Sopwith Swallow

The Sopwith Swallow was a parasol wing monoplane fighter designed for use on aircraft carriers, but it emerged just before the end of the First World War and only a single prototype was built

Sopwith Swallow from the Front Sopwith Swallow from the Front

The Swallow was a direct successor of the unarmed Sopwith Scooter, a parasol wing aircraft built by fitting new swept back wings on the fuselage of a standard Sopwith Camel. It was used as a runabout by Sopwith’s chief test pilot Harry Hawker during the war, and for aerobatic displays after the war.

Like the Scooter, the Sopwith Swallow was a parasol winged monoplane, based around the fuselage, engine and tail of a Sopwith Camel (in this case aircraft B9276, from a batch of Boulton & Paul Camel F.1s.). Like the Camel it was armed with two synchronised forward firing Vickers guns, but these were mounted further apart than on the Camel, which improved the pilot’s forward view, and were mainly carried outside the fuselage, eliminating the Camel’s ‘hump’.

Compared to the Scooter it had a wing with a larger span and area (although still a smaller area than the biplane Camel). The wing was higher mounted than on the Scooter, which improved the pilot’s view down and also gave more space for its twin Vickers guns.

The Swallow was completed in October 1918 and arrived at Martlesham Heath on 28 October. The Swallow was also known as Monoplane No.2, No.1 having been the Scooter. It was powered by a 110hp Le Rhone engine for its trials at Martlesham Heath, and in these trials it was 5mph slower than a similar Sopwith Camel. The tests were completed by May 1919 when the report was issued, and by that point there was no interest in ordering new aircraft, especially ones with no obvious advantage over current service aircraft.

The first Hawker designed aircraft, the Hawker Duiker of 1923, was also a parasol wing aircraft, but was a much larger aircraft with little in common with the small Scooter or Swallow.

Engine: Le Rhone
Power: 110hp
Crew: 1
Span: 28ft 10in
Length: 18ft 9in
Height: 10ft 2in
Empty Weight: 889lb
Gross Weight: 1,420lb
Maximum Weight: 1,420lb
Maximum Speed: 113.5mph at 10,000ft
Cruising Speed:
Climb rate: 20min to 15,000ft
Ceiling: 18,500ft
Guns: Two fixed forward firing Vickers guns

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 October 2022), Sopwith Swallow ,

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy