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Early Aviation
Discuss World War I and the early years of aviation thru 1934.
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Question--Seats for Sopwith Triplanes?
Kevlar06
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Posted: Saturday, September 01, 2018 - 03:37 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I was thinking... Armoured Seat, the armor may be not for air to air but for those several hundred thousand guys looking up and shooting at anything that flies over. After a thousand or so vertical climb that bullet might just be slow enough.

Then again a nineteen year old kid might feel a little less tremblely if he thought that metal seat was armoured.

Captn Tommy




I've done some additional research in the Albatross Data Files, on line, and in several other publications for the Triplane and the Pup. Evidently, it was a common practice to make seats from metal rather than wicker until the metal became harder to produce as the war wore on, and as pilots demanded less weight. But they really were not "armored" as in the sense they possesed any steel plate, although they might have provided some additional protection from low velocity rounds that wicker would not. Wicker was actually more comfortable, as it provided a small amount of flex during bumpy take offs and landings. And wicker was lighter and easier to manufacture (it didn't need to be covered in leather or put together with rivets). After reading "Fighting the Flying Circus" by Rickenbacker, it becomes apparent that fighter pilots were looking for any possible way to save weight and gain additional speed and maneuverability. The French were fond of using wood, either in plywood with "lightening" holes, or in a "woven" pattern with wood strips and a central frame-- primarily for weight savings. The Germans preffered metal, but the horsepower ratings of in-line German aircraft engines was generally higher. The entire air war was a constant competition for the ideal combination of horsepower, speed and maneuverability, and this is what really drove the design of aircraft components, pilot safety seems to have been a secondary consideration.
VR, Russ
CaptnTommy
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Posted: Friday, August 31, 2018 - 06:30 AM UTC
I was thinking... Armoured Seat, the armor may be not for air to air but for those several hundred thousand guys looking up and shooting at anything that flies over. After a thousand or so vertical climb that bullet might just be slow enough.

Then again a nineteen year old kid might feel a little less tremblely if he thought that metal seat was armoured.

Captn Tommy

JackFlash
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Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 09:05 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I can only tell you in the information page of WnWs Triplane instructions, they reference an "armored seat". I suppose a steel plate could be used in the bottom of the frame, and the sheet metal covered in leather could provide a little more protection from a 7.7mm or .303 bullet in some circumstances, especially if the velocity has been slowed either by inertia or by another part of the air frame-- perhaps that's what they were thinking.
VR, Russ



Yes.
Kevlar06
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Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2018 - 03:43 PM UTC
I can only tell you in the information page of WnWs Triplane instructions, they reference an "armored seat". I suppose a steel plate could be used in the bottom of the frame, and the sheet metal covered in leather could provide a little more protection from a 7.7mm or .303 bullet in some circumstances, especially if the velocity has been slowed either by inertia or by another part of the air frame-- perhaps that's what they were thinking.
VR, Russ
MerlinV
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Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2018 - 03:16 PM UTC
Just how much protection would an Aluminium Sheet seat provide?
Assuming a thickness of 14 gauge (Aprox 2mm), it would have as much stopping power against a 303 projectile as a tissue paper.
Unless the angle of the bullet was very very acute, thereby offering some small chance of a deflection.
And protection against fire? The Aluminium would heat up very very quickly. You'd be stuck to it long before you reached the ground.
Granted, a varnished wicker seat would be kindling...

Cheers,

Hugh
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Posted: Saturday, June 09, 2018 - 03:39 AM UTC

Quoted Text

So I think I found the answer to my own question! I decided to go to the WnW instruction manual for the Sopwith Triplane-- and while browsing the web-site download, discovered that they refer to the seat as an "armored" seat-- and reference the Shuttleworth collections reproduction, which shows a leather covered metal seat. So I guess those of you who guessed it was armored are correct.
VR, Russ



I think you'll find that Richard aka Cohiba is doing a bit more than guessing. He is "in the know" so to speak

All the best!
/Mikael
Kevlar06
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Posted: Friday, June 08, 2018 - 03:58 PM UTC
So I think I found the answer to my own question! I decided to go to the WnW instruction manual for the Sopwith Triplane-- and while browsing the web-site download, discovered that they refer to the seat as an "armored" seat-- and reference the Shuttleworth collections reproduction, which shows a leather covered metal seat. So I guess those of you who guessed it was armored are correct.
VR, Russ
Kevlar06
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Posted: Friday, June 08, 2018 - 03:14 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Ah the optional seat....

I believe that is from one of Arch Whitehouse's semi or truly autobiographic book on our subject.

By the way, that bare Al seat was probably Not leather covered. if that large fuel tank was holed behind the pilot and started to burn the aluminum seat would offer some protection... Maybe enough to get to the ground.

conjecture of course.

Captn Tommy



Tom,
I'm not sure about the covering. The prototype seat pictured in the Windsock data file has perforations in it-- and is definitely a dark color, not bare metal-- but I think it's wood, like the French seats are. The WnW Pup seat and the Roden Tripe seat are too "thick" to be aluminum (like the Vintage Aviator seat pictured above) and the color call-outs recommend shades of brown. German seats were very similar to the one above, but they had a thicker leather coating. There is some merit to what you say regarding the reason for having a metal seat-- I'd think a metal seat would hold up much better from wear and tear, offer a little bit of protection from fire as you mentioned, and perhaps from bullets too if their velocity had already been slowed by inertia or passing through the airframe. I'd also think metal seats would be easier to produce than the wicker seats. Once you have the dies for the metal worked out, it's just a matter of feeding the stamps and riveting the parts together. I'd think wicker would be very labor intensive, trying to soak and bend the frame and then weaving the thing together.
VR, Russ
CaptnTommy
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Posted: Friday, June 08, 2018 - 02:58 AM UTC
Ah the optional seat....

I believe that is from one of Arch Whitehouse's semi or truly autobiographic book on our subject.

By the way, that bare Al seat was probably Not leather covered. if that large fuel tank was holed behind the pilot and started to burn the aluminum seat would offer some protection... Maybe enough to get to the ground.

conjecture of course.

Captn Tommy
MichaelSatin
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Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 10:32 AM UTC
I see. Well, my apologies, I stand corrected.

Michael
cohiba
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Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 10:14 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Just to add fuel to the fire, I've read (somewhere) that pilots preferred the wicker seats and were allowed to purchase their own to install in their aircraft. Rules were different in WWI.

Michael



This is an unfortunate misconception/lie spread by people attempting to trick modellers into buying unnecessary and incorrect wicker seats for British aircraft that were never fitted with them.

The Sopwith Pup and Sopwith Triplane had metal seats to provide the pilot with some level of armor plating.

The idea that English gentlemen could fit out their personal aircraft from a catalogue of parts is boll... a total falsehood.
MichaelSatin
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Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 08:30 AM UTC
Just to add fuel to the fire, I've read (somewhere) that pilots preferred the wicker seats and were allowed to purchase their own to install in their aircraft. Rules were different in WWI.

Michael
Kevlar06
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Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 07:05 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Sir

I sympathize, It is an age old problem. It is call what's in Supply.

I have a trove of pictures of Sopwiths in my library (and I am not there) there were wicker chairs and ply chairs on Sopwiths. I believe most recent 1/32 Sopwiths copy the vintage Aviator Tripe.

the answer is any pilot seat that was in stock or was in line.
"IT"S WAR, boy use that one! IT FITS!" said the Foreman.

BTW, a plastic ply seat in 1/32 is easier to mold, accurately.

Captn Tommy



Yep, I get all that, but I still wonder what the thought process was-- as I mentioned, the prototype seat looks like it was wood, with large perforations (photo found in the Windsock guide on the Triplane) similar to a French WWI seat. And the WnW Naval Pup kit comes with a solid seat. Then this photo of what I think is "the Vintage Aviators" reproduction Triplane (which I understand is an almost exact replica done to Sopwith specs) with a metal seat (which I suspect was covered in leather in the real thing). When at the time, wicker seems to be the favored seat type in most British single seat aircraft. I can't really believe they were "throwing just any seat" into thier aircraft-- there must be some kind of thought process behind wicker vs wood vs metal seats, but I doubt we'll know-- it's probably lost to the ages, or maybe it's just there to confuse us model builders! The Germans were pretty consistent in their seats-- they used metal covered in leather for most of thier designs. The French used wood, either solid, lattice type or perforated plywood. The British used the wicker seats, then we have these two designs (and the SE5, which also used a separate design---not wicker). It could be they were concerned with weight, conservation of raw materials, or just "because" --I guess we'll never know.
VR, Russ
CaptnTommy
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Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 04:35 AM UTC
Sir

I sympathize, It is an age old problem. It is call what's in Supply.

I have a trove of pictures of Sopwiths in my library (and I am not there) there were wicker chairs and ply chairs on Sopwiths. I believe most recent 1/32 Sopwiths copy the vintage Aviator Tripe.

the answer is any pilot seat that was in stock or was in line.
"IT"S WAR, boy use that one! IT FITS!" said the Foreman.

BTW, a plastic ply seat in 1/32 is easier to mold, accurately.

Captn Tommy
MerlinV
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Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 03:06 PM UTC
Yes, maybe. But in reality, most RNAS machines were flown over the front and the only time they ever went near the water was to get shipped over the Channel (Either flown or by Lighter).
Ship board pups were few and far between and you wont find many (if any) references to Tripes being used from ships.

I'd be looking at economic reasons first.
Also, since most Sopwith machines were designed on the fly as it were they might have just used what they had available for the prototype and then followed the pattern for production.

Just brain storming here.

Cheers,

Hugh
Kevlar06
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Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 05:40 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Yep. If the Vintage Aviator mob can get away with it on their 1:1 scale model, so can you!

Cheers,

Hugh



Thanks Hugh, I can't find any reference on the seat, not even in Windsock. I'm curious why Sopwith went with a metal, leather padded, seat when everything else in the RFC inventory seemed to be using wicker seats. Perhaps because the Pup and the Triplane were developed for RN (as in Royal Navy) use? Maybe. It would be interesting to know though. I suppose a leather covered metal (I'm assuming aluminum) seat might be longer lasting in a marine environment than a wicker seat would.
VR, Russ
MerlinV
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Posted: Monday, June 04, 2018 - 03:32 PM UTC
Yep. If the Vintage Aviator mob can get away with it on their 1:1 scale model, so can you!

Cheers,

Hugh
Kevlar06
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Posted: Sunday, June 03, 2018 - 03:39 PM UTC
Hugh, thanks for the photo! I think that's the new build at the Vintage Aviator if I'm not mistaken. I assume they know what they are doing, so I'm feeling better about using the kit seat now.
VR, Russ
Kevlar06
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Posted: Sunday, June 03, 2018 - 03:36 PM UTC
Paul, thanks, and I think I agree with you. The WnW Pup also seems to have a standard type seat, so I think you are right. But I know other British aircraft of an earlier time had wicker seats (like the DH2).
VR, Russ
MerlinV
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Posted: Sunday, June 03, 2018 - 03:34 PM UTC
PRH001
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Posted: Sunday, June 03, 2018 - 03:07 PM UTC
I’m pretty sure the Triplane didn’t use the wicker seat. That seems to be a feature of later Sopwith aircraft.

Paul H
Kevlar06
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Posted: Saturday, June 02, 2018 - 01:09 PM UTC
I'm building a Roden 1/32 Sopwith Triplane, and I'm familiar with the wicker seats used in British WWI aircraft, and assumed the Triplane was equipped with one. The kit supplies a standard, (that is, non-wicker seat). So, I started doing some research (Windsock, Profiles, and various other pubs, none of which address the seat). The few photos of the Tripe interior I've seen show a standard (that is, non-wicker) type seats. I cross-checked against photos of the kit sprues in the WnW kit, and my WnW Sopwith Pup kit, and both of those have a standard seat as well -- so my question is-- did the Triplane have a standard seat or a wicker seat? To add confusion, photos of the prototype Tripe in The Windsock publication shows a French-like seat with perforations. Anybody have the answer?
VR, Russ