Re: The Absurd...

Bill Shatzer (
Thu, 16 Feb 1995 17:44:21 -0500

> 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.


Well, not really *that* absurd. The theory on off-setting
the top wing to the rear is to provide the pilot with
unobstructed forward vision - a similar reverse stagger
was used on a couple of British fighters for the same reason.
With the top wing shifted back, center of gravity/lift
considerations require the lower wing(s) to be shifted forward -
hence the extreme forward stagger of the lower two wings.
'Course the whole thing looked kinda wierd and and the
aircraft didn't fly all that well, but the theory was reasonable.

Cheers, Bill


Bill Shatzer - -