Sopwith 1½ Strutter: In the beginning….

Gorgeous pastel photo of a Sopwith 1/2 Strutter (some name) taking off from HMS Barham’s B turret in 1917(?). The ship was fitted with a pair of very concise flying-off platforms mounted on the roofs of its “B” and “X” turrets from which both fighters and recon aircraft could be launched. Recovery was another very different matter. The battleship lost those platforms in the 1930’s to be replaced by a more efficient catapult and seaplane combo.


Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 “Harry Tate”: Rehearsing.

The “very British” R.E.8 was designed in 1916 as a replacement for the deadly -for their crews- B.E.2. Curiously, they persevered in the R.E.8 with the same formula of B.E.2: a highly stable platform to aid in recon/observation duties. Some modification cured in part that defect, besides, it was better armed and a little more powerful,… and that sure helped. Built in huge numbers (more than 4,000), these ungainly aircraft never gained much acclaim with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) crews, but they gave a decent service and fought bravely until the end of WW1.

Lovely atmospheric Imperial War Museum pic. These blokes are getting ready to do a test run of the 140hp RAF 4a. Always a fan of those RAF air-cooled V12 engines and their stunning Laminated mahogany four-bladed props..

Fokker V.8: Doubling the stakes.

German WW1 multiplane craziness Wacko level. After his successful Dr.I triplane, the always empirical Anthony Fokker -for the good and the bad- decided that why not more wings. Against the desires of the real technical brain of the company, Reinhold Platz, Fokker took his unsuccessful V.6 triplane repositioned the triplane wings and added just behind the cockpit a second set of biplane wings producing in the process this bizarre quintuplane. The first flight at the hands of Fokker himself in October 1917 was enough to show how wrong he was. Stubborn he persevered with a second flight undertook after some modification, to no avail.

Well-known pic of this bold contraction. He should have used two sets of triplane wings….., while he was at it.

Fokker Dr.I (replica): Once in a lullaby.

Mikael Carlson’s Dr.I, with its French-built Le Rhône 9J rotary smoking gently, over the idyllic South of Sweden. One of the gems build by this Sweden’s aviation “Renaissance” man. In addition to this super triplane, he has also produced a pair of Thulin As (Bleriot XI’s), a lovely Tummelisa and a gorgeous Fokker D.VII. All with contemporary engines. This extraordinary character, an expert in early aviation, also flies his “babies” with serious panache and elan.

Photo: Daniel Karlsson (Aeroplane Monthly, July 2016 issue).

Nieuport 10 (XB): Only the Brave (IV).

Tested in early 1915, this is the very first example of the long series of famous Nieuport sesquiplanes of WW1. The prototype is seen here showing the awkward position the observed would be forced to take in combat to fire -through a cutout in the wing centre section- his Hotchkiss machine gun. That was soon changed; later Nieuports two-seaters had the crew positions reversed and a fixed Lewis was placed in the top wing.

A similar installation.