Her Majesty's Balloon Factory

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Her Majesty's Balloon Factory a.k.a. The Factory; renamed Army Aircraft Factory on 1 April 1911 and Royal Aircraft Factory 1 April 1912, which see.

British Army. Mervyn O'Gorman, superintendent; Geoffrey de Havilland, test pilot and designer.

Though with no authority to construct any kind of aircraft, not even balloons, Superintendent O'Gorman decided in 1910 that The Factory, as it was known, would construct six kinds of aircraft (plans were later published in Reports and Memoranda 59, November 1911) and he appointed de Havilland as test pilot and designer in either December 1910 or March 1911 (Gunston gives both dates). De Havilland brought his No. 2 biplane with him where it made an acceptance test flight on 14 Jan 1911 and was designated FE1 (FE=Farman Experimental pusher type). Meanwhile, a crashed Blériot was brought in for repair and rebuilt as SE1 (SE=Santos Experimental, tail-first or canard, but soon mean Scout Experimental). The Factory was renamed Army Aircraft Factory, 1 Apr 1911, and under that name rebuilt a pusher Viosin into a 2-seat tractor biplane, the BE1 (BE=Blériot Experimental tractor type), accepted 1 Jan 1912. Meanwhile on 18 Aug 1911 de Havilland's FE2 was accepted. On 1 Apr 1912, still lacking authority to build aircraft, was renamed Royal Aircraft Factory.

SE1 was flown from late January 1911 to 18 Aug 1911 when it crashed, killing the assistant superintendent, Lieut. T. Ridge.


Organization names Her Majesty's Balloon Factory (The Factory); renamed Army Aircraft Factory 1 April 1911 and Royal Aircraft Factory 1 April 1912, which see.
Entity type
Country Great Britain
City South Farnborough, England
Affiliated with
Started aero 1910
Ended aero
Keywords 2
Key people
Wikidata id