Sopwith Triplane

WWI Triplane Fighter Kit:

Our full-size Sopwith Triplane Kit contains period correct wood, metal fittings, cables, and hardware, ready-to-assemble. No welding required as our complex metal fittings are pre-assembled. Based on the original factory drawings, this single-seater, three winged aeroplane is the largest and most complex of all our kits.

What’s Included in Sopwith Triplane Kit?

The Sopwith Triplane is available as a complete kit packed as a series of sub-kits.

Sopwith Triplane KitFuselage Kit: Wooden longerons and cross-members, wire & cable, painted metal fittings and all hardware.

Wing Kit: Spruce spars and ribs, riblets, painted metal fittings, wire & cable plus hardware for three sets of wings.

Tail Kit: Wooden structure, stabilizers, rudder, elevators, wire & cable and all hardware. Components come pre-assembled and painted; no welding required.

Undercarriage Kit: Left and right undercarriage struts, axle fairing, wheels, axle, tail skid, bungees and hardware.

Strut Kit: Cabane and interplane struts with socket assemblies and hardware.

Cowl & Panel Kit: Engine cowling, fuselage metal panels and access doors complete with hardware.

Flight Controls Kit: Pulleys, cables, joy stick, rudder bar, airbrake controls, elevator controls, pilots’ seat and hardware.

Fuel Tank Kit: 60 gallon tank with straps and mounting hardware.

Oil Tank Kit: 10½ gallon metal tank with straps and mounting hardware.

Windscreen Kit: pilots’ windscreen and mounting hardware.

Complete Kit: All kits listed above priced as one. Includes instruction manual, a complete set of photocopied original drawings, and unlimited toll-free support from our customer service department.

What You Need:

At this time, the vintage enthusiast supplies the following items according to their preference.

  • Engine
  • Instrumentation
  • Flying wires
  • Fabric covering (originally, linen was used; there are several FAA approved synthetic coverings available).

Time Frame for Kit Assembly:

We estimate approximately 2,000 man hours are required for kit assembly. Assemble by yourself or with our assistance, or have the experts at KipAero assemble one for you.

Time Frame for Kit Arrival:

Although we inventory many of the metal fittings for these kits, most wood and other components will not be fabricated until receipt of your order. Please allow 6-8 months depending on our production back-log and availability of raw materials.

Questions? Please give us a call at (888) 243-0440 or use our contact page.

Sopwith Triplane Specifications

After test flying the prototype N500 on June 22nd at Dunkirk, Sqn. Cdr. C. Courtney recommended that it be ordered in large quantities at once. Only 148 were produced as they were quickly replaced by the more economical Camel.

Sopwith Triplane Historical Summary

The First Triplane – The Sopwith Tripehound

Sopwith Triplane - the first triplane of WW1

An ideal flying machine with qualities similar to those of the earlier Pup, the Sopwith Triplane entered production for the RFC in 1916. By the time it entered service in early 1917, the RFC was so enamored with the SPAD S7’s then flown by RNAS squadrons that an exchange was arranged, the RFC trading their new Triplanes for the RNAS SPADs. In the hands of the naval pilots, the Triplane worked wonders at the Battle of Messines and throughout the summer of 1917. Fully aerobatic, the Triplane could out climb all German scouts, and many an enemy pilot must have paid with his life for not realizing this fact. Many held that the Triplane pilots had a strong psychological advantage because the mere sight of a “Tripehound” going through its’ paces was enough to instill fear in the heart of many an enemy pilot. Triplanes replaced Pups, Strutters and Nieuports in naval service and became so well liked that its’ pilots were reluctant to part with them when their replacement Camels arrived later in the year.

The Sopwith Triplane dispels the fallacy that the first triplane scout was developed by Anthony Fokker for the Germans. Probably as a result of the Sopwith’s astonishing success, Fokker was induced to try the novel layout, recognizing that the decreased span and increased wing area of a triplane could benefit maneuverability and climb over the biplanes then predominating.

As a type, the Triplane is peculiar to the Great War and has never been revived on a production basis.