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NIEUPORT TYPE 17
The Nieuport Aircraft Co., Societe des Etablissements Nieuport, one of the early pioneering aircraft firms of the early 19th century, was founded by Edouard de Nieuport at Issy-Les-Moulinaux in 1910. This company earned an international reputation for manufacturing good and reputable model planes some of which were as purchased as single seater scouts for the French Military. Edourard De Nieuport was killed in a crash on September 1911 when he has thirty-six years old, and after word Gustave Delage, a naval engineer took over as the chief designer and continued with the company though the war years.
Delages first designed, the type 10 Biplane when into prediction before the war and was the aircraft that introduced the famous Newport Sesquiplane design. The top wing was conventional however the bottom wing was little more then a stream line support for the "V," interplane struts. This half wing or Sesquiplane layout was the Newport trademark until their type 28 in early 1918.
Early 1916 the "15 meter ", or type 17 was introduced. The 17 was a thoroughly redesigned single seat aircraft with strengthened wings and airframe, a more stream line appearance and powered by the 110 horsepower LE Rhone or the 130 horse power Clerget rotary Engines. The 130-horse power model was known as the l7bis. The 17 were equipped with the Lewis machine gun on the top wing and in mid year a synchronized Vickers Machine-gun was introduced firing though the propeller.
The Newport 17 was the most notable through the most front designs that appeared during World War I. It was undeniable the most renowned aircraft of its time, being widely produced and used by more countries then any other scout aircraft. Produced in England by Newport and General Aircraft Company LTD in Italy by the Newport-Macchi Company and in addition to the apparent Newport Company in France. One of the finest attributes to the Newport 17 were it was also produced in Germany. In the beginning the Armament was a Lewis Machine gun mounted on top of the upper wing fifing over the propeller. Again this was prier to the development of a satisfactory synchronization mechanism. Sergeant Foster of number 11 squadron devised a sliding rail mounting assembly for the Lewis gun that allowed the pilot to pull the gun on and aiming it upward to fire in the under side (belly) of a enemy aircraft. This arrangement was fully exploited in air combat by Albert Ball, Billy Bishup, McCudden and other aces. In later productions of the Newport 17, a single Vickers machine-gun firing through the propeller, replaced the overhead Lewis gun. In the French and other allied forces the Vickers were centrally mounted while though used by the R.F.C were mounted on the starboard side of the fuselage. The Newport 17 were produced in three major production models the first, powered with the Le Rhone 110 hp 91. And fitted with the Vickers machine-gun. The second production was this powered with the Clerget 130 hp 9Th engine. The third were powered with the Le Rhone 120 Hp 9JB engines.
Gustav Delage designed it and it was developed as an improvement of the popular model 11 "Bebe", first intended for the Gordon Bennett Cup Race. It carried basically the same design outlines but was larger stronger and more powerful.
It was produced in England by Nieuport & General Aircraft Co. Ltd., in Italy by the Nieuport-Macchi firm in addition to the parent Nieuport Co and its many subcontractors in France. The finest attribute to the type 17 was the fact that it was the only production copy made in Germany.
The armament was in the beginning a Lewis machine gun mounted on top of the upper wing. This was prior to the development of the satisfactory synchronization gear.
There was one feature of the British Nieuports, which proved to have a greater use than at first intended. A sliding rail mounting, devised by Sgt. Foster of No.11 Squadron, that enabled the pilot to pull the gun down to aim it upwards and so fire into the unprotected "belly" of an enemy aircraft flying overhead. This method of execution was exploited to the full first by Albert Ball and then by Billy Bishop, McCudden and other aces.
In later production of Nieuport 17, a single Vickers machine gun firing through the propeller by synchronizing gear replaced the overhead Lewis. In the French and other Allied forces the Vickers was mounted centrally but in those used by the R.F.C. it was located on the starboard side of the front fuselage decking.
The type 17 was produced in tree major production models. The first of which were powered with the le Rhone 110 hp 9J, with later model of this first production being fitted with the standard Vickers machine gun. The second production was the 17 bis, fitted with the Clerget 130 hp. 9JB. The last major production were fitted with the le Rhone 120 hp. 9JB
All the Nieuport sesquiplane designs followed French constructional methods in vogue during the early part of W.W.I. The fuselage was a rectangular section girder, diagonally braced with wire, with steel plate socket joints and wiring plates. Forward, the wooden longerons were of ash changing in the rear fuselage aft of the cockpit to spruce, which was also used for the vertical struts and cross-members. Towards the rear the fuselage section became trapezoidal, the bottom being narrower than the top. The top decking behind the pilot was faired turtleback fashion with light formers and longitudinal stringers.
The front fuselage comprised an assembly of steel tubes. The engine bearer was a fabricated heavy gauge steel plate, of a shape corresponding to the rectangular cross-section of the fuselage girder and lightened by recesses, which left the metal along the lines of maximum load. From this bearer the engine was overhung without the front support, which characterized the early Nieuport monoplanes and the Type 10. The engine cowling was of aluminum with strengthening ribs and had two holes in the lower starboard side for ventilation and exhaust discharge. Curved side fairings also of aluminum merged the circular form of the cowling into the slab-sided fuselage. Large oval access panels were fitted into these side fairings. A faired headrest was fitted behind the pilot. From the cockpit rearwards the fuselage was fabric covered and, nearing the vertical sternpost, carefully shaped plywood panels reinforced the structure at that point.
The structure of both upper and lower wings was unusual. The spars of the upper wing were widely spaced, the front being set close behind the leading edge, while the rear was set vertically over the single spar of the lower wing. This arrangement gave the front interplane struts a good angle for load carrying and dispensed with inter-strut drag wires. The effect was to give a high degree of stagger so reducing interference between top and bottom wings. With a single pivot joint at the apex of the "vee" struts and a ball and socket joint attaching the wing root to the fuselage, the bottom wing on either side was adjustable on the ground for incidence, which accounts for the difference in incidence angle quoted by varying authorities. This feature was useful in rigging the aircraft for varying loads and was a step towards the variable incidence tail plane.
The box wing spars were of spindled spruce channels, glued along their vertical centerline with an "I" section hardwood key. At the points of strut and root attachment and at compression rib stations the spar had internal wooden-filler reinforcing, to avoid crushing by the metal fittings and to compensate for weakening by bolt and screw holes. The steel tube center-section struts were vertical at the front and an inverted "vee" arrangement at the rear. The interplane struts were of streamline section spruce, bound at equal intervals for added strength as shown in the photographs.
The wing ribs had ash flanges and lime wood webs, suitably lightened with cutouts. The leading and trailing edges of the wings were spruce strips including the trailing edges of the ailerons, the chord of which increased towards the tips to increase their efficiency. They were fitted to the top wing only and were mounted on a shaft of steel tube at their leading edges. The rocking of this shaft on either side actuated the ailerons and was accomplished by a system of push-pull rods and hinges. The peculiar heart-shaped quadrants at the rear of the center section were the links between the horizontal aileron shafts running right along the back of the rear spar and the vertical rods, operated at their bottom ends through bell cranks and horizontal rods to the control column. Elevator and rudder control was by the conventional table and pulley.
The tail surfaces were fabricated from light steel tubing with pinned and brazed joints and like the wings and rear fuselage were fabric covered. The tail skid was a flat, slightly curved steel spring mounted on a wooden shoe which was pivoted on a finely streamlined projection, under the fuselage, closely resembling in miniature the "bump" protectors fitted to modern aircraft. The undercarriage cross member between the "vee" legs, made from streamlined drawn-aluminum tube, was an aluminum channel which held a steel tube axle sprung at either end by rubber cord shock absorbers.
On early aircrafts the fabric covered parts were doped and varnished which left a beige tone. All aluminum parts were left in a dull natural color. Fittings were painted black.
The squadron symbol and personal markings of the pilot were all colorful and reference is given to one in the following documentation. The wheel disc covers were either aluminum or fabric and treated accordingly.
On most aircrafts the whole airframe was painted aluminum as some documentation verifies.
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