One of the most versatile entente aircraft of World War I was a Sopwith two-seater dubbed the 1 Strutter. In the summer of 1916, Sopwith began to produce a single-seat Scout that strongly resembled the 1 Strutter. Legend has it that RFC personnel declared that the two-seater had "pupped." The new machine became the Sopwith Pup.
By all accounts the Pup was a delight to fly; it was fast, maneuverable and featured outstanding handling qualities. The Pup's one weakness was its single-gun armament; most of its opponents were armed with two synchronized machine guns. Despite this drawback, the Pup was the only British fighter that could handle the German Albatross fighters in late 1916 and early 1917.
Some Pups were experimentally fitted with electrically-fired Le Prieur rockets. These weapons were intended for use against Zeppelins and observation balloons. In the summer of 1917, a Pup, fitted with a skid undercarriage and flown by a RNAS pilot, became the first airplane to land on a ship underway.
By mid-1917 the Pup was obsolescent and was replaced in front-line units by newer types. After being withdrawn from front-line units, Pups equipped four home- defense squadrons in Britain. These aircraft were frequently up-engined with 100-hp Gnome rotaries.
The Museum’s Sopwith Pup is a replica aircraft built by Max L. Fullmer in 2002 in Middleton, Ohio. It bears the markings from the Royal Flying Corps Number 46 Squadron. On September 3, 1917, Lt. Algernon Bird, flying aircraft B1795, was shot down by German ace Manfred von Richthofen. It was von Richthoven’s 61st victory. Bird survived the shoot-down and was later photographed with Dutch aircraft designer Anthony Fokker and von Richthoven. Algernon Bird died in 1957.
Manufacturer: Sopwith Aviation Company Ltd.
Year: Replica built 2002 based on 1916 aircraft
Model: Pup "Old Timer" Type 9901
Serial Number: 2826
Max T/O Weight: 1,226 lb.
Span: 26 ft. 6 in.
Length: 19 ft. 4 in.
Height: 9 ft. 5 in.
Maximum Speed: 112 mph
Cruise Speed: N/A
Rate of Climb: 714 ft/min
Power Plant: 1 × Le Rhone 9C 9-cylinder air-cooled rotary piston engine, 80 hp.
Range: 337 mi
Service Ceiling: 17,000 ft.
Armament: Two synchronized forward-firing 0.303-in Vickers machine gun