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Nieuport 11

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Title: Nieuport 11  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Nieuport, Corpo Aeronautico Militare, Nieuport 17, Alter A.1, Fokker Scourge
Collection: French Fighter Aircraft 1910–1919, Nieuport Aircraft, Sesquiplanes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Nieuport 11

Nieuport 11
A replica Nieuport 11 in Italian colours
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Nieuport
Designer Gustave Delage
Introduction 5 January 1916
Retired Summer of 1917
Status Used as a trainer until the end of the First World War[1]
Primary user Aéronautique Militaire
Variants Nieuport 17, 24bis., 27

The Nieuport 11, nicknamed the Bébé, was a French World War I single seat fighter aircraft, designed by Gustave Delage.[2] It is famous as one of the aircraft that ended the 'Fokker Scourge' in 1916.[3]

The type saw service with several of France's allies, and gave rise to the series of "vee-strut" Nieuport fighters that remained in service (latterly as trainers) for the rest of the war.


  • Design and development 1
    • Nieuport 16 1.1
  • Operational history 2
  • Variants 3
  • Operators 4
  • Survivors and reproductions 5
  • Specifications (Nie 11) 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
    • Notes 8.1
    • Bibliography 8.2

Design and development

The Nieuport 11 was basically a smaller, simplified version of the Nieuport 10 - designed specifically as a single-seat fighter. Like the "10" the "11" was a sesquiplane, a biplane with a full-sized top wing with two spars, and a lower wing of much narrower chord. Interplane struts in the form of a "Vee" joined the single spar lower wing to the broader, twin-spar structure upper wing on each side. While the sesquiplane layout offers reduced drag and a higher rate of climb, as well as improved view from the cockpit, the narrow lower wing tends to flutter and twist under stress, especially at high air speeds. This was a problem with the "vee-strut" Nieuports, as well as the German Albatros D.III and V, which adopted a generally similar wing design.[4]

Nieuport 11 C.1 in Belgian service

Nieuport 11s were supplied to the Aéronautique Militaire, the Royal Naval Air Service, Belgium, Russia and Italy. 646 were produced by the Italian Macchi company under licence.[1][4]

Nieuport 16

In 1916 an improved version appeared as the Nieuport 16 which was a strengthened Nieuport 11 airframe powered by a 110 hp (92 kW) Le Rhône 9J rotary engine.[3] Visible differences included a larger aperture in front of the "horse shoe" cowling and a headrest for the pilot.[4] Later versions had a fuselage-mounted synchronized Vickers gun, but in this configuration the combined effect of the heavier 9J engine and the Vickers gun compromised maneuverability[4] and made the craft nose-heavy. The next variant, the slightly larger Nieuport 17 C.1, was designed for the heavier engine and machine gun with a new, full-perimeter ring cowl, and remedied the 16's c.g. problems, as well as improving performance.[5]

Operational history

Royal Naval Air Service Nieuport 11
Nieuport 16 with Le Prieur rockets

The Nieuport 11 reached the French front in January 1916, and 90 were in service within the month.

This small, lightly loaded sesquiplane outclassed the Fokker Eindecker in every respect. Among other features it had ailerons for lateral control rather than wing warping - and its elevator was attached to a conventional tail plane as opposed to the all-moving, balanced "Morane type" stabilators of the Fokker, both features that made it much easier to fly accurately. The Fokker's success was due to its synchronized machine gun which fired forward through the arc of its propeller. At the time, the Allies lacked a similar system, and the Nieuport 11's Lewis machine gun [note 1] was mounted to fire over the propeller, achieving similar results — it was not synchronizable, due to its open bolt firing cycle design. Clearing gun jams and replacing ammunition drums in flight were challenging, and the drums limited ammunition supply. This was eventually resolved in French service by the application of the Alkan synchronization gear to Nieuport fighters from the Nieuport 17 on.[note 2] The British, in the absence of a really satisfactory synchronizer, retained the overwing Lewis, by now mounted on the improved Foster mounting, and employing the new "double" Lewis drum with a capacity of 98 rounds.[5]

During the course of the Battle of Verdun in February 1916, the Nieuport 11 re-established French air superiority, forcing a radical change in German tactics.[1]

Some Nieuport 11s and 16s were modified in service to fire Le Prieur rockets from the struts. These weapons were intended for attacks on observation balloons and airships.[4]

By March 1916 the Bébé was being replaced by the improved Nieuport 17,[1] although Italian-built examples remained in first line service rather longer. Thereafter the Nieuport single seat types continued to be widely used as trainers.[4]


Nieuport 11
Single-seat fighter-scout biplane. The type was also known as the Nieuport Scout and Nieuport Bebe.
Nieuport 16
Improved version. Single-seat fighter-scout biplane, powered by a 110 hp (92 kW) Le Rhone 9J rotary piston engine.


Top WW1 Italian ace Francesco Baracca with his Nieuport 11
 Kingdom of Italy
 Russian Empire
 United Kingdom

Survivors and reproductions

Original Nieuport 11 Bébé on display at the Musée de l'Air in France
  • the Musée de l'Air at le Bourget in Paris has the sole original surviving Nieuport 11, currently marked as N556 with the personal markings of Commandant Charles Tricornot de Rose, holder of the first military pilot licence. It had previously been marked as N976.[7]

Specifications (Nie 11)

Nieuport 11 3-view drawing
Nieuport 16 3-view drawing

Data from "The Worlds Greatest Aircraft"[3]

General characteristics



See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

List of military aircraft of France


  1. ^ a b c d Angelucci 1983, p. 53.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c Chant & Taylor 2007, p. 14.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Fitzsimons 1967/1969, p. 1989.
  5. ^ a b Cheeseman 1960, p. 92.
  6. ^ Bruce 1982, p.326.
  7. ^ Rimell, 1990, p.86
  8. ^ "Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome - World War 1 Aircraft - Nieuport 11". Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 


  1. ^ A few aircraft were at first fitted with Hotchkiss guns and, in Italian service, with the Fiat-Revelli until the Lewis was available in sufficient numbers.
  2. ^ Early prototype versions of the Alkan gear were fitted to a number of Nieuport 16s as well.


  • Angelucci, Enzio, ed. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft. New York: The Military Press, 1983. ISBN 0-517-41021-4.
  • Apostolo, Giorgio. Aermacchi - from Nieuports to AMX, Giorgio Apostolo Editore (GAE), Milan, Italy, 1991
  • Bruce, J.M. The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing). London: Putnam, 1982. ISBN 0-370-30084-X.
  • Bruce, J.M. Nieuport Aircraft of World War One (Vintage Warbirds No 10), Arms and Armour Press, London, 1988 ISBN 0-85368-934-2
  • Chant, Christopher and Michael J.H. Taylor. The World's Greatest Aircraft. Edison, NJ: Cartwell Books Inc., 2007. ISBN 0-7858-2010-8.
  • Cheesman E.F., ed. Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Letchworth, UK: Harleyford Publications, 1960. ISBN 978-0-8306-8350-5.
  • Christienne, Charles, and Pierre Lissarrague. A History of French Military Aviation. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1986. ISBN 0-87474-310-9.
  • Cooksley, Peter. Nieuport Fighters in Action. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1997. ISBN 0-89747-377-9.
  • Davilla, Dr. James J.; Soltan, Arthur (1997). French Aircraft of the First World War. Mountain View California: Flying Machines Press.  
  • Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the 20th Century Weapons and Warfare. London: Purnell & Sons Ltd., 1967/1969. ISBN 0-8393-6175-0.
  • Franks, Norman. Nieuport Aces of World War 1 - Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 33, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, 2000, ISBN 1-85532-961-1
  • Guttman, Jon. "Nieuport 11/16 Bébé vs Fokker Eindecker - Western Front 1916 (Osprey Duel ; 59)", Osprey Publishing, Oxford, 2014, ISBN 978-1-78200-353-3
  • Janić Č, Petrović O, Short History of Aviation in Serbia, Beograd, Aerokomunikacije, 2011. ISBN 978-86-913973-2-6.
  • Kowalski, Tomasz J. Nieuport 1-27, Kagero, Lublin, 2003, ISBN 83-89088-09-6
  • Longoni, Maurizio. Nieuport Macchi 11 & 17, Intergest, Milan, 1976
  • Rimell, Ray. World War One Survivors. Bourne End, UK: Aston Publications, 1990. ISBN 0-946627-44-4.
  • Rosenthal, Léonard; Marchand, Alain; Borget, Michel; Bénichou, Michel (1997). Nieuport 1909-1950 Collection Docavia Volume 38. Clichy Cedex, France: Editions Lariviere.  
  • Sanger, Ray. Nieuport Aircraft of World War One, Crowood Press, Wiltshire, 2002 ISBN 1-86126-447-X
  • Thetford, Owen. British Naval Aircraft since 1912. London: Putnam, Fourth edition 1978. ISBN 0-370-30021-1.
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