De Bruyere C.1
Страна: Франция
Год: 1917

Единственный экземпляр
De Buyere's mystery ship

De Buyere's mystery ship

These photographs, which first came to light in 1971-72 in Belgium, depict one of the most obscure aircraft of the 1914-18 war. It was first illustrated in 1971 in the Bulletin of the Belgian AELR (Air & Space Museum), Issue No 3, and two of the series of photographs were published in the issue No 4 of the same Bulletin (spring 1972), accompanied by these brief notes and with the designation de Bruyere C 1 attributed to the aircraft:
  “...two men, both now dead, managed to take these photographs in 1917 when they were trainee pilots at the Ecole d’Aviation Militaire Beige at Etampes in France.
  This extraordinary pusher biplane fighter of canard configuration was designed and built as a prototype by the French engineer de Bruyere. In April 1917 for unknown reasons this prototype was tested at the aerodrome of the School of the Belgian Military Aviation Service at Etampes. The test flight was brief in the extreme: the aircraft started its run, gathered speed, became airborne, rolled over and crashed to earth on its back. The name and fate of the unfortunate pilot are unknown. There can be no doubt that, like so many other experimental types, the aircraft was, inevitably, abandoned.”
  As no other references to the de Bruyere C 1 have emerged, all one can now do is deduce what one can from the photographs. The aircraft was a canard pusher, and it seems possible that its configuration may have been dictated by its armament, which appeared to be a short-barrel 37mm shell-firing Hotchkiss gun, a weapon that had seen operational service in several earlier types of French aircraft. Both Charles Nungesser and Georges Guynemer specifically asked aircraft designers (respectively Armand Dufaux and Louis Bechereau) to design single-seat fighters armed with a 37mm gun. These requests led to the Dufaux twin-engined (single tractor propeller) fighter and the Spad 12.Ca 1 respectively, both aircraft of externally conventional appearance and structure.
  The de Bruyere C 1’s engine almost certainly must have been a 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza 8Aa driving its stern-mounted two-bladed propeller via a long extension shaft that was probably more than the technology and metallurgy of the period could reliably provide. This arrangement, reminiscent of the Tatin-Paulhan Torpille of 1911, led to the adoption of a very modern-seeming nosewheel undercarriage; and the whole fuselage had a shapely metal shell. This was probably not any kind of stressed-skin structure, but the skill exhibited in its compound curvatures was rarely seen on such a scale in 1917.
  None of the surviving photographs is clear enough to enable one to establish the relative spans and chords of the mainplanes, but it seems evident that the de Bruyere had rotary-tip ailerons on the upper wings rather than conventionally hinged trailing-edge surfaces. This may account for the inverted-V interplane struts and, more lethally, the aircraft's demise: possibly overbalancing, perhaps itself inducing wing flexing, might have produced an irreversible roll if the pilot tried to correct the dropping of a wing.
  Those with an eye for detail will notice that the photographs of the undamaged aircraft show the nosewheel with wheel covers in place, whereas in the post-crash photographs the nosewheel is without these covers. Perhaps a thought that forward side area should be reduced prompted their removal; we shall never know.
  Appeals for more information about this remarkable aircraft were printed in the 1971-72 issues of the AELR Bulletin but evoked no response. Might we be luckier in 1985?