Westland N.1B

Westland N.1B

Single-seat Tractor Seaplane Scout


The Westland N.1B was a prototype British single-engine floatplane fighter aircraft of the First World War. The first aircraft to be designed by Westland Aircraft, it was a single-engine tractor biplane. Despite good performance, only two aircraft were built, the Royal Naval Air Service operating landplane fighters from ships instead.

In 1916, the British Admiralty drew up Requirement N.1B for a single-seat floatplane or flying boat fighter aircraft to operate from the Royal Navy's seaplane carriers, demanding a speed of 110 mph (177 km/h) and a ceiling of 20,000 ft (6,100 m). Three companies submitted designs in response, Blackburn and Supermarine with flying boats (the Blackburn N.1B and Supermarine Baby), while Westland proposed a floatplane, the Westland N.1B. Westland received an order for two aircraft.

Westland's design, which was the first original design built by Westland, was a single-engine tractor biplane of wooden construction. It had a deep fuselage, while its two-bay wings were designed to fold to save space on ship, and were fitted with trailing-edge flaps. It was powered by a single Bentley A.R.1 rotary engine (later known as the BR1) and carried a single synchronised forward-firing Vickers machine gun on the nose, and a Lewis gun firing over the upper wing. The first N.1B was fitted with 11 ft (3.35 m) long Sopwith main floats and a 5 ft (1.52 m) long tail float, while the second N.1B had much longer (17 ft 6 in (5.34 m) main floats, which removed the need for a tail float.

The first N.1B, serial number N16 was first flown by Harry Hawker from Westland's Yeovil factory in August 1917. The two N.1Bs were evaluated at the Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot in October 1917, demonstrating good performance and handling. By this time, however, the Royal Naval Air Service was operating Sopwith Pup landplanes from flying-off platforms aboard ships, which did not require the carrier to heave-to in order to lower a seaplane to the water, and was planning to carry out similar operations with the Sopwith Camel, and the N.1B programme was cancelled

General characteristics
Crew:  One
Length:  26 ft 5½ in (8.07 m)
Wingspan:  31 ft 3½ in (9.54 m)
Height:  11 ft 2 in (3.40 m)
Wing area:  278 ft² (25.8 m²)
Empty weight:  1,513 lb (688 kg)
Loaded weight:  1,987 lb (903 kg)
Powerplant:  1 × Bentley A.R.1 9-cylinder rotary engine, 150 hp (112 kW)
Maximum speed:  107 mph (93 knots, 172 km/h) at sea level
Service ceiling:  10,400 ft (3,200 m)
Endurance:  2¾ hours
Climb to 5,000 ft (1,520 m):  10 min
Guns:  1x forward firing, synchronised .303 in Vickers machine gun
1 x Lewis gun above upper wing
Bombs: 2 x 65 lb (30 kg) bombs on racks under fuselage
  Two prototypes built during 1916-17.


All the above text based on / 'borrowed' from Wikipedia.




N16, the first N.1B, with a tail float and a humped cowl over the Vickers machine-gun.


.... and a front three-quarter view of N16.


N17, the second N.1B, had longer floats and a modified engine cowling.


From my collection

A postcard of the Westland N17 on water.