Sopwith Pup Historical Summary
The most delightful flying machine of the Great War
As a lineal descendant of the original Sopwith Tabloid of early 1914, the Sopwith Pup was used by the RNAS from early 1916. By the end of that year it had entered service with the Royal Flying Corps, becoming its’ predominant single-seater throughout 1917. During its existence it maintained the reputation of being one of the most delightful flying machines ever built. The performance attained with low-powered an engine as the 80 Le Rhone, is astonishing.
As a flying machine, it was able to be force-landed on the smallest of fields, making it a good deal safer than the average light aeroplane of the time. As a military machine its most useful feature was that it could hold its height better than any other Allied or German aeroplane of the period. With sensitive controls and powerful elevators, the machine was fully aerobatic up to 15,000 ft. Selected for trials aboard HMS Furious due to their excellent flying qualities, Pups and Strutters pioneered the operation of landplanes from the decks of early aircraft carriers and in the development of arrester gear.
It is extremely likely that, as a sporting single-seater for the pilot owner, this type will maintain its popularity for some time to come.
Early Production Sopwith Pup made at Sopwith Works, Kingston, for the Royal Navy Air Service being tested prior to delivery to the front winter 1916-1917.