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with its performance and a captured Triplane inspired the development of the Fokker DR.I. The Triplane was eventually withdrawn from service and replaced with the Sopwith Camel.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