Sopwith Scooter

The Sopwith Scooter was a parasol wing monoplane that was used as a runabout by Harry Hawker, and was developed into the military Sopwith Swallow.

Sopwith Scooter from the Right Sopwith Scooter from the Right

The Scooter was built around the fuselage, engine and tail of a standard 130hp Clerget engined Sopwith F.1 Camel. The biplane wings were removed, and replaced with a swept back parasol monoplane wing, mounted very close to the fuselage. A tall pyramid shaped frame was installed above the centre section and to act as an anchor for four wire braces used to support the wing. These were matched by another four wires below the wings, connected to the lower longeron of the fuselage. The cockpit was located at the back of the wing, with a cut-out in the trailing edge to fit the pilot.

The Scooter was completed in July 1918, and used as a runabout by the Sopwith test pilot Harry Hawker. The aircraft was registered to Sopwith as K.135, then in 1919 as G-EACZ. Presumably the aircraft passed to the new Hawker company when that was formed in 1920 to replace Sopwith. Hawker flew it at the 1920 RAF Pageant, where he put on a fine display of aerobatics. It was then sold to Harry Hawker in April 1921. It was also known as the Sopwith Monoplane No.1.

The Scooter was followed by the similar Sopwith Swallow, which also used a Camel fuselage and tail, but with a larger parasol wing, carried slightly higher to make space for two fixed forward firing machine guns. It was considered for use as a carrier based fighter, but only one was built, and its performance was no better than a standard Sopwith Camel.

On 12 July 1921 Hawker was killed when his Nieuport Goshawk crashed soon after taking off from Hendon Aerodrome. The Scooter was then placed into storage for several years, before it was overhauled for C. Clayton of Hendon. It was given a new certificate of airworthiness on 1 August 1925, and one year later sold to Dudley Watt, an enthusiastic aviator who had several aircraft built for him in later years. He flew the Scooter frequently, including in the Lymphe Open Handicap of 18 September 1926, before selling it for scrap in 1927.

Engine: Clerget 9B rotary engine
Power: 130hp
Crew: 1
Maximum Weight: 1,300lb
Maximum Speed: 115mph

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 October 2022), Sopwith Scooter ,

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