Loading ...

Wings and Empennage Details

Sopwith Camel
Cockpit Views
Wings & Empennage
Tampier Throttle Assembly
Kauper Interrupter Gear

Sopwith Camel - Wings Details

Construction of the Camel was of staggered wire braced wing bays with a straight upper wing and a very pronounced dihedral on the lower wing. The prototype upper wing panel was designed to be a single unit in order to simplify construction.

However, the production wing was three panels with an aft cutout between the spars and a center window for increased upper visibility, but the upper wing remained without dihedral—to compensate, the lower wing dihedral was doubled. Ailerons were fitted on both the upper and lower wings with the ailerons of a slightly greater span on the production models.

Wingspan: 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m)   -   Total wing area: 231 sq.ft - (21.46 m²)


I've started the project from the drawings (6 large sheets) I'd ordered from Replicraft. The plans sets are created from the original factory drawing, construction and rigging materials.

The next thing to do was to obtain the required Gauge tables for sheet metals, wires etc. for the various materials used. Next all the parts were created in 3D and assembled into the various main structures e.g. fuselage, empennage, wings, under carriage, engine etc. This includes all the washers, nuts and bolts. In order to do this I had to consult the huge library of photo's that I collected. Creating parts and assemblies in 3-D is great, but you have to compare the results with the "real thing".

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. It was primarily used for destroying enemy aircraft and balloons, while from time to time it was also engaged in ground attack operations. English journalists also called this plane a “Small bird of prey”. 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.


The empenage. This images gives an overview of the tail plane and fin construction, the ribs, control arms and bracing wires.

These images show the empenage construction details, the center drift strut, aluminum tubes, the MSP steel rudder and elevator hinges as well as the elevator and rudder control arms.


Another image showing more details of the fin construction, the A&P No 121 profiled curved tube, the vertical A&P No 5 vertical tube as well as the main spar and ribs.
Bottom left shows the empenage spar clip (A2016). In the center right, the tail plane attachment fitting (A2481) through wich the tail plane was bolted onto the fuselage.

Sopwith Camel in 3-D



All these images have been generated from the "virtually" built Camel in 3-D.
They show various details e.g. the instrument panel, the fuel system, controls, the Clerget 130HP rotary engine and internal/external structures.


I've started the project from the drawings (6 large sheets) I'd ordered from Replicraft. The plans sets are created from the original factory drawing, construction and rigging materials. The next thing to do is to obtain the required Gauge tables for sheet metals, wires etc. for the various materials used. Next all the parts were created in 3D and assembled into the various main structures e.g. fuselage, empennage, wings, under carriage, engine etc. This includes all the washers, nuts and bolts. In order to do this I had to consult the huge library of photo's that I collected. Creating parts and assemblies in 3-D is great, but you have to compare the results with the "real thing"