Sopwith Triplane. Semi-profile control line model. Wing area 303 sq in, for .29 or .35 power.
Quote: "Neither Scale nor Sport Scale, this little triplane could best be described as 'entertainment scale.' Strictly for fun. An easy-to-build crowd pleaser for Sunday afternoon fun. By Hal Redner.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the designers and craftsmen at Sopwith-on-the-Thames wore their smiles proudly when the German Air Ministry called in its airframe manufacturers to examine and essentially copy a captured Sopwith Triplane. Making its initial appearance at the front in January 1917, the Sopwith preceded the Fokker Tripe by eight months and had an operational life of eleven months, as did the Fokker Triplane. The two warriors overlapped their combat careers for five months, and the thought occurs - did a Royal Naval Air Force Tripe ever dogfight with an Imperial German Air Force Dreidecker? And what of the outcome?
An easier question to answer is, 'When have you ever seen a Sopwith Tripe in control line circles?' Never! Well, let's correct that right now. And let's correct in a fashion that will entertain the public. This semi-profile tripe flies extremely well; inverted, soft figure eights, lots of inside loops and - cheating slightly - outside loops. All this in an eye-catching three-decker with round red, white and blue insignia. Get two buddies and recreate the 'Black Flight' of the Royal Navy!
A brief pep talk before you younger men groan at the idea of cutting enough ribs for three wings and then getting three wings lined up correctly. No cutting of ribs at all! Three wings with only two spars each equals any biplane with three spars in each wing. And the Sopwith is a superior multi-wing choice because of the straight fuselage line that facilitates lining up two wings, stabilizer, and engine thrust line. That leaves one wing to be giventhe same angle of incidence as the others - and isn't that what you would have to do in the case of a biplane? Courage chaps..."
Sopwith Triplane, MAN, June 1980.
Direct submission to Outerzone.
Article pages, thanks to RFJ.
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