U.S. Air Service




AR1 and AR2

Development and Operation

By 1916 Col. Dorand, who headed the French STAé recognized that the Farman F.40 was obsolete with respect to performing daytime reconnaissance. He therefore had formulated a requirement for a 2-seat reconnaissance aircraft of the tractor configuration. Farman declined to produce the aircraft and Capt. G. Lepére was therefore selected to develop the aircraft. The result was the A.R. 1 and A.R. 2 (Avion de Reconnaissance). It had negatively staggered wings and was initially powered by a 160 hp Renault. Later versions had a 190 hp Renault 8Gd or a 240 hp Loraine 8A engine. There was a window and camera opening on the floor of the Observer's cockpit. Four bomb cells were located between the pilot and the Observer which permitted storage of four 120mm bombs. The pilot had a 7.7mm Vickers gun fixed on the starboard side of the fuselage. The Observer had one or two Lewis Guns on a movable mount. The A.R. 2 differed from the A.R. 1 in that the former had a 190 hp Renault 8Gd.Gdx or 240 hp Loraine 8Bb engine, there were airfoil wing radiators, and the surface area of the wings was reduced.

In order to get to combat as quickly as possible the AEF, in 1918, purchased 22 A.R. 1's and 120 A.R. 2's which by then were obsolete. Units using the aircraft were the 1st Observation Squadron, the 12th Aero Squadron, the 89th Aero Squadron, and the 91st Observation Squadron. Fortunately, these aircraft were used primarily for training and most of the squadrons replaced them with more modern aircraft before entering combat. The A.R.'s were greatly disliked by the American pilots who contended that the design stood for "Antique Rattletraps".


Aircraft and Flight Characteristics
[ A.R. 1 with a 190 hp Renault 8Gd engine]


13.27 m


9.3 m

Empty Weight

810 kg

Loaded Weight

1250 kg


5500 m


375 km


3 hours

Maximum Speed


2,000 m

152 km/hr.

3,000 m

147 km/hr.

4,000 m

141 km/hr



2000 m

in 11 minutes

3000 m

in 22 minutes and 20 seconds

4000 m

in 39 minutes


Four 120mm bombs, a 7.7 mm Vickers Gun, and 1 or two Lewis Guns on a movable mount


  1. Davilla, J. and Art Soltan, French Aircraft of the First World War
  2. Photo courtesy of the author.

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