Sopwith Baby

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Baby
SopwithBaby.jpg
Sopwith Baby in use with Norway's Marinens flyvåpen
Role Single-seat scout and bomber biplane seaplane
Manufacturer Sopwith Aviation Company
First flight September 1915[1]
Introduction 1915
Status retired
Primary users Royal Naval Air Service
Aviazione della Regia Marina
Number built 386[note 1]
Developed from Sopwith Schneider
Variants Fairey Hamble Baby

The Sopwith Baby was a British single-seat tractor seaplane used by the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) from 1915.

Development and design[edit]

The Baby (also known as the Admiralty 8200 Type) was a development of the two-seat Sopwith Schneider. Although the Schneider had won the Schneider trophy in 1914, the RNAS did not place a formal order until January 1915. Sopwith's initial production version of the Baby differed little from the Schneider Trophy winner.[2]

To meet the more demanding conditions of 1916–18, Further modifications were made on aircraft built by Blackburn Aircraft at Leeds, United Kingdom. A modified variant of the Baby, the Fairey Hamble Baby was built by Fairey and Parnall.

The Royal Naval Air Service ordered 286 Sopwith Babies of which 100 were built by Sopwith at Kingston and 186 by Blackburn Aircraft at Leeds with others for export. License manufacture was also undertaken in Italy by SA Aeronautica Gio Ansaldo of Turin, who built 100 examples for the Italian Aviazione della Regia Marina.[3]

Operational history[edit]

The Baby was used as a shipborne reconnaissance and bomber aircraft operating from seaplane carriers and cruisers, as well as naval trawlers and minelayers. A major role of the Baby was to intercept German Zeppelin raids as far from Britain as possible, along with tracking German naval movements.

Babies saw service with the United States, France, Chile, Greece and Norway. In Norway additional Babies were built as replacements, with some seeing service until 1930. Two of the 10 Sopwith Baby floatplanes that were acquired by the Norwegian Navy were brought to Svalbard in the summer of 1928 to participate in the search for the lost Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen, but were not used for the search.

Operators[edit]

 Australia
 Chile
 France
 Greece
 Kingdom of Italy
Aviazione della Regia Marina 102 examples from 1917-1923 (including 2 trials aircraft from the UK)[8]
 Japan
Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service operated 1 example from 1916[9]
 Netherlands
  • Dutch Naval Aviation Service 1 example from 1916-1919[10] This was a Royal Naval Air Service aircraft that force landed forty miles from the Netherlands Coast, brought ashore by a Dutch trawler and interned.
 Norway
 United Kingdom
 United States

Specifications[edit]

Data from Holmes, 2005. p 44.

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 23 ft 0 in (7.01 m)
  • Wingspan: 25 ft 8 in (7.82 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
  • Wing area: 240 ft² (22.30 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,226 lb (557 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 1,715 lb (779 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Clerget rotary engine, driving a two blade wooden propeller, 110 hp (82 kW)

Performance

Armament

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 100 by Sopwith, 186 by Blackburn and 100 by Ansaldo

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Holmes, 2005. p 44.
  2. ^ Lamberton, 1960. p 58.
  3. ^ Alegi, 2001, pp.3-4
  4. ^ World Air Forces - Australia accessdate: March 2014
  5. ^ Huertas Air International February 1984, pp. 73–74.
  6. ^ World Air Forces - France accessdate: March 2014
  7. ^ World Air Forces - Greece accessdate: March 2014
  8. ^ Alegi, 2001, pp.2-4 & 8
  9. ^ World Air Forces - Japan accessdate: March 2014
  10. ^ World Air Forces - Netherlands accessdate: March 2014
  11. ^ World Air Forces - Norway accessdate: March 2014

Bibliography[edit]

  • Alegi, Gregory (2001). Ansaldo Baby. Windsock Mini Datafile 15. Hertfordshire, UK: Albatros Publications. ISBN 978-1902207308. 
  • Bruce, J.M. (1996). Sopwith Baby. Windsock Datafile 60. Hertfordshire, UK: Albatros Publications. ISBN 978-0948414794. 
  • Holmes, Tony (2005). Jane's Vintage Aircraft Recognition Guide. London: Harper Collins. p. 44. ISBN 0-00-719292-4. 
  • Huertas, Salvador Mafé (February 1984). "The Chilean Air Force...an air arm with a problem". Air International. Vol. 26 (No. 2): pp. 69–74, 91, 98–101. ISSN 0306-5634. 
  • Lamberton, W.M. (1960). Fighter Aircraft of the 1914–1918 War. Herts, UK: Harleyford Publications. 

See also[edit]

Related development
Related lists