Nieuport 11C1 & 16C1
Single-engine single-seat fighter & trainer aircraft
The Nieuport 11 C1 was a pure fighter development of the twin seat sesquiplane Nieuport 10 design. When the first examples were rolled out at the Nieuport factory at Issy-les-Moulineaux in 1915, it received the designation Nieuport Type XI BB (B for Biplane according to the constructor’s nomenclature and a second “B” indicating “fighter” according to the ”Ministère de la Geurre” designation system. Very soon the name “Bébé” was given at this model which on top fitted perfectly the diminutive size of the fighter.
It is generally believed that some 12+ Nieuport 11 C1 (the later designation) were supplied to the Belgian Aviation Militaire as of 5 January 1916 all of them powered by the 80Hp Le Rhone 9c an air cooled 9-cylinder rotary piston engine. In September 1916 two improved Nieuport 16 C1 were added to the Belgian inventory. The Nieuport 16 C1 was in all aspects identical to the 11 C1 model except for the more powerful 110Hp Le Rhone 9J engine. This more powerful fighter was also characterized by the addition of a pilot’s headrest. As an undefined number of Belgian Nieuport 11 C1 fighters were upgraded with the more powerful Le Rhone 9C and/or an additional headrest it is very difficult to positively identify the exact type by means of photos.
The Belgian Aviation Militaire Nieuport 11/16 C1 fighters were operationally used by N° 1 (later Chardon) and N° 5 Squadron (Comet). When the Nieuport 17/23 and Hanriot HD.1 fighters became available the remaining machines were used for pilot instruction at the Belgian schools of Etampes, Juvisy-sur-Orge and after the was at Asch. At Etampes registrations in the “30” range were used while at Juvisy and Asch registrations between 118 and 128 were allotted. The last Nieuport 11/16’s disappeared from the Belgian register in the early twenties. (Daniel Brackx)
Although there is absolutely no doubt about the fact that a small number of Nieuport 16 C1 fighters were delivered to the Aviation Militaire Belge as of September 1916, up to now no serials nor registrations are known for these aircraft. The picture above shows the Nieuport 16 C1 of N° 5 Squadron flown by pilot Edmond Declee shortly after its delivery in September 1916. A number of Belgian Nieuport 11 C1 fighters was also upgraded to Nie 16 C1 standards, others only received the telltale pilot's headrest to complicate things even more....
Because of the fact that during its operational career with the Belgian Air Service the Nieuport 11 C1 & 16 C1 had three distinct systems of numbering (the SFA & AMB numbering during its combat (operational) career, the Etampes Flying School numbering School "33-3x" and the serials used at the Schools of Juvisy-sur-Orge (F.) and Asch (B.) "118-128") it is more than likely that some of the above serials were used by the same aircraft in the different systems.