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Sopwith Tabloid



The Sopwith Aviation Company Tabloid was originally designed as sports aircraft and was first flown by Harry Hawker on 27 November 1913. It was a two-seater single-bay biplane with a side-by-side seating configuration. It was powered by a Gnôme rotary and had warping wings for lateral control.


A single-seat Tabloid was quickly mounted on floats and entered in the 1914 Schneider Trophy in Monaco - which it handily won giving Britain her first victory in the annual contest piloted by Howard Pixton, at the same time setting a world seaplane speed record at 92 mph. It's turn of speed so demoralised the other dozen or so entries from 6 countries that only one other even bothered to take off. The performance was so convincing that the British military ordered many of these aircraft, which was developed into the Sopwith Schneider. It therefore became the first single-seat scout anywhere to go into production for military use.


A single-bay biplane, the two-spar wooden wings and wooden fuselage are fabric covered. Wing warping rather than ailerons was used, and conventional tail surfaces were fitted. Two skids were normally fitted forward of the wheels.
Some aircraft were fitted experimentally with a Lewis machine gun above the wing centre section or on the side of the fuselage, with steel plates on the airscrew blades to deflect bullets. A few 20 lb bombs could be carried.
The Tabloid was ordered by both the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service; the latter using it for some of the earliest strategic bombing attacks against Germany. Thirty-six Tabloid were delivered for the RNAS and RFC between October 1914 and June 1915. When the 1914‑18 War started, Tabloids went to Belgium with a squadron of the RNAS.
The Royal Naval Air Service used their Tabloids in early bombing attacks against the airship sheds at Cologne and Dusseldorf in an attempt to deny the Germans the use of operating bases close to the North Sea. The first raid took place on 22 September 1914 and although not a success was the first ever air raid on Germany. The second raid was much more successful. In one raid F1t. Lt. R.L.G.Marix destroyed an airship shed at Dusseldorf with his 20 lb bombs, complete with the secret Zeppelin Z.1X inside.



Royal Flying Corps Tabloids were used for scouting duties and were involved in some of the earliest experiments in arming aircraft. From February 1915 a number of Tabloids were fitted with Lewis machine-guns. Although it was one of the first aircraft to have a machine gun fitted to fire through the propeller arc it was only after the Tabloid had been withdrawn from operational service in the spring of 1915 that a successful interrupter gear was developed.

Replica ultralight:
Circa Reproductions Sopwith Tabloid / Baby

Engine: Gnome Monosoupape, 80 hp / 75kW
Span 25 ft. 6 in / 7.76 m
Length 20 ft. 4 in / 6.1 m
Height 8 ft. 5 in / 2.56 m
Wing chord 5 ft. 11 in
Wing area 241.3 sq. ft / 22.3 sq.m
Weight empty 730 lb
Loaded weight 1120 lb
ROC: 1200 fpm
Endurance: 2.5 hr
Max speed: 80 kt / 92 mph / 148km/h
Landing speed : 32 kt / 59 km/h
Seats: 2



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