The Great War Flying Museum

To honour the pilots who served with gallantry and distinction during the Great War of 1914 – 1918.

Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a

The Great War Flying Museum operates two reproductions of the RAF SE5a:


Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a

  • Registration: C-GRJC
  • Paint Scheme: Royal Flying Corps markings, Canadian Ace Billy Bishop
  • Year Completed: 1991
  • First Flight: 1 August 1991
  • Plan set used: Original RAF plans for wings and external dimensions of fuselage, but the fuselage is constructed of steel tubing rather than wood.
  • Engine Type: Ford V6 with Blanton PSRU. Engine replaced with Ranger 6-440-C5
  • Engine replaced in: Winter 1996
  • Major rebuilds in: 1996, 2006
  • The full scale SE5 is the second aircraft built completely in house at the GWFM. Externally it was built to correspond to original Royal Aircraft Factory drawings, yet the fuselage is actually of welded steel construction. Originally powered by a Ford truck engine running a propeller speed reduction unit, this was abandoned in favour of a Ranger aircraft engine. Only one paint scheme has been worn on this aircraft, namely C1904 as flown by William Avery Bishop, VC. It wore these colours and can be distinguished clearly in The Aviator from the large ‘Z’ on the fuselage.


  • Registration: C-FQGM
  • Paint Scheme: Royal Flying Corps markings, James McCudden
  • Year Completed: 1970
  • First Flight: 30 June 1970
  • Plan set used: Prototype Scale SE5a based on Currie-Watt homebuilt.
  • Engine Type: Continental C85-12
  • Engine replaced with: Lycoming O-235-C
  • Engine replaced in: July 1999
  • Major rebuilds in: 1987, 1998
  • This replica SE5a is of interest because it is one of two prototypes for this scale plan set. It is the ‘sister’ airplane of C-FQGL, which is still flying with the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley, British Columbia. For much of its life with the GWFM, this aircraft wore the colourful (if short lived) paint scheme of A 8936 with No. 60 Sqn. RFC, wearing a blue nose and wheel covers. William Avery Bishop, VC wore this scheme briefly before an official scheme was handed down for the SE5, forcing it to be painted in more conventional British colours. Following its more recent rebuild, QGM was repainted to represent B4863, as flown by James McCudden, VC while serving with No. 56 Sqn. RFC.

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