Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.3

The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.3 was a two-seat reconnaissance aircraft similar to the R.E.2 with its floats removed but with a more powerful Austro-Daimler engine. The R.E.3 may originally have been designed for the Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps (the R.N.A.S.), and may have been allocated the naval serial number 26, although that number was eventually given to the only R.E.5 to serve with the RNAS. Photographs of the R.E.3 show it with the same high rudder and one piece elevator as the H.R.E.2, along with the warping wings used on the earlier aircraft until late in 1914.

The main change made to the R.E.3 was the use of a taller six-cylinder Austro-Daimler engine, capable of providing 120hp. This required a modified forward fuselage.

The exact fate of the R.E.3 is unclear. Two crashes are recorded, one on Sunday 18 November 1913 at Jersey Brow and one on Sunday 27 September 1914 with Edward Busk at the controls. It is possible that these are both the same incident, once with an incorrect date, but given the regularity with which many early aircraft were involved in crashes there is no reason to believe that the R.E.3 wasn't involved in two separate crashes. If a single date is to be adopted then the September 1914 date would seem most realistic – it seems unlikely that the R.E.3 would not have been repaired if it had crashed in the same month as its maiden flight, but by September 1914 the Aircraft Factory had more important concerns than the repair of an already obsolete aircraft. 

Engine: Six-cylinder Austro-Daimler
Power: 120hp
Crew: 2
Wing span: 45ft 3.5in
Length: 32ft 3in
Height: 12ft 2in

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 April 2009), Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.3 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_RAF_RE3.html

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