Welcome to Fred's Photos

Sopwith Camel

Here are a few images of mainly the Sopwith Camel taken at

Cole Palen's Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.

I hope you like what you see and will write comments to me at the by clicking "E-Mail" at the bottom of this page or most other pages.

Sopwith Camel and Fokker Triplane


1917 Sopwith Camel (foreground) and 1917 Fokker Triplane Two Fokkers for the price of one!- worth wait !

These photographs were taken at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, Rhinebeck, New York. Old Rhinebeck is a fantastic place to get photos of vintage aircraft. The smaller image in both photographs is a Fokker Dr-I triplane, similar to one originally flown by the WWI German flying ace known as the "Red Baron"(Baron von Richthofen). Cole Palen flew his own red triplane for many years at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, and was known as the "Black Baron". There is some controversy over the demise of the "Red Baron".*** Some say he was shot by groundfire as he pursued a Sopwith Camel over Allied lines; the other account was that the "Red Baron" was shot down by a Sopwith Camel which is illustrated in the upper photograph, and in the lower images. The little fighter was made famous in the cartoon strip "Peanuts". The Camel was known for its difficult handling characteristics, but was credited with shooting down more enemy aircraft than any other fighter in WWI. When you hear the roar of the Camel's big 130 hp rotary air cooled engine, and see the little fighter quickly climb into the sky, I guarantee you will never forget the experience. (See the audio link below.) The Fokker triplane evolved into the biplane (shown to the right) known as the Fokker D VII. Many feel it may have been the best plane developed in WWI. Thankfully for the Allies, the plane came out in late in the war. As it was, German airman downed 565 Allied planes in August, 1918 with their D VII's.

Fokker DVII (with smoke) and Fokker Dr-1

Click for Sopwith Camel Audio

You will notice that the sound of the engine is not smooth. The engine was designed to run at full throttle, and in order to have control over the rpm, the pilot cut the ignition momentarily, resulting in the "missing" sound.

***Manfred von Richthofen was not quite 26 years old when he was killed on 21 April 1918. At that time he had 80 "victories" and brought down 123 men. He was a legend; yet exactly how he died remains a mystery to this day. Thanks to the determination of a reader from Australia (code named "Steiner"), I took another look at this controversy. In a book named "Under The Guns Of The Red Baron" by Franks, Giblin, and McCrery, published in 1999, the considered opinion of these respected authors was Baron von Richthofen was shot down by Roy Brown in a Sopwith Camel. The English government awarded Brown a medal for this feat. However in searching the internet, I found the majority of papers support the theory that the Red Baron was shot down by ground fire-- and the gunner was Sgt. Cedric Bassett Popkin (an Australian). I have included on the links page a link to a very good paper on the subject. I leave it to you to decide.

The 1999 Version of the 1917 Sopwith Camel.

What a great paint job!

Sopwith Camel-99- Version

I have the above photograph blown up into a magnificent 16X20 inch print.

Contact me for details.

Sopwith Camel-99-Taxiing Version
I like these two photos of the Camel with Gene DeMarco at the controls.

All Photos by Fred Sgrosso


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Last updated (email)on 17 May 2006

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