Archive digitization



Aviation and Diplomacy

Frank Piasecki

NATO 1949-2009 Projekt ekspozycji w Muzeum Lotnictwa Polskiego w Krakowie



Polish Aviation Museum

31-864 Kraków,
al. Jana Pawła II 39
phone: (12) 640 99 60,
(12) 642 40 70
e-mail: info@muzeumlotnictwa.pl

a cultural institution of the Malopolska Region

Małopolska – Kraków Region


Patronage

Kraków Airport







Aeroplane: Sopwith F.1 Camel

Sopwith F.1 Camel
Great Britain
fighter
1917



  • Technical data


Span 8.53 m
Length 5.53 m
Take-off weight 665 kg
Maximum speed 187 km/h
Ceiling 5450 m
Range 3.5 hours
Armament 2 x synchronised 7.7 mm Vickers machine guns, 4 x 9 kg bombs
Powerplant :
9-cylinder rotary Bentley Br 1, 150 hp (111 kW)
Virtual tour :

 

A battle-hardened example of the most famous British fighter of World War I.

Sir Thomas O.M. Sopwith belongs to the most known group of persons in British aviation. He started his aeronautical career as a balloonist, then he established an aeronautical school, designed airframes and just before the outbreak of the First World War, he established a company producing aircraft. Shortly before the war, he started to build a single seat Tabloid for the British military. The technical development in the first years of the war, forced more modern construction to emerge.

Working at the Sopwith works, Herbert Smith designed, for the commission of the Royal Navy, an airframe in 1916, which became one of the most famous British fighters of the First World War. The Sopwith F.1 Camel was a single seat wooden construction. Because of a different types of engines used, a few versions differed with performance and exploitation features emerged. The first copies reached the Naval squadrons in May 1917, and the Royal Flying Corps was equipped with the machines from June 1917.

In the last month of the war there served over 800 Sopwith F.1 Camels in frontline units. In total, 5490 examples of this most famous British fighter of the First World War were built. Despite its undisputed features, the Camel was a very hard machine to fly. The gyroscopic phenomenon of the rotary engine was a nightmare for fresh pilots and often led to crashes.

After the end of the war, the Camels were in service with the air forces of the USA, Canada, Belgium and Greece, some served also in Soviet Union. The only one, F5234 Camel in service with the Polish aviation, was a private property of an American volunteer, f/o Kenneth M. Murray. This aircraft took part in the Polish-Bolshevik War, flying with the 7th Flight and was later handed over to Polish military authorities.

The aircraft on display at the Krakow museum, the B 7280 Camel, was built at the Clayton & Shuttleworth Works in Lincoln. From 30th of March 1918, it served in the 1st squadron of the Royal Navy Aeronautical Service (the RNAS). Since the 1st April 1918, the unit changed the name to the 201 RAF squadron. Flying the above mentioned aircraft f/o J.H.Foreman shot down two German aircraft. After repair, the aircraft was handed to the 210 RAF squadron. Between the 16th June and the 5th September 1918, f/lt H.A.Patey, flying this fighter downed nine more enemy planes. On the 5th September 1918, the aircraft was forced to land on the German frontline. His Sopwith F.1 Camel was tested by the Germans and later displayed at the aeronautical exhibition in Berlin. Actually, it's the one of five Camels saved in the world. Quite possibly, it is the most distinguished First World War combat exhibit, with eleven German aircraft downed credited to its pilots.

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Dofinansowano ze środków Ministra Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego
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