Aeroplane Monthly 1977-08
J.Bruce - S.E.5: Fighter supreme (4)
The third S.E.5 prototype at Martlesham Heath at the end of May 1917. Apart from the L-shaped exhaust manifolds it is virtually to production standard, with full-depth radiator shutters and gravity tanks in the centre section leading edge.
A8918 went to France on May 25, 1917, and initially served with 56 Squadron. On August 21 it was issued to 60 Sqn and fell into German hands on September 14, 1917, when Lt H. T. Hammond was made P.o.W. By this time it had long exhaust pipes.
Another 56 Squadron S.E.5a with lengthened pistol grip on the Lewis gun, C5303 was built by Vickers at Crayford.
Lt Gerald J. C. Maxwell of 56 Squadron at Estree Blanche in B502, the second Vickers-built aircraft. Note the substantially shortened exhaust pipes and widened cockpit.
Vickers-built at Weybridge, B636 was a typical production S.E.5a with the 1170-geared engine, four-blade propeller and steel-tube undercarriage.
One of the most famous S.E.5as was B4863, flown in October 1917 by Capt J. T. B. McCudden MC, MM, of 56 Squadron. It had shortened exhaust pipes and enlarged cockpit and was allocated to 40 Squadron on February 23, 1918.
Approved on June 27, 1917, A8944 had a 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza with the 24:41 reduction gear ratio. It is seen after a typical failure of its steel-tube undercarriage while serving with 56 Squadron.
Vickers-built B536 went to France on August 11, 1917, served with 60 Squadron, and then joined 56 Squadron on February 24, 1918, where it is seen as Capt K. W. Junor's Bubbly Kid II. Note extended Lewis gun pistol grip.
The prototype A4563 had a long operational career. It is here seen with Squadron after a landing mishap being flown by Lt J. V. Sorsoleil.
Top, a drawing of the basic production type, significantly bearing the designation S.E.5a combined with the 150 h.p. direct-drive Hispano-Suiza engine. Bottom, the version with the 200 h.p. geared Hispano-Suiza, with early L-shaped manifolds but modified steel tube undercarriage with wheels brought forward.