The B.E. 2c (the B.E. stood for Bleriot Experimental) was intended for reconnaissance and miscellaneous duties, as in 1914, there were no precise ideas about what a military aircraft should be or do. The first thing the designers did was to make the B.E. series steady and stable for reconnaissance purposes. Only then came concerns about performance, maintenance and handling. Eventually it was used as a photo and reconnaissance plane, a light bomber, and a Home Defence fighter against dirigibles. A bombing action using B.E.s against Courtrfi airport resulted in the first award (posthumous) of the Victoria Cross. The sluggish manoueverability of the B.E.s quickly became apparent as the German planes flew rings around them, and, in 1915 shot them down with synchronised, forward firing machine guns. Some B.E. 2cs were used up to April, 1917.
The B.E.2c was a twin seater, tractor biplane with a four bladed propeller. It was powered by a 90 hp RAF 1a motor giving it a maximum speed of 116 mph at 1,980 m, and taking 45 minutes to reach 3,000 metres. It was, however, a radical improvement over it's predecessors with the addition of four ailerons, an enlarged rudder and the arrangement of the wings. These changes resulted in a more stable aircraft, although not a more manoeuverable one. The observer was moved to the rear position and given a machine gun, even though his use of it was greatly restricted as he had to remain seated. Another machine gun was occasionally mounted on the front of the plane either over the wing or firing obliquely to avoid the propeller. With a full bomb load of 100 kg the observer had to be left out.
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