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   The Sopwith Triplane was used in combat by the Royal Naval Air Service. The stack of three wings reduced wingspan and increased wing area making it handle and climb better than biplanes. Visibility from the cockpit was outstanding but the "Tripe" was slower and less heavily armed than it's German opponents. The Germans were impressed with its performance and a captured Triplane inspired the development of the Fokker DR.I. The Triplane was eventually withdrawn from service and replaced with the Sopwith Camel.
   The "Black Flight," commanded by Canadian ace Raymond Collishaw, shot down 87 German aircraft in three months while flying the Sopwith Triplane. Downing 33 enemy aircraft, Collishaw scored more victories with this plane than any other ace.
  According to Cecil Lewis, of "all machines, the Triplane remains in my memory as the best . . . Other machines were faster, stronger, had better climb or vision; but none was so friendly as the Tripe. . . It was so well balanced that it would fly hands off on the tail-trimmer, which other aircraft boasted they could do, but didn't. It could do more than this: set the engine at three-quarter throttle and wind the tail well back and the Tripe would loop indefinitely. I once did 21 loops in a row!" 1

1 Lewis, Cecil. Farewell to Wings. London: Temple Press Books, 1964
 
Sopwith Triplane Specifications
Country: Great Britain
Manufacturer: Sopwith Aviation Company
Type: Fighter
First Introduced: November 1916
Number Built: 152
Engines: Clerget 9Z, 9 cylinder, rotary, 110 hp (82 kw)
Clerget 9B, rotary, 130 hp (96 kw)
Le Rhône, 9 cylinder, 110 hp (82 kw)
Wing Span: 26 ft 6 in (8.07 m)
Length: 18 ft 10 in (5.73 m)
Height: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Empty Weight: 1,101 lb (499 kg)
Gross Weight: 1,541 lb (698 kg)
Max Speed: 117 mph (188 km/h)
Ceiling: 20,500 ft (6,248 m)
Endurance: 2¾ hours
Crew: 1
Armament: 1 synchronized Vickers .303 machine gun
(a handful were equipped with twin machine guns)
 
Sopwith Triplane Units
Royal Naval Air Service: 1N, 8N, 9N, 10N, 11N, 2W, Home Defence
 
Sopwith Triplane Aces (23)
1 Canada Collishaw, Raymond 34
2 Australia Little, Robert Alexander 24
3 England Booker, Charles Dawson 21
4 Canada Reid, Ellis Vair 19
5 Australia Minifie, Richard Pearman 17
6 Australia Dallas, Roderic Stanley 15
7 Canada Alexander, William Melville 10
8 England Compston, Robert John Orton 9
9 England Gerrard, Thomas Francis Netterville 8
10 Canada Rosevear, Stanley Wallace 8
 
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