FBA Type H

The FBA Type H was a French reconnaissance flying boat produced in large numbers in France and Italy during World War I by Franco-British Aviation.

FBA Type H
Class Aircraft
Type Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Franco-British Aviation
Origin France
Country Name Origin Year
France 1915
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Belgium View
Estonia View
Finland View
France 1916 View
Italy View
Peru View
Spain View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) View
United States of America View
Uruguay View
Yugoslavia (Serbia) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Franco-British Aviation 2000 View

A development of the FBA Type A, the Type H shared the same basic pusher biplane configuration, but was a larger and heavier machine based on a Donnet-Lévêque design and powered by a water-cooled engine in place of the earlier type's rotary. Most French-built aircraft had Hispano-Suiza 8A variants with powers of 150 or 170 hp (112 or 127 kW), though a minority had 160 hp (119 kW) Lorraine 8Ns. These were all V-8 engines. Some Italian built Type Hs also used the higher-power Hispano motor but more had 180 hp (134 kW) Isotta Fraschini V.4B or 150 hp (142 kW) engines of the same make, both six-cylinder inlines.

The aircraft was a two bay biplane with the smaller span lower wing positioned just above the central fuselage on four supporting struts. There was no stagger and simple parallel interplane struts separated the bays; an extra, outward leaning pair supported the overhanging upper plane on each side. Ailerons were mounted only on this upper wing. The single pusher engine was mounted on struts just below the upper wing, its two blade propeller turning in a cut-out in the wing trailing edges.

The hull of the Type H was, like that of its predecessors, a single step design. A pair of flat bottomed floats, mounted below the outer interpane stuts, stabilized the aircraft on the water. Two flight crew members were accommodated side-by-side and a front gunner sat separately in the nose. The rounded, finless rudder mounted above the high tailplane distinguished the Type H from earlier FBA flying boats, which had angular vertical tails.


Aside from its production in France, the type was also built extensively under licence in Italy by several firms, most importantly by SIAI.


One Type H was built as a fighter aircraft equipped with a 37 mm (1.46 in) Hotchkiss gun. Although this was a landplane, its fuselage retained its basic flying boat form. Avion Cannon was its common name, though was also called the FBA 1 Ca2.

The Type H was the major production version of the FBA series and was operated by several air arms during the latter part of the First World War. The great majority served with French and Italian forces. The Escadrille des Hydroviators of the Belgian Air Force was also equipped with the type and one survives on display in the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History in central Brussels. Four ex-Italian, Isotta Fraschini powered Type Hs were used by the British Royal Navy as training machines.

From 1926 to at least 1929 twelve FBA Hs were used in Canada by the Compagnie Aerienne Franco Canadienne to make an aerial photographic survey of both cities and countryside.

Role Reconnaissance flying boat
Manufacturer FBA
Designer Louis Schreck
First flight 1915
Introduction 1916
Status one example preserved
Number built ca. 2000

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three, pilot and two observers/gunners
  • Length: 9.92 m (32 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 14.72 m (48 ft 4 in)
  • Height: 3.10 m (10 ft 2 in)
  • Wing area: 40.0 m2 (430 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 984 kg (2,170 lb)
  • Gross weight: 1,420 kg (3,130 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Hispano-Suiza 8Aa, 112 kW (150 hp) each


  • Maximum speed: 150 km/h (90 mph)
  • Range: 450 km (280 miles)


  • 1 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun fixed to fuselage, or mounted on post in nose cockpit
  • 200 kg (440 lb) of bombs

End notes