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