Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Britain 1916 Port Victoria P.V.2

Brainstorming on the Isle of Grain

The Royal Naval Air Service's Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot was a research facility assigned the task of innovating new aircraft designs for service in the RNAS. The idea did have merit since it was a centralized operation that was not producing redundant designs which were being offered by a flock of small companies with no aviation experience. They did produce interesting designs whether they entered production or not. As with many aircraft design companies, Port Victoria had to deal with what in many cases contradictory requests in the Admiralty's design specifications.

The Port Victoria P.V.2 was a British prototype floatplane fighter of the First World War, designed and built at the Royal Naval Air Service's Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot on the Isle of Grain. Only a single aircraft was built, with the type not being chosen for production.

The Port Victoria Depot's second design, designated Port Victoria P.V.2 was a floatplane fighter intended to intercept German Zeppelins. The P.V.2 was a small single engined biplane, powered by a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine driving a four blade propellor. It was of wood and fabric construction, and of sesquiplane configuration, i.e. with its lower wing much smaller than its upper wing (both of which used the high-lift wing sections pioneered by the P.V.1). Unusually, the aircraft's wing bracing struts also carried the aircraft's floats, forming a "W" shape when viewed from the front. The upper wing was attached directly to the top of the fuselage, giving a good field of fire for the intended armament of a single 2-lb Davis gun recoiless gun.

The P.V.2 first flew on 16 June 1916, and demonstrated good performance and handling. The upper wing, however, while giving excellent upwards view to the pilot, gave a poor downwards view of the pilot, particularly during landing, while the Davis gun had lost favor with the Admiralty as an anti-Zeppelin weapon. The P.V.2 was therefore rebuilt as the P.V.2bis with a revised, longer span upper wing mounted 12 inches (0.30 m) above the fuselage and the Davis gun replaced by two Lewis guns mounted above the wing, firing over the propeller. The modified aircraft first flew in this form in early 1917.

While the P.V.2bis again showed excellent handling, the RNAS's requirement for a floatplane anti-Zeppelin fighter had lapsed, and no production was ordered.


  1. "Port Victoria P.V.2". (2010, September 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:34, November 8, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Port_Victoria_P.V.2&oldid=385055205
  2. "Port Victoria P.V.2 1916" Virtual Aircraft Museum Retrieved 23:33, November 8, 2010, from http://www.aviastar.org/air/england/portvictoria_pv-2.php
  3. Bruce, J.M. "The Sopwith Tabloid,Schneider and Baby: Historic Military Aircraft No.17 Part IV". Flight, 29 November 1957. pp. 845—848.
  4. Collyer, David. "Babies Kittens and Griffons". Air Enthusiast, Number 43, 1991. Stamford, UK:Key Publishing. ISSN 0143 5450. pp. 50—55.
  5. Mason, Francis K. "The British Fighter since 1912". Annapolis, Maryland:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.


The Angry Lurker said...

A pity as it's a quirky interesting aircraft.

W. I. Boucher said...

I agree Fran, they had some interesting designs.