- 192 pgs
- Over 250 photos & illustrations
This book focuses on the British approach to fighter design, construction, and mass production. Initially the French led the way in Allied fighter development with their Bleriot trainers then nimble Nieuport Scouts—culminating with the powerful, fast gun platforms as exemplified by the Spads. The Spads had a major drawback however, in that they were difficult and counter-intuitive to fix in the field. The British developed fighters in a very different way; Tommy Sopwith had a distinctive approach to fighter design that relied on lightly loaded wings and simple functional box-girder fuselages. His Camel was revolutionary as it combined all the weight well forward; enabling the Camel to turn very quickly—but also making it an unforgiving fighter for the inexperienced. The Royal Aircraft Factory's SE5a represented another leap forward with its comfortable cockpit, modern instrumentation, and inline engine—clearly influenced by both Spads and German aircraft.