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Sopwith Camel F1 (replica)

1917 (1977), Flight Shed, On long term display

The Camel was developed from the Sopwith Baby floatplane. It had a fixed undercarriage and was a very manoeuvrable, high performance and heavily-armed fighter, well able to take on the best of the German Air Force.

Initially the Camel had a bad reputation for sudden spins due to the torque effect of the rotary engine and the sensitive controls, resulting in almost 200 crashes. Once mastered the Camel was highly effective and popular. No other British fighter of World War One achieved similar fame and Camels shot down more enemy aircraft than any other type.

5,980 Sopwith Camels were built, 554 being produced at Sopwith's Kingston-upon-Thames factory. These latter were brought by road to Brooklands for assembly and test flying before transfer to the RFC and RNAS via the No.10 Aircraft Acceptance Park, also at Brooklands. Deliveries commenced in May 1917 and they were used in a variety of roles until 1920 when replaced by Sopwith Snipes.

This replica was made by Viv Bellamy at Westward Airways in 1977, and is painted to represent B7270 of 209 Squadron, RAF, flown by Captain Roy Brown, when he downed the ‘Red Baron’, German ‘ace’, Baron Manfred von Richthofen. Built to airworthy standards with an original 1917 Clerget rotary engine it flew for several years before being purchased by Brooklands Museum with help from the Science Museum.

Aircraft ID Categories:

Dates produced: 1916–18

Primary role: Fighter

Secondary role: N/A

Construction: Wire-braced wooden frame; doped fabric covering

Number built: 5,497

Number built at Brooklands: 500

Engine(s): 1 x 97kW (130hp) Clerget 9-cylinder rotary

Armaments: 2 x Vickers machine guns

Dates in service: 1917–20

Empty weight: 420kg (930lb)

Maximum take-off weight: 660kg (1,453lb)

Crew: 1 pilot

Speed: 113mph (180km/h)

Maximum altitude: 5,800m (19,000ft)

Range: 300 miles (485km)

Length: 5.7m (18ft 9in)

Wingspan: 8.5m (28ft)

Height: 2.6m (8ft 6in)