Sopwith Triplane

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Sopwith Triplane

de:Sopwith Triplane

The Sopwith Triplane was a single seater triplane fighter aircraft used by the British in World War I. It was manufactured by the Sopwith Aviation Company and was nicknamed the Tripe or the Tripehound.

Designed, like the Sopwith Pup, by Herbert Smith the Triplane possessed a fuselage similar to that of the Pup, although the disposition of spacers, formers and stringers differed. Likewise the tailplane, elevators, rudder and fin resembled those of the Pup. Initially powered by a 110 hp Clerget 9Z nine-cylinder rotary engine, however most planes were fitted with a 130 hp Clerget 9B rotary. At least one Triplane was tested with 110 hp Le Rhône rotary engine.

Introduced in November 1916 the Sopwith Triplane was flown by the Royal Naval Air Service. A total 152 of them were built. The planes were more agile and faster climbers than early biplanes but they were slower and less well armed than the German aircraft of the time. Most Triplanes were armed with a single fixed Vickers machine gun that fired, using an interrupter gear, through the propeller. However six of the planes were fitted with twin Vickers guns.

The tripe was famously flown by the "Black Flight" (of No. 10 Naval Squadron) which was commanded by Canadian ace Raymond Collishaw. The unit shot down 87 German aircraft in three months while equipped with the Sopwith Triplane. Collishaw himself scored 33 victories in the aircraft, more than any other pilot.

After less than a year, the triplanes were withdrawn from service and replaced by Sopwith Camels. The Germans were impressed by the performance of the Triplane and a captured specimen inspired the development of the more famous Fokker Dr.I.


Specifications (130 hp Clerget-engined variant)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Length: 5.73 m (18 ft 10 in)
  • Wingspan: 8 m (26 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 21,46 m² (231 ft²)
  • Empty: 450 kg (993 lb)
  • Loaded: 642 kg (1,415 lb)
  • Powerplant: Clerget 9Z, 9 cylinder, rotary, 110 hp [82 kw] or
  • Powerplant: Clerget 9B, rotary, 130 hp [96 kw] or
  • Powerplant: Le Rhône, 9 cylinder, 110 hp [82 kw]

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 187 km/h (116 mph) at 1,830 m (6,000 ft)
  • Endurance: 2,75 hrs
  • Range: ~450 km (~280 miles)
  • Service ceiling: 6,248 m (20,500 ft)
  • Time to 1,980 m (6,500 ft): 6,33 min
  • Wing loading: 29,92 kg/m² (6,13 lb/ft²)


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