Sopwith Camel

YouTube - Sopwith Camel
Primary Function:
Weight Empty:
Max. Weight:
Machine Guns:
Max Speed:
Climb Rate:
First Flight:
Year Deployed:
Clerget 9B rotary
130 hp.
18 ft.
28 ft.
930 lbs.
1,450 lbs.
2- 7.7 mm
117 mph
1,050 fpm
19,000 feet
260 miles

Sopwith Camel

Sopwith Camel

The Sopwith Camel was the overall most lethal fighter aircraft of the World War I, credited with the downing of over 3,000 enemy aircraft. They are probably the best known of all British World War I fighters. And, of course, as anyone who followed the Peanuts comic strip knows, the Camel was Snoopy's favorite aircraft.

Unlike both of its Sopwith predecessors, the Sopwith Camel was a difficult aircraft for all but the most experiences pilots to handle. This was due to a combination of high torque from its rotary engine and a rearward center of gravity caused by its short nose moment.

The Sopwith Camel turned quickly to the right while pitching its nose downward. The rearward center of gravity made it very sensitive to elevator input. This was especially true when the fuel tank located behind the pilot was full. These traits were used to advantage in combat by skilled pilots, but sometimes proved lethal to inexperienced pilots.

The Camel was among the first aircraft to be stationed on board early aircraft carriers. It had a removable tail section to facilitate stowage.

Some Camel aircraft were used as night fighters in defense of Great Britain. They were equipped with twin machine guns above the wing. The night fighter Sopwith Camel often encountered German bombers.

The Sopwith Camel was also used by Belgium, Canada, Greece and the United States. In all some 5,500 were produced.

Sopwith Camel Aerodrome
Sopwith Camel

Aerodrome RC has the Sopwith Camel in three sizes. All kits use balsawood and ply as the construction materials.

The 39 in. wingspan Sopwith Camel should weigh around 28 oz. upon completion. An AXI 2217/20 brushless outrunner motor is the recommended power.

The 50 in. wingspan Aerodrome Sopwith Camel can be powered by a 600BB type motor geared 2.3:1 turning a 14 x 7 propeller.  All up weight should be around 64 oz..

The 58.8 in. wingspan Sopwith Camel can be powered by an AXI 2826 motor turning a 15 x 7 propeller.  Weight is around 96 oz.

Sopwith Camel Frenck
Sopwith Camel

We received the above picture of a Sopwith Camel from Hugo Franck. He tells us that he is Belgian, but acquired the Sopwith Camel parts from RCGreen in Australia. It has a 38 in. wingspan, is 25 1/2 in. in length and weighs about 30 oz. By means of several books he made the model in more detail. The cylinders of the power plant rotate with the prop. We want to thank Mr. Franck for his contribution to our website.

Peter Rake Vintage Scale Models has plans and a short kit of the Sopwith Camel. Wingspan is 36 in. A 400 size motor geared 2.33:1 can be used to power it.

Cleveland Model Plans are available for the Sopwith Camel with wingspans of  10.5 in., 14 in., 21 in., 28 in., 42 in., 56 in., and 84 in.

Dare Hobby has a Sopwith Camel kit designed by Andrew Hewitt. It has a wingspan of 42 in. Length is 27 in.

VK Aircraft has a Sopwith Camel kit. It builds to a 56 in. wingspan with a 36 in. length. You can power it with .48 to .70 two cycle engines. Weight is around 6 lbs.