Sopwith strutter LVG C.VI Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter Polikarpov I-153 Aviatik C.I RAF Be2f

  Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter 1 B 2

A handsome but rather frail-looking biplane powered by a 110 (later 130) h.p. Clerget rotary engine, the Sopwith Two-Seater or Type 9400, to give the respective R.F.C. and R.N.A.S. designations, was brought out in December 1915. It was soon given the name 1 1/2 Strutter by reason of its oddly shaped centre-section struts.

Other unusual features of its design were the provision of air-brakes in the trailing-edges of the lower wing-roots and a tailplane which was adjustable in flight. It was the first British aeroplane to go into action with a synchronised Vickers gun for the pilot. The observer's gun was at first carried on a Scarff pillar mounting, then on a Nieuport ring and finally on the excellent Scarff ring. With this improved armament the Strutter did well as a two-seater fighter during the late summer and autumn of 1916. It also was used for bombing, particularly by the R.N.A.S., which developed a single-seat long-range bombing version.

Some Sopwiths then were supplied to France. Compared with the Farmans and Breguet-Michelins which formed the main body of the force, they showed up to advantage, and the French decided to build the type in quantity. Unfortunately production was very slow and when the first Sopwiths reached the front in April 1917 they were quite obsolescent. There were three versions, the SOP. 1 A2 (corps two-seater), the SOP.l B2 (two-seater bomber) and the SOP. Bl (single-seater bomber), and various engines were installed; the 110, 130 and 135 h.p. Clergets, and the 80, 110 and 130 h.p. Le Rhones.

Throughout the summer and autumn of 1917 the Sopwiths equipped most of the day-bombing escadrilles; but with very feeble bomb-load and relatively weak performance. The Corps d' Armee version was more useful, but as one pilot said 'the Sopwith is a good tourer, no war-plane!' The type was withdrawn from the Western Front early in 1918, and became an operational trainer.

  The Sop Strutter 1 B 2 # 2897

Memorial-Flight began in may 2001 the restoration to flying condition of a Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter model 1 B2 (two seat french bomber). It is one of the 4500 aircraft of this type built in France. His background is unknown yet but the lack of metalic wire in the wings confirm a 1B2 version.

As for the SPAD XIII, an important restoration work has begun in strict accordance to the original plans we were lucky to get.

It will sport a Sop 66 scheme. This aircraft is the fourth known and is the only (so far) original 1 B2 flying in the world.

Sop 66 aircraft in 1917, the egyptian eagle on aluminium fuselage (NOT clear doped linen !).


More profiles

 The restoration

The restoration is complete.
The aircraft now flies on La-Ferté-Alais airfield.

- The restoration in images -

 Photo Album

 Restoration detail.
- The cockpit in details.
- Air brakes (+ vidéo).
- Front cockpit under construction.
- Rear cockpit under construction.
- Gunner's seat.
- TO3 turret.
- Main fuel tank.
- Different wings.

 Pieces of history

The restoration of such an old machine is also an opportunity to rediscover its history.


Length: 7.69 m
Wing span: 10.21 m
Weight: 975 kg
Engine: Clerget 130 hp
Speed: 161 km/h
Endurance: 3 h 45
Crew: 2
Armament: 1 x .303 (7.65mm) Vickers machine gun on the left side of the fuselage
1 x .303 (7.65mm) Lewis machine gun, on TO3 turret