The Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 was a British two-seat biplane reconnaissance and bomber aircraft of the First World War designed by John Kenworthy at the Royal Aircraft Factory. Intended as a replacement for the vulnerable B.E.2, the R.E.8 was widely regarded as more difficult to fly, and gained a reputation in the Royal Flying Corps for being “unsafe” that was never entirely dispelled. Although eventually it gave reasonably satisfactory service, it was never an outstanding combat aircraft. In spite of this, the R.E.8 served as the standard British reconnaissance and artillery spotting aircraft from mid-1917 to the end of the war, serving alongside the rather more popular Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8. Over 4,000 R.E.8s were eventually produced and they served in most theatres including Italy, Russia, Palestine, and Mesopotamia, as well as the Western Front.
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