Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Britain - 1916 Airco D.H.3

Canceled Due to Lack of Imagination

Some ideas develop far ahead of the time when they seem obvious. Strategic bombing was one such idea. The failure of the lighter than air bombers was not due of lack of a viable military concept but the very nature of huge airships filled with hydrogen gas. They were slow, huge lumbering vehicles which were expensive to build and maintain. Germany saw their mistake and began developing heavy bomber conventional aircraft to fill the role as strategic bombers. Britain came to the party late. However eventually they did catch up and build several excellent bombers.

The Airco DH.3 was a British bomber aircraft of the First World War. The DH.3 was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, Chief Designer at the Aircraft Manufacturing Company in 1916 as a long range day bomber. It was a large biplane with wide-span three-bay wings, slender fuselage, and a curved rudder. It was powered by two 120 hp (89 kW) Beardmore engines mounted as pushers between the wings. In addition to tail skid landing gear, two wheels were placed beneath the nose to prevent bumping.

A second prototype, designated D.H.3A was built with more powerful (160 hp/119 kW) Beardmore engines, and a production order for 50 placed by the War Office. This order was cancelled however before any could be completed, because Strategic bombing was not thought to be worthwhile and twin engined bombers were claimed to be impracticable. The two prototypes were scrapped in 1917.

The DH.10 was a development of the DH.3 which first flew in March 1918 but was too late to see squadron service during the war.


  1. Airco DH.3. (2011, January 22). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:29, February 13, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Airco_DH.3&oldid=409267462
  2. Donald, David, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada: Prospero Books, 1997, p. 118. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
  3. Jackson, A.J. De Havilland Aircraft since 1909. London:Putnam, Third edition, 1987. ISBN 0 85177 802 X.
  4. Mason, Francis K. The British Bomber since 1914. London:Putnam, 1994. ISBN 0 85177 861 5.


The Angry Lurker said...

How much payload could these carry I wonder?

Unknown said...

Since the DH-3 never got beyond the prototype stage of development it is conjectural. The payload for the DH-3 was to be up to 680 lb (308 kg) bombs. There was no breakdown on the size and number of bombs though.