Thanks to tech issues (which are now solved), the impending holiday season, and a bunch of other stuff going on I haven’t really had time to sit down and write my thoughts about the new Sopwith Camel recently added to the Flying Circus Vol 1 line-up. Now, however, I’ve had time to fly it and get an early impression of what this aircraft is like.
Rotary powered beast
The Camel has a couple of different reputations to live up to in this virtual representation. First, Sopwith’s Camel was a highly successful and iconic fighter of WWII often seen as the direct competitor to the Fokker Dr. I and Albatross D.V. It was seen as one of three scout types that helped the Entente powers wrest control of the skies back from the Germans after the events of Bloody April 1917.
On one hand, the Camel was a highly successful aircraft but on another it was also known as being a dangerous type with highly agile handling but also extremely temperamental as the torque generated by the type’s rotary engine made left-handed turns difficult and some maneuvers treacherous.
Does it live up these reputations in Flying Circus? Largely, yes.
Tricky but powerful
In my limited testing so far, the Sopwith Camel has some excellent attributes with speed, climb and maneuvering power in good balance. This makes it possible to chase down opponents and then out turn them. It’s twin Vickers .303 machine guns also make it well armed for the time.
The available window modification for the upper wing provides the Camel with excellent visibility not being seriously impeded up front or even when looking above. Even without, I found the Camel fairly easy to look around and get a good sense of what was going on.
The machine guns jam often in high G situations but are otherwise effective.
I find the aircraft is quite sensitive to speed changes and very quickly pitches nose high at most speeds. The engine torque will fight you in left hand turns but not as badly as the similarly powered Fokker Dr. I. That said, do enough wrong and the Camel will end up in a flat spin that is unrecoverable in most circumstances. I’ve certainly not been able to get out of a couple since I started flying it. On the flipside, those used to the Rise of Flight Camel will find this a bit easier and ever so slightly less temperamental.
Fun and capable and a top pick
A full review talking about each of the new Flying Circus aircraft is coming (sometime this month) but in the interim I feel like I can safely say that the Sopwith Camel is an excellent fighter and a solid choice for anyone wanting to challenge the best of the German scouts. That is, once you get over the handling characteristics.