The Franco-British Aviation (F.B.A.) Company Limited was founded in 1913 by Louis Schreck.
Engine:100hp Gnome Monosoupape.
Max. speed 109 Km/h,
Range: 300 Km
Rate of climb = 87 m/min
Weight = 640 Kg (empty) 940 (loaded).
Wingspan - 13,71 m
Length - 8,78 m
Height - 3,40 m
wing area - 30,31 m2.
Pedro Soares took these photos at the Museu de Marinha.
In January 1917 a pair of FBA (Franco British Aviation ) type B flying boats was brought in from France and put to charge of the Escola de Aviação Militar . Military Aviation School - at Vila Nova da Raínha, on the west bank of the Tagus River, some 25 km from Lisbon, the cradle of Portuguese military aviation, with a view to complement the training of Portuguese military pilots, with water based operations.
Later in the same year, these aircraft as well as the Navy personnel initially allocated to the School, would be transferred to the newly constituted Centro de Aviação Marítima, in Belém, the first Portuguese naval air station, that was inaugurated in September, the 28th, 1917.
The 2 FBAs were thus the first of a long list of aircraft that would see service with the Aviação Naval . the Naval Air arm - , until its amalgamation, in July, the 1st, 1952, with the Aeronautica Militar . the Army air arm - into what was thereafter known as Força Aérea Portuguesa - Portuguese Air Force.
A third FBA aircraft was also built locally in 1918, the year when all three
were struck off charge.
(The aviation component of the Portuguese Navy would again be activated in
1993, with the establishment on June, the 2nd, of the Esquadrilha de
Helicópteros . Helicopter Escadrille - based at Montijo Air Base,
operating the Westland Navy Linx MK95 helicopters, that equip 3 Meko 200
Even if the operational story of the Portuguese FBAs can be regarded as short
(sources quote but one year of active service), their actual longevity is
unparalleled by any other aircraft in Portugal, since, as matter of fact, the
oldest surviving military (and civilian, for that matter) aircraft in the
country is precisely the beautiful n.2 FBA preserved at Museu de Marinha,
quite appropriately located in
N.2 is an hybrid assembled at some time in the past from parts of the
original pair (basically it seems the fuselage was that of n.2, while the
wings came from n.1) and after years of abuse by the inclemency of time and
the elements was recently (1999) the subject of a profound and masterly
executed restoration, that made it possible to visitors to again appreciate
this unique aircraft in all its former glory.
On this page you will be able to compare photos taken before and after the
restoration, but nothing can replace a visit to the fantastic
Museu de Marinha,
where the FBA is but one of the many interesting
and often unique exhibits, as is the case of this aircraft.
I once thought that the brown colour of the upper side of the wings was the
result of ageing and exposure to the elements. As a matter of fact, as can be
seen on the pre-restoration photos, the fabric was in a terrible shape. Turns
out that according to the restoration team, the fabric was indeed painted
brown on the upper side of the wings while the under sides retained the clear
doped finish on the linen. Portuguese Green and red cocardes were only
carried on the underside of the wings.
The original Gnome monosoupape has been cut away, probably for instructional
purposes some time in the past, and perhaps for lack of a suitable
replacement, the restoration team elected to display the aircraft with the
Note: most of the information for the text above was drawn from "Os
da Cruz de Cristo" by Mário Canongia Lopes and José
Manuel Rodrigues Costa, and "Aeronaves Militares Portuguesas no Sec XX," by
The photos were taken at the Royal Army and Military History Museum
(Musée Royal de l'Armée et d'Histoire Militaire /
Koninklijk Museum van het Leger en de Krijgsgeschiedenis)
in Brussels , Belgium.
It's engine is a 150hp Hispano-Suiza.