Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force

Vickers GUNBUS

The Vickers Fighting Biplane 5 was the first aircraft specifically designed as a fighter for the Royal Flying Corps. It featured unstaggered, equal-span wings with a tail boom of steel tubing with wooden struts. The fuselage nacelle had a blunt aluminum nose on top of which was fitted a Lewis machine gun on a pillar mount. With its engine mounted behind the cockpit, it the first pusher to enter service during World War I. Commonly referred to as the "Gunbus," it was armed with a moveable, forward firing machine gun. Vulnerable to attack from the rear, the Gunbus was soon replaced by more advanced single-seat fighter aircraft. Canadian crews saw service in F.B. 5 while attached to RFC units.

aircraft specifications
CDN Reg:
US/NATO Reg.:
Manufacturer: Vickers Aircraft
Crew / Passengers: crew of two
Power Plant(s): one 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape radial piston engine
Performance: Max Speed: 182 mph (113 km/h) Service Ceiling: 8,990 ft (2,740 m)
Weights: Empty: 1,219 lb ( 553 kg) Gross: 2,050 lb ( 930 kg)
Dimensions: Span: 36 ft 5 in ( 11.1 m) Length: 27 ft 3 in (8.30 m)
Height: 11 ft 2 in (3.40 m) Wing Area: sq ft (sq m)
Armament: 1 or 2 Lewis machine guns
Vickers Gunbus clearly illustrating is pusher configuration and nose-mounted machine gun (RAF Photo)



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