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Sopwith Schneider/Baby

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1914

Single-seat scouting seaplane

Sopwith - pusher seaplane - 1914 - Великобритания<– –>Sopwith - Sociable/Churchill - 1914 - Великобритания

А.Шепс Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты

Сопвич "Бэби" (Baby) 1915 г.

   На базе поплавкового Сопвич "Таблоид-Шнейдер" в 1915 году был создан морской истребитель Сопвич "Бэби". Отличался от прототипа новыми подкрыльевыми и хвостовыми поплавками. Их крепление усилено дополнительными стойками. Изменена конструкция капота двигателя. Он стал аналогичен капоту самолета "Ньюпор-11". На машинах устанавливались двигатели "Гном-Моносупап" (100 л. с.; 5 машин), "Клерже" (110 л. с.; 208 машин) и "Клерже" (130 л. с.; 246 машин). Увеличена площадь киля. Самолет Сопвич "Бэби" состоял на вооружении 12 береговых эскадрилий и 11 авианесущих кораблей ("Бен Май Кри", "Кэмпаниа", "Сити оф Оксфорд", "Эмпресс", "Энгадайн", "Фуриос", "Мэнксмэн", "Пеони", "Равэн П", "Ривьера" и "Виндеке"). Вооружение состояло из одного 7,69-мм пулемета "Виккерс". Для борьбы с дирижаблями 40 машин были вооружены зажигательными ракетами. В ходе войны и после ее окончания эти самолеты приобрели: Канада (4 шт.), Франция (3 шт.), Италия (2 шт.), Япония, Дания и Голландия (по 1 шт.), США (4 шт.) и Норвегия (10 шт.). Некоторые машины использовались как учебные до конца 1920-х годов.
   Показатель "Бэби" 1915г.
   Размеры, м:
   длина 7,01
   размах крыльев 7,82
   высота 3,05
   Площадь крыла, м2 22,4
   Вес, кг:
   максимальный взлетный 795
   пустого 557
   Двигатель: "Клерже"
   мощность, л. с. 100
   Скорость, км/ч 164
   Дальность полета, км 320
   Потолок практический, м 2300
   Экипаж, чел. 1
   Вооружение 1 (или 2) х 7,7 мм неподвижный "Льюис"

M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)

Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing

H.King Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 (Putnam)


   Exploitation of the Sopwith Tabloid's military potential as a fast scout dated from April 1914, when the first of a small batch for the RFC was finished. By 26 May the sixth was at Brooklands for test. These Service Tabloids were single-seaters, with a fin and plain rudder and finer nose lines. It was, in fact, these very features that apart from a float landing gear had distinguished the specimen to which attention is now directed, and which was to prove the most famous Tabloid of all by winning for Great Britain what came to be regarded as almost the Grail of airmen - the Schneider Trophy. With this achievement the name of the pilot concerned - C. Howard Pixton, or 'Pickie' to Tom Sopwith has become so closely identified (and rightly so) that the essential contribution made by Harry Hawker to design, demonstration and development are sometimes overshadowed. This being so, before concentrating once again on Pixton's resounding feat at Monaco, the following facts must have their place: First, the actual design, or basic concept, of the Tabloid owed much to Hawker personally, though Sopwith and Sigrist also had their say; second, it was Hawker who, on the very day that the Tabloid demonstrated its speed range and climb at Farnborough (29 November, 1913) had circuited Hendon before a crowd of 50,000 at 90 mph; third, Hawker himself had taken the first machine to his native Australia (surely the classic instance of ‘local boy makes good') for demonstrations-and by the time of his return on 6 June, 1914, the appearance of the machine had been transformed by the stripping-off of much of the fuselage covering and the fitting of a plain V-type landing gear. Thus, it was during Hawker's absence that the seaplane which won the 1914 Schneider Trophy was built - and that this was one of a batch of twelve that had been ordered as single-seat scouts for the RFC has been affirmed by Sir Thomas Sopwith himself, ‘it was decided to modify one to compete', he said, adding: ‘in its original form this aeroplane had one central float which was installed too far aft. Three days before we were due to ship the aeroplane to Monte Carlo it had not flown. Howard Pixton was the pilot and on the first attempt to fly, at Hamble, the machine cartwheeled over on to its nose and sank. At daylight next morning we salvaged the aeroplane, took it to Kingston by road, sawed the single float into two, built two new sides and installed a twin-float chassis. We then took the aeroplane to Teddington and without permission flew it off, this time successfully. From the time it was at the bottom of Hamble river until it was airborne again was less than three days.'
   To the foregoing recollections Sir Thomas added: ‘it is interesting that up to the time that I received the first contract for the Tabloids for the army, none of my aeroplanes, and, so far as I know, no one else's, was ever stressed. All of them were built by eye and we had no idea of the factors - except that they were more than one! I have always maintained that if an aeroplane looks right, it generally is right, although at the same time this must not be carried too far.'
   Here, unquestionably, we have 'The Skipper' speaking (for as such I have heard his co-directors address him) - the lover, co-designer and steersman of high-speed surface and skimming craft; and in warning that the eye alone could be deceiving he could well have had in mind (for example) the Royal yacht Victoria and Albert which, though one of the loveliest-looking vessels of all time, heeled over when being first undocked because of mistakes in calculating weight-distribution. Thus, the first Tabloid seaplane was in Royal company.
   Stimulated by his love of yachts and all the best that Monte Carlo means, Tom Sopwith was to experience, on 20 April, 1914, one of his long life's greatest joys; for on that day flying a Tabloid having a triangular fin ahead of a plain rudder; two short strut-mounted main floats; a tail float with faired-in attachments (earlier, as a photograph suggests, this float was attached by an unfaired set of struts); a specially tuned 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape engine ('the first 100 hp Mono ever to come to this country' as Sir Thomas once averred); 'SOPWITH' in seemingly huge capitals on its tiny fuselage (conforming with a similar proclamation on the 1913 Circuit Seaplane); and the racing-number 3 on its rudder - C. H. Pixton won the 1914 Schneider Trophy Race at Monaco. At an average speed of 86.78 mph (140 km/h) he covered the 150-nautical mile course in 2 hr 13.4 sec. Then he carried on for two extra laps-making thirty in all at 92 mph (148 km/h) to establish a new world speed record for seaplanes.
   Invited by Jacques Schneider himself to celebrate on the best the Principality could offer, he wondered if he might have a bottle of Bass.
   Except for the French engine it was Britain all the way; and even the French engine had received the British treatment in the matter of installation and cowling, with a neat and sturdy fore-and-aft mounting (or nose-bearing mounting as it was sometimes called by Sopwith) which afforded not only stiffness but a very clean aerodynamic entry. As the engine-makers explained: 'The 100 h.p. Monosoupape engine' (for such was the unit fitted in the Tabloid racing seaplane instead of the standard 80 hp Gnome) 'is supported in the machine by two bearer plates, both upon the long end [i.e. rear end] of the crankshaft. That is, the standard practice is to let the engine overhang its bearers. Where it is desirable to have a more rigid fixing, or fixings spread over a greater length of longitudinals, a third support is added between the propeller and the engine. With such a fixing the standard pattern of short nose has to be replaced with a long or medium nose, and a ball bearing is interposed between the nose and support.'
   The 100 hp ‘Mono' engine (for so the French power unit was known for short, otherwise as the Monosoupape, or Single-Valve, Gnome) normally whirled round at no more than 1,300 rpm., and after arrival at Monaco it was decided by Victor Mahl that the 1.350 revs allowed by the Lang propeller then fitted were too high, and would lead to overheating. Whereupon an Integral propeller of coarser pitch was substituted.
   Although, as earlier noted, the basic concept of the Tabloid was a joint effort, it is worth giving a final note about Pixton's seaplane, written by C. M. Poulsen, whose intimate knowledge of Sopwith design and construction has already been instanced. 'C.M.P.' was writing on the occasion of 'Uncle Fred' Sigrist's retirement in 1940, in the particular context of this seaplane, though probably having in mind the landplane original also. 'It is interesting to record', he said, 'that this machine was designed entirely by Sigrist, and he was in charge of construction.’

Schneider and Baby

   The three-float single-seat Sopwith seaplane which, in November 1914, was put into production for the RNAS was - as the commonly used name "Schneider" proclaimed very much the same aircraft as the floatplane Tabloid with which Howard Pixton had made history at Monaco in the preceding April (see under ‘Tabloid') - still with the relatively powerful 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape engine (though not specially tuned) on the "nose-bearing" mounting.
   By noting that the name Schneider was 'commonly used' one has in mind the quite extensive currency in official and private documents alike - of the appellation 'Schneider Trophy [or Cup] Seaplane’. For was it not vastly glamorous (and good for recruitment) to be able to assure one's girl-friend that one was flying a 'real racer' of such high renown rather than just 'a little seaplane’ especially so as the Tabloid was quickly to become more of a hack than a hacker-down of Zeppelins, or anything so fierce. And here it may be emphasised that the later 'improved' Schneider that was officially called the Baby and will be described under that name, continued to be loosely referred to as a Schneider; and as J. M. Bruce recorded plaintively in his British Aeroplanes 1914-18 'There is much confusion in most of the records of the exploits of both types.'
   Though initially the Schneider retained a triangular fin, as on Pixton's racer, this surface was later much enlarged in area (as was common with floatplanes) then being curved in contour; and this development was commonly associated with the fitting of ailerons instead of a wing-warping system, though the latter was used on the early Schneiders. An especially noticeable difference - even on the early Schneiders - was the additional diagonal strut in the float-attachment assembly (a feature that was to recur in the Schneider's lineal descendant the Hawker Nimrod, though in that instance respecting the centre-section struts and not those which attached the floats).
   To accommodate a Lewis gun, firing upwards and forwards over the propeller, an aperture was made in the Schneider's centre section; but the nature and disposition of armament varied widely, and deflector plates were sometimes fitted to the propeller. Further, it must be noted, although rifles, carbines, shotguns and pistols were quite commonly carried aboard aircraft in 1914/15 (the Sopwith Two-seater Scout, for instance, sometimes had a shotgun with a chain-shot load, this last comprising lumps of lead linked by a steel wire to rip open fabric, leaving the wind to do the rest) with the Schneider a shotgun-related weapon of a particular type was associated. This weapon was made by Holland & Holland, who also developed the Paradox gun that was familiar to early fighting aircrew; but though a 12-bore, the particular weapon now in mind (the 'Aero gun' as it was called) had a recoil-damping device, and a muzzle-shield to prevent an inrush of air during loading. The gun was fixed to the Schneider (or was intended to be) aligned so as to fire chain-shot or buckshot clear of the propeller.
   For carrying anti-aircraft or anti-terrestrial bombs, arrangements were likewise varied, though a common fitment seems to have been the '20 lb. C.F.S. carrier', taking four 20 lb Hales H.E. bombs, or four 16 lb H.E.R.L. bombs, or four 16 lb carcass incendiary bombs, or four 6 lb 'small petrol bombs' (as they were called). The carrier was generally suspended on struts well below the fuselage. One known photograph is especially interesting because the carrier is apparently capable of taking eight 16 lb or 20 lb bombs - though significantly (for the Schneider's lifting capacity was strictly limited, especially in adverse climatic or marine conditions) no gun is fitted and four bombs only are in place. These bombs are on the central group of crutches. Resulting from the width of the carrier the supporting struts are apparently toed out, instead of sloping inwards as for instance on the Schneider seen in another known photograph - showing a Schneider with experimental Linton Hope floats. Certainly it is worth noting that one possible load for a Schneider was four 16 lb bombs plus four incendiaries of unrecorded pattern - though conceivably 15 lb Carcass; nevertheless, the four 16-pounders alone would correspond roughly with the weight of the single 65 lb H.E.R.L. bomb that was otherwise (and doubtless somewhat later) carried on the Schneider. This last-mentioned bomb was of a type and calibre commonly used for anti-submarine work.
   Steel darts would have been an alternative offensive load.
   From many an old Naval-flying hand the very name 'Sopwith Schneider' could well bring instant recollections of one of the best-loved aircraft carriers (though strictly speaking she was a 'seaplane carrier') that the Service ever had - the Ben-my-Chree formerly an Isle of Man packet boat and generally associated with torpedo-dropping Shorts in the Dardanelles campaign. Yet Sopwith Schneiders too made history (technical, if not operational) from this same vessel; and even as early as 11 May, 1915 months before the droppings in the Dardanelles but during an actual operation off the German coast - a Schneider (which could have been No.1444 or No.1557) was used for an attempt to fly-off from a dismountable forward platform. For this purpose wheels were fitted to the floats, but the pioneer effort like the Schneider itself was grievously marred by the wrecking of the engine-starting gear. This took the form of a crank-handle in the cockpit; and this fractious handle not only broke the pilot's wrist, but removed some of the instruments from the sparsely furnished dashboard.
   The first successful take-off of this kind by a Schneider was made not from the Ben-my-Chree but from Campania, the pilot being a Flt Lieut W. L. Welsh, who as Air Marshal Sir William Welsh held some senior posts in the Second World War notably that of AOC-in-C Flying Training Command, 1941-42. With Campania making 18 kt into a 13-kt wind, on 6 August, 1915, Welsh's Schneider (No.1559. fitted with a jettisonable wheeled dolly) was airborne after a run of 113 ft (34 m).
   These early deck-operations followed some catastrophic experiences when operating the Schneiders directly from the water: as, for instance, on 4 July, 1915, when three factory-new examples which had been hoisted-out from HMS Engadine had their plywood floats smashed while on the water, and only one aircraft could be salvaged. Meanwhile four Zeppelins prowled around.
   The Navy's notions for off-shore Zeppelin interception were ingenious and manifold. Thus during 1915 there was a plan to patrol 50 miles out with shallow-draught paddle steamers bearing four Schneiders apiece, though by the end of March 1916 only the Killingholme and Brocklesby answered to this programme. Light cruisers of the North Sea Patrol were other largely unsuccessful carriers for Schneiders (as, indeed, were Yarmouth trawlers); and though on 2 June, 1915, the cruiser Arethusa made a determined launch against a Zeppelin, the pilot failed to attack before returning because of a misunderstanding.
   The Schneider's delicacy in a seaway notwithstanding, one feels wholly justified in recording its pioneering take-off from a ship's platform before the sorry tales of battered floats and shattered hopes; for Sopwith and the Navy were together launching not merely a few frail floatplanes but (by the use of shipboard platforms) a novel method of air war - and this not in some quiet haven, but in face of the enemy. Even more than this: Schneiders were carried by and launched from a submarine - this in April and May 1916, when E.22 went to sea with a pair of the little seaplanes on her deck, whence they flew home to Felixstowe. Needless, perhaps, to add, E.22 did not submerge with her strange deck-cargo in place; though clearly presaged here were the catapult-launched Parnall Peto trials from the watertight hangar of M.2 trials that began in the late 1920s, though they ended disastrously in 1932.
   Except that it was never catapulted, and never achieved a reputation for robustness, the Schneider did, in fact, perform just about every type of operation that was undertaken by the postwar Fairey Flycatcher, one of the most versatile single-seaters ever built; and if one adds to its distinctions those that are separately credited to its landplane twin the Tabloid, then the Sopwith contribution to the development of one of the most 'difficult' of all Service aircraft - the naval fighter - is at once apparent. Furthermore, the aircraft of that class today lack the buoyancy conferred by even partially waterlogged plywood floats.
   Operational, as distinct from mainly technical, successes were achieved by Schneiders in the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea - these sometimes involving gunnery spotting or reconnaissance; and even as late as 21 November, 1916, a Schneider flown by F Sub-Lieut A. F. Brandon shot down an enemy aircraft which had attacked the Mudros airship hangar.
   All the Schneiders were built by Sopwith themselves, the first order being for twelve (Nos.1436 to 1447), followed by a batch of twenty-four (Nos.1556 to 1579) and another of a hundred (Nos.3707 to 3806).
   The essential difference between the Schneider and its derivative the Baby (Sopwith built a hundred Babies, numbered 8118 to 8217) was the very one which rendered these generally similar aircraft readily distinguishable to the eye: namely, the fitting of a more powerful engine - the 110 hp or 130 hp Clerget - which was housed in a wholly different cowling, of open-fronted inverted-U or so-called 'horseshoe' form. Though armament varied, the most interesting innovation was the fitting, on some aircraft, of a synchronised Lewis gun, firing over the cowling just described. The gun was mounted either on the centre line, projecting backwards through the windscreen, or was offset to starboard - and, distinct from these installations there were instances of a Lewis gun mounted on the starboard side of the fuselage and of the gun being attached to the port centre-section struts, turned on its side, and firing upward at about 45 degrees to the line of flight.
   Whether or not any meeting ever took place between T. O. M. Sopwith and Col Isaac Newton Lewis (the developer, if not strictly the inventor, of the Lewis gas-operated drum-fed machine-gun) one cannot be certain, though Lewis and Geoffrey de Havilland most certainly met. The matter is, in any case, of little consequence: for although the initially Belgian-sponsored Lewis gun was manufactured and adapted for aerial use by BSA in Great Britain (and demonstrated by that company at Bisley, Surrey, just a few miles from the Sopwith works at Kingston in the same county during November 1913) official interest by the British flying Services was firmly established when war came.
   The Lewis gun, though an admirable weapon for free mounting (as in the classic instance of the 1 1/2 Strutter) proved intractable in attempts to synchronise it; and though George Constantinesco (his Christian name was rightly rendered thus) was one of several men who designed synchronising gears of various types to meet the case, he was likewise eager to render the difficulties clear. These difficulties were inherent in the gun's method of operation with the striker carried on a post which travelled backwards and forwards in a slot in the breech-bolt, with firing taking place initially from the 'open-breech' (or 'open-bolt') position under the influence of the 'return spring', which was such a prominent and important component of the gun.
   These inherent difficulties notwithstanding, mechanical gears of both Scarff and Hazelton types (Martinsyde designed an electrical gear, as they also did for the Vickers gun) were installed on Sopwith Baby floatplanes, including the Blackburn, Fairey and Parnall-built versions or derivatives. On some Blackburn-built examples - and possibly others with synchronised Lewis guns the spade grip of the gun was adapted to serve as a protective pad (pilot-protective, that is); and in some instances firing may have been initiated from the spade grip rather than from the pistol grip, as was the case in free installations.
   Like the Schneider, the Baby was used for varied duties, and for anti-submarine work it could carry two (instead of one, as on the Schneider) 65 lb bombs, in tandem under the fuselage. However, the Lewis gun and ammunition weighed 55 lb, and only one 65 lb bomb could be carried in addition. Though there seems to be no confirmation of the possibility, it may well be that a single 100 lb H.E.R.L. bomb was lifted, if only experimentally, though identification in photographs could prove difficult as both the 65 lb and 100 lb bombs were identical in length (as well as being of thin-case type, and commonly employed against submarines). Four 20 lb bombs would be another possible load.
   One positively identified armament installation involved the fitting of Le Prieur (or possibly Brock ‘Immediate') rockets to the interplane struts, and one batch of Blackburn-built Babies initially carried Ranken Darts to the exclusion of other armament. Designed late in 1915, these darts were explosive anti-airship weapons.
   With the heavier armament loads (together, perhaps, with such prudent provisions as a sea anchor, a caged carrier-pigeon and emergency rations) a fully-fuelled Baby was demanding a lot even from a 130 Clerget engine, and special lift-increasing modifications made by Blackburn and Fairey will later be described. Meanwhile some Baby achievements must be placed on record.
   Both in Home waters and the East these little single-seat seaplanes were operated much as were their precursors the Schneiders, and were likewise concerned in some early shipborne operations. Two Babies, for example, were hoisted-out from HMS Vindex in the Horns Reef area on 25 March, 1916, though one was lost - which was the more regrettable because the intended target (a supposed Zeppelin base at Hoyer) was found in fact to be at Tondern. This being so, no fewer than eleven Babies were hoisted-out from Vindex and Engadine off Sylt on the following 4 May. Four of these sustained broken propellers; one was overturned by a destroyer's wake; and three had engine failure. Of the three that got away one crashed after striking a destroyer's wireless aerial, one returned with engine trouble and one reached Tondern. Alas, its two 65 lb bombs missed their target.
   From Campania (as with Welsh's Schneider) take-offs were made using wheeled dollies; and when this same vessel put to sea for the Battle of Jutland (fought 31 May - 1 June, 1916) her aircraft included not only three Babies, but four Schneiders also, while Engadine bore - equally abortively - two Babies of her own. To back-up the land-based fighters at Dunkirk four Babies were transferred there from Vindex on 24 June, 1916, and nearly a year later (May 1917) these were supplemented by another nine - though not for long, for two months later Pups replaced them.
   Bombing raids by Babies were quite frequent in the Mediterranean area, both from shore stations and the Ben-my-Chree. Three Babies from this famous ship, for instance, attacked the Chikaldir railway bridge on 27 December, 1916, and in February of the following year six Babies were allotted to the Otranto seaplane base. In the Aegean three flew as fighters from Thasos, and - such was technical and operational progress - that in November 1917 the seaplane carrier Empress, operating in the East, carried not only four Sopwith Babies but two of the newly derived Hamble Babies also a fact that conveniently focusses attention on production and development.
   With expanded production and extended capability both in mind, a sample Baby was supplied to the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co and another to the Fairey Aviation Co; and some Blackburn-built examples were, in fact, engaged in certain of the operations already recorded - including fighter patrols from Dunkirk. As late as 20 January, 1918, two Blackburn-built Babies from Imbros tried unsuccessfully to bomb the German cruiser Goeben.
   Concerning Blackburn's production effort A. J. Jackson wrote in his Blackburn Aircraft since 1909: "The Blackburn Baby seaplanes (as they were called) were built in the Olympia Works, Leeds, commencing with a prototype machine, N300, and 70 subsequent aircraft all with 110 hp Clerget engines. Ten of these, N1030- N1039, were fitted with experimental mainplanes of modified section. Later both sub-contractors were made responsible for modifying the design to take the 130 hp Clerget, after which Blackburns built 115 machines with this engine. These were in two batches, the first, N1410-N1449, being armed with Ranken anti-Zeppelin darts.”
   RNAS/Sopwith/Bentley associations were close, and N1410 et seq were originally intended to have the Bentley A.R.1 engine, at first called Admiralty Rotary, but engines of this type were not available in time. Blackburn production did, in fact, total 186 Babies - N300, N1010-N1039, N1060-N1069, N1100- N1129, N1410-N1449 and N2060-N2134.
   In a purely technical sense Fairey's effort was altogether more ambitious, and although quite properly known as the Fairey Hamble Baby - being virtually a new type, and thus more justly renamed than was the ‘Blackburn Baby' - must have a brief note in this Sopwith book (and not merely because Tom Sopwith knew Hamble well, and was an ardent yachtsman, as was Dick Fairey).
   The salient novelty in the Hamble Baby (50 built) was the use of the Fairey Patent Camber Gear first incorporated on the converted Sopwith Baby No.8134 - and production machines were further distinguished by newly designed floats and a characteristic square-cut Fairey tail, this last feature contrasting strongly with the new, rounded, wingtips. Thus was this Sopwith derivative a true forebear of the Fairey Flycatcher, already named in this chapter.
   Parnall-built Hamble Babies and their skid-equipped landplane derivatives the Hamble Baby Converts retained the Sopwith-style tail.
   Yet another derivative of the Sopwith Baby was the one-off Port Victoria P.V.1, with wings of higher aspect ratio, heavily cambered and heavily staggered.
   Sopwith production of the Baby was, as already noted, the entire first batch of a hundred (Nos.8118-8217) all of which were delivered between September 1915 and July 1916. Of these the first five were non-standard, in retaining the 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape engine, as in the Schneider; the others were fitted as standard with the 110 hp Clerget. Babies Nos.8128 and 8129 were delivered to the French; ten Blackburn-built Babies were supplied to the Norwegian Naval Air Service; to Canada - for embarkation in ships of the Royal Canadian Navy went Nos.8125, 8197, 8204 and 8209.


   (100 hp Gnome Monosoupape) Span 25 ft 8 in (7.8 m): length 22 ft 10 in (6.9 m): height 10 ft (3 m); wing area 236 sq ft (21.9 sq m). Maximum speed at sea level 87 mph (140 km h.): service ceiling 8.000 ft (2.440 m).

Baby (110 hp Clerget)

   Span 25 ft 8 in (7.8 m); length 23 ft (7 m); height 10 ft (3 m); wing area 236 sq ft (21.9 sq m). Maximum weight 1.580 lb (717 kg). Maximum speed at sea level 92 mph (148 km h).

Baby (130 hp Clerget)

   Span 25 ft 8 in (7.8 m): length 23 ft (7 m); height 10 ft (3 m); wing area 236 sq ft (21.9 sq m). Empty weight 1.226 lb (556 kg); maximum weight 1.715 lb (778 kg). Maximum speed at sea level 100 mph (161 km h): climb to 10,000 ft (3.050 m) 35 min; alighting speed 45 mph (72 km h); endurance 2 1/4 hr.

D.James Schneider Trophy Aircraft 1913-1931 (Putnam)

Sopwith Tabloid

   On 29 November at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, the Tabloid achieved a maximum speed of 92mph with a 36-9 mph stalling speed during official trials, and later the same day was displayed by Hawker at a Hendon flying meeting before some 50,000 people. From his own experience of air racing, Sopwith knew its value in terms of publicity and as a stimulus to engineering and aerodynamic development of aircraft. Accordingly, he decided to modify an early production Tabloid as a seaplane for the 1914 Schneider contest due to take place at Monaco on 20 April, and engaged C. Howard Pixton, an experienced Australian pilot, to undertake the development testing and to fly the Tabloid in the contest. More power was a prime need and Sopwith chose a new 100 hp Monosoupape Gnome rotary which differed from other Gnome engines by dispensing with inlet valves, having only single exhaust valves in each cylinder, hence its Monosoupape - ‘single-valve’ - name. A single central-float alighting gear with wingtip stabilizing floats was designed and fitted very rapidly - perhaps too rapidly - and at the end of March 1914 the Tabloid was moved from Sopwith’s Kingston-upon-Thames factory to a site on the Hamble river for water and air tests. These began on 1 April but when Pixton opened the throttle to taxi away from a jetty, the nose of the main float dug into the water and the aircraft turned over and sank. Fortunately Pixton was thrown out and managed to swim back to the jetty. In their haste to ready the Tabloid for Monaco, Sopwith, Sigrist and Sydney Burgoine, a boatbuilder, had rigged the float too far aft and it could not balance the increased power of the engine. The following morning the soaked and partially wrecked Tabloid was recovered from the mud, dismantled and returned to Kingston, where a new twin-float alighting gear was sketched out. Burgoine simply sawed through the single main float to produce a pair of smaller units which were completed by boxing in their now open inboard sides. Two spreader bars connected them and they were attached to the fuselage by two pairs of struts, the whole gear being wire braced. The underwing floats were removed, a small tail float was fitted, and a small triangular shaped fin was mounted in front of the rudder to balance the increased keel surface of the new floats. As there was insufficient time to return to the Hamble, some furtive early morning trials took place on 7 April on the Thames, initially just below Kingston Bridge, but when Thames Conservancy Board officials objected the Tabloid was moved to Ham below Teddington Lock where the Port of London Authority assumed control of the water, Teddington’s ancient name ‘Tide-end town’ being indicative of the significance of this point on the river. The water trials showed that the new floats performed very well, running smoothly on the surface during the take-off runs.
   At Monaco a preliminary flight-trial two days before the contest was scheduled to take place showed that several modifications needed to be made. Pixton found that the engine was over-speeding and the Gnome engine company representatives recommended that, as the large diameter moderate-pitch propeller allowed the engine to run at 1,350 rpm, which was too fast for the contest (expected to last some two hours), a smaller-diameter propeller of coarser pitch should be fitted. An extra six-gallon fuel tank was fitted to increase the flight duration and stronger float bracing wires replaced the original wires which had stretched during the flight trial.
   The successful development and modification of the Tabloid as a seaplane not only bore fruit in the contest but also led to the production of the Sopwith Schneider, a single-seat scout seaplane, for the RNAS. Powered by a 100 hp Monosoupape Gnome engine, the Schneider differed very little from Pixton’s Tabloid, the major changes being an extra pair of struts in the alighting gear, a water rudder on the tail float, an increased area fin, the use of ailerons on all four wings in place of wing-warping, and the angled mounting of a Lewis gun firing through an aperture in the upper centre section. The Sopwith Baby was a further aerodynamically refined development which made a valuable contribution to coastal air defence of the United Kingdom during 1915-16. Whatever else justified the creation and development of the Tabloid, it occupies a unique position as the progenitor of an apparently endless line of scouts, fighters and attack aircraft to emanate from Kingston.

   Single-seat twin-float racing biplane. Wooden construction with fabric covering. Pilot in open cockpit.
   One 100hp Gnome Monosoupape nine-cylinder air-cooled rotary engine with a 7 ft 6 in (2-28 m) diameter two-blade fixed-pitch carved mahogany propeller.
   Span 25 ft 6 in (7-77 m); length 20 ft (6 m); height 10 ft (3 m); wing area 240 sq ft (22-29 sq m).
   Empty weight 992lb (450 kg); loaded weight 1,433lb (650 kg); wing loading 6 Ib/sq ft (29-29 kg/sq m).
   Maximum speed at sea level 92mph (148km/h); stalling speed 38mph (61 km/h).
   Production - one Tabloid floatplane racer built by Sopwith at Kingston-upon-Thames in 1914.
   Colour - pale golden yellow overall with black markings - SOPWITH on fuselage sides, contest number 3 on rudder - polished aluminium engine cowling and cockpit decking; and varnished natural wood floats and interplane struts.

P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)

Sopwith Tabloid

   A special single-seat Tabloid was prepared to represent Great Britain for the first time in the Schneider Trophy contest due to be held at Monaco on 20th April, 1914. The race was for seaplanes, and a single wide central float was built for the machine, which was powered by the latest type of 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome, the engine being specially tuned by Victor Mahl for the event. C. Howard Pixton was chosen to fly the Schneider Tabloid, but, on taxying out at Hamble for testing, the machine turned over in the water, and it was returned to the Kingston works. Twin floats were then quickly made by adopting the simple expedient of cutting the original large float down the centre-line. After test-flying from the River Thames on 8th April the Schneider contender was sent straightaway to Monaco. Minor modifications were made, and a new propeller was fitted on 19th April to good effect, for, on the following day, Pixton triumphed over the hitherto superior French pilots and aircraft and became the first to win the Schneider Trophy for Great Britain. The tiny seaplane covered the 300 km. course in 2 hrs. 9 mins. 10 secs, at an average speed of 86.75 m.p.h., and capped this fine performance by continuing around the course for two extra laps at 92 m.p.h. to set up a new world speed record for seaplanes.
   On its return to England the victorious Tabloid was converted at Kingston to a landplane with a vee-strut undercarriage and was prepared for R. H. Barnwell to fly it in the 1914 Aerial Derby. On the day of the contest, however, bad visibility forced Barnwell to abandon the race, and thereafter the Tabloid design demonstrated its prowess by carrying out scouting missions for the R.F.C. and R.N.A.S. during the opening months of the 1914-18 War.

J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)

Sopwith Schneider and Baby Seaplanes

  THERE was no British entry in the first Schneider Trophy contest for seaplanes, which was held in 1913. For the 1914 contest the Sopwith company built a floatplane version of the Tabloid and fitted it with the 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape engine in place of the standard 80 h.p. Gnome. The vertical tail assembly differed from that of the original Tabloid: it consisted of a triangular fin and a plain rudder.
  The seaplane was originally fitted with a single wide central float but, when launched at Hamble early in 1914, it turned over on to its back immediately the engine was opened out. The pilot, Howard Pixton, was thrown into the Hamble River and the Tabloid seaplane suffered immersion for several hours.
  The damaged aircraft was returned to the Sopwith works, where it was rebuilt. Of necessity the rebuilding was done in a remarkably short time; so short, in fact, that to re-design the float undercarriage completely was out of the question. A somewhat crude but effective expedient was adopted: the large single float was simply cut in halves longitudinally and the resultant openings were filled in, thus providing two separate floats. Thus modified, the Tabloid seaplane made its first flight from the Thames at Glovers Island on April 8th, 1914. Pixton was well satisfied with the machine’s flying qualities, and it was despatched to Monaco for the Schneider Trophy contest.
  It flew again on the eve of the race, April 19th; a new airscrew was fitted and some minor modifications were made.
  The rest is now history. The Tabloid seaplane eclipsed all other contestants, and Pixton won easily at an average speed of 86-75 m.p.h. The Tabloid reverted to a landplane soon after its return to England, but retained its 100 h.p. engine.
  The seaplane was more or less forgotten until the demands of war indicated a need for fast single-seat seaplanes. The Tabloid seaplane was put into production in November, 1914, and was supplied to the R.N.A.S. In the Service, the little seaplane was appropriately known as the Sopwith Schneider.
  The production Schneiders resembled Pixton’s machine closely. The 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape was fitted in a fore-and-aft mounting, with a bull-nose cowling over its upper half. Lateral control was by wing-warping. The tail unit resembled that of the Tabloid seaplane, but the Schneider’s fin and rudder were of slightly greater area. An additional diagonal strut was introduced in each side of the undercarriage, and a small aperture was made in the centre-section to permit the installation of a Lewis gun.
  Later production machines had ailerons instead of wing-warping, and an enlarged fin was fitted: this had a humped leading edge and remained a characteristic feature of the Schneider.
  One Schneider was experimentally fitted with Linton-Hope type floats. These floats were built on the same principle as the flying boat hulls designed by Major Linton-Hope, and were of good streamline form. With them the Schneider’s maximum speed was increased by 8 m.p.h., but they were not standardised.
  Production Schneiders became available early in 1915, and were immediately issued to seaplane stations around the English coast and to various ships. They were used for patrol duties against enemy submarines and airships: in the former case a single 60-lb bomb was carried, and in the latter incendiary ammunition was provided for the Schneider’s single Lewis gun.
  As a high-performance single-seat seaplane, the Schneider seemed to be the weapon most likely to combat the Zeppelins which, early in 1915, began to hamper the activities of the normal British naval patrols in the North Sea. The earliest recorded attempt made by a Schneider to get to grips with a Zeppelin came to naught. On May 11 th, 1915, while the seaplane carrier Ben-my-Chree was participating in an attempt to attack Norddeich, a Zeppelin was sighted as the British force approached the German coast. The Ben-my-Chree had a trackway forward of the superstructure, and a Schneider seaplane was forthwith mounted on wheels with the intention of flying it off the trackway to attack the airship. But the Schneider’s engine backfired and wrecked the rather makeshift launching gear, and the attempt had to be abandoned.
  Schneiders went to sea with light cruisers of the North Sea Patrol in order to attack Zeppelins whenever possible. The Arethusa got her Schneider away on June and, 1915, when a Zeppelin was sighted, but the pilot returned to the cruiser without pressing home an attack because he had mistakenly thought he was being recalled.
  More ignominious was the debacle of July 4th, 1915, when, with four Zeppelins overhead, three brand-new Schneiders belonging to the carrier Engadine were hoisted out. The floats of all three broke up on the water, and only one could be salved: the enemy escaped scot free.
  Occurrences of this kind did little to encourage sceptical naval officers to rely upon seaplanes in general; yet the value of aircraft for spotting for ships’ guns was indisputable. The trouble lay in the need to hoist out seaplanes from their carrier vessels for take-off; and the frail wooden floats of the period could not withstand a rough sea. Late in July, 1915, Admiral Sir John Jellicoe suggested that the solution lay in flying a seaplane from the deck of the carrier Campania.
  That ship has been discussed in the description of the Fairey Campania seaplane, and it will be recalled that in July, 1915, she was fitted with a forward flying-off deck 120 feet in length. The idea of putting a Schneider on wheels had already been tried on the Ben-my-Chree, and this was done on Campania also: the seaplane’s main floats rested on a two-wheeled dolly, which dropped into the sea after the take-off run was completed. The first take-off was made by Flight Lieutenant W. L. Welsh on August 6th, 1915, with Campania steaming into wind at 17 knots; the take-off run of the Schneider was 113 feet.
  The year 1915 saw the Zeppelin campaign of air-raids on England gain momentum. As a means of intercepting the airships in daylight before they reached the English coast it was proposed to equip shallow-draught paddle steamers with four seaplanes each, and with them to carry out patrols 50 miles east of the coast. In point of fact, only two such paddle steamers were provided at the end of March, 1916: they were the Killingholme and Brocklesby, based at Killingholme and Yarmouth respectively, and each carried two or three Sopwith Schneiders.
  The Harwich Command conducted several interesting experiments with aircraft and submarines. In April and May, 1916, the submarine E.22 took Sopwith Schneiders to sea on her deck; the seaplanes were successfully launched and flown back to Felixstowe. It was, of course, impossible for the submarine to submerge while carrying the Schneiders, but it is interesting to recall that the Germans carried out exactly similar experiments with a Friedrichshafen two-seat seaplane.
  The Schneider served at the Dardanelles, in the Aegean and in the Eastern Mediterranean. On April 8th, 1915, the aircraft carrier Ark Royal went to Mudros, where she exchanged the two Tabloids she had brought out from England for two Schneiders. At the end of April, 1915, one of these Schneiders was lent to the light cruiser Doris as a replacement for a Sopwith Seaplane Type 807: this Schneider made several important reconnaissance flights over Smyrna.
  In November, 1916, the Schneider was still in use in the Aegean. On the 21st of that month Flight Sub-Lieutenant A. F. Brandon, flying a Schneider, shot down an enemy aeroplane which had attacked the airship shed at Mudros.
  In the eastern Mediterranean and in the Red Sea the Schneider was used by the carrier vessels Ben-my-Chree, Empress, Anne and Raven II. These ships carried out many operations designed to harass the Turks, and the Schneiders were called upon to bomb, spot for guns, make reconnaissances, and escort the Short two-seat seaplanes also carried by the ships.
  As the year 1915 progressed, more and more was expected of the Schneiders as they unobtrusively went about their unspectacular duties. The machines gradually accumulated additional items of equipment, and their performance began to deteriorate. More power was provided by installing the 110 h.p. Clerget engine in place of the Monosoupape, and with the new engine the nose of the machine underwent a change. The Clerget had an overhung mounting, and an open-fronted cowling of horse-shoe shape was fitted.
  This development, which first appeared in September, 1915, was known as the Sopwith Baby, but the old name Schneider continued to be applied loosely to Schneiders and Babies alike; whilst, conversely, the new name came to be used equally loosely to describe the earlier machine. Thus there is much confusion in most of the records of the exploits of both types.
  The armament of the Baby usually consisted of a single Lewis gun mounted on top of the fuselage and synchronised to fire forward through the airscrew. This was an improvement upon the Schneider’s armament, for the earlier aircraft had had its Lewis gun attached to the centre-section, firing upwards to clear the airscrew. Nevertheless, some Babies retained the earlier armament installation, and the synchronised Lewis gun was not altogether standard.
  Like the Schneider before it, the Baby was used as part of the equipment of early aircraft carriers. Two Babies and three Short 184s of the Vindex were hoisted out not far from Horn Reefs on March 25th, 1916; their objective was a supposed Zeppelin base at Hoyer. Snow made the flight a hazardous one, and two of the Shorts and one of the Sopwiths were lost.
  The next attempt to use Sopwith Baby seaplanes to bomb the Zeppelin base, now known to be at Tondern, was made on May 4th, 1916. It was an utter fiasco. Soon after 3 a.m. eleven Sopwith Babies were hoisted out from the carriers Vindex and Engadine off the island of Sylt. Four broke their airscrews, three had engine failure, and one overturned in the wake of one of the escorting destroyers. Of the three machines that succeeded in getting away one struck the wireless aerial of the destroyer Goshawk and crashed; the second was forced to return with engine trouble; and only the third reached Tondern. The target was partly obscured in mist, and the two 65-lb bombs which alone out of the intended twenty-two were transported to their destination missed the target.
  Deck take-offs with wheeled dollies were practised on the Campania, on May 29th, 1916, five Sopwith Baby seaplanes flew off the carrier’s deck while she W'as steaming at 19 to 20 knots. When the Campania belatedly put to sea on 31st May, following the Grand Fleet to the engagement which history was to know as the Battle of Jutland, she had on board three Sopwith Babies, four Schneiders, and three Short 184s. Two more Baby seaplanes were on the Engadine, but were not used during the battle.
  On June 24th, 1916, four Sopwith Baby seaplanes were transferred to Dunkerque from the Vindex. This was done to provide fighter aircraft for use with patrol ships, and to augment the landplane fighters then in use at Dunkerque. These Babies were also used for patrol duties and as escorts to the two-seaters; and in May, 1917, a further nine Baby seaplanes were allotted to Dunkerque. Two months later, however, the seaplanes were replaced by Sopwith Pups.
  The Baby served in the Mediterranean area, both from seaplane stations and from the carrier Ben- my-Chree. Three of the ship’s Babies bombed the Chikaldir railway bridge over the river Jeihan on December 27th, 1916. Short seaplanes from the Ben-my-Chree and Raven II also took part in this raid, which delayed the passage of heavy guns to Baghdad.
  Six Baby seaplanes were specified as part of the establishment of the seaplane station at Otranto in February, 1917; and in the Aegean three Babies operated as fighters from Thasos. The seaplane carrier Empress had four Sopwith Baby and two Hamble Baby seaplanes in November, 1917. These machines played a part in the Palestine campaign: on November 2nd three of them bombed the railway bridge at Jaljulye, and later in the day seaplanes from the Empress bombed an oil factory near Haifa.
  The usual bomb-load for the Baby consisted of two 65-lb bombs. In addition to these missiles it carried a Lewis gun and ammunition, pigeon, emergency rations and a sea anchor; consequently it became overloaded and somewhat dangerous to fly. Modified versions of the type were built by the Fairey and Blackburn companies. The former manufacturer made an excellent contribution towards the improvement of the aircraft’s weight-lifting capabilities by fitting the Fairey Patent Camber Gear: this version of the type was known as the Fairey Hamble Baby.
  The Blackburn company built seventy-one Sopwith Baby seaplanes with the 110 h.p. Clerget engine. Ten of the first production batch of Blackburn-built Babies had an experimental modification to the wings. To make a worthwhile improvement in performance it was considered that more power was necessary, and it was decided to fit the 130 h.p. Clerget in the Baby airframe.
  When this decision was reached, the Sopwith company was fully occupied with the production of Camels, and was unable to divert any of its resources to the necessary re-design and modification work. The task was left to the other contractors, and Blackburn and Fairey made their own modifications for the use of the more powerful engine.
  The Fairey Hamble Baby did not change its name when powered by the 130 h.p. engine, but the Blackburn-built version was sometimes known as the Blackburn Baby. Externally there was nothing to distinguish the 130 h.p. Blackburn-built Baby from the standard 110 h.p. version. The first batch of forty were all originally armed with containers of Ranken darts; they carried no machine-guns. Later, however, some at least were armed with a single synchronised Lewis gun.
  The 130 h.p. Babies were distributed quite as widely as their lower-powered predecessors. Two Blackburn-built machines from Imbros made a bombing attack on the German cruiser Goeben on January 20th, 1918, but failed to hit it. The Babies and their escorting Camels were attacked by ten enemy seaplanes, and one Baby was shot down in flames. The other, flown by Flight Sub-Lieutenant R. W. Peel, returned to Imbros in a series of hops. Peel’s engine was faulty; he had to taxi part of the way and fly when his engine permitted him to do so.
  A third development of the Baby design was the Port Victoria P.V.1, in which special high-lift wings replaced the standard mainplanes.
  Seaplanes of the Sopwith Baby type remained in service until the end of the war. Doubtless the majority of the fifty-eight which were on charge at the end of October, 1918, were the Blackburn version with 130 h.p. Clerget, but that does not alter the fact that the basic design was by then five years old, for the Baby could trace its ancestry back to the Sopwith Tabloid of 1913. It was an aeroplane which was at its best when doing unspectacular patrol work. It is perhaps best summed up in these words of a former pilot of the Great Yarmouth Air Station (who, it will be observed, uses the original name of Schneider, even though writing of the 1918 period):
  “It was the machine for the lover of solitude and independence and a wandering kind of life.
  “The Schneider was a sort of detective, exposing all mysteries, such as whales mistaken for submarines, streaks of oil, and rescuing colleagues in difficulties. Any wild rumour - out went the Schneider to investigate! They were the Police Force of the Yarmouth Patrol.”
  In 1918 a number of Blackburn-built Babies were supplied to the Royal Norwegian Naval Air Service. These machines had interchangeable ski, wheel or float undercarriages.

  Manufacturers: The Sopwith Aviation Company, Ltd., Canbury Park Road, Kingston-on-Thames.
  Other Contractors: The Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co., Ltd., Olympia, Leeds.
  Power: 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape; 110 h.p. Clerget; 130 h.p. Clerget.
  Dimensions: Span: 25 ft 8 in. Length: 22 ft 10 in. (23 ft with 130 h.p. Clerget). Height: 10 ft. Chord: 5 ft 2 in. Gap: 4 ft 6 in. Stagger: 8 in. Dihedral: 2°. Incidence: 3°. Span of tail: 9 ft 5 in.
  Areas: Wings: upper 128 sq ft, lower 112 sq ft, total 240 sq ft. Ailerons: each 7 sq ft, total 28 sq ft. Tailplane: 14 sq ft. Elevators: 12 sq ft. Fin: 2-7 sq ft. Rudder: 6-5 sq ft.
  Weights: 110 h.p. Clerget. Loaded: 1,580 lb. 130 h.p. Clerget. Empty: 1,226 lb. Military load: 75 lb. Pilot: 180 lb. Fuel and oil: 234 lb. Loaded: 1,715 lb.
  Performance: 110 h.p. Clerget. Maximum speed at sea level: 92 m.p.h. 130 h.p. Clerget. Maximum speed at sea level: 100 m.p.h. Climb to 10,000 ft: 35 min. Endurance: 2 1/4 hours.
  Tankage: Petrol: 25 gallons. Oil: 6 gallons.
  Armament: Originally a Lewis machine-gun was mounted in an aperture in the centre-section and fired at a shallow upward angle to clear the airscrew. Later Sopwith Babies had a synchronised Lewis gun mounted centrally on top of the fuselage, firing forward through the airscrew. Occasionally, as on Baby No. 8151, the gun was mounted above the upper starboard longeron. No. 8160 had a Lewis gun fixed to the port centresection struts to fire upwards at about 450 to the line of flight; the gun itself had been turned through 90° from its normal attitude and was mounted so that the drum of the Lewis gun was in the vertical plane. The Schneider could take one 65-lb bomb; the Baby’s load consisted of two such bombs carried in racks under the fuselage. At least one Baby was fitted with Le Prieur rockets, which were carried in racks attached to the interplane struts. Ranken darts were also used for anti-airship work.
  Service Use: R.N.A.S. Seaplane Stations at Calshot, Dundee, Dunkerque, Great Yarmouth, Felixstowe, Scapa Flow, Westgate, Killingholme and Fishguard. Aircraft carriers Ark Royal, Ben-my-Chree, Engadine, Furious, City of Oxford, Peony, Riviera, Campania, Vindex, Anne, Raven II, Empress, Manxman. Paddle steamers Brocklesby and Killingholme. Gunboat Halcyon. Carried by certain light cruisers, e.g., Arethusa, Undaunted, Doris. Submarines: Schneiders used experimentally with submarine E.22. Mediterranean: R.N.A.S. Seaplane Stations at Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca. Aegean: R.N.A.S. Stations at Thasos, Suda Bay and Syra. Egypt: R.N.A.S. Stations at Port Said and Alexandria. Also used by the Royal Norwegian Naval Air Service.
  Production and Allocation: Serial numbers indicate that 136 Schneiders and 286 Baby seaplanes were built. On October 31st, 1918, fifty-eight Babies were on charge with the R.A.F.: twenty-one were in the Mediterranean, three were with the Grand Fleet, and the remainder were at various coastal stations in the United Kingdom.
  Serial Numbers: Schneider: 1436-1447, 1556-1579 (built under Contract No. C.P.38624/15), 3707-3806. Baby: 8118-8217, built by Sopwith (8118-8122 had the Monosoupape engine, remainder the 110 h.p. Clerget). N.300, N.1010-N.1039, N.1060-N.1069 and N.1100-N.1129 were all built by Blackburn. N.1410-N.1449 were built by Blackburn with 130 h.p. Clerget, armed with Ranken darts. N.2060-N.2134 were built by Blackburn with the 130 h.p. Clerget.
Notes on Individual Machines: 1557: attached H.M.S. Undaunted. 1558: R.N.A.S., Great Yarmouth. 1560 and 1561: H.M.S. Ben-my-Chree. presented to Canada. 3736: R.N.A.S., Great Yarmouth. 3806: presented to Canada. 8125: crated and despatched to Canada without engine. 8134: became Hamble Baby prototype. 8151: R.N.A.S., Felixstowe. 8164: R.N.A.S., Great Yarmouth. 8214: sold to Italy. N.1030-N. 1039 had experimental wing modification. N.1033: R.N.A.S. Seaplane Station, Fishguard. N.1063: R.N.A.S. Seaplane Station, Dundee.
   Sopwith Baby airframe without engine, instruments and gun £1,072 10s.
   130 h.p. Clerget engine £907 10s.

P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

The value of a single-seat scout seaplane with good all-round performance was appreciated by the Admiralty, particularly in view of the widespread commitments of the R.N.A.S. along the coasts of the British Isles, and the Tabloid seaplane was ordered into production in November, 1914, being given in recognition of its sparkling achievement earlier in the year the well-merited appellation Sopwith Schneider. The 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome was standardized as its power plant and the Schneider was little altered from Howard Pixton’s contest mount apart from the appearance of an extra pair of struts in the undercarriage. The bull-nose cowling over the upper portion of the rotary afforded protection from oil and gases whipped back in the face of the pilot and, at the same time, gave a fair view over the blunt nose.
   Original production Schneiders utilized the triangular fin shape but of slightly greater area than used on the Tabloids, together with wing warping; the fin was subsequently increased in area and given a curved leading edge and, conforming with advancing aerodynamic practice, ailerons on all four wings supplanted the strain-inducing warping. This final rejection of the warping system of lateral control was long overdue and was made not a moment too soon. The twisting of the wings’ structure imposed totally unnecessary strains, particularly where biplane cellules were involved, which were eliminated when the simple and effective aileron became accepted fully.
   The Spinning Jenny was obviously not going to be of any use in destroying Zeppelins and another Sopwith type, the single-seat Schneider, was turned to in the hope of succeeding where its two-seat compatriot had failed. As the Schneiders came off the accelerated production lines during the first months of 1915, they were directed by the R.N.A.S. to its coastal seaplane stations and also passed to some ships as part of their equipment. The Schneider’s brisk performance, allied to its incendiary bullet-firing Lewis gun which was mounted at an angle through an aperture in the upper centre-section, was expected to provide a satisfactory means of bringing the raiders down. Actual attempts to use the Schneiders from cruisers and seaplane-carriers in the North Sea when Zeppelins were sighted overhead in May, June and July of 1915 were failures from various causes, one of which was an unfortunate propensity for breaking their float structures on being swung into the water for taking-off. To overcome this obstacle and get the intercepting Schneiders cleanly into the air with as little loss of time as possible, the idea came from Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, in a letter to the Admiralty at the end of July, 1915, that the machines should be released from the 120 ft. flying-off deck of the aircraft-carrier Campania. By placing a jettisonable two-wheeled dolly beneath the floats, the seaplanes could then get smoothly and quickly away. 6th August, 1915, saw the first successful take-off by this method from Campania when Flt.Lt. W. L. Welsh was launched in a Schneider after a run of 113 ft. while the ship steamed at 17 kt. into wind. The little Sopwith had deservedly made a niche for itself in the R.N.A.S. and increasing demands meant that extra equipment was finding its way aboard to the gradual detriment of the machine’s performance. An increase in power was obviously essential and the 110 h.p. Clerget was selected as the answer. The change of engine brought with it an alteration in the cowling, which lost its old bull-nose character and assumed instead a horse-shoe aspect, open-fronted and terminating at the apices of the front landing-gear struts. With the new version’s appearance in September, 1915, there came the change of name to Sopwith Baby.
   The Fairey Company was more successful with its adaptation of the Sopwith Baby seaplane which it redesigned as the Hamble Baby to incorporate the Fairey Patent Camber Gear which consisted of wing trailing-edge flaps, used to produce increased lift and doubling as ailerons. Out of a total of one hundred and eighty Hamble Babies built, one hundred and thirty were by Parnall and Sons and, of these, seventy-four were on land undercarriages and known as Hamble Baby Converts.

F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

Sopwith Schneider and Baby

   When it became obvious that the various gun carrier seaplanes, especially those designed for the large Davis and COW guns (such as the Short S.81 and the so-called North Sea Scout) would be of little value in air-to-air combat, the Admiralty turned logically to the aeroplane that had won the 1914 Schneider Trophy contest - the Sopwith Tabloid modified with floats - and ordered it into production in November 1914.
   Early aircraft retained the old wing warping and triangular fin of the racing version, as well as the parallel-sided engine cowling with tapering curve on the upper panel. Most aircraft were armed with a single Lewis gun mounted at a shallow angle to fire through the wing centre section and above the propeller arc. Later examples introduced ailerons and an enlarged, curved fin, and one aircraft was flown with improved Linton Hope floats.
   These aircraft were appropriately named Sopwith Schneiders, and a total of about 136 examples was produced. They entered service early in 1915 and served on many of the seaplane stations around the coasts of Britain on antiairship and submarine patrols.
   Schneiders also served at sea, being carried by ships of the Home Fleet. One was flown off the seaplane carrier HMS Campania on 6 August 1915 by Flt Lt W L Welsh using a two-wheeled dolly which dropped into the sea after take-off; while the ship steamed into wind at 17 knots, the Schneider’s take-off run was 113 feet. Schneiders also served in the Aegean, at the Dardanelles, in the Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea.

The Sopwith Baby

   In the quest for better performance with the addition of more equipment (the Schneider was also fitted with provision to carry a 65lb bomb), the 110hp Clerget replaced the Gnome in September 1915 and, with this engine, the aircraft became known as the Sopwith Baby. A new cowling was introduced which, being horseshoe-shaped when seen from the front, left the lower one-third of the engine exposed. The Baby also featured a synchronized Lewis gun on the nose decking, firing through the propeller, although some aircraft retained the upward-firing gun of the Schneider. A total of 286 Babies was built, many of them by the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co Ltd of Leeds.
   The Schneider was a genuine fighter though it seems unlikely that it would have withstood more than about 2g in combat; it was a generally popular aeroplane and saw considerable service both in home waters and in the Near and Middle East where it was frequently adapted to carry a pair of 65lb bombs - principally for anti-submarine work.
   Inevitably, with this constant increase in equipment (as well as sea anchor, homing pigeon, and emergency rations, as well as spare drums for the Lewis gun), yet more power was demanded, and a further engine change resulted in the 130hp Clerget being fitted, this version being built by Blackburn and by the Fairey Aviation Co Ltd (see Fairey Hamble Baby); it also underwent experimental modification by the RNAS at Port Victoria (see under Port Victoria P.V.2/2bis).
   Sopwith Babies remained in service right up to the Armistice, and a number was supplied to the Royal Norwegian Naval Air Service with interchangeable wheel, ski and float undercarriage, while both Schneiders and Babies were also supplied to the US Navy.

   Type: Single-engine, single-seat, single-bay fighting scout twin-float biplane.
   Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey; Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co Ltd, Leeds, Yorkshire.
   Powerplant: One 100hp Gnome monosoupape engine driving two-blade propeller; 100hp Clerget; 130hp Clerget.
   Structure: All-wood construction with two-spar, two-bay wings, fabric and ply covered; twin main float and single tail float undercarriage; wing warping later replaced by ailerons.
   Dimensions: Span, 25ft 8in; length 22ft Win (23ft 0in with 130hp Clerget); height, 10ft 0in; wing area, 240 sq ft.
   Weights (130hp Clerget): Tare, 1,226lb; all-up, 1,715lb.
   Performance (130hp Clerget): Max speed, 100 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 35 min; endurance, 2 1/4 hr.
   Armament: One 0.303in Lewis free-firing machine gun angled upwards to fire through wing above propeller; superseded by a synchronized Lewis gun on fuselage nose; Schneider could carry one 65lb bomb; Baby could carry two. Ranken darts used for anti-airship attacks.
   Production: No prototypes. Schneider production (all Sopwith), 1436-1447 (12), 1556-1579 (24) and 3707-3806 (100). Baby production, 8118-8217 (100, Sopwith); N300, N1010- N1039, N1060-N1069, N1100-N1129, N1410-N1449, N2060-N2134 (186, Blackburn).
   Summary of Service: Served at RNAS Calshot, Dundee, Dunkerque, Felixstowe, Fishguard, Great Yarmouth, Killingholme, Scapa Flow, and Westgate; and aboard carriers, light cruisers and other ships in home waters, the Mediterranean, Aegean and Middle East.

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


   Derived from the Tabloid float seaplane which won the Schneider Trophy contest in April 1914, and named, appropriately enough, the Schneider, the single-seat twin-float seaplane ordered into production in November 1914 for the RNAS resembled closely the aircraft that had gained the Trophy at Monaco. Retaining the same 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape nine-cylinder rotary - the upper half of which was enclosed by a ‘bull-nose’ cowling - and wing-warping lateral control, the Schneider had a larger fin and rudder, reinforced float bracing and an aperture in the centre section for an upward-angled 0.303-in (7,7-mm) machine gun. Used for patrol duties against enemy airships from seaplane stations around the British coast, the Schneiders were provided with incendiary ammunition and operated against Zeppelins from early 1915. Schneiders were also carried aboard light cruisers of the North Sea Patrol for anti-Zeppelin operations, and served at the Dardanelles, in the Aegean and in the Eastern Mediterranean. Two Schneiders operated from the carrier Ark Royal in April 1915 at Mudros, and the type was still serving in the Aegean as late as November 1916, one shooting down an enemy aircraft which had attacked the airship shed at Mudros on the 21st of that month. A total of 136 Schneiders is believed to have been built, progressive development resulting in the Baby.

Max speed, 89 mph (143 km/h) at sea level.
Time to 8,500 ft (2 500 m), 33.8 min.
Endurance, 2.5 hrs.
Loaded weight, 1,530 lb (694 kg).
Span, 25 ft 8 in (7,82 m).
Length, 22 ft 8 in (6,90 m).
Height, 9 ft 9 in (2,97 m).
Wing area, 240 sq ft (22,30 m2).


   Derived from the Schneider single-seat fighter seaplane, the Baby first appeared in September 1915, and differed from its predecessor primarily in having a 110 hp Clerget nine-cylinder rotary in place of the Monosoupape, this being accommodated by a horseshoe-shaped open-fronted cowling. As on late production Schneiders, ailerons replaced wing warping for lateral control, and armament usually consisted of a single 0.303-in (7,7-mm) machine gun synchronised to fire through the propeller, although a few Babies retained the arrangement of the Schneider with the gun attached to the centre section and firing upward to clear the propeller. Several Babies were fitted with two 0.303-in (7,7-mm) guns side by side over the wing; one batch of Blackburn-built Babies was fitted with Ranken explosive darts as anti-airship weapons, and at least one was fitted with Le Prieur rockets, 10 of these devices being attached to the interplane bracing struts. Two 65-lb (29,5-kg) bombs could also be carried. The Baby was widely used by the RNAS to provide fighter , aircraft for use with patrol ships, as escorts for two-seaters and for operation from early aircraft carriers. A total of 286 Babies was built of which 195 were produced by Blackburn - and sometimes known as Blackburn Babies - 105 of the latter being fitted with the 130 hp Clerget engine, and, of these, 40 were fitted (initially) to carry the Ranken dart and no gun armament. A more extensive modification of the Sopwith float fighter was the Fairey Hamble Baby (which see). The following data relate to the 130 hp Blackburn-built Baby.

Max speed, 100 mph (161 km/h) at sea level.
Time to 10,000 ft (3 050 m), 35 min.
Endurance, 2.25 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,226 lb (556 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,715 lb (778 kg).
Span, 25 ft 8 in (6,90 m).
Length, 23 ft 0 in (7,01 m).
Height, 10 ft 0 in (3,05 m).
Wing area, 240 sq ft (22,30 m2).

H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)

Schneider and Baby. The original Sopwith Schneider racing seaplane was built in 1913, and developed versions for the RNAS were in service during 1915. At least two different installations of a Lewis gun were made. The first entailed the fitting of deflector plates on the airscrew, and the second the attachment of the gun on the centre-section at an angle sufficient for the bullets to clear the airscrew disc. The rear end projected through an aperture. This second installation was for anti-airship work, and for the same purpose H.E. and incendiary bombs could be carried. One identified load was four 20-lb H.E. bombs and an incendiary bomb. The armament later standardised for the Baby was a Lewis gun. with mechanical synchronizing gear on the fuselage centre line and projecting backwards through the windscreen, or alternatively offset to starboard. For antisubmarine work there was provision for two 65-lb bombs (the Schneider carried one) in tandem under the fuselage. The gun and ammunition weighed 55 lb and only one bomb could be carried in addition. There were instances of a Lewis gun mounted on the starboard side of the fuselage and of the gun attached to the port centre-section struts, turned on its side, and firing upwards at about 45 degrees to the line of flight. In at least one instance Le Prieur rockets were attached to the interplane struts, and one batch of Blackburn-built Babies initially carried Ranken Darts to the exclusion of other armament. A photograph shows one of these aircraft later armed with a Lewis gun and having also a carrier for, apparently, four 20-lb bombs.

O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)

Sopwith Schneider

   The Schneider was so named because it was directly descended from the Sopwith Tabloid seaplane which had been used by Mr Howard Pixton to win the Schneider Trophy contest for Great Britain at Monaco on 20 April 1914. The little Tabloid performed magnificently; its average speed was over 86 mph, and in an extra two laps after finishing the race Pixton reached 92 mph, which was then a world's record for seaplanes.
   It was natural that with the outbreak of war the RNAS should adopt this fine seaplane, and production began in November 1914 with an order for 12 aircraft, Nos.1436 to 1447. The early RNAS Schneider differed little from Pixton's Tabloid. The same 100 hp Monosoupape Gnome engine was used, housed-in a curious bull-nosed cowling which became a characteristic feature of the Schneider and in fact distinguished the type from the later Baby. Early aircraft had a triangular fin and employed wing-warping; later an enlarged, curved fin and normal ailerons were introduced, as in the three-view drawing. Subsequent orders were for 24 Schneiders (Nos.1556 to 1579) and 100 (Nos.3707 to 3806), and the final production total was 160, five of which remained in commission in March 1918.
   During 1915 repeated attempts were made to use Schneiders to intercept Zeppelins over the North Sea. The seaplanes were carried in light cruisers, paddle-steamers such as Killingholme and Brocklesby, and in the seaplane-carriers Ben-my-Chree and Engadine. Scant success attended these sorties; frequently the seaplanes could not take off due to heavy seas, or the floats broke up in the water. A remedy was sought by fitting two-wheeled dollies beneath the floats, enabling the Schneiders to operate from the short flying-off deck of carriers so equipped. The first successful take-off using this device was from Campania on 6 August 1915. The Schneider was flown by FlLt W L Welsh. On 26 March 1916 a Schneider bombed aircraft sheds at Sylt and, on 6 May, the Zeppelin sheds at Tondem.
   Overseas, Schneiders did an immense amount of useful work, both reconnaissance and righting. in the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea. They saw service in the Dardanelles campaign, flying from Ark Royal, and as late as 21 November 1916 a Schneider, flown by FlSub Lt A F Brandon, shot down an enemy aircraft over Mudros.

   RNAS coaslal air stations at Calshot, Dundee, Dunkirk, Felixstowe, Fishguard, Great Yarmouth, Killingholme, Scapa Flow and Westgate. Seaplane carriers: Anne, Ark Royal, Ben-My-Chree, Campania, Empress, Engadille, and Raven II. RNAS stations in Aegean, Egypt and Mediterranean. Also used experimentally aboard submarine E.22.

   Description: Single-seat scouting seaplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
   Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-on-Thames.
   Power Plant: One 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape.
   Dimensions: Span, 25 ft 8 in. Length, 22 ft 10 in. Height, 10 ft. Wing area, 240 sq ft.
   Weights: Empty. 1,220 lb. Loaded, 1,700 lb.
   Performance: Maximum speed, 87 mph. Climb, 15 min to 6,500 ft and 30 min to 10,000 ft. Service ceiling, 8,000 ft.
   Armament: One Lewis machine-gun firing through aperture in centre section and provision for one 65 lb bomb below fuselage.

Sopwith Baby

   The Sopwith Baby was a development of the Schneider, from which it differed in having the more powerful 110 hp Clerget engine in place of the Gnome Monosoupape, the hull-nosed cowling of the earlier aircraft being replaced by an open-fronted cowling of more orthodox pattern. Another improvement was the installation of a synchronised Lewis gun above the fuselage, though some Babies retained the original type of gun-mounting with the Lewis inclined upwards through the top wing. The first batch of 100 Babies (Nos.8118 to 8217) were built by Sopwith and delivered between September 1915 and July 1916. The first five aircraft of this batched retained the 100 hp Gnome engine, as did No.8199. The rest had the 110 hp Clerget, and this engine was retained when Baby production was transferred to the Blackburn Company.
   The first Blackburn Baby (N300) was followed by 70 production aircraft with 110 hp Clerget engines (N1010 to 1039, N1060 to 1069 and N1100 to 1129) and 115 with the 130 hp Clerget engine (N1410 to 1449 and N2060 to 2134). It had originally been planned to fit the Bentley A. R. I from N 1410, but these engines were not available in time. The first hatch of 130 hp Babies differed from the others in having Ranken anti-Zeppelin darts fitted instead of a machine-gun.
   In the same way as the Schneiders, Babies operated from seaplane-carriers in the North Sea and in the Mediterranean. They also flew on fighter patrols from Dunkirk until superseded by Sopwith Pups in July 1917. In the various Middle East campaigns. Babies were frequently used in bombing raids. Ben-my-Chree's Babies attacked the Chikaldir railway bridge in December 1916, and. in November, those from the carrier Empress took part in the Palestine fighting. Bombing raids on Zeppelin bases from home waters were less successful. In an attack on the Tondern airship base from the carriers Engadine and Vindex on 4 May 1916 only one out of 11 Babies succeeded in bombing the target.

   RNAS coastal air stations at Calshot, Dundee, Dunkirk, Felixstowe, Fishguard Great Yarmouth, Killingholme, Scapa Flow and Westgate. Seaplane carriers Ben-My-Chree, Campania, City of Oxford, Empress, Engadine, Furious, Manxman, Peony, Raven II, Riviera and Vindex. RNAS stations at Alexandria, Otranto, Port Said, Santa Maria di Leuca, Suda Bay and Thasos. After April 1918, with Nos.219, 229, 246, 248, 249, 263 and 270 Squadrons.

   Description: Single-seat scouting and bombing seaplane. Wooden structure. fabric covered.
   Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd. Kingston-on-Thames. Sub-contracted by the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co Ltd. Leeds.
   Power Plant: One 110 hp or 130 hp Clerget.
   Dimensions: Span. 25 ft 8 in. Length. 23ft. Height, 10 ft. Wing area, 240 sq ft.
   Weights (with 130 hp C1erget): Empty, 1,226 lb. Loaded, 1.715 lb.
   Performance (with 130 hp C1erget): Maximum speed. 100 mph at sea level. Climb, 35 min to 10.000 ft. Endurance, 2 1/4 hr.
   Armament: One Lewis machine-gun and provision for two 65 lb bombs. Ranken darts replaced the Lewis gun on some aircraft.

O.Thetford Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 (Putnam)

Sopwith Baby Seaplane

   Widely used before April 1918 by the RNAS, the Sopwith Baby served as an anti-submarine aircraft in home waters and as fighter reconnaissance aircraft in the Mediterranean theatre. With the RAF it served with the following Squadrons: Nos 219 (Westgate), 229 (Great Yarmouth), 246 (Seaton Carew), 248 (Hornsea Merc), 249 (Dundee), and 270 (Alexandria) where the last examples in service remained until April 1919. Powerplant: One 130hp Clerget rotary engine. Span, 25ft 8in; length, 23ft. Loaded weight, 1,715lb. Max speed, 98 mph at sea level; service ceiling, 7,600ft.
   The Hamble Baby (built by Fairey and Parnall) was a variant of the Sopwith Baby.

A.Jackson Blackburn Aircraft since 1909 (Putnam)

Sopwith Baby

A single-seat armed reconnaissance seaplane of wood and fabric construction designed by the Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd in 1915 as a more powerful development of the Sopwith Schneider. Production for the Royal Naval Air Service was sub-contracted to the Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hamble, and to the Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd, who were each supplied with a sample aircraft.
The Blackburn Baby seaplanes (as they were called) were built in the Olympia Works, Leeds, commencing with a prototype machine, N300, and 70 subsequent aircraft all with 110 hp Clerget air-cooled rotary engines. Ten of these, N1030-N1039, were fitted with experimental mainplanes of modified section. Later both sub-contractors were made responsible for modifying the design to take the 130 hp Clerget, after which Blackburns built 115 machines with this engine. These were in two batches, the first, N1410-N1449, being armed with Ranken anti-Zeppelin darts.
All were taken by road to be test flown from the River Humber at Brough by R. W. Kenworthy who subsequently delivered them by air to East Fortune. They operated in Palestine, as well as from seaplane carriers in the North Sea and Mediterranean, and flew fighter patrols from Dunkirk until replaced in July 1917. Nl 121 with 110 hp Clerget was presented to the French Government and N2121 from the final batch went to the USA in February 1918.

Manufacturers: The Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd, Olympia Works, Roundhay Road, Leeds, Yorks., and Brough Aerodrome, East Yorks.
Designers: The Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Canbury Park Road, Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey
Power Plants:
One 110 hp Clerget
One 130 hp Clerget
Span 25 ft 8 in Length 23 ft 0 in
Height 10 ft 0 in Wing area 240 sq ft
Weights: (130 hp Clerget) Tare weight 1,226 lb All-up weight 1,715 lb
Performance: (130 hp Clerget)
Maximum speed 100 mph
Climb to 10,000 ft 35 min
Endurance 2 1/4 hr
Blackburn production:
(a) With 110 hp Clerget
Seventy-one aircraft comprising N300 (quantity 1); N1010-N1039 (30); N1060-N1069 (10); N1100-N1129 (30).
(b) With 130 hp Clerget
One hundred and fifteen aircraft comprising N1410-N1449 (40); N2060-N2134 (75).
Total: 186.
In 1917 ten Blackburn Baby seaplanes were made available to the Norwegian Naval Air Service and delivered to the Naval Aircraft Factory at Horten for erection and test before issue to fighter flights at Horten, Kristiansand, Bergen, and Tromso. They were flown off the fiords in summer and off the ice in winter and bore even serials from F.100 to F.118, but previous British naval identities have not survived.
The date of first flight at Horten is given below, immediately after the serial:
F.100, 13 July 1917, flown with bombs and radio, scrapped 22 December 1931, flew 76 hr 30min; F. 102,22 October 1917, scrapped 22 December 1931, flew 111 hr 50 min; F.104, 1 November 1917, crashed 9 May 1919, flew 30 hr 30 min; F.106, 24 October 1917, scrapped 22 December 1931, flew 122 hr 50 min; F.108, 26 April 1918, scrapped 8 November 1920, flew 42 hr 10 min; F.110, 25 April 1918, crashed 1919, flew 36hr 30 min; F.112, 27 April 1918, crashed 27 August 1927, flew 188 hr 55 min; F.114, 3 August 1918, crashed 6 September 1918; F.116, 8 August 1918, flown with bombs and radio, crashed 28 August 1919, flew 53 hr 50 min; F.118, 6 August 1918, crashed 22 August 1919, flew 72 hr 30 min.
F.104, F.110, F.114, F.116 and F.118 were each reconstructed several times from new and salvaged Blackburn-built components held in store at Horten. F.104 was converted into a two-seat, side-by-side trainer.

G.Swanborough, P.Bowers United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911 (Putnam)


An unspecified number of British Sopwith Baby seaplanes, including Gnome- and Clerget-powered versions, were obtained by the US Navy in Europe in 1917-18 for training. Four (A869-A872) were sent to the States for evaluation. Those remaining in Europe continued to operate under their British serial numbers. The single-seat seaplane scout design, with a 110 hp Clerget engine, was investigated by a few American manufacturers, but the type was not accepted for service. Span, 25 ft 8 in; length, 22 ft 10 in; gross weight, 1,580 lb; max speed, 92 mph.

R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)

Navy Ha-go Small Seaplane (Sopwith Schneider Fighter Seaplane)

   Capt Shiro Yamauchi acquired a Sopwith Schneider fighter floatplane while on his aviation inspection tour in England in August 1915. As a direct descendant of the famous Schneider Trophy winner it became known as the Schneider and bore a close resemblance to its predecessor, the Tabloid, which could also be float equipped. Also known as a Sopwith Baby, the aeroplane arrived in Japan by ship in May 1916 and became the japanese Navy's first fighter seaplane.
   Originally this aeroplane was powered by a 100hp Gnome engine, but those manufactured by Aichi under the Naval designation Ha-go Small Seaplane were powered by the 110hp Le Rhone engine. Training for aerial combat with this aeroplane was begun in March 1918 by Sub-Lieut Shirase, and the first loop by a japanese Naval officer was made by Lieut Torao Kuwahara with one of these aeroplanes.

   Single-engine twin-float fighter biplane. Three-float undercarriage. Wooden structure with fabric covering. Pilot in open cockpit.
   100hp Gnome nine-cylinder aircooled rotary engine, or one 110hp Le Rhone eleven-cylinder air-cooled rotary engine, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller.
   One nose-mounted fixed 7.7mm machine-gun.
   Span 7.223m (23ft 8 1/4in); length 6.634m (21 ft 9in); height 3m (9ft 10in); wing area 22 .3sq m (240sq ft).
   Empty weight 528kg (1,164Ib); loaded weight 697kg (1,536Ib).
   Maximum speed 78kt (90mph) at sea level; climb to 1,500m (4,92Ift) in 13min; endurance 2 1/2hr.
   Ten built beginning 1921.
   Weights and performance with Gnome engine.

J.Davilla Italian Aviation in the First World War. Vol.2: Aircraft A-H (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 74)

Ansaldo Baby

  The need for an effective fighter flying boat had become acute with in the Regia Marina. The Austro-Hungarian Navy had produced a series of effective fighter flying boats, primarily the Lohner series. The FBA Type H reconnaissance/bombing flying boats were vulnerable to these fighters, as were the Macchi L.3 and M.3 aircraft.
  A dedicated fighter was the only solution to the problem, and Macchi set to work creating the M.5 fighter that would redress the balance in the Adriatic. It as hoped than in the interim a stopgap fighter could be put into service. This would require the acquisition of a foreign design, preferably for license production.
  The Sopwith Baby floatplane was selected for license production under Ansaldo. It appears that Italian pilots had had a chance to evaluate the RFC’s Sopwith Baby fighter from examples brought to Italy and were well aware of its qualities as a fighter. Ansaldo would have to produce these aircraft as quickly as possible; if necessary, the type could act as a bulwark should the M.5 production be delayed.
  The main difference between the Italian version and the British original was in the engine. The Italians decided to use a 120-hp Le Rhone 9J. This was the same engine used by the Italian-built Hanriot HD.1 fighters, so they were plentiful supply. It was encased in a circular cowling with large openings for engine cooling.
  100 Ansaldo Baby fighters were produced in the Cantiere aeronautico N.I at Borziolimare near Genoa. The first four were built in 1917, the rest the following year.
  Fortunately for the Regia Marina, the Macchi M.5 was available on time - early 1918. This made the Ansaldo Baby production run superfluous, and they were little used.
  The Ansaldo Baby had good flying characteristics, being very maneuverable. However, its performance was not acceptable for the combat environment of the Adriatic in 1918. Most of the machines built, therefore, were assigned to training units where they served until the end of the War.

Operational Service

  Units which are confirmed as having the Ansaldo Baby floatplanes on strength are:

  268a Squadriglia
   The Sezione FBA at Rapallo was formed in the beginning of 1918. In April a Sezione Sopwith was established at Rapallo. This unit was equipped with Ansaldo Sopwiths under the command of Francisco Marini. At the end of the conflict it had on strength four Ansaldo Sopwiths. During the war it completed 841 missions. It was disbanded in April 1919.

  276a Squadriglia (Sezione d'Idrocaccia Ansaldo)
   The first Sezione of seaplanes at Naples received two FBAs in February 1917 and was redesignated 13a Sezione FBA In March 1918 it had a Sezzione d’Idrocaccia (Fighter Seaplane Section) with Ansaldo Sopwith Baby floatplanes. By June 11,1918 it received Macchi M.5s, suggesting that the Ansaldo Sezione was no longer with the unit.

Журнал Flight

Flight, August 7, 1914.


   ALTHOUGH the Circuit of Britain for the Daily Mail prize, which was to have started from Southampton on Monday next, has naturally been indefinitely postponed by the Royal Aero Club on account of the calamity of war in which this country has been involved, the work and money expended by the manufacturers on the various machines are not by any means wasted, since it seems likely that they will be called upon to show their capabilities in actual service instead of in a peaceful race round our coasts. As the nine entries may be said to represent fairly closely the present trend of our seaplane industry, we think that our readers will agree that descriptions of these nine types of seaplanes will be of great interest. We therefore intend to publish in the present and successive issues articles dealing with the construction of these nine "Circuit" machines, dealing with them in the order of their official numbers in the race. As a number of the machines are, at the time of going to press, still in the shops in a more or less unfinished state, it has been impossible to obtain photographs of all of them, and we have therefore had perspective sketches prepared, from which those of our readers who are not experts in "reading" scale drawings may obtain a good idea of the general arrangements of the machines. In addition to these sketches we are giving drawings either to scale, or in some cases as nearly as possible to scale, and in the present issue will be found a table of the chief characteristics of all the machines, which should prove useful for purposes of comparison.
   The machine which was officially numbered 1 is:

The Sopwith Tractor Biplane.

   Our readers are already familiar with previous Sopwith machines of the tractor type through illustrated descriptions in FLIGHT, and the Circuit biplane does not differ materially from its prototypes except in dimensions. From the accompanying illustrations it will be seen that the fuselage is slightly more elongated than is usual in the Sopwith Scouts, probably in order to counteract to a certain extent the side area of the floats. Since the machine was flown as a land aeroplane at Brooklands the size of both rudder and tail fin has been increased, so that the vertical surface aft now seems quite capable of taking care of the side area of the two floats, and the nose of the covered-in fuselage. This member, which is of rectangular section topped by a turtle back, is built up in the usual way of four ash longerons, struts, cross-members, and diagonal bracing. At the rear the fuselage terminates in a vertical knife-edge, whilst in the nose of the machine the longerons of the fuselage converge to join the front engine bearer, which forms a horizontal knife-edge. The aluminium cowl over the engine is of the same type as that fitted on the small scouting biplanes, a type which has been found in practice to combine a good entry for the air with sufficient cooling of the engine.
   In front, the fuselage is wide enough to accommodate the motor - a 100 h.p. Gnome monosoupape - which is mounted between double bearers, and drives directly a propeller of 8 ft. 6 ins. diameter.
   Immediately behind the engine is situated the petrol and oil tanks, whilst an additional supply of petrol is carried in another tank behind the passenger's seat. This is situated sufficiently far forward to provide a good view in a downward direction, whilst from the pilot's seat, placed as it is in line with the trailing edge of the lower plane, which has been cut away near the body, an excellent view is obtained in a downward and forward direction. By cutting away the trailing edge of the centre portion of the upper plane, the pilot is enabled to look upwards and forwards, so that it would appear that the arrangement of the pilot's seat and the staggered planes is such as to give the pilot, as nearly as possible in a machine of this type, an unrestricted view in all directions.
   The main planes are of the usual Sopwith type, and are very strongly built. Compression struts are fitted between the main spars in order to relieve the ribs of the strain of the internal cross-bracing. Ailerons are fitted to the tips of both upper and lower main planes, and are slightly wider than the remaining trailing portion of the wings in order to render them more efficient. The ailerons are operated through stranded cables passing round a drum on the control lever in front of the pilot's seat. The tail planes are of the usual characteristic Sopwith type, consisting of an approximately semi-circular tail plane, to the trailing edge of which is hinged a divided elevator. The rudder is of ample size, and a comparatively large vertical tail fin runs from the rudder post down to the leading edge of the fixed tail plane. The chassis is of a substantial type, and the two main floats are sprung by means of leaf springs interposed between the rear of the float and the rear chassis struts, whilst the floats pivot round their attachment to the lower end of the front chassis struts. The floats are spaced a comparatively great distance apart, in order to render the machine more stable on the water. A tail float of the usual type takes the weight of the tail planes when the machine is at rest.

Flight, February 6, 1919.



The Baby Seaplane. (September, 1915)

   The Baby Seaplane was an immediate development of the "Tabloid," from which it differed principally in the fitting of floats instead of wheels. One of these machines made history by winning the Schneider Trophy at Monaco, and the Baby Seaplane is very similar to the famous Sopwith "Schneider." In this machine wing warping had given way to ailerons. The floats were of the plain, non-stepped type, and a tail float of considerable size was fitted under the stern. The engine originally fitted was a 100 h.p. Gnome monosoupape, but later on n o and 130 h.p. Clergets were also used.
   It is of interest to note that, although this seaplane performed highly successfully at its first appearance, it was more or less put on one side at the outbreak of War, and it was not until November, 1914, that the demand arose for a fast single-seater seaplane. It was then immediately put into production, and from that distant date until the signing of the Armistice the Sopwith Baby Seaplane has been continually in service.

А.Шепс - Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты
Гоночный поплавковый самолет "Таблоид-Шнейдер" (1914г.)
А.Шепс - Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты
Поплавковый истребитель Сопвич "Бэби" RNAS (1915г.)
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Sopwith Baby
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
Сопвич "Бэби"
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
By 1920, Norway's Marinens Flyvevaesen had received 17 ex-RNAS Baby floatplanes.
J.Davilla - Italian Aviation in the First World War. Vol.2: Aircraft A-H /Centennial Perspective/ (74)
Ansaldo Baby So.5072
M.Goodall, A.Tagg - British Aircraft before the Great War /Schiffer/
Sopwith Type HS Schneider Cup seaplane by Turk's boathouse at Kingston after conversion to twin floats before dispatch to Monaco.
H.King - Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 /Putnam/
If this evocative picture shows - as it appears to do - Pixton's Monaco Tabloid being tested on the Thames, then it also depicts that historic Schneider Trophy winner with a strut-mounted tail float.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg - British Aircraft before the Great War /Schiffer/
The second Schneider Trophy contest event, again at Monaco, was won by this Sopwith Tabloid seaplane, flown by Howard Pixton, on 20 April 1914. The design sired a family of successful naval seaplanes.
D.James - Schneider Trophy Aircraft 1913-1931 /Putnam/
Scarcely visible. Howard Pixton, winner of the 1914 Schneider Trophy Race at Monaco, lounges nonchalantly in the shadow of the port upper mainplane of the Sopwith Tabloid at Monaco in 1914. The rear part of the floats and support struts are under water, as is the elevator trailing edge.
Журнал - Flight за 1914 г.
THE COUPE SCHNEIDER. - The winning Sopwith seaplane, with Mr. Howard Pixton piloting, just rising off tne water at Monaco.
D.James - Schneider Trophy Aircraft 1913-1931 /Putnam/
Surely one of the most enticing 'Wish you were here' postcards ever printed (for, like the preceding Tabloid floatplane picture, it was indeed produced in postcard form) this view calls for little remark beyond affirming that the Sopwith caption reads: '43-100 hp Seaplane. Winner of Schneider Cup at Monaco. April/1914.'
Howard Pixton under way in the Sopwith Tabloid in front of the exotic casinos and hotels of Monaco.
Журнал - Flight за 1914 г.
A snap of M. C. Howard Pixton flying the Sopwith seaplane at Monaco during his sucessful flight for the Schneider Cup.
H.King - Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 /Putnam/
Whatever doubts may be entertained concerning the photographic authenticity of this picture of Sopwith's 1914 Schneider Trophy winner - or for that matter the elegance and strict authenticity of the lettering - there can be no doubt regarding the tail-float attachment. (The smaller lettering in the Sopwith inscription reads: '49-100 hp Sea Scout Winner of Schneider Cup.').
Журнал - Flight за 1914 г.
A remarkable photograph secured by Mons. E. Marchessaux at Monaco on April 20th, during the final contest for the Schneider Aviation Cup. - This negative absolutely untouched, and shows Mr. Howard Pixton's Sopwith machine passing the Franco-British seaplane piloted by M. Burri. The above is one of the autograph photographs of the amateur photographer which he presented to the two pilots who finished for this cup.
H.King - Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 /Putnam/
With Pixton perched on the port float, and propped against the wing, this view of the Tabloid on floats at Monaco is more familiar than those earlier reproduced, but is nevertheless valuable for comparison with the Naval Schneider seaplane later illustrated and described.
H.King - Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 /Putnam/
Early Schneiders had a triangular fin, as witness this revealing view. No. 3717 takes a solid-tyred delivery ride, with its own pneumatic beaching or launching chassis (note also the underfuselage bomb-carrier.
A.Imrie - German Naval Air Service /Arms & Armour/
Early in the morning of 12 August 1915 Flight-Lieutenant Levy in Sopwith Schneider 3717 left Felixstowe on a patrol to the North Hinder lightship. Apparently on his own initiative, he flew on to Zeebrugge where he dropped his bombs on the Mole but was brought down by the carrier pigeon loft attendant whose accurate fire hit the Schneider's petrol tank, causing the engine to stop. Although making a successful forced landing on the water, Levy was unable to get the engine going, so he kicked the floats in, sinking his seaplane before being captured. The Schneider was salvaged, however, completely rebuilt and flown at Zeebrugge. It ended its days in the DELKA travelling exhibition of captured Allied aircraft.
H.King - Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 /Putnam/
Early Schneiders had a triangular fin, as witness this revealing view. Both types of fin exhibited aboard submarine E.22.
J.Herris - Weird Wings of WWI /Centennial Perspective/ (70)
Predecessor of the Sopwith Baby was the Sopwith Schneider seen here. A few, like this one, were supplied to the US Navy. Powered by a 100 hp Gnome, later by a 110 hp Clerget, it was frequently used from shipboard to defend against Zeppelins and for reconnaissance.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Later in its career, Schneider 3788 was redoped in a Khaki Green camouflage and full British roundels and rudder stripes. For movement ashore, the Schneider and Baby had mounting points for a wheeled undercarriage on their main floats
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
A Sopwith Schneider float plane (number 3788) is hoisted aboard a Royal Navy seaplane carrier. The aircraft was powered by a 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine and was attached to No 2 Wing of the RNAS stationed in the Mediterranean Sea
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
This Schneider is a late production aircraft with ailerons on both upper and lower wings. The aircraft was assigned to the RNAS at Grain during March of 1917
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Production Schneider with enlarged fin and ailerons in place of wing-warping.
One of the last Schneiders. No. 3804, showing all the main identifying features of the type - especially the engine cowling
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Three Sopwith Schneiders and a Sopwith Baby of the Royal Naval Air Service War Flight are parked in front of their hangars on the Isle of Grain on 13 March 1917. The third Schneider with the dark finish is number 8118
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
This RNAS Schneider, parked outside the Albany Boat House, Kingston-on-Thames, was experimentally fitted with Hope Linton floats
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
A Sopwith "Baby" seaplane, of a type much used by the R.N.A.S.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
A Sopwith Schneider type Seaplane (110 h.p. Rotary engine) in the Japanese Naval Air Service.
R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe - Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 /Putnam/
Yokosho Navy Ha-go Small Seaplane.
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
Schneider (No.3734) with wing warping, a series example serving with the RNAS in 1915.
H.Cowin - Aviation Pioneers /Osprey/
An early Sopwith Baby, or Schneider, fitted with a 100hp Gnome Monosoupape. The RNAS bought their first Babys shortly after the start of hostilities, using them as unarmed scouts. However, from early 1915 onwards these little seaplanes were fitted with a swivellable-in-elevation-only, over-wing-mounted .303-inch Lewis gun and employed as armed shipboard scouts or for the local defence of seaplane bases. A little too fragile to operate in much of the weather experienced around Britain and the North Sea during winter, the Baby came into its own when operated in the Balkans and Middle East. Production of the type commenced in November 1914, with 296 being built.
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
Early Schneiders had a triangular fin, as witness this revealing view. No. 3726 with warping wings.
An early Sopwith Schneider at Calshot in 1915. Note the triangular fin, the absence of ailerons and the upward-firing Lewis gun fitted in an aperture in the top wing.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Schneider with experimental Linton Hope floats.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (22)
N.T.4 8343 at Killingholme Station. This machine has black anti-fouling paint to the fins and hull bottom. This machine is also mounted on a two wheel dolly requiring support at the rear. Delivered with bomb racks for a 230-lb bomb under each lower wing, it is probable that this machine undertook anti-submarine patrols. It was placed in reserve in March and into store by January 1918, being written off the following May. Note the Sopwith Schneider floatplane in the background.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg - British Aircraft before the Great War /Schiffer/
The Schneider seaplane was fitted with a land undercarriage and was raced by Barnwell as No.21 in the Aerial Derby in May 1914 without success.
Журнал - Flight за 1914 г.
The special racing chassis fitted on the Sopwlth Scout flown by Mr. Barnwell in the Aerial Derby.
J.Davilla - Italian Aviation in the First World War. Vol.2: Aircraft A-H /Centennial Perspective/ (74)
N1034, one of a few British built Sopwith Baby seaplanes supplied to the Italian Navy, at Brindisi.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Sopwith Baby N1034 was operational with 6 Wing RNAS at Otranto from June 1917 to spring 1918.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
Three-quarter View from Rear the Blackburn "Baby" Seaplane (130 h.p. Clerget Engine.)
P.Lewis - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
N1123, a Blackburn-built Sopwith Baby.
H.King - Armament of British Aircraft /Putnam/
Sopwith Baby with synchronised Lewis gun and bomb-carriers.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
А typical Blackburn-built Baby, with characteristically cowled Clerget engine and upward-firing Lewis gun.
J.Herris - Weird Wings of WWI /Centennial Perspective/ (70)
Sopwith Baby N2071 of No.229 Squadron, RAF, Great Yarmouth, carried two Lewis guns and a 65-pound bomb. Powered by a 130 hp Clerget, it was used for short-range coastal patrols.
O.Thetford - Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 /Putnam/
H.King - Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 /Putnam/
Самолет Сопвич "Бэби", вооруженный двумя пулеметами "Льюис" и авиабомбой
Blackburn-built Babies: Top, N2071, with two Lewis guns (one synchronised; one - upward-firing) and a 65 lb bomb; bottom, N2112, with unoccupied bomb-carrier.
A.Jackson - Blackburn Aircraft since 1909 /Putnam/
Baby seaplane N2078 from the final Blackburn batch with 130 hp Clerget engine.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
A Blackburn-built Sopwith Baby in American markings and with a U.S. Navy serial number. A few Schneiders and Babies were supplied to America during the war.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
A Sopwith Baby of an unidentified Royal Naval Air Service unit. The aircraft is armed with a .303 Lewis machine gun mounted on the upper wing center section. The Baby was a follow-on design based on the Schneider
H.King - Armament of British Aircraft /Putnam/
Sopwith Baby with Lewis gun through centre-section.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Sopwith Baby No. 8160 with upwards-firing Lewis gun.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Sopwith Baby with experimental installation of a synchronised Lewis gun on upper starboard longeron. The aircraft in the left background is a Wight 840 seaplane.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Sopwith Baby No. 8165 with centrally-mounted synchronised Lewis gun.
K.Wixey - Parnall Aircraft since 1914 /Putnam/
The original Sopwith tailplane and blunt wingtips denote a Blackburn-built Baby in this very rare flying view of a patrolling Baby with its bomb load.
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
A Blackburn-built Baby with overwing guns
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Very rare shot of a Sopwith Baby firing Le Prieur rockets at the Isle of Grain. Despite doubts (and lack of operational success) with this weapon, a wide range of aircraft were so equipped.
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
A Sopwith Baby armed for anti-Zeppelin patrols with Le Prieur rockets attached to the interplane struts; note also the bomb racks under the fuselage, aft of the main float struts.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (22)
This De Havilland D.H.4, A7830, is readily recognised by its striking black and white colour scheme. Allocated to Great Yarmouth for special service in December 1917, it attacked a U-Boat on 21 March 1918, dropping two 65-lb bombs. The pilot on this occasion was the redoubtable Wing Cmdr Charles Rumney Samson with AM Radcliffe in the rear cockpit. This biplane survived into the 1920s.There is a Fairey Hamble Baby and what appears to be a standard Sopwith Baby sharing the hard stand with A7830. A twin-engine flying boat is in the far background. C.F. Snowden Gamble considered the D.H.4 one of the most successful two-seaters issued to Great Yarmouth in 1917.
A.Jackson - Blackburn Aircraft since 1909 /Putnam/
A Blackburn-built Baby seaplane in Norwegian Naval Air Service colours, on a frozen fiord, 1918.
J.Davilla - Italian Aviation in the First World War. Vol.2: Aircraft A-H /Centennial Perspective/ (74)
Ansaldo Babys in Italian service. The Baby shown has the original cowling and engine of the Sopwith-built Baby. (Roberto Gentilli)
J.Davilla - Italian Aviation in the First World War. Vol.2: Aircraft A-H /Centennial Perspective/ (74)
Ansaldo Babys in Italian service. The Baby shown has the circular cowling and 120hp Le Rhone 9J of the Ansaldo-built aircraft. (Roberto Gentilli)
Журнал - Flight за 1914 г.
Victor MabI, the nominated pilot for the Sopwith tractor.
Журнал - Flight за 1914 г.
ROUND BRITAIN MACHINES. - No. 1. The Sopwith tractor biplane.
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
D.James - Schneider Trophy Aircraft 1913-1931 /Putnam/
Sopwith Tabloid
P.Lewis - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
Sopwith Schneider
P.Lewis - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
Sopwith Baby
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
A three-view drawing of the Baby.
Сайт - Pilots-and-planes /WWW/
Журнал - Flight за 1914 г.