Model Airplane News|
Two Views of the Same Event, 30 years Apart
Fokker D. VII and Sopwith 5F.1 "Dolphin"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for April, 1931, October, 1932, November, 1954, and October, 1960
by Jo Kotula
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The Sopwith 5F.1 "Dolphin" was designed to provide the pilot with the best possible view in aerial combat. Althugh the Dolphin had wings of equal length, it was one of the first airplanes to use "negative stagger" -- the bottom wing wing was in fron of the top, something that racing airplane developers did not begin to exploit until the late 1920s. . The pilot was seated in the open framework connecting the top wing to the fabric-covered fuselage. The plane was of wire-braced wooden construction with an upper centre section of steel tube. The Dolphin was powered by a 200hp Hispano-Suiza water-cooled. It was armed with two fixed and synchronised 7.7mm guns and either one or two guns of similar calibre mounted over the wing centre section and movable, but usually firing forwards and upwards (for use against dirigibles). The prototype was flown in late May 1917, the first production contract was placed in the following month, and quantity deliveries to the RFC began late in the year.
Sopwith 5F.1 "Dolphin"
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The first Dolphin squadron was deployed to France in February 1918. A version for the US Air Service was built under license in France by the SACA (Societe Anonyme des Constructions Aeronautiques Fr: "Airplane Construction Inc."). Although about 2,200 were to be produced, the Armistice prompted cancellation of all contracts. All Dolphins were withdrawn from RAF service in 1919.
Here is a simulation of the Sopwith 5F.1 "Dolphin" that will give you a feel for what it might have looked like in action:
Click Here for more information about the Sopwith 5F.1 "Dolphin".
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