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Bitten By A Pup
"Today I saw my first scout machine, a Sopwith Pup. It's the prettiest little thing I ever laid my eyes on. I am going to fly one if I live long enough. They aren't as big as a minute and are as pretty and slick as a thoroughbred horse. Tiny little things, just big enough for one man and a machine gun." The enthusiastic words quoted above were written by the diarist* of War Birds: Diary of an Unknown Aviator; they epitomise the feelings of many wartime pilots on first making the acquaintance of the Sopwith Pup. In the classic simplicity of its lines the Pup bore the hallmark of inspired design; so much so that it is easy to believe the legend of its origin, which tells of how Harry Hawker sketched his inspiration in chalk on the shop floor at Kingston, and how that first layout remained virtually unchanged throughout all the detail design which preceded the emerg-
The perfect flying machine - Sopwith Scout (Pup)
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ence of the prototype. To the Sopwith Company the machine was known as the 80 h.p. Le Rhone Single Seat Biplane, and its official title was simply the Sopwith Scout. The name "Pup" was unofficial and was frowned upon by authority. Orders were issued forbidding the use of such a frivolously incorrect name for the aeroplane, but the Pup it was and the Pup it remained. The origin of the name and the identity of its inventor are alike obscure, but a more appropriate title could hardly have been devised, for the machine inspired in its pilots the same kind of affection as is lavished on a pet, and gave in return flying qualities which have probably never been equalled in any other aeroplane before or since. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Pup was its excellent performance on the mere 80 h.p. of its Le Rhone rotary engine, and the flying controls were harmonious and effective.