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The Sopwith Camel is among the most significant and famous of all WWI aircraft. Camels downed 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied fighter in WWI. The cowling over the two Vickers machine guns ahead of the cockpit created a distinctive “hump,” making the name Camel a natural choice, although it was never an official military designation.

Unlike the earlier Sopwith Pup and Sopwith Triplane, which were docile to fly and well-liked by pilots, the Camel was unstable, requiring constant input from the pilot. The gyroscopic effects of its powerful rotary engine made it dangerous for novice pilots, and almost as many were killed in accidents as died in combat. But its instability also contributed to it being agile and maneuverable, and once its tricky characteristics were mastered, the Camel was a superior fighting airplane.

The Camel entered operational service in July 1917 and remained a front-line fighter until the end of the war, with approximately 5,490 built. This example, B6291, served with No. 10 Squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service.

Display Status This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA Boeing Aviation Hangar
Panoramas
Object Details
Country of Origin United Kingdom Type CRAFT-Aircraft Physical Description Single engine, single-seat, WWI biplane fighter, with 130 HP Clerget 9B rotary engine. Dimensions Wingspan: 28 feet (8.5 m)
Length: 18 feet 9 inches (5.7 m)
Height: 8 feet 6 inches (2.6m)
Empty weight: 930 lbs
Materials Airframe: wood, fabric covered
metal
rubber
Inventory Number A20170105000 Credit Line Gifted to the Smithsonian by the Arango Family with gratitude and appreciation. Data Source National Air and Space Museum Restrictions & Rights Open Access (CCO)
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