Saturday, September 10, 2011

Britain - 1912 Avro Type F

The First Enclosed Cockpit

Even before the war the idea of an enclosed cockpit was seen as an advantage. The cold of high altitudes made flying uncomfortable. Add the spray of oil off early engines and exhaust fumes did nothing to make flight a pleasant experience. Although most fighters would use open cockpits, the research on shielding the pilot from the environment would lead to later advances.

The Avro Type F was an early single seat British aircraft from Avro and the first aircraft in the world to feature a completely enclosed cabin.

It was a wire-braced mid-wing monoplane of conventional configuration with a tailskid undercarriage. The fuselage itself was teardrop-shaped with flat sides and "glazed" with celluloid windows around the cabin. Two circular windows at the pilot's head level could be opened for the pilot's head to protrude when flying under poor visibility. Ingress and egress was via a trapdoor in the fuselage top. The cabin was quite cramped - at its widest point only 2 ft (60 cm) across.

The Type F made a few test flights in mid 1912 until damaged beyond repair in a hard landing on 13 September after which it was not repaired. Its Viale 35 hp engine is on display at the Science Museum in London.


  1. Avro Type F. (2010, May 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:17, December 14, 2010, from
  2. Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. pp. 91.
  3. World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing. pp. File 889 Sheet 92-93.


Jon Yuengling said...

Very modern looking.

I was wondering when did oxygen masks become part of the equipment. I know it is needed above 10,000 ft and I had issues with altitude sickness when I was at 8600 feet.

Unknown said...

Towards the later year of the war there was a lot of development modern equipment such as breathing gear, electrically heated suits and radios which carried voice messages and not just Morse code.