SOPWITH 5F.1 DOLPHIN (Fighter & Night Fighter)
The Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin was a British fighter aircraft manufactured by the Sopwith Aviation Company. It was used by the Royal Flying Corps and its successor, the Royal Air Force, during the First World War. The Dolphin entered service on the Western Front in early 1918 and proved to be a formidable fighter.
The resulting Dolphin was a two-bay, single-seat biplane, with the upper wings attached to an open steel cabane frame above the cockpit. To maintain the correct centre of gravity, the lower wings were positioned 13 in (33 cm) forward of the upper wings, creating the Dolphin’s distinctive negative wing stagger. The pilot sat with his head through the frame, where he had an excellent view. This configuration sometimes caused difficulty for novices, who found it difficult to keep the aircraft pointed at the horizon because the nose was not visible from the cockpit.
The Dolphin Mk I became operational February 1918. Early aircraft were often fitted with improvised crash pylons consisting of steel tubes over the cockpit to protect the pilot’s head. Crash pylons disappeared from front line aircraft, though they were often retained on trainers. Despite early problems, the Dolphin proved successful and generally popular with pilots. The aircraft was fast, manoeuvrable, and easy to fly, though a sharp stall was noted.
Biggin Hill Connection
Biggin Hill, 141 Squadron Home Defence unit, operated Night-flying Dolphin aircraft. They had metal loops fitted above the inner set of interplane struts to avoid killing the pilot in the event of a roll over on landing (a common problem with night time landings).
Sopwith Dolphin 5F.1
Number Built: 2027
Engine: Hispano-Suiza 8B. 200 hp
Top Speed: 211 Km/hr