The Pup or Scout Tractor was Sopwith's follow-up fighter to the type 9700 or 1 1/2 Strutter and got its name as a smaller single-seat version. A single-bay biplane, the wings were two spar, with steel-tube tips and trailing edge. Ailerons were on all four wings. The fuselage is all wood, and tailplane wood except for a steel rear spar. Other tail surfaces were steel construction. The entire airframe is fabric covered.
The Pup was original powered by an 80 hp Le Rhône 9C, 9 cylinder, air cooled rotary engine. Several alternative engines were fitted, including the 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape.
The Sopwith Pup was a single-seat fighting scout which flew first in January 1916.
It was ordered by the Admiralty for the Royal Navy Air Service to serve on the Western Front, where it arrived in September 1916. A total of 170 aircraft were built for the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).
Although underpowered, the Pup was a fine aircraft with good maximum speed and climb and excellent manoeuvrability - especially when the torque of the engine was exploited for fast turns. The battles of Ypres, Messines and Cambrai kept the Pup locked in combat and helped to establish its reputation as a 'pilot's aircraft'.
Armed with a single synchronous Vickers .303 machine gun, it was superior to the Fokker D.III. Soon it was underpowered for combat on the Western Front when the German put the Albatros DIIIs in service. Although underpowered, pilots liked the plane because it was manoeuvrable and fast. It could climb and hold its altitude better than any other fighter. The Sopwith Pup remained in service on the front until late 1917 when it was replaced by the Sopwith Camel. After removal from the front it was used as a Home Defence unit fighter. Some were occasionally armed with Le Prieur rockets for anti-Zeppelin patrols.
About 1770 airframes of the Sopwith Pup were built by and under license for the Sopwith Aviation Company Ltd.
Notwithstanding their Naval origins, the majority of Pups constructed served with the Royal Flying Corps, with a total of 1670 built initially as fighters. They were also involved in the training role from 1918. In 1919, eleven Pups were supplied to the Australian Flying Corps as part of the Imperial Gift. Upon formation of the RAAF in 1921, the aircraft were allotted to No 1 Flying Training School at Point Cook for use as an intermediate fighter trainer until 1930.
One of the best remembered exploits of the Pup was its use in determining the feasibility of landing conventionally wheeled aircraft on board aircraft carriers. On 2 August 1917 a Pup, flown by Squadron Cdr E. H. Dunning, landed on the deck of HMS Furious, so recording the first landing of an aeroplane on a moving ship. Grab straps attached to the aircraft enabled deck crew to pull it to rest. When another landing was attempted on 7 August, the Pup stalled and went over the side of the carrier into the sea and Dunning was killed. Nevertheless the results were sufficiently encouraging for the experiments to continue and the Royal Navy became the first service in the world with an effective carrier force.
100% Scale Replica:
Airdrome Airplanes Sopwith Pup
Pruitt Sopwith Pup
Engine: One 80hp / 59kW Le Rhone
Wing Span: 26 ft 6 in / 8.1 m
Length: 19 ft 3.75 in / 5.9 m
Height: 9 ft 5 in
Wing area: 23.6 sq.m / 254.03 sq ft
Empty weight 787 lb / 357 kg
Loaded weight: 1,225 lb / 556.0 kg
Fuel capacity: 19.25 Imp.Gal
Climb: 10,000ft/14 mins
Ceiling 17,500 ft / 5,300 m
Speed: 97 kt / 111 mph / 180 kph (sea level) 103 mpg @ 9,000 ft
Endurance: 3 hours
Range: 162 nm / 300 km / 186 miles
Armament: 1 x Lewis MG or 1 x Vickers MG
Rockets: 8 x Le Prieur rockets