BILL EWING COLLECTION
No. 10771. Bernard A.B.1 Bn French Air Force
Photograph from Musée de l'Air

Bernard A.B.1 Bn

08/31/2011. Founded in April 1917 as the Etablissements Adolphe Bernard, the company initially produced 2,486 SPAD SPAD XI, XIII and XVI fighters to government contracts; its first original design materialized only after the Armistice. In 1924 the company was renamed Société Industrielle des Métaux et du Bois (SIMB), also referred to as Bernard SIMB. The company was wound up in 1926, but the Société des Avions Bernard was established in late 1927, however, in 1935 the Bernard company closed its doors and disappeared from the aviation scene.

Adolphe Bernard's first original design was the twin-engined two-seat A.B.1 Bn intended for the night bomber role. The three-bay biplane was of wooden construction, the fabric covered wings were not staggered, while the lower wings had considerable dihedral. The outer and mid interplane struts were outward leaning pairs but the inner bay was defined by a complex of struts supporting the 180 hp Hispano-Suiza 8Ab eight-cylinder water-cooled in-line V-engines mid-way between the wings. It had ailerons on both upper and lower wings, externally connected.

The flat sided plywood covered fuselage had a blunt nose which held the gunner's position fitted with a 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machinegun on a flexible mount, while the A.B.1 Bn could carry a bomb load of up to 1,323 lb (600 kg). The fixed main undercarriage had a wide track, with twin wheels on short axles mounted below each engine on inverted V struts, themselves further braced to the lower fuselage longerons.

The prototype was tested in late spring 1918, but no production order was received before the Armistice, testing continued into early 1919, and while transport versions were proposed, no further aircraft were produced.

Created August 31, 2011