9 December 1916 – DH5

The latest product from designer Geoffrey de Havilland, the DH5, had begun service trials at the Central Flying School today. The aircraft is intended to replace the aging DH2. De Havilland has designed it to combine the superior performance of a tractor biplane with the excellent forward visibility of a “pusher” type.

The aircraft is of conventional construction, but has an unusual 27 inches of backward stagger on the upper Wing, placing the pilot just in front of the upper wing. This arrangement does indeed give a great forward view, but unfortunately shares with most pushers a blind spot to the rear. This is highly problematic as most attacks tend to come from this position.

The armament is a single Vickers gun fitted with the new improved Constantinesco gun synchronisation gear. This is a reliable system and is placed where the pilot can easily reach it to clear jams. However, given that the new German fighters are armed with two machine guns, the DH5 is clearly underarmed.

The prototype DH5

The prototype DH5

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