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Royal Navy Air Service & Royal Flying Corps RFC Sopwith Pup WW1 Fighter Biplane

Thomas Sopwith was born in 1888. A pioneering figure in aviation, he won the Baron de Forest prize in 1910 for flying across the English Channel. In 1912 he founded the Sopwith Aviation Company at Kingston-on-Thames, where he designed and built several planes used during the first world war including the Sopwith Pup, Camel, Snipe. During the 1930's depression the Sopwith Company went bankrupt. Mr Harry Hawker one of Sopwith's test pilots put his name to the new company still based in Kingston. Sopwith became Chairman of the Hawker Siddeley Group in 1935 and was president of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors. Thomas Sopwith died in 1989.

The Sopwith Pup was produced by Thomas Sopwith and his Sopwith Aviation Company in 1916. The design was based on the personal plane of the company's test pilot, Harry Hawker. The Pup was fast and easy to handle and the Admiralty ordered it for the Royal Navy Air Service. The Pup, thought of by its pilots as the perfect flying machine, was used extensively by the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps both at home and abroad. The first Pups reached the Western Front in the autumn of 1916 allowing the enthusiastic British pilots to maintain their hard won domination until mid-1917 when newer German aircraft redressed the balance. ".no matter how good the German pilot was.when it came to manoeuvring, the Sopwith Pup would turn twice to an Albatros' once." Lt J.T.B McCudden VC - British fighter ace. Officialdom hated the name Pup, thinking it undignified. They decreed the aircraft should only be referred to as the Sopwith Scout; this order did more than anything else to perpetuate the name Pup in history. Much experimentation took place at sea with Pups, some were flown from tiny platforms built on gun-turrets of cruisers and on 2 August 1917 Sqn Cdr Dunning became the first man to land an aircraft on an aircraft carrier when he brought a Pup down on HMS Furious. Dunning was killed on his third landing when his machine crashed over the side of the ship. The Sopwith Pup remained in service until late 1917

The elegant Sopwith Pup was a design much beloved by pilots which flew it, one of the descriptions of the Pups handling being, "it was so light to the touch, if you sneezed, you looped". The Pup despite being underpowered with an 80 Hp LeRhone Rotary engine, having light construction and a slow firing Vickers, it was one of the few aircraft of the period that could compete with the German Albatros Scout on equals terms in early 1917.

The Pup was a single-seat fighting scout and the forerunner to the more famous Camel. It was named Pup because it looked like a baby 1 Strutter. The Pup was nearly perfect in flying qualities. Delightful to fly, very small, simple and reliable with a generous wing area for a good rate of climb and agility. It had excellent performance at height. It was soon underpowered for combat on the Western Front against Albatros DIIIs, but it could turn twice in the radius of a single turn by an Albatros. This aircraft established the reputation of Naval 8 RNAS in late 1916 when they racked up 20 kills. After removal from the front it was used as a Home Defense unit fighter against Zeppelins.

The Sopwith Pup quickly became a favorite with pilots of the Royal Naval Air Service. It was superior to the Fokker D.III and more than a match for any of the new Halberstadt and Albatros scouts. Armed with a single synchronous machine gun, it was lighter and less dangerous than it's successor, the Sopwith Camel. Although underpowered, pilots liked the plane because it was maneuverable and fast. It could climb and hold its altitude better than any other fighter. In August 1917, the Sopwith Pup was the first aircraft to land aboard a moving ship, the Royal Navy's H.M.S. Furious.

The Fokker D.VII is widely regarded as the best German airplane of the war and was first test-flown by Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. Fokker D VIII dubbed the "Flying Razor" by Allied pilots, it had the distinction of scoring the last aerial victory of the war. Fokker DR.1 1 Introduced over the western front in August 1917, the Fokker Triplane soon became the favorite plane of Germany's greatest WWI ace, Baron Manfred von Richthofen. Nieuport II. Halberstadt The Sopwith Camel had great agility in combat because of the fantastic torque of its rotary engine and because the engine, pilot and guns were all located in the first seven feet of the wooden airframe. Thomas Morse Scout American-produced World War I plane that complemented the Curtiss primary trainers and the French scout planes that American pilots flew in France. It is a French built "SPAD S.X111," one of the best allied fighter planes of World War 1. The SPAD was 20 feet 8 inches long, with a wing span of 26 feet 7 inches. Powered by a 165 hp engine, with the fantastic maximum speed of 139 mph. Armament was two fixed forward firing .303 Vickers machine guns. The pilot had to aim his plane instead of aiming the machine guns. The guns were synchronized to fire through the whirling propeller. If it became damaged, the pilot would shoot down his own airplane! Soon the Germans developed an interpreter gear, this kept the machine guns from firing when the propeller was directly in front. In this high tech age, it is hard to grasp the stark simplicity of those early airplanes (frames covered with fabric like a plastic table cloth). It certainly took courage just to fly one without having to fight with it. Royal Flying corps.

The Fokker Dr.1 (Dr standing for Dreidecker or 3 wings) was one of the most famous planes of World War One. This is probably because it was associated with the Red Baron. The Fokker Dr.1 was 5,77 m. long, 2,95 m high. It had a wingspan of 7,19 m. The Fokker Dr.1's airframe was made out steel tubing that was covered in aircraft doped canvas. When it was empty, it weighed 405 kg. It had one 80kw engine and could fly a maximum speed of 185 Km/u and fly a maximum time of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It could fly at a maximum altitude of 14,000 ft. Like most planes in World War One, the Fokker Dr.1 had a rotary engine. The propeller was bolted directly onto the engine and the engine and the propeller would rotate together. The Fokker Dr.1 had one open cockpit, which could hold one pilot. The Fokker Dr.1 had two machine guns with an interceptor gear that was designed to fire bullets through the propeller arc without hitting the blades. The Fokker Dr.1 was a smaller plane compare to other planes of World War One, also it was not as fast as most planes. When the Fokker Dr.1 was first came into service, the enemy thought the Fokker Dr.1 was just a huge joke until pilots like Werner Voss, showed what it could do in combat. Flying a prototype, Voss shot down 10 British aircraft in six days of aerial combat in September 1917. Only 320 Fokker Dr.1's were made in World War One, so no Fokker Dr.1 is still around today, there are only replicas.

The Fokker Dr.1 was a successful plane in World War One. It was one of the best dogfighters of the war. The Fokker Dr.1 was a terrible plane in the hand of an inexperienced pilot but with an experienced pilot it was an almost unstoppable dogfighter. One pilot that made the Fokker Dr.1 very succesful was Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, commonly know as the "Red Baron". He had 80 confirmed victories, which made him the most succesful pilot in World War 1. He was also leader of the Flying Circus or Jasta 11, (a squadron during World War One that shot down more than 300 allied planes). He was killed in his Fokker Dr.1 whilst chasing a novice pilot fairly low to the ground by a single shot in the chest by either a Canadian Pilot, Austalian machine gunners or by ground troops. The Red baron said the Fokker Dr.1 "climbed like a monkey and manoeuvred like the devil". The Red Baron was awarded the Blue Max, which is the common name for Prussia's highest military honour. Some people today believe that the Red Baron made the Fokker Dr.1 more famous than it deserved.

The Fokker Dr.1 was a succesful plane because it was small and had 3 wings and a supplementary airfoil on the undercarriage. With its size, weight and three wings, it was able to climb rapidly and easily outclimb almost any opponent. It could turn very quickly as well. The Fokker Dr.1 was a highly manoeuvrable and very agile plane. It offered good upward visibility and lacked the traditional bracing wires, which was a vulnerable point of many planes in World War One. The bracing wires could easily be shot away in combat. However, the Fokker Dr.1 was not without problems, some reasons why it did not succeed was because of the poor wing design which led to the temporary withdrawal from service by the end of October 1917. Several pilots were killed because of this wing problem. Among them was Staffelfuhrer Henrich Gontermann who was an ace that had scored 39 victories. He took off in his newly delivered Fokker Dr.1 for the first time to perform aerobatics over his home aerodrome. As he pulled out of a steep dive, witnesses saw pieces fly from the Fokker Dr.1 's wings. The plane crashed and killed Gontermann. By the time this wing structural problem was fixed, the Fokker Dr.1 had already been replaced with the newer, faster Fokker D 7.

The Fokker Dr.1 was Germany's response to the success of the Sopwith Triplane. In World War One, there were three main types of planes; these were scouts, fighters and bombers. At the first there were only scouts, which flew up in the air and looked at what the enemy was doing and reported back the details. At first these scouts had no guns but later on guns were being carried or attached to the planes. The first guns were just the pistols that the pilot carried on the plane with them, then later on machine guns were put on the planes. The first machine guns were designed with an intercepting gear so the bullets could fire through the propeller arc without hitting the propeller. Later on this lead to fighting scouts. As the war developed, planes started to carry bombs, these planes were bigger and slower so this lead to fighters because the bombers needed fast planes to escort them so they wouldn't be shot down. Also fighters were needed so the enemy bombers could be shot down. The Fokker Dr.1 was used mainly as a fighting scout. The Fokker Dr.1 was designed to be a dogfighter. It was used to shoot down as many planes as possible. It was also used for a bit of scouting as well. The Fokker Dr.1 was also used for defence purposes because it wasn't as fast as most fighter planes on World War One.

Germany mainly ordered the Fokker Dr.1 into production by tactics. After Germany saw what the Sopwith Triplane could do on the Western Front, they thought they needed a plane similar to the Sopwith Triplane for themselves for devence and attack purposes Luftwaffe.

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