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An agile, highly maneuverable biplane, the Sopwith F.1 Camel accounted for more aerial victories than any other Allied aircraft during World War I. Credited with destroying 1,294 enemy aircraft, it was called the Camel due to the humped fairing over its twin machine guns. Much like a real camel, this aircraft could turn and bite you. Noted for its tendency to kill inexperienced flyers, many pilots feared its vicious spin characteristics. Until sufficient speed was developed during takeoff, Camel pilots maintained full right rudder to counteract the torque the rotary engine. Failure to do so often resulted in a ground loop with the Camel crashing on its starboard wingtip. During World War I, 413 pilots died in combat and 385 pilots died from non-combat related causes while flying the Sopwith Camel.

"A great number of trainee pilots had been killed learning to fly this machine, as its tricks took some learning, although they were really simple to overcome. Its main trouble was that owing to its very small wingspan, and its purposely unstable characteristics, coupled with the gyroscopic effect of a rotating engine and propeller, it flipped into a spin very easily at low speeds. Consequently, in landing and taking off, a tremendous number of fatal accidents occurred, and a general felling of dislike for the machine was prevalent. It really had people frightened." Arthur Cobby

On 4 June 1917, Canadian ace Alexander Shook became the first ace to shoot down an enemy aircraft with the Sopwith Camel.

Canadian ace Roy Brown was flying a Camel when he was credited with shooting down Manfred von Richtofen.

With 54 victories, Canadian Donald MacLaren scored more victories with the Camel than any other ace.
 
Sopwith Camel Specifications
Country: Great Britain
Manufacturer: Sopwith Aviation Company
Type: Fighter
First Entered Service: May 1917
Number Built: 5,734
Engine(s): Bentley BR.1, 150 hp
Reciprocating Le Rhône Rotary x 1, 110 hp
Clerget 9B, 9 cylinder, air cooled rotary, 130 hp
Clerget 9Bf, 9 cylinder, air cooled rotary, 140 hp
Wing Span: 28 ft
Length: 18 ft 8 in
Height: 8 ft 6 in
Empty Weight: 889 lb
Gross Weight: 1,422 lb
Max Speed: 118 mph
Ceiling: 19,000 ft
Endurance: 2.5 hours
Crew: 1
Armament: 2 Vickers .303 machine guns (F.1)
1 Vickers .303 and 1 Lewis .303 machine guns
or 2 Lewis .303 machine guns (2F.1)
 
Sopwith Camel Units
Australian Flying Corps: 4
Belgian Air Service: 1ère, 9me, 11me
Royal Air Force: 139, 150, 151, 201, 203, 204, 208, 209, 210, 213
Royal Flying Corps: 3, 28, 37, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 50, 51, 54, 60, 61, 65, 66, 70, 71, 73, 80
Royal Naval Air Service: 1N, 3N, 4N, 6N, 8N, 9N, 10N, 11N, 12N, 13N
United States Air Service: 17th, 41st, 148th
 
Sopwith Camel Aces (260)
1 Canada MacLaren, Donald Roderick 54
2 Canada Barker, William George 46
3 South Africa Jordan, William Lancelot 39
4 Scotland Gilmour, John Ingles 36
5 Canada Quigley, Frank Granger 33
6 England Woollett, Henry Winslow 30
7 Australia Cobby, Arthur Henry 29
8 Canada Fall, Joseph Stewart Temple 28
9 Canada McEwen, Clifford Mackay 27
10 South Africa Kinkead, Samuel Marcus 26
 
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Sopwith Camel Books
Sopwith Camel (Vintage Aviation - Fotofax)
J.M. Bruce / Paperback / Arms & Armour 1990
Sopwith Camel: King of Combat
Chaz Bowyer / Unknown Binding / Glasney Pr
 
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