Sopwith Snipe ZK-SNI
- Aircraft Type: Sopwith Snipe
- Operator: ‘The Vintage Aviator Ltd’ (TVAL), loaned to the WW1 Aviation Heritage Trust in the UK
- Year of Manufacture: 2015, (original 1919)
- Powered by: 230hp Bentley Rotary (BR-2) engine
- Colour Scheme: No.70 squadron, F2367.)
Conceived as a replacement for the iconic Camel, the Sopwith Snipe was the ultimate allied fighter of the Great War with its Bentley Rotary (BR-2) engine giving it a max speed of 125 mph and ceiling of 25,000ft. Full scale production was ordered from numerous manufacturers in late March 1918 but it was not until October that sufficient aircraft were available to fully equip 43 Sqn RAF and 4 Sqn AFC (Australian Flying Corps) in France. The Sopwith Snipe is firmly lodged in the minds of many WWI aeroplane devotees due to the epic one-sided battle fought by Major William Barker in October 1918 in which he brought down four Fokker D.VIIs, an action that resulted in the Victoria Cross for the Canadian pilot. The Snipe’s great ability made them feared by the German pilots who would shy away from attacking them.
The Snipe was the last rotary engine powered fighter to serve in the RAF and was only completely replaced in 1927 by the radial engine powered Gloster Grebe, Hawker Woodcock and Armstrong Whitworth Siskin.
This example is an exact reconstruction of Sopwith Snipe F2367 and is in No.70 Squadron B colours RAF as F2367 which was on occupational duties in Germany immediately post-war.
This flying replica was built by the New Zealand Company ‘The Vintage Aviator Ltd’ (TVAL) and is operated in the UK by the ‘WW1 Aviation Heritage Trust’ (WAHT).
Images: David Whitworth