The Sopwith Triplane was a revolutionary aeroplane whose goal was to improve the pilot's vision with narrow-chord wings while giving excellent maneuverability. It was regarded as slightly less nimble than the Sopwith Pup, but it had more power and better sight lines. Like the Pup, the armament was a single synchronized Vickers. While it was initially ordered for both the RFC and RNAS, the two services did some trading and sent all RNAS SPAD 7s to the RFC in exchange for all RFC triplanes. Hence, the Triplane was only flown by the RNAS.
|Designer||Herbert Smith |
|First flight||29 March 1916 or May 1916|
|Introduction||prototype: mid-June 1916|
|Primary user||U.K. (RNAS)|
|Number built||144  or 147-150|
|Wingspan||8.08 m (26 ft 6 in) - 8.69 m (28 ft 6 in) |
|Propeller Diam.||2.59 m (8 ft 6 in) to 2.74 m (9 ft)|
|Engine||110hp or 130hp Clerget rotary[note 1]|
|Armament||sync. fixed Vickers|
|Max Speed||188 km/h (117 mph)  to 195 km/h (121 mph)|
|Climb||1,500 m (5,000 ft) in 4:35|
1,800 m (6,000 ft) in 5:16-5:50
3,000 m (10,000 ft) in 9:20-11:50
5,000 m (16,400 ft) in 26:30 
|Service Ceiling||6,100 m (20,000 ft) to 6,200 m (20,500 ft) |
While the prototype was tested at the front in June 1916, it wasn't until late 1916 that production machines reached units, and only in April 1917 did offensive patrols begin. The Triplane soon earned the respect of German pilots, especially in the hands of pilots like Raymond Collishaw, and the Germans soon began their own experiments to produce a nimble triplane. In February 1917 a new smaller tailplane was introduced, which improved the triplane's responsiveness.
The Triplane's lifetime was fairly brief, though: by late autumn 1917 the Triplanes had been traded in for better-armed Sopwith Camels. In October, only one squadron was still equipped with Triplanes.
For more information, see Wikipedia:Sopwith Triplane.
Timeline [note 2]
|Version||Availability||Maneuver||Damage||Dmg Points||Max Alt.||Climb||Points|
Plane and Crew Cards
Miniatures and Models
- Ares: WGF111A Collishaw; WGF111B Dallas; WGF111C Little
- Shapeways: Decapod, Kampfflieger, K (Hispano-Suiza)
- Metal kit: Red Eagle, Reviresco
- Metal kit: Heroics & Ros GWA105
- Shapeways: Decapod
- Metal kit: Tumbling Dice
- Angelucci, p.57.
- Bruce'66, p.3.
- Bruce'66, p.10.
- Angelucci, p.46.
- Bruce'66, p.12.
- Lamberton, pp.214-215.
- Bruce'66, p.5.
- Kelly, p.230.
- Bruce'69, p.563.
- Munson, p.76.
- Philpott'13, pp.379-444.
- Enzo Angelucci, ed. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft, 1914-1980. New York: The Military Press, 1983 edition. ISBN 0-517-41021-4.
- J.M. Bruce. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. Great Britain, Funk & Wagnalls, 1957, 1969. ISBN 0370000382
- J.M. Bruce, Profile Publications 73: The Sopwith Triplane. England: Profile Publications Ltd., 1966.
- Kevin Kelly, "Belts and Drums: A Survey of First World War Aircraft Ammunition Totals". Over the Front, Vol. 5, No. 3, Autumn 1990. Walsworth Publishing Co, Inc. and The League of World War I Aviation Historians.
- W.M. Lamberton and E.F. Cheesman, Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Great Britain: Harleyford Publications Limited, 1960.
- Kenneth Munson, Fighters 1914-19, Attack and Training Aircraft. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1976. ISBN 0713707607
- Ian Philpott, The Birth of the Royal Air Force. Great Britain: Pen & Sword Books Limited, 2013. ISBN 978-1-78159-333-2