The S.E.5 and 5a, rivals the Sopwith Camel for the title of the most successful British fighter of the First World War. It was designed by H. P. Folland, J. Kenworthy and Major F. W. Goodden of the Royal Aircraft Factory. The prototype S.E.5, A4561, appeared in December 1916, powered by the new 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine with a car-type radiator and short exhaust manifolds. The wings had wire-braced spruce spars and, in place of compression struts, some ribs were of solid construction. The tailplane incidence could be changed in flight. The fuselage was a wire-braced wooden box girder, covered with fabric except for plywood sides from the nose to the front spar of the lower wing, and around the cockpit. The S.E.5 was so strong that one pilot flew it through the side of a house and emerged unhurt. The main fuel tank was behind the engine, and there was a gravity tank in the port side of the centre section.
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