The design was a small tractor biplane, and was named the BS.1 (standing for Blériot Scout) after Louis Blériot, a pioneer of tractor configuration aircraft. It had a wooden monocoque circular section fuselage, and single-bay wings. Lateral control was by wing warping, while the aircraft was initially fitted with a small rudder without a fixed fin (a scaled down version of that fitted to the B.E.3), and a one-piece elevator. It was powered by a two-row, 14-cylinder Gnome rotary engine rated at 100 hp (75 kW).

The BS.1 was first flown by Geoffrey de Havilland early in 1913, demonstrating excellent performance, with a maximum speed of 91.7 mph (147.6 km/h), a stalling speed of 51 mph (82 km/h) and a rate of climb of 900 ft/min (4.6 m/s), despite the engine only delivering about 82 hp (61 kW) instead of the promised 100 hp. De Havilland was not satisfied with the control afforded by the small rudder and designed a larger replacement, but on 27 March 1913, before the new rudder could be installed, he crashed the BS.1. During a tight turning manoeuvre she entered a spin, fortunately at a height of less than 100 feet, and went flat into the ground. Geoffrey De Havilland suffered a broken jaw and the loss of several teeth which were later recovered from the wreckage by a mechanic and sent to him in an envelope! He spent some time recovering in the Cambridge Hospital at Aldershot and later flew many hours on the reconstructed BS 1 before the aircraft was sent to France for use by the RFC as a front-line fighter.

Repaired and modified, but no production ordered. Rebuilt as the B.S.2, then redesignated S.E.2 (Scout Experimental), and with enlarged vertical tail surfaces as the S.E.2A, and given serial 609, but still no production aircraft were ordered.


2. Bruce, J. M. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. London: Putnam, 1957 p.464
3. Bruce, J. M. The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing). London: Putnam, 1982. ISBN 0-370-30084-X. p.465


Royal Aircraft Factory BS1 003

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