Koolhovern Aircraft

The BAT F.K.23 Bantam was a British single-seat fighter biplane produced by British Aerial Transport Company Limited of London during World War I.

The BAT F.K.23 Bantam

Design and development

Frederick Koolhoven's first design for the British Aerial Transport Company (BAT) was the F.K.22 single-seat fighter. It was a two-bay biplane of wooden construction. It was planned to have a 120 hp (90 kW) A.B.C Mosquito radial engine but the failure of this engine led to the installation of the 170 hp (127 kW) A.B.C.Wasp I in the first and third aircraft. The second machine was fitted with a 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine and was the first to fly at Martlesham Heath in January 1918. The original contract called for six development aircraft but three aircraft were built as the F.K.23 Bantam I, the second prototype then being renamed the Bantam II. The Bantam I was the same wooden structure but was slightly smaller. Two further prototypes of the larger design were also built followed by at least 9 development aircraft. One aircraft was delivered to the Royal Aircraft Establishment on 26 July 1918, one was delivered to the French at Villacoublay and a further aircraft to the United States Army Air Corps at Wright Field in 1922.


The production Bantam had to be modified due to unsatisfactory spin characteristics of the prototypes. Continuous engine problems and downsizing of the Royal Air Force were factors in no more orders for the Bantam. Koolhoven returned to Netherlands with one aircraft where it was re-engined with a 200 hp (149 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial engine. Several examples were operated as civil racing aircraft.

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K-123 on display at the Rijksmuseum

One aircraft, registered K-123, originally on display at the Aviodome, Netherlands. The airplane is currently on loan to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The remains of a second FK 23 are used to build a flying example. It is a project from the "vroege vogels" from Lelystad in the Netherlands.


BAT F.K.23 Bantam

While the majority of F.K.51s were employed as elementary trainers within the Netherlands or in reconnaissance roles by the Royal Netherlands Air Force in the Dutch East Indies, twenty-eight were clandestinely sold to the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War, all despite a Dutch embargo on the sale of arms to either side of that conflict. Some of those arriving in Spain were used as light bombers by the Republicans in the Cantabrian region of Spain

BAT F.K.23 Bantam; Specifications

  • History

    Role Single-seat Fighter

    Manufacturer British Aerial Transport Company Limited

    Designer Frederick Koolhoven

    First flight 1918

    Introduction 1921

    Primary user Royal Air Force

    Number built 15

  • General characteristics

    Crew: 1

    Capacity: 378 lb (171.46 kg) disposable load

    Length: 18 ft 5 in (5.61 m); Wingspan: 25 ft (7.6 m)

    Height: 8 ft 2 in (2.49 m)

    Empty weight: 830 lb (376 kg)

    Fuel capacity: 22 imp gal (100.01 l; 26.42 US gal)

    Powerplant: 1 × ABC Wasp II 7-cyl. air-cooled radial piston engine, 200 hp (150 kW)

    Propellers: 2-bladed BAT tractor 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m) pitch, 7 ft 10.5 in (2.400 m) diameter

  • Performance

    Maximum speed: 138 mph (222 km/h; 120 kn) at sea level

    134 mph (216 km/h; 116 kn) at 10,000 ft (3,048.00 m)

    Landingspeed: 50 mph (80 km/h; 43 kn)

    Endurance: 3 hours 30 minutes

    Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,100 m)

    Rate of climb: 1,579 ft/min (8.02 m/s)

    Time to altitude: 5,000 ft (1,524.00 m) in 3 minutes 10 seconds

The BAT F.K.23 Bantam


The BAT F.K.23 Bantam was a British single-seat fighter biplane produced by British Aerial Transport Company Limited of London during World War I.


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