WWI Single Blade from Royal Flying Corps FE8 Aircraft Propellor


A rare and very collectable WWI British Royal Flying Corps aircraft single wooden propellor blade from a 4 bladed FE8 single seat fighter and scout plane.

The propellor is made of laminated mahogany wood with a leading tip edge covered in a brass skin. The propellor was made by the workshops of Ruston (one of the largest British builders of aero-engines and aircraft during the War) and dates circa 1916. It has the decal on the blade, representing the company logo of a devil in front of a biplane, with RUSHTON LINCOLN ENGLAND. Condition is good, but the laminated wood is opening slightly at the hub end. There is a chunk missing on the tail edge of the blade, possibly the reason the propellor was scrapped.

During the First World War aircraft propellers were invariably made of wood, the preferred varieties being walnut and mahogany, as both types were strong, easily workable and possessed a uniform grain pattern. The propellors were made from laminated strips of wood that were bonded together, rather than being fashioned from a single piece of timber. The prop. comes from a Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8 aircraft which is a design dating to May 1915. At that time there was no satisfactory British design available to fit a forward-firing machine-gun to an aeroplane without recourse to the crude application of steel deflector plates on the airscrew. Designers therefore resorted to the pusher layout with the airscrew (propeller) on the back of the aircraft behind the pilot and the machine gun fixed at the front. The F.E.8 was designed by Mr. J. Kenworthy and was one of the most handsome pusher fighters built during the war. The engines used were the 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape and the 110 h.p. Le Rhone and 110 h.p.Clerget engines. The first production F.E.8s in France were with No.29 squadron on July 1st, 1916 and it remained in service as the last pusher fighter in the field until July 1917. However, by then it was vastly outmatched by the German fighters. 295 planes were built.
Ruston began making military aircraft in 1915 and the firm soon established its own propeller workshop to make airscrews for the Sopwith Strutters, Camels and Snipes that were being assembled in the main factory. A considerable number of Ruston propellers have been preserved in museums and private collections and they can be identified by the letters "RP" before the serial number.

Size: 106.5 cm (42 inches)
Weight: 1974g