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Sopwith Triplane

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1916

Истребитель

Sopwith - Pup - 1916 - Великобритания<– –>Sopwith - Triplane (Hispano-Suiza) - 1916 - Великобритания


В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны


Сопвич "Триплан" / Sopwith Triplane
  
  Самолет разработан инженером-конструктором фирмы "Сопвич Эвиэйшн Компани" Гербертом Смитом. Первый полет прототипав состоялся в мае 1916 года под управлением шеф-пилота фирмы "Сопвич" Гарри Хаукера. Применение трипланной схемы обусловлено стремлением повысить маневренность машины и улучшить обзор для летчика. В июне прототип прошел фронтовые испытания во Франции и заслужил высокие оценки пилотов.
  Адмиралтейство и военное министерство Великобритании (War Office) выдали совместный заказ на 400 экземпляров истребителя, однако уже в конце того же года серийное производство прекратилось, так как руководство британской авиации сделало ставку на более перспективные модели. Всего успели построить около 150 экземпляров "триплана", из них 95 - на фирме "Сопвич", а остальные - на фирмах "Клэйтон энд Шаттлуорт" и "Окли энд Компани".
  Самолет оснащался довольно мощным по тем временам 130-сильным ротативным мотором "Клерже" 9B и синхронным пулеметом "Виккерс". На нескольких экземплярах установили по два синхропулемета (первый подобный случай в авиации союзников).
  Один экземпляр истребителя был в экспериментальном порядке оснащен двухрядным двигателем водяного охлаждения "Испано-Сюиза".
  "Трипланы" начали поступать во фронтовые части западного фронта в ноябре 1916-го. К весне 1917-го они состояли на вооружении 1-го, 8-го, 9-го, 10-го, 11-го и 12-го дивизионов RNAS (1-й, 8-й и 10-й дивизионы позже были переведены в RFC).
  Самолет хорошо проявил себя в воздушных боях, показав выдающиеся скорость, маневренность и скороподъемность. На тот момент "Триплан" был, несомненно, лучшим британским истребителем, хотя к середине 1917 года его стандартное вооружение считалось уже недостаточным. Он произвел такое впечатление на противника, что целый ряд немецких авиафирм срочно взялся за создание собственных истребителей трипланой схемы.
  Появление весной 1917-го более совершенного, а главное - двухпулеметного "Кэмела" помешало широкому распространению трехкрылого истребителя. Летом того же года "кэмелы" начали быстро вытеснять "трипланы" из строевых частей, и к началу следующего "трипланов" на фронте уже не осталось.
  В том же году четыре экземпляра "Триплана" передали для ознакомления французам, один - американцам и еще один (серийный №5486) - отправили в Россию. Этот самолет применялся на стороне красных в Гражданской войне, затем довольно долго использовался как учебное пособие в московской авиашколе, а сейчас чудом уцелевшая машина является экспонатом Монинского авиационного музея.
  
  
ЛЕТНО-ТЕХНИЧЕСКИЕ ХАРАКТЕРИСТИКИ
("Триплан" 1916г)
  
  Размах, м 8,08
  Длина, м 5,84
  Высота, м 3,10
  Площадь крыла, кв.м 21,45
  Сухой вес, кг 499
  Взлетный вес, кг 700
  Двигатель: "Клерже-9b"
   мощность, л. с. 130
  Скорость максимальная, км/ч 182
  Скорость подъема на высоту
   2000 м, мин.сек 6,40
  Дальность полета, км 560
  Потолок, м 6250
  Экипаж, чел. 1
  Вооружение 1-2 пулемета


А.Шепс Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты


Сопвич "Триплан" (Triplane) 1916 г.

  Дальнейшим развитием машин серии "Пап" были истребители Сопвич "Триплан". Главным отличием этой машины от предшественника было наличие трех крыльев, что позволило при том же размахе получить большую площадь поверхности крыльев и уменьшить хорду крыла. Уменьшая нагрузку на крыло, получаем лучшие маневренные, скоростные и взлетно-посадочные характеристики. Верхнее крыло сплошное, консоли крепились к небольшому центроплану. Среднее крыло имело разрыв в районе центроплана для лучшего обзора. Так как крыло имело меньшую хорду, устанавливались одинарные стойки крыла, но вводились дополнительные растяжки. Обычно устанавливался один синхронный пулемет 7,69-мм "Виккерс". Но на некоторых машинах устанавливалось и 2 пулемета. Конструкция фюзеляжа, оперения и шасси аналогичное самолету "Пап" с незначительными изменениями. Управление тросовое, обычное для машин того времени. Двигатель 9-цилиндровый, воздушного охлаждения, звездообразный "Клерже-9b" (130 л. с.). Всего построено только 152 машины этого типа. Несколько машин в 1917-1920 годах попали в Россию по поставкам союзников и как трофеи во время интервенции.
  Опыт первых воздушных боев, проведенных "Трипланами", показал их преимущество перед современными германскими аппаратами, однако предпочтение для массового производства было отдано более простому биплану.


В.Шавров История конструкций самолетов в СССР до 1938 г.


"Сопвич-триплан" - один из удачных английских истребителей, применявшихся на западном фронте в 1917-1918 гг. Двигатель - "Клерже" в 130 л. с. Применялся и в гражданской войне.

   В России было несколько таких самолетов, полученных в 1917 г.


Самолет||<Сопвич-триплан>
Год выпуска||1917
Двигатель , марка||<Клерже>
   мощность, л. с.||130
Длина самолета, м||5,9
Размах крыла, м||8
Площадь крыла, м2||25,4
Масса пустого, кг||583
Масса топлива+ масла, кг||82
Масса полной нагрузки, кг||201
Полетная масса, кг||784
Удельная нагрузка на крыло, кг/м2||30,8
Удельная нагрузка на мощность, кг/лс||6
Весовая отдача,%||25
Скорость максимальная у земли, км/ч||185
Время набора высоты||
   2000м, мин||6,5
   3000м, мин||11,7
Потолок практический, м||6000
Продолжительность полета, ч.||2


H.King Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 (Putnam)


Triplane

  By the above style and title only (though with the inevitable diminutive 'Tripe' or the then-stylish "Tripehound") was known one of the daintiest and most distinctive fighters ever to leave Kingston-on-Thames. And with the Pup still close in mind the terms 'dainty' and 'distinctive' are not glibly applied. There was, indeed, a very close relationship between the two machines, though in the Triplane the first aeroplane of its form to be put to practical use a special effort was made to improve not only fighting view (which in the Pup was deficient) but manoeuvrability also for whatever its virtues in respect of handling and height-holding the Pup still invited attention to rate of turn and roll. Even so, Harry Hawker himself considered not only the Pup, but the Triplane also, rather too stable though he himself is said to have recommended for the Triplane the reduction of tailplane area that was to become one further distinction from the Pup.
  Design criteria and characteristics were most concisely epitomised by Harald Penrose when he wrote: 'Superimposing the Pup fuselage drawing on that of the Triplane shows, as with the Tabloid, matched profiles, though the spacer-strut disposition varies a little, with particularly clever adaptation at the centre-section struts. The span of the Pup and the Triplane was identical at 26 ft 6 in; the effective stagger from lop leading edge to lower wing trailing edge was the same; and to align the three leading edges the wing chord of the Triplane was made 3 ft 3 in instead of 5 ft 1 1/2 in. However, the weight of the Triplane would beat least 200 lb greater than the Pup; clearly it was desirable to go for the biggest available engine to enhance performance, so a 110 hp Clerget from the 1 1/2 Strutter production line was taken. On 28 May, 1916, the Sopwith Experimental Department passed the machine for flight tests. By that time the Pup was earning tributes everywhere for its impeccable handling.'
  To this appraisal the present writer would merely add a note to emphasise the Triplane's quite astounding rate of climb by virtue of a lower power-loading, which more than offset the higher wing-loading.
  One manifest disadvantage inherited by the Triplane from the Pup was the fitting of a single machine-gun only, the installations being more or less identical, with the Vickers gun lying on the centre line ahead of the cockpit and having mechanical synchronising gear (Scarff-Dibovsky or Sopwith-Kauper), an ammunition supply of 500 rounds and the Sopwith padded screen. In some degree the disadvantage of low firepower was offset by the Triplane's stability, enabling it to fly hands-off for clearing gun-jams. Departures from standard armament included the fitting of twin Vickers guns in a few examples; the addition of a Lewis gun at the root of the port middle wing; and provision for elevating the Vickers gun to fire upwards at an angle of about five degrees. This last installation entailed fitting an Aldis optical sight having a special graticule, and was intended for stern or underneath attack at relatively long range.
  Structurally, of course, the triplane wing cellule commands our first attention and this must go beyond a remark by Lord Weir that 'Some of the aerodynamic disabilities of the triplane were overcome by the pronounced forward stagger and the use of a single strut. This single-strut system increased the difficulties of manufacture and repair, particularly as regards truing-up.'
  One's first thought here is what was meant by 'the aerodynamic disabilities of the triplane' that could be overcome by merely staggering the wings, and one can only conclude that these 'disabilities' must have been attributed to interference between the juxtaposed wings-though the gap was substantial and the chord quite narrow. Lord Weir's allusion to 'forward stagger' may conceivably have been deliberate, for as we shall later see, the degree of stagger in the later Snark and Cobham triplanes was sharply unequal-conveying almost an impression of backward stagger from some aspects - while, more pointedly, some Sopwith biplanes (the 'fabric' Snail as well as the Dolphin) had actual negative stagger.
  As for difficulties of manufacture, repair and rigging, the last of these was, seemingly at least, simple, the cellule being braced much as a biplane structure, though with upper and lower drag and anti-drag wires. Should the terms 'drag' and 'anti-drag' seem too extremely archaic in respect of such external as distinct from internal-wires, it may be remarked that, well into the 1930s, riggers of RAF Siskins a type officially declared to have 'unusual' wing-bracing were advised: 'The drag and anti-drag bracing wires are "threaded" through the plane framework from their anchorages
  Admittedly, there were six ailerons on the Triplane instead of four as on the Sopwith biplane fighters; but the instructions for 'truing-up the main planes' seemed simple and explicit enough-even in this lavishly 'capitalised' verbatim rendering:
  'Adjust by Landing Wires, and check by Abney Level and Straightedge, or Dihedral Board and Spirit Level, along the Front Spars of the Upper Main Planes.
  'The Stagger from Upper Main Plane to Lower Main Plane is 36", being 18" between Upper and Intermediate and Intermediate and Lower Main Planes respectively.
  ‘This should be correct at the Centre Section. To ensure that it is constant throughout, place straightedges across the Leading Edges of the Main Planes. Adjust Drag and Anti-Drag Wires until any two of these straightedges are in line.
  'Check for Main Planes being square with Machine by taking measurements from Top and Bottom Sockets of Outer Interplane Struts to Rudderpost and Front Drag Wiring Plates. Corresponding measurements should be the same on both sides.
  ‘The Incidence is 2 for all Main Planes. Check by Abney Level and Straightedge, placing the latter along the chord of a rib.
  ‘This can only be adjusted if the fittings on Interplane Struts have not been drilled.
  'It is important throughout the process of truing the Main Planes to check the Dihedral, Stagger and Incidence to ensure that adjustments for one do not throw the others out.'
  These verbatim instructions notwithstanding, it must be acknowledged that there were separate instructions for 'truing-up the centre section’, and that Lord Weir's remark may well have had more substance than suggested.
  Oliver Stewart recalled that the Triplane was 'reported to be subject to the same trouble as the Nieuport and to have a habit of twisting one of its planes about the front spar so that control and stability were lost.’ He quickly added, however, that "in fact none of these faults was demonstrated to be inherent in the aeroplane, and as pilots got to know it better they got to like it better until, when it was superseded, it was allowed to go with regret."
  In outlining the Triplane's technical development and operational employment - which were very closely linked by the familiar tale of the "prototype N500" being sent into action a few minutes only after its arrival in France (mid-June 1916) one would first remark that although a photograph now reproduced supposedly shows "N500" under construction, the number prominently placarded on the port rear landing-gear strut is, in fact, "490". Interesting though this observation may be, its significance may be scant, for the airframe depicted appears to match the line 'taxying-at-Brooklands' study in all discernible respects; and though the transparent panelling in the top centre-section may be absent in the view taken before completion, also absent and indubitably in both views is the Vickers gun. It is worth noting, nevertheless, that the figures '490' formed no sequence in Admiralty Contract No. C.P. 117520/16. ascribed to the first Triplane order, though they did appear as three digits in N5490, one of the early Sopwith-built production machines.
  In both the pictures just mentioned the engine is apparently a 110 hp Clerget (makers' suffix 9Z), and the tailplane again quite properly, to accord with characteristics usually ascribed to the first, or 'prototype' Triplane appears to be adjustable. This adjustment, it may here be mentioned, was effected (on production Triplanes at least) by the pilot turning a wheel fixed to the starboard centre-section strut where that strut passed through the cockpit. Externally, at higher level, this same strut served to carry a propeller-driven air pump for petrol delivery.
  When the first Triplane joined the first Pup at Funics (base of 'A' Squadron, RNAS) in mid-1916 it amazed and delighted pilots, especially by its proven ability to reach 12.000 ft in 13 min; and, like the Pup the type was ordered for the RFC as well as the RNAS, the Navy getting the first machines built by Sopwith themselves, and the War Office depending for its initial supplies on Clayton and Shuttleworth Ltd. of Lincoln. As things turned out, however, the Triplane was never used as standard operational equipment by the RFC, the machines originally intended for that Service being exchanged for Spads.
  Even the excellent rate of climb just noted was surpassed by a slightly later Triplane - apparently the second example, N504 - which, by September 1916 was flying with a 130 hp Clerget engine (Type 9B) and averaged a climb-rate of 1,000 ft/min up to a level of 13,000 ft; it may indeed have climbed to 22,000 ft in September 1916 - an achievement which, if true, would have been the more remarkable because in that same month Sqn Cdr Harry Busteed recorded its sea-level speed as 116 mph.
  Subsequent re-engining was possibly conlined to the testing of a 110 hp Le Rhone installation. For the greater part Triplanes in service had the 130 hp Clerget, rather than the alternative 110 hp unit of the same make, occasionally with a small pointed spinner on the propeller, as was sometimes the case with Camels; but probably the most interesting experimental development concerned not the power plant but the airframe. This involved the testing, in December 1916, of N5423 (Sopwith-built) with wings increased in chord by three inches - that is, to 3 ft 6 in. Clearly, an increase in chord may well have been associated with a change in section; but although there is no confirmation that this was in fact the case, it is certain that official laboratory studies were made of triplane wings for which the R.A.F.15 section was substituted for the R.A.F.6. Interestingly enough, there were laboratory tests also of model triplane wings having a gap/chord ratio of 1 (almost exactly that of the standard Sopwith Triplane, which had a gap of 3 ft and a chord of 3 ft 3 in) - and with zero stagger, with +30 deg stagger, and with -30 deg stagger.
  Although some aspects of the Sopwith Triplane's performance were apparently improved with the long-chord wings, these wings were never standardised; nor was wing-bracing appreciably interfered with until the Triplane's active-service life was over though the type was still a fighter classic, even, for instance, with the School of Aerial Fighting at Marske, in Yorkshire. One RAF Technical Order of 1918 required a compression strut to be fitted spanwise above the externally mounted Vickers gun.
  In May 1917 N5486 left the RNAS Depot at White City, London, for White Russia, where it was fitted with skis. Jack Alcock's 'Sopwith Mouse' (so-called) embodied some Triplane components and has a note to itself under 'Apocrypha'.
  Although Harald Penrose firmly ascribes to Harry Hawker the recommendation that the Triplane's tailplane should be reduced in area (the most important modification made to improve this fighter's combat performance notably by increasing the rate of turn) the alteration clearly stemmed from operational experience, for it dated from February 1917. The new horizontal surfaces (the elevator as well as the tailplane being involved) spanned only 8 ft instead of about 10 ft, and their area was thus reduced by more than 10 sq ft. Because the leading edge was now shorter than the trailing edge, the familiar inwardly-raked tips which had been so characteristic of the Pup were now reversed in form, and various changes in handling were attributed to this innovation by different pilots.
  Short but lustrous was the Triplane's operational career after N500 was sent off on an interception within its first quarter-hour at Furnes in June 1916, though something of an interregnum was implicit in the fact that production Triplanes did not enter service until February 1917. The total number built, in fact, was apparently no more than 150, and from Oakley Ltd. of Ilford, Essex, came only three of their order for twenty-two. Thus in March 1917 the busy-minded and busy-tongued Mr Noel Pemberton Billing asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if he would give the date 'on which the first Sopwith triplane scout was offered to the authorities; the date on which the first order was placed for the same; what proportion of the order has been delivered; and what proportion is now on active service.’ As may be imagined, 'P.B.' was told that it would not be in the public interest to give the particulars asked for and seemingly some mystery remains to this day concerning a substantial reduction in Triplane orders, though the coming of the Camel may have had some influence here. Oakley, moreover, had never built aircraft before, and though their meagre contribution did not begin until the autumn of 1917, they had been asked to fit Camel-style armament (twin Vickers guns).
  None of which considerations detracts in any way from an operational career which enabled H. A. Jones to record in The War in the Air that 'The sight of a Sopwith Triplane formation, in particular, induced the enemy pilots to dive out of range.’ And the Triplane having been, as already shown, very much an RNAS fighter, we take from British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Owen Thetford, Putnam) this fittingly brief summation: Production Triplanes entered service with No. 1 and 8 (Naval) Squadrons in February 1917 and with No.10 (Naval) Squadron in May. Some remarkable engagements were fought by such redoubtable Triplane pilots as Sqn Cdr C. D. Booker, nsc, and F/Sub-Lt R. A. Little, of 'Naval Eight’ and FSub-Lt Raymond Collishaw of 'Naval Ten'. The Triplanes of Collishaw's B' Flight (named Black Death, Black Maria, Black Roger, Black Prince and Black Sheep) became the terror of the enemy: between May and July 1917 they destroyed 87 enemy aircraft. Collishaw personally accounted for 16 in 27 days and shot down the German ace Allmenroder on 27 June ... The Triplane's career was glorious but brief. It remained in action for only seven months: in November 1917 the Camel had supplanted it in squadrons.'
  To the French Government went Triplanes N5385 and N5388, and, as already noted, N5486 was despatched to Russia. N5458 (after serving its time at the Front) was exhibited in the USA. The Germans and Austrians were clearly influenced by the design, which underwent close scrutiny at Adlershof (for several examples were captured and tested); but one clear advantage possessed by the hardly less famous Fokker Dr. I was the fitting of twin belt-fed guns as standard equipment. That Sopwith Triplanes N533 N538 are known to have been similarly armed (with two Vickers guns) and that this same armament was intended for the Oakley-built machines was small comfort, though obviously an increased warload meant a decreased rate of climb. And rate of climb, perhaps, was the real trump card in the Triplane's symbolic deck of three.
  Triplane production was apparently as follows:
  Sopwith N500; N504; N524: N5420-N5494; N6290-N6309
  Clayton & Shuttleworth N533-N538; N5350-N5389
  Oakley N5910^N5912 (N5913- N5934 were not completed).


Triplane (130 hp Clergel)

  Span 26 ft 6 in (8.1 m); length 19ft 10in(6m); height 10 ft 6 in (3.2 m); wing area 231 sq ft (21.5 sq m). Empty weight 993 lb (450 kg): maximum weight 1,415 lb (642 kg). Maximum speed at 6,500 ft (1,980 m) 116 mph (187 km/h): maximum speed at 10,000 ft (3,050 m) 114mph (183 km/h); maximum speed at 15,000 ft (4,570 m) 105 mph (169 km/h): climb to 6.500 ft (1,980 m) 6.3 min; climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m) 10.6 min: climb to 15,000 ft (4,570 m) 19 min; service ceiling 20,500 ft (6,250 m); endurance 2 hr 45 min.


O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)


Sopwith Triplane

  The Sopwith Triplane was one of the great successes of the First World War. Its unusual configuration bestowed such qualities as a remarkable rate of roll and a fast climb, both invaluable in air combat. It was used only by the RNAS, and it gained complete ascendancy over the Western Front during the heavy aerial fighting of 1917.
  In the Sopwith chronology the Triplane bridged the gap between the Pup and the Camel, and the first prototype (N500) did Service trials with Naval 'A' Fighting Squadron at Furnes in June 1916. Production Triplanes entered service with No.1 and 8 (Naval) Squadrons in February 1917 and with No.10 (Naval) Squadron in May. Some remarkable engagements were fought by such redoubtable Triplane pilots as Sqn Cdr C D Booker, DSC, and F/Sub-Lt R A Little, of 'Naval Eight' and F/Sub-Lt Raymond Collishaw of 'Naval Ten'. The Triplanes of Collishaw's 'B' Flight (named Black Death, Black Maria, Black Roger, Black Prince and Black Sheep) became the terror of the enemy: between May and July 1917 they destroyed 87 German aircraft. Collishaw personally accounted for 16 in 27 days and shot down the German ace Allmenroder on 27 June.
  The Triplane's career was glorious but brief. It remained in action for only seven months; in November 1917 the Camel had supplanted it in squadrons. Total deliveries to the RNAS amounted to 149. All production aircraft were built by sub-contractors: 104 from Clayton & Shuttleworth and 43 from Oakley. The last Triplane (N5912), delivered by Oakley Ltd on 19 October 1917, survives in the RAF Museum at Hendon.
  From February 1917 Triplanes had a smaller tailplane of 8 ft span instead of the original Pup-type of 10 ft span. This accompanied the change to a 130 hp engine and improved diving characteristics.

UNITS ALLOCATED
  Nos. 1, 8, 9, 10 and 12 (Naval) Squadrons. Western Front. One aircraft (N5431) used by 'E' Squadron of NO.2 Wing. RNAS. in Macedonia.

TECHNICAL DATA
  Description: Single-seat fighting scout. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd. Kingston-on-Thames. Sub-contracted by Clayton & Shuttleworth Ltd. Lincoln (N533-538, N541-543, N5420-5494 and N6290-6309) and Oakley, Ltd, Ilford (N5350-5389 and N5910-5912).
  Power Plant: One 110 hp or 130 hp Clerget.
  Dimensions: Span. 26 ft 6 in. Length, 18 ft 10 in. Height, 10 ft 6 in. Wing area, 231 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty. 1,101 lb. Loaded. 1,541 lb.
  Performance (with 130 hp Clerget): Maximum speed, 113 mph at 6.500 ft. Climb, 22 min to 16.000 ft. Endurance, 2 3/4 hr. Service ceiling, 20,500 ft.
  Armament: One fixed, synchronised Vickers machine-gun was standard, but a few aircraft had twin Vickers.


H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)


Triplane. The second Sopwith fighter produced in 1916, the Triplane was armed, with only three known exceptions, in the manner of the standard Pup, the single Vickers gun lying on the centre line ahead of the cockpit and having Scarff-Dibovsky synchronising gear. Ammunition supply was 500 rounds, and the Sopwith padded screen was fitted. That the Triplane had the 'Scartf Patent Gun Mounting No.3 Made by The Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd. Kingston-on-Thames', was attested by a plate on the instrument panel. Of the three exceptions mentioned, one was the installation of two Vickers guns in a small number of aircraft; another was the fitting of a Lewis gun (additional to the standard Vickers installation) at the root of the port middle wing; and the third was the elevating of the Vickers gun to fire upward at an angle of about five degrees. This last installation entailed fitting an Aldis sight with a special graticule and was intended for stern or underneath attack at relatively long range.


W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters


SOPWITH TRIPLANE UK

  Possessing a fuselage fundamentally similar to that of the Pup, although the disposition of spacers, formers and stringers differed, Sopwith’s next single-seat fighter - designed, like the Pup, by Herbert Smith - initiated a vogue: that of the fighting triplane. The first prototype of what was to be referred to simply as the Triplane was completed in May 1916, its radical wing arrangement of triple narrow-chord mainplanes, with ailerons on all three wings and single broad-chord interplane and centre section struts, resulted in ex¬emplary manoeuvrability and, for its day, a phenomenal climb rate. A measure of the success of the Sopwith Triplane after making its combat debut with the RNAS was provided by the extraordinary variety of single-seat fighters of similar configuration hurriedly developed by German and Austro-Hungarian companies. Initially powered by the 110 hp Clerget 9Z nine-cylinder rotary, but more usually being fitted with the 130 hp Clerget 9B, the Triplane began to appear in production form late in 1916, joining combat in the following February. Armament normally comprised one synchronised 0.303-in (7,7-mm) gun, but a few were fitted with twin weapons of this calibre. At least one aircraft was tested with a 110 hp Le Rhone engine. Although the Tri¬plane was ordered for both the RNAS and RFC, it was, in fact, used operationally by the former service only, an agreement having been reached in February 1917 under which the RNAS exchanged all its SPAD S.VIIs for all the Triplanes then on order for the RFC. As a result, contracts were reduced and only some 150 were completed, the Triplane’s operational career being brief, and its replacement by the Camel in Naval squadrons commencing as early as July 1917. The following data relate to the 130 hp Clerget-engined Triplane.

Max speed, 116 mph (187 km/h) at 6,000 ft (1 830 m).
Time to 6,500 ft (1 980 m), 6.33 min.
Endurance, 2.75 hrs.
Empty weight, 993 lb (450 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,415 lb (642 kg).
Span, 26 ft 6 in (8,08 m).
Length, 19 ft 6 in (5,94 m).
Height, 10 ft 6 in (3,20 m).
Wing area, 231 sq ft (21,46 m2).


Журнал Flight


Flight, April 4, 1918.

THE SOPWITH TRIPLANE.

The following particulars of the Sopwith triplane are translated from German aeronautical journals, and we cannot, of course, vouch for the accuracy of the data given, nor can we, for obvious reasons, point out any mistakes that may be present. In spite of this, however, we have thought the following particulars of sufficient interest to include them in our series of descriptive articles on aeroplanes.-ED.]

  IN Deutsche Luftfahrer Zeitschrift of August 22nd, 1917, Dipl. Ing. Roland Eisenlohr gives the following description of the Sopwith triplane: Among the new types of aeroplanes which the war has brought into being, the Sopwith occupies a unique position, as being the first triplane to be put into practical use. After some not very successful experiments in the earlier days of aviation, carried out in Germany by Hans Grade in 1907, in England by A. V. Roe, and in France by Goupy, this form of construction had fallen into disuse, and no great future prospects were anticipated for this type of machine.
  What probably has led to the return of this form of construction is probably the small span which it enables one to use. Another advantage of the triplane arrangement is that the aspect ratio, which should not be less than 6, but which in many machines of short span often has to be considerably less, can be more easily arranged for in the triplane. Thus in the case of the Sopwith triplane the chord is only little over 1 metre, and the span is 8 metres. The increased wing resistance is counteracted by the employment of only one strut on each side and a very simple wing bracing. Furthermore it is possible, owing to the light loading of the wings, to construct the wing spars considerably lighter, and still have a comparatively great free length of spar, in the case of the Sopwith triplane about 2.75 m. with an overhang of 1.40 m. The weight of the total wing area will therefore scarcely come out greater than in the case of a biplane of the same area. Possibly also the arrangement of the wings is advantageous as regards the view obtained by the pilot, as the middle wing is about on a level with his eyes, and the upper and lower wings, on account of their small chord, do not obstruct the view to as great an extent as the wings of the ordinary smaller biplane having a greater wing chord. While both lift wires pass in front of the middle wing, the landing wire runs through it. The bracing cables for the body struts are crossed in the case of those running forward to the nose of the machine, while those bracing the struts in a rearward direction are straight. The gap between the wings is 90 centimetres, and the stagger is about 25 per cent. All the wings are fitted with wing flaps connected by a vertical steel band. In the nose the body carries a 110 h.p. Clerget rotary motor, enclosed in a circular cowl, which projects below the body in order to allow the air to escape.
  The body is of rectangular section, rounded off in front by means of a light wooden framework in order to make it merge into the curve of the engine cowl. The width of the fuselage is 0.70 m., and it tapers to a vertical knife-edge at the back, to which the rudder is hinged. The elevator is in two parts, and has in front of it a tail plane of about 3 metre span, which, as in all Sopwith machines, can have its angle of incidence adjusted during flight.
  The area of the Sopwith triplane is 27 square metres, so that for a total weight of 670 kilogs, the wing loading is only 25 kilogs. per square metre. With such a light loading the machine has undoubtedly a considerable speed and a very good climb. Further particulars relating to these have not yet been published up to the present. The triplane is built both as a single-seater and as a two-seater, and has always a fixed machine-gun in front above the fuselage, and in the case of the two-seater another machine gun operated by the observer. This increases the weight of the two-seater by about 100 kilogs.
  The under-carriage consists, as in all Sopwith machines, of two V's of steel tubing and a divided wheel axle, the hinge of which is braced from the fuselage.
  The following remarks are taken from the Flugsport :-
  The fuselage with tail plane and rudder is the same as that of the small Sopwith single-seater biplanes. The three wings have a span of 8.07 m. and a chord of 1 m. The lower and middle wings are attached to short wing sections on the fuselage. The upper plane is mounted on a canopy [the German term for a small centre section supported by struts from the body-ED.]. Both spars of the upper wing are left solid, while those of the lower and middle are of I-section. The interplane struts, which are of spruce, and of streamline section, run from the upper to the lower wing, and the inner ones from the upper wing to the bottom rail of the fuselage. In order to give a better view the middle wing, which is on a level with the pilot's eyes, is cut away near the fuselage.
  The wing bracing is in the form of streamline wires of 1/4-in. diameter. The very simply arranged landing wires are in the plane of the struts, while the bracing of the body struts, as well as the duplicate lift wires, are taken further forward. From the rear spar of the middle wing, wires are run forward and rearward to the upper rail of the fuselage, and the lower wing also has a wire running forward to the lower rail of the body. All the planes have wing flaps, and inspection windows of celluloid are fitted over the pulleys for the wing flap cables.
  The motor is a 110 h.p. Clerget, and the petrol is led to the engine by means of a small propeller air pump mounted on the right hand body strut. As the air screw was not in place we cannot give details of it. In the pilot's seat were the following instruments :- On the right a hand wheel for varying the angle of incidence of the tail planes, a hand operated air pump, and a petrol indicator. In the middle air speed indicator, manometer, clock, revs, indicator, and switch. On the left a petrol tap, lever for regulating the air, and lever for regulating the petrol. The weight of the machine empty was found to be 490 kilogs., and if the useful load is assumed to be 200 kilogs., we obtain a total weight of 690 kilogs., which, with an area of 21.96 sq. metres, would give a loading of 31.4 kilogs. per square metre.
  Further, the following particulars are given :- Motor: Clerget, nominal h.p. 110, brake h.p. 118; fuel capacity for two hours, petrol 85 litres, oil 23 litres; area of wings and flaps (square metres), upper 7.90, middle 6.96, lower 7.10, total 21.96; area of elevators 6 by .5, of wing flaps 1.10, of rudder .41. Angle of incidence (degrees): upper wing, root + 1, tip - .8; middle, root + 1.5, tip + 1.5; lower, root +.5, tip - .5; tail plane, variable + 2 to - 2 degrees. Loading per sq. metre, empty 22.3, fully loaded 31.4; loading per brake h.p., empty 4.15, fully loaded 5.85.

Weights.
  Fuselage with under-carriage and accessories 123. 5 kilogs.
  Wings 135
  Tail plane, rudder and elevator 13
  Engine 160
  Petrol tank 15
  Oil tank 8.5
  Propeller 16
  Engine accessories 16
  Mounting 3
--- All 490
  Pilot 80
  Gun and ammunition 40
  85 litres of petrol and 23 litres of oil 80
--- All 200


Flight, February 6, 1919.

"MILESTONES"

THE SOPWITH MACHINES

The Sopwith Triplane. (May 28, 1916)

Amongst all the Sopwith productions, nearly all of which have attained great fame - so much so, indeed, that their type names are veritably household words - none is more characteristic than the triplane, affectionately known as the "Tripe" or "Tripehound." This machine was fitted with 130 h.p. Clerget engines. The principal objects aimed at in this notable design were, first, the attainment of a high degree of visibility, or, rather, the reduction to a minimum of the pilot's blind angle. With his head on a level with the intermediate plane, he enjoys a practically unrestricted arc of vision through about 120#, whilst sections cut out of the centre of the intermediate plane enable him to have a good view of the ground when landing, the position of the cockpit being such that the bottom plane has no restricting influence on the view. The narrowness of the chord made available by the use of three main planes also allowed the pilot an exceptional view upwards and to either side, an important consideration in a purely offensive machine. The second object aimed at was an increase in manoeuvrability, and the triplane principle was adopted to secure this purpose in consequence of the fact that, owing to the narrow chord, the shift of the centre of pressure with varying angles of incidence is relatively smaller than in a biplane, and consequently demands a shorter length of fuselage to carry the tail. At the same time the small span reduces the moments of inertia in the horizontal plane, and a machine is thus obtained which is highly responsive to its controls and which can add the important ability to dodge to its other strategic advantages The consideration of movement of the centre of pressure enabled single I-struts to be adopted in place of the usual pairs springing one from each spar. This construction also leads to a sensible simplification of the wiring system. Ailerons of the unbalanced type are fitted to all three planes.

W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
A standard Triplane flown by Fit Lt R A Little of No 8 (Naval) Sqn, RNAS, from an airfield in Northern France in the spring of 1917.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
Сопвич "Триплан", 8-й дивизион RNAS, пилот - капитан Р.Э.Литтл, лето 1917г.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
Сопвич "Триплан" лейтенанта Шэрмана из "черного звена" 10-го дивизиона RNAS, 1917г.
А.Шепс - Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты
Истребитель Сопвич "Триплан" RAF
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
Сопвич "Триплан" на западном фронте, май 1917 года.
H.Cowin - Aviation Pioneers /Osprey/
The story of one of Britain's finest fighters is one of nothing less than a glorious opportunity carelessly thrown away. The first of the Admiralty-funded Sopwith Triplane single-seat fighters, serial no N500, was completed on 28 May 1916, with Harry Hawker giving it its first air test that day. Such was the Australian's confidence in the machine that he is reported to have looped the aircraft within three minutes of its first lift-off. By mid-June 1916 the machine was in northern France, being put through its operational evaluation by RNAS pilots, who all were particularly impressed by its phenomenal rate of climb. The tone of the ensuing report was extremely complimentary to the point that, as in the case of the preceding Pup, the Triplane was ordered into large scale production for both the RNAS and RFC. All of these events, it should be noted occurred before the end of summer 1916. Then, on 30 September 1916, in a letter to the War Office, Sir Douglas Haig warned that British air superiority over the Somme was in serious jeopardy thanks to the emergence of the new German fighters. Haig followed this first letter within a matter of weeks by asking for an extra twenty fighter squadrons. This should have given even more impetus to the gathering Triplane programme, but for reasons far more to do with the convoluted political machinations of Whitehall than the rational allocation of resources, the earlier large RFC order for the demonstrably useful Triplane appears to evaporate, while even the RNAS allocation becomes limited to 150 aircraft. Further, all this prevarication held Sopwiths back in terms of delivering production machines, these failing to appear much before year-end 1916. Certainly, it would seem that during this period, the Germans gained considerable help from Whitehall! The vast majority of Triplanes were powered by the 130hp Clerget, giving the machine a top level speed of 117mph at 5,000 feet, decreasing to 105mph at 15,000 feet. The Triplane's ceiling was 20,000 feet, while it took 6 minutes 20 seconds to reach 6,500 feet and 10 minutes 35 seconds to achieve 15,000 feet. The standard Triplane armament consisted of a single, synchronised .303-inch Vickers gun.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Another of the Sopwith Triplane users, 10 Squadron RNAS. This squadron had formed at St Pol in February 1917, initially with the Nieuport 12.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
The French accepted a limited number of Sopwith Triplanes, this example being with the Naval Fighter Flight at St Pol in 1917.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
Этот прекрасно отреставрированнный "Триплан" сейчас выглядит так же, как и почти 90 лет назад.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
H.King - Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 /Putnam/
This early Triplane photograph has special mention in the text, one point of particular interest being the number '490' attached to a landing gear strut in the uppermost view. That this photograph was taken in the Sopwith Experimental Department is evident not only from the unfinished state of the aircraft (unarmed as well as uncowled) but by the lofty presence of the L.R.T.Tr. in the background - and further by 'Ex D' painted on the part of the tail-trestle seen just below the starboard inlerplane strut.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Prototype photographed at Chingford with Vickers gun installed
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Prototype at Chingford
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Prototype at St-Pol, Dunkerque, shortly after its arrival there in June 1916
H.King - Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 /Putnam/
In the 'Brooklands landscape-with-figures' picture transparent centre-section panelling is seen.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
By July 24 1916 the Triplane prototype had been painted overall with PC10 (or PC12), a finish that evidently inspired the name Brown Bread seen in this photograph. Its serial number N500 was applied discreetly in hollow characters
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
This was not the only occasion on which N500 ended up on it nose. This event probably occured in 1916
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
The second prototype, N504, was at Brooklands on August 29 1916
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5420's stay at the Clayton & Shuttleworth works was brief, for it was at Furnes by November 16 1916, and seven days later was recorded on the strength of No.1 Flight of 'A' Squadron RNAS
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Collishaw's second Black Maria was N533, one of the six twin-gun Triplanes built by Clayton & Shuttleworth. He flew it on seven patrols between July 23 and 27 1917; on the latter date he destroyed one Albatros D.V and sent another down out of control
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5350, the first Triplane to be completed by Clayton & Shuttleworth. Delivered Dec 2 1916
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5350
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
1917 saw the appearance ot a number of triplane designs; the Sopwith Triplane was adopted by the RNAS as its superb manoeuvrability and top speed of 113mph (182kph) made it an excellent fighter - even though most were armed only with a single Vickers gun. N5351, a Clayton & Shuttleworth example, is seen here at Cranwell in February 1917 but it was soon operational with 8 Squadron RNAS.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5364 went to No.10 (Naval) Squadron, and was lost on July 24 1917, when FSL T C May was shot down and killed by Leutnant Dilthey of Jasta 27
H.King - Armament of British Aircraft /Putnam/
Standard Sopwith Triplane, with Sopwith padded screen at rear of Vickers gun.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5366 in a training unit, March 30 1918
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5377 of No.1 (Naval) Squadron after coming down in enemy territory on October 3 1917; its pilot, FSL M J Watson, was made PoW
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5378 at Chingford
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
This may have been N5382, which was at Manstone in mid-June 1917
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5386 was one of four RNAS Triplanes that were transferred to the French government, but it was later returned with its original serial number
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
The first Sopwith-built production Triplane, N5420, was sent as a sample to Clayton & Shuttleworth, who were also contractors for the type
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Flight Lieutenant FHM Maynard of No.1 (Naval) in a presentation aircraft, Philippine Island Britons No.1
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5429, of No.1 (Naval) was flown by German pilots after capture
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Triplane N5429 was attached to No 1 Naval Squadron and was brought down by the Germans on 13 September 1917 while being flown by Flight Sublieutenan Wilford and captured. The aircraft was repainted in German markings and test flown
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
Сопвич "Триплан", захваченный немцами весной 1917 года. Этот самолет послужил основой для создания "Фоккера" Dr. I.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Before N5430 suffered its accident on March 12 1918 its serial number had been repainted as A 5430. It is not known why this was done
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5430 was the only Triplane delivered to the Royal Flying Corps. The aircraft was used to intercept raiders while at Orfordness and was modified with an Aldis gun sight mounted above Vickers gun
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
The only Triplane to see service in the Aegean area was N5431, seen here at Mudros, probably in March 1917
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5431 after repair at Mudros following a landing accident on March 26 1917. Its fin, probably of local manufacture, now has a straight upper/leading edge
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
The rebuilt N5431 with a Lewis gun mounted to fire over the propeller arc
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
FSL Melling's Sopwith Triplane N5431 at either Mudros or Mitylene
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
A Sopwith-built Triplane for the RNAS, with standard armament of a single Vickers gun.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5445 had twin Vickers guns installed much as on the F.1 Camel
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
This side view of N5445 cleraly shows how much larger than standard this Triplane's rudder was, and the deeper top decking and cockpit contours can be seen
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
15 Sopwith Triplanes of No.1 (Naval) Squadron at Bailleul in July 1917
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5454 flown by FSL CHB Jenner-Parson of Naval Eight
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
N5459 on March 24 1917
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Hilda was a Sopwith Triplane assigned to No 8 Naval Air Squadron during early 1917
В.Шавров - История конструкций самолетов в СССР до 1938 г.
'Triplane' N5486 on skis in Russia, but still wearing British roundels. After the October Revolution it bore Red Star insignia. Today it is preserved at the Monino Air Force Museum.
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
Triplane (N6290) of No.8 (Naval) Squadron.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
This Sopwith Triplane was one of several aircraft supplied to the French government. The aircraft carries a White 3 on the fuselage side
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Triplanes of the French naval escadrille, lined up at Dunkerque
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
At least 17, probably 18, Sopwith Triplanes were delivered to the French Aviation maritime and equipped a French naval escadrille at Dunkerque
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
French Triplane having a 110-hp Le Rhone 9J engine in place of the Clerget
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
This aircraft is a flying replica of a Sopwith Triplane based at Old Warden, Bedford. The aircraft carries the full Sopwith company logo on the fin in Black
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
On the few production Triplanes that were built with twin Vickers gun the armament was installed fully exposed, as seen here
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
A group of naval officers watch a Sopwith Triplane on its approach for landing on the grass field at Chingford
Форум - Breguet's Aircraft Challenge /WWW/
The picture is one of a sequence of three taken that show Captain Vernon Brown looping Sopwith Triplane N5430 at Ordfordness. Taken by a Lt. Hammond from a Sopwith 1-1/2 Strutter. The camera used could make one exposure per second.
В.Шавров - История конструкций самолетов в СССР до 1938 г.
Английский самолет "Сопвич-триплан"
В.Шавров - История конструкций самолетов в СССР до 1938 г.
Photo of the 'Triplane' at the Monino collection from "Sowjetische Jagdflugzeuge" by W. Kopenhagen
В.Шавров - История конструкций самолетов в СССР до 1938 г.
В.Шавров - История конструкций самолетов в СССР до 1938 г.
В.Шавров - История конструкций самолетов в СССР до 1938 г.
Color drawing of a 'Triplane' on skis with Red Star insignia from "Sowjetische Jagdflugzeuge" by W. Kopenhagen
R.Kosin - The German Fighter since 1915 /Putnam/
Sopwith Triplane, captured in the summer of 1917.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
Three-quarter front view of the Sopwith triplane.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
Rear view of the Sopwith triplane.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
Side view of the Sopwith triplane.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
THE END OF THE JOURNEY. - A Sopwith triplane in the hands of the enemy.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
Attach merit of middle wing to body strut on the Sopwith triplane.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
Interplane strut attachment to middle wing of Sopwith triplane.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
Attachment of interplane strut to lower wing on the Sopwith triplane.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
Middle wing of the Sopwith triplane.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
This Sopwith Triplane reproduction is displayed by the National Aviation Museum at Rockcliffe Airport, Ontario, Canada
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
A three-decker in the hands of the enemy . - Another view of the machine "standing'' on its nose which was reproduced in "FLIGHT" on page 920, September 6th. We reproduce the illustration exactly as it appears in an enemy newspaper, and it will be noticed that emphasis is laid upon the fact that the machine is uninjured, which appears to be correct subject to the propeller and very minor details.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
A SOPWITH TRIPLANE ON THE WAY FOR A DOUBLE EVENT.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Plan views of Sopwith machines
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Side elevations of the Sopwith machines
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Front elevations of the Sopwith machines
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
Scale drawings of a Sopwith Triplane, taken from the German paper "Flugsport".
H.King - Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 /Putnam/
Superbly informative are these five self-explanatory figures, originally prepared for the guidance of riggers, and presented now for the enlightenment and joy of every aeroplane-lover. Basic Sopwith drawings of this general nature were sometimes used officially, with acknowledgement. Thus, one particular sheet has in one corner the legend 'Sopwith Org. No. 1720/Copied from Drawings of the Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd. Kingston-on-Thames' and in the opposite corner 'Military Aeronautics Directorate ... Drg. No. AD 61204'.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
Sopwith Triplane
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
Three-view drawing of the Sopwith Triplane.
R.Kosin - The German Fighter since 1915 /Putnam/
Sopwith Triplane
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
Sopwith Triplane