Westland N.1B

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Role Fighter
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Westland Aircraft
First flight August 1917
Status Prototype
Number built 2

The Westland N.1B was a prototype British single-engined floatplane fighter aircraft of the First World War. The first aircraft to be designed by Westland Aircraft, it was a single-engined tractor biplane. Despite good performance, only two aircraft were built, the Royal Naval Air Service operating landplane fighters from ships instead.

Development and design[edit]

In 1916, the British Admiralty drew up Requirement N.1B for a single-seat floatplane or flying boat fighter aircraft to operate from the Royal Navy's seaplane carriers, demanding a speed of 110 mph (177 km/h) and a ceiling of 20,000 ft (6,100 m). Three companies submitted designs in response, Blackburn and Supermarine with flying boats (the Blackburn N.1B and Supermarine Baby), while Westland proposed a floatplane, the Westland N.1B. Westland received an order for two aircraft.[1]

Westland's design, which was the first original design built by Westland, was a single-engined tractor biplane of wooden construction.[1] It had a deep fuselage, while its two-bay wings were designed to fold to save space on ship, and were fitted with trailing-edge flaps. It was powered by a single Bentley A.R.1 rotary engine (later known as the BR1) and carried a single synchronised forward-firing Vickers machine gun on the nose, and a Lewis gun firing over the upper wing.[2][3] The first N.1B was fitted with 11 ft (3.35 m) long Sopwith main floats and a 5 ft (1.52 m) long tail float, while the second N.1B had much longer (17 ft 6 in (5.34 m) main floats, which removed the need for a tail float.[4]

The first N.1B, serial number N16 was first flown by Harry Hawker from Westland's Yeovil factory in August 1917.[5] The two N.1Bs were evaluated at the Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot in October 1917,[6] demonstrating good performance and handling.[5] By this time, however, the Royal Naval Air Service was operating Sopwith Pup landplanes from flying-off platforms aboard ships, which did not require the carrier to heave-to in order to lower a seaplane to the water, and was planning to carry out similar operations with the Sopwith Camel, and the N.1B programme was cancelled.[6]

Specifications (Second prototype)[edit]

Data from Westland Aircraft since 1915 [7]

General characteristics



See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ a b James 1991, p.69.
  2. ^ Mason 1992, p.117.
  3. ^ Bruce 1957, p.705.
  4. ^ James 1991, pp.70—71.
  5. ^ a b James 1991, p.71.
  6. ^ a b c d Bruce 1957, p.707.
  7. ^ James 1991, pp.72—73.
  • Bruce, J.M. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. London:Putnam, 1957.
  • James, Derek N. Westland Aircraft since 1915. London:Putnam, 1991. ISBN 0-85177-847-X.
  • Mason, Francis K. The British Fighter since 1912. Annapolis, USA:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.

External links[edit]