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Sopwith Camel Afloat

2 June 2019

Full scale diorama of a U.S. Navy Sopwith Camel aboard the USS Texas circa 1918—©2019 Joseph May/SlipstreamPhotography

The National Naval Aviation Museum has a new full scale diorama to me and it is a Sopwith Camel sitting atop the takeoff deck aboard the battleship USS Texas a bit after the end of WW I. The U.S. Navy purchased a handful of Sopwith Camels for experimentation regarding seaborne aviation. To that end a taking off platform was built over the forward main gun turret of the USS Texas. The pilot would then land the aircraft at an airstrip though, if ditching was required, airbags beneath the wings aided in keeping the Camel afloat.

David S. Ingalls was the U.S. Navy’s only fighter ace during WW I and flew Sopwith Camels. Later he aided Charles Lindbergh in navigation tasks mapping new PAA airway routes during the Golden Age and, later, even became a PAA executive.

The National Naval Aviation Museum has this Sopwith Camel web page.

Another view of the Sopwith Camel—©2019 Joseph May/SlipstreamPhotography

A view from on-high and also notice the Gnome rotary engine on its stand to the front—©2019 Joseph May/SlipstreamPhotography


One Comment leave one →
  1. Ed Griggs permalink
    11 March 2023 12:27

    Why do you mention that David S. Ingalls was the U.S. Navy’s only fighter ace during WW I in your story? Ingalls really has nothing to do with the story other than he flew Sopwith Camels! It was LtCmdr Edward Orrick McDonnell who was the actual Pilot to fly the plane off of the USS Texas! Both men were Navy Pilots and got nowhere near the action or kills of the Red Baron, Rickenbacker or other Fighter Pilots! Seems a bit misleading! Can you advise?

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