Nieuport 17

The Nieuport Type 17, which appearing in mid 1916, rapidly established itself as an outstanding fighter. Although it retained the basic geometric porportions of the Nieuport Types 11 and 16, the Type 17 was a somewhat larger and more refined aircraft, being very manouvrable, with a high performance with a particularly good rate of climb. It soon became the preferred aircraft of such famous Aces as Lieutenant Charles Nungesser, Captain Albert Ball VC and Captain (later Lieutenant Colonel) Billy Bishop VC.

Most Nieuport 17s were powered by either the 110 hp Le Rhone 9Ja or 120 hp Le Rhone 9Jb radial engines, but a few of the earliest had the 110 hp or 130 hp Clerget. As Le Rhone powered the Nieuport 17 had a maximum speed at sea level of 103 mph and a range of c.155 miles.

For some time during 1916, the Nieuport 17 held the distinction of equipping every fighter escadrille of the Aviation Militaire, plus at least one naval unit. Large numbers were also suppled to the British Royal Flying Corps and about 100 machines were also built in Italy by Nieuport-Macchi. In addition substantial numbers were supplied to Belgium and Russia. Twenty Nie.17s were purchased by the Netherlands and two others by Finland. Later, in September 1917, Seventy-Five Type 17s were supplied to the American Expeditiuonary Force.

Many of the Nieuport 17s in French service were armed with a synchronised Vickers machine-gun firimg through the propeller arc. The aircraft operated by the Royal Flying Corps were generally armed with a Lewis gun on a foster overwing mounting (a sliding mounting which enabled the gun to be pulled down by the pilot so that it coould be aimed upwards allowing attacks to be made from below on the blind spot of enemy aircraft.

Subsequently the Nieuport 17 would provide the basis for the manufacture of various later models of this classaic French fighter (Type 17-Bis, Type 21 and Type 23).

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