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Vickers Gunbus

Vickers Gunbus
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        Primary Function:
        Weight Empty:
        Max. Weight:
        Machine Guns:
        Max. Speed:
        Initial Climb:
        First Flight:
        Year Deployed:
Gnome rotary
100 h.p.
1,220 lbs.
2,050 lbs.
1- 7.7 mm
27 ft. 2 in.
36 ft. 6 in.
70 mph
400 fpm
9,000 feet
240 miles

The Vickers Gunbus F.B.5 was the world's first operational dedicated pure fighter plane. In fact, F.B. stands for Fighting Biplane.

Vickers Gunbus
Vickers Gunbus
The Vickers Gunbus built by Ray Williams has a wingspan of 144 1/2" with a fuselage length of 107 1/2".

In 1912 the British government issued a request for a fighter aircraft armed with a machine gun. The Vickers Gunbus was the answer to the request. It became the first British aircraft to have a machine gun as part of its armament. This was mounted directly in front of the aircraft. It had a forward field of fire unencumbered by a propeller, due to the fact that the aircraft used a pusher prop. An observer/gunner operated the machine gun from the aircraft's front seat while the aircraft was piloted from the rear cockpit.

Vickers Gunbus
Vickers Gunbus - Ray Williams
Ray is working on producing an exact scale replica engine.

The Vickers Gunbus was deployed to the Western Front in February of 1915, but did not see action until the end of July. That was when an entire squadron comprised solely of the aircraft was formed in France.

Vickers Gunbus
Vickers Gunbus
The rubber powered free flight Vickers Gunbus built by Rich Weber shown at the July 2008 FAC Nats.

While the Vickers Gunbus proved well built, it did not have the speed to engage many other aircraft of its day. The British government soon realized this and withdrew the Vickers Gunbus from the front lines. It was thereafter used as a trainer. Vickers produced a total of 224 of the aircraft.

Vickers Gunbus
Vickers Gunbus built by Remy Haines Sr.

Cleveland Model has plans for the Vickers Gunbus. Wingspans are 14", 18 3/4", 28", 37 1/2", 56", 75" and a giant scale 112 1/2".

The Vickers Gunbus makes an unusual and interesting scale model rc airplane. We wish that kits were available for it. It would probably be a hit with rc modelers.

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