Cockpit Details

Sopwith Camel - Cockpit and Instruments

The cockpit of the Camel was so small that the rear ends of the Vickers guns were alarmingly close to the pilot's face. Therefore some pilots had padding fitted to the guns.
Basswood has been used for the panel. The instruments are mounted on wooden rings, because the ammo boxes are very close against the back of the instrument panel.

Sopwith Camel - Cockpit and Instruments - Details

Compass - top center of panel sits the Creagh-Osborne Type 5/17 Air Compass.
Liquid compasses were adapted for aircraft. In 1909, Captain F.O. Creagh-Osborne, Superintendent of Compasses at the British Admiralty, introduced his Creagh-Osborne aircraft compass.

The compass was filled with a mixture of alcohol and distilled water to damp the movement of the pan-shaped compass card.

RPM Indicator

Top-left of the Instruments panel.

Compass - Type 5/17

Top-Center of panel.

Air Speed Indicator

Top - right side of the compass.


Bottom-left - (inverted tube-like item).

Magneto Switches

Bottom-left, below RPM Indicator.


Below the compass mounted on metal brackets.


Bottom-center below the inclinometer.


Bottom, right of Altimeter

Air Pressure Gauge

Bottom-right, right of the Clock.

Air Pressure control valve

Bottom-right, below the Air Pressure Gauge.

Tampier Throttle Quadrant

The throttle quadrant assembly contains the Throttle lever, the Mixture control lever and the Fuel filter.
As shown in the animation, mixture control is provided by the mixture control lever which operates the regulator plunger through the control bell-crank. The regulator plunger contains the regulator needle, allowing for fine adjustment of petrol flow through the regulator. The petrol passes through a fine #30 mesh filter at the bottom of the body. The tapered needle position determines the amount of petrol that will be supplied from the selected petrol tank through the output connection pipe to the carburetor. Note the Gravity/Main tank Selector switch on the left of the pilot's seat

The Camel's construction was based on the construction of its predecessor, the Sopwith Pup. Taking into account that a new larger and heavier engine would have to be mounted, Sopwith's chief designer Herbert Smith decided to make alterations to the previous design.

It was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter introduced on the Western Front in 1917. Manufactured by Sopwith Aviation Company, it had a short-coupled fuselage, heavy, powerful rotary engine, and concentrated fire from twin synchronized machine guns.

Though difficult to handle, to an experienced pilot it provided unmatched maneuverability. A superlative fighter, the Camel was credited with shooting down 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied fighter of the war. It also served as a ground-attack aircraft, especially near the end of the conflict, when it was outclassed in the air-to-air role by newer fighters.

The fuselage had a rounded top conventional wire braced wooden frame, typical of the period. Aluminum panels covered the first bay behind the engine, and plywood was installed to the end of the cockpit, with the remainder of the fuselage covered in fabric.

With the engine, guns, pilot, cockpit and fuel all concentrated in a length of seven feet, this became one of the main contributing factors of the Camel's excellent maneuverability. For the pilot, a small windscreen was fitted behind the guns. The landing gear had short steel tube vees with a split axle, with rather large wheels.

The first aircraft trials were performed by the British No.60 squadron in March of 1917, followed by a series of minor improvements to the plane’s construction. The Sopwith Camel was delivered to fighter squadrons in May 1917. Camel pilots mentioned the well-balanced plane controls, the good pilot’s upward view and the high cruising speed. Due to the aircraft's unique balance, the plane could almost instantly change its heading: which made the Sopwith a dangerous opponent.

The typical combat scenario for the Camel pilot was a dogfight at low and mid altitudes, where the Camel had the advantage in steep turns. Veterans used to say “Once you become a Camel pilot, you will fly it forever”. Besides British pilots, this plane was also piloted by four American squadrons of the US Air Service, and by some Belgian pilots. The Sopwith Camel took part in battles over both the Western and the Eastern fronts; in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Palestine, Macedonia and Italy.

There are only seven authentic Sopwith Camels preserved ....

  Don't forget to watch the video of  The Last Flying Sopwith Camel

Europe's only remaining (flying) Sopwith Camel which came to Stow Maries.

    Camel F.1 - Specifications

Height (mm):


Length (mm):


Wing span (mm):


Wing surface (sq.m):


Empty weight (kg):


Take-off weight (kg):


Fuel capacity (ltr):


Oil capacity (ltr):


1.000 m. —    3 min.   7 sec.

2.000 m. —    6 min. 35 sec.

Climb rate

3.000 m. —  11 min.   5 sec.

4.000 m. — 17 min.  39 sec.

5.000 m. — 27 min.  56 sec.


Clerget 9B Rotary 9 cylinders



Sea level  —   190.

1.000 m. —   178.

Maximum airspeed

2.000 m. —   168.

(LAS: Km/h)

3.000 m. —   154.

4.000 m. —   142.

5.000 m. —   128.

Service ceiling (m):



combat  —   2h. 30

(hrs. min.) at

1.000 m.

cruise  —    5 hrs.


2 Vickers Mk1 — 7.69mm.


500 rounds — per barrel

Firing rate:

450 - 600 rounds/min

Bomb load:

36 kg.