Model Airplane News
June, 1963

Model Airplane News Cover for June, 1963 by Jo Kotula Nieupoert Model 17

Nieupoert Model 17
Model Airplane News Cover Art for June, 1963
by Jo Kotula
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The Nieuport 17 was a French biplane fighter aircraft of World War I, manufactured by the Nieuport company

 The Nieupoert Model 17    The Nieupoert Model 17      The Nieupoert Model 17

Nieupoert Model 17
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It had outstanding maneuverability, and an excellent rate of climb. Unfortunately, the narrow lower wing, marking it as a "sesquiplane" design with literally "one-and-a-half wings", was weak due to its single spar construction, and had a disconcerting tendency to disintegrate in flight. Initially, the Nieuport 17 retained the above wing mounted Lewis, but in French service this was soon replaced by a synchronised Vickers gun. In the Royal Flying Corps, the wing mounted Lewis was usually retained, by now on the improved Foster mounting, a curved metal rail which allowed the pilot to bring the gun down in order to change drums or clear jams.

The type reached the French front in March 1916, and quickly began to replace the Nieuport 11 in French service. It was also ordered by the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service, as it was superior to any British fighter at that time. Worthy of note is the fact that during part of 1916, the Nieuport 17 equipped every fighter squadron of the Aéronautique Militaire. The Germans supplied captured examples to several of their aircraft manufacturers for them to copy. This resulted in the Siemens-Schuckert D.I which, apart from the engine installation, was a close copy and actually went into production, although in the event it was not used operationally on the Western Front.

By early 1917, the Nieuport was outclassed in most respects by the latest German fighters. Newer models (the Nieuport 28) were brought out in an attempt to retain the type's ascendency. However, the SPAD S.VII had already replaced the Nieuport fighters in many French squadrons by mid-1917. The British persisted with Nieuports a little longer, not replacing their last Nieuport 24bis until early 1918.

Here is a video of the Nieupoert Model 17 as flown by the American volunteer group, the Lafayette Escadrille:

Click Here for more information about the Nieupoert Model 17.

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