Sopwith Pup (G-EBKY) [@ Shuttleworth Collection]
A delightful aircraft to fly, and possessing an exceptionally good rate of climb, the Sopwith Pup first flew in February 1916, powered by an 80hp Le Rhone rotary engine. It was very small, simple and reliable, and its large wing area gave it a good performance at altitude. The Pup was initially ordered for the Royal Naval Air Service, 170 being delivered, and a further 1600 were built for the Royal Flying Corps. The Pup was superior to many German first-line scouts, thanks mainly to its small radius of turn, and it could still hold its own at the time of its withdrawal early in 1918. During "Bloody April" 1916 when most British squadrons were being annihilated, the Pup squadrons made an impact out of all proportion their actual number, in fact German scouts took too avoiding the Pup in combat. The Pup was flown by many WW1 aces, most famously Lieut J.T.B. McCudden (57 kills) who said that the little Pup, "Could turn twice to an Albatross once." Many Pups subsequently served on Home Defence duties, some being armed with eight Le Prieur antiZeppelin rockets mounted on the interplane struts (see photograph), and in various training roles. The Pup was also the first aircraft to take off and land from a ship at sea, pioneering experiments that led to the aircraft carrier.G-EBKY was the last of ten Pups converted on the 1918 production line to two-seat civil Doves. Acquired by the Shuttleworth Collection in 1936 and re-converted at Old Warden to the original Pup standard. The aircraft was not originally allocated a Service serial number so strangely G-EBKY is marked N5180, which was the number of the Pup prototype .