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Alberta's Aviation Heritage
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1917-1918

1,294 Enemy Planes

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Sopwith F-1 Camel

The most widely used fighter aircraft during the First World War, the Sopwith Camel, was introduced into service June 1917.

Sopwith Camel Although very maneuverable, it was a difficult plane to fly. The placement of the Sopwith’s powerful rotary engine, guns, ammunition, fuel, and pilot seat were all located very near one another in the layout of the aircraft. The combined weight of these elements made the plane pull hard to the right. While taking off, the pilot had to exert extreme pressure on the left of both the rudder and the ailerons to keep the Camel from turning sharply right and crashing.

While in the air, the Camel was a powerful match for any German aircraft, even though it often flew at a lower speed. Experienced pilots could turn suddenly and rapidly to the right and be on the tail of any pursuing German aircraft—including the Fokker Tridecker.

The combination of the highly maneuverable Camel and the SE5a aircraft overcame the German air effort, even after the Germans introduced the new Fokker DVIIs.

 

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