The Absurd...

Erik Pilawskii (
Thu, 16 Feb 1995 12:31:18 -0800 (PST)

Hi All,

Not to launch-off on a tangent, but I found myself considering some of
the most ludicrous aircraft of WWI when I noticed a new all-time contender
just last night.
I'm sure everyone knows the SPAD A.2, which would seem to have corned
the market in idiocy by placing the poor observer in what was literally
a glorified W.C. divided from the rest of the craft by the spinning
But, I have now run across the Nieuport 11-C Triplane-- what a loony
contraption! The bottom two wings stagger forward rather sharply, even
more than the Sopwith Tripe's do, and then the top wing is placed *behind*
the pilot (and above). It seems to be carried on a triangle shaped
bracing system that looks to be about *10 feet* long! Moreover, the top
wing would surely obscure all vision to the rear-and-above, hardly an
advantageous lay-out.
Only the French.... But, then, the Germans developed the Siemens-Schuckert
SSW.R-1, who's design seems to defy all logic. I mean, OK, so you might
think that clear celluloid film could make it hard to see, but why would
they seperate the rear fusalage into two vertical halves?!? Amazing.
I'm wondering, does anyone else have an opinion on the most ludicrous
machine of the Great War?
"The Heavens were the grandstands, and only the Gods were spectators. The
stake was the World. The forfeit was the Player's place at the table; and
the Game had no recess. It was the most dangerous of all sports-- and the
most fascinating. It got in the blood like wine. It aged men 40 years in
40 days; it ruined nervous systems in an hour. It was a fast game-- the
average life of a pilot at the Front was 48 hours. And, to many, it
seemed an Age....
Elliot White Springs, WWI ace