Berkmans Speed Scout


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Berkmans Speed Scout

In 1916, the brothers Maurice and Emile Berkmans began design of a single-seat fighter known as the Speed Scout. Powered by a 100hp Gnome Monosoupape nine-cylinder rotary engine, the Speed Scout was of conventional wooden construction but featured a circular- section laminated monocoque fuselage. Like the contemporary Curtiss S-2, the Speed Scout employed a rigidly-anchored cross-axle undercarriage to which a measure of shock-absorbency was imparted by the use of Ackermann spring wheels, these featuring curved spring-steel spokes which served as shock absorbers. Proposed armament comprised two synchronised 7.62mm machine guns. The fighter commenced its test programme in the spring of 1918, and demonstrated a high standard of manoeuvrability and excellent climb performance, attaining an altitude of 6706m on one occasion, but ground handling proved poor. The Speed Scout was demonstrated for the Army Aviation Section, which, having no need for a new single-seat fighter with World War I virtually at an end, procured the prototype for stress analysis of the monocoque construction.

Berkmans Speed ScoutA three-view drawing (1638 x 1285)

  Take-off weight540 kg1191 lb
  Empty weight372 kg820 lb
  Wingspan7.92 m26 ft 0 in
  Length5.69 m19 ft 8 in
  Height2.39 m8 ft 10 in
  Max. speed185 km/h115 mph

Graham Clayton, e-mail, 13.02.2021 05:28

The "Joe" mentioned on the tail and on the fuselage was Lieutenant Joseph Charles Stehlin (1897-1967), who served with the Lafayette Escadrille during WW1.


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