World War I Airplanes


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Sopwith F.1

Type:

Fighter Scout
Country: United Kingdom
Crew: 1
Weight: 660kg
Length: 5.71m
Height: 2.59m
Wingspan: 8.53m
Range: 485km
Speed: 185km/h
Armament: 2x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns
Additional Armaments: None
Engine: Single Clerget 9B 9-cylinder Radial engine 130hp

Britain

Model Box

Date Deployed: May 1917
Sopwith Aviation Company F.1 Camel
Model from Eduard of Czech Republic Kit # 8055 Built on 02-21-2005        1/48 scale

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   The Sopwith Camel Scout was a British World War I single-seat fighter aircraft that was famous for its maneuverability.

   Intended as a replacement for the Sopwith Pup, the Sopwith Camel prototype first flew in December 1916. It was known as the "Big Pup" early on in its development. It was armed with two .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns mounted in front of the cockpit, firing forward through the propeller disc. A fairing surrounding the gun installation created a hump that led to the aircraft acquiring the name Camel. The Camel entered squadron service in June 1917. Approximately 5,500 Camels were produced.

   Unlike the preceding Pup and Triplane, the Camel was not considered pleasant to fly. With the majority of weight packed into first seven feet of the aircraft coupled with the strong gyroscopic effect of the rotary engine the Camel exhibited several idiosyncrasies and soon gained a dangerous reputation with student pilots. The Clerget engine was particularly sensitive to fuel mixture control, and incorrect settings often caused the engine to choke and cut-out during take-off. Many crashed due to mishandling on takeoff when a full fuel tank affected the center of gravity. In level flight, the Camel was markedly tail-heavy. It turned sharply to the right with a nose-down attitude, while it turned slowly to the left with a nose-up attitude. Turns in either direction required left rudder. A stall immediately resulted in a spin and the Camel was particularly noted for its vicious spinning characteristics. Controls were light and sensitive.

   Nevertheless, its agility in combat made the Sopwith Camel one of the best remembered Allied aircraft of World War I. To its pilots, it was referred to as providing a choice among a "wooden cross, red cross and Victoria Cross." Together with the S.E.5a, the Camel helped to wrest aerial superiority away from the German Albatros scouts. The Camel was credited with shooting down 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied scout.

   Major William Barker's Sopwith Camel (serial no. B6313) became the most successful fighter aircraft in the history of the RAF, shooting down 46 aircraft & balloons from September 1917 to September 1918 in 404 operational hours flying. It was dismantled in October 1918. Barker kept the clock as a memento, although he was asked to return it the following day.

   By mid-1918, the Camel was approaching obsolescence as a fighter, limited by its slow speed and comparatively poor performance over 12,000 feet. It found a new lease of life as a ground-attack aircraft and infantry support weapon, especially after the German Offensive of March 1918 when flights of Camels harassed the advancing German Army, inflicting high losses (and suffering high losses in turn) through the dropping of 25lb Cooper bombs and ultra low-level strafing. The protracted development of the Camel's replacement, the Sopwith Snipe, meant that the Camel remained in service until the Armistice.

 

          

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