HISTORY OF THE TRIPLANE
Herbert Smith designed the Sopwith Triplane in 1916. Within weeks it was in combat. While short-lived, with only 144 built, it was one of the great successes of the First World War. Powered by a nine-cylinder Clerget rotary engine, the Triplane was highly maneuverable with an exceptional rate of climb. It gave the pilot the widest possible field of vision and permitted a high rate of roll.
The Triplane was used only by the Royal Naval Air Service and gained a reputation over the Western Front during the heavy aerial fighting of 1917. The Triplane bridged the gap between the Sopwith Pup and Camel. Production Triplanes entered service with No.1 and 10 (Naval) Squadrons in the spring of 1917. The Triplane was a favourite mount of "B" Flight, the "Black Flight", of No.10 Squadron. This flight was led by "Ace" Raymond Collishaw. Between May and July, 1917 they accounted for 87 enemy aircraft, 33 by Collishaw.