First impressions of Flying Circus’ Sopwith Camel

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.

Screenshots

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Jp says:

    I love it. I’m not the biggest fan of the Spad but this is a biplane I can fly quite often.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      It’s quickly becoming a favourite!

      The SPAD does everything sort of well. Makes it great to learn on but you can get more from the Camel – if you can get past it’s personality!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Blue 5 says:

    I found it risibly easy to fly, but there is a thread on the forum debunking the myth of it being a monster. Suggestion is that pilots with 5 hours often crashed but to anyone with a bit more experience it was not that difficult.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s a really good point. A lot of RFC pilots were inexperienced and a tricky type like the Camel would potentially be an issue for them.

      I find it’s a mix of a bit troublesome with a fair bit of high performance. Aside from the one time where I went looking for a flat spin I’ve been doing pretty good with it. Currently my favourite to fly of the bunch!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. boxcarleader says:

    my understanding of the issue is that it is in fact a high torque engine being a rotary so you have this giant mass of iron spinning in the front which actually infers higher torque because of mass the biggest issue being this high torque makes the aircraft roll to the right requiring pulling the nose up slightly for a turn. at the time this was a new issues and cause pilots turning to the right to turn to hard and cause a wing stall at low alt. now most simmers are used to prop aircraft with a large majority of combat sims having been ww2 based. most of these pilots will automatically pull up slightly while turning to prevent slip towards the ground due to lack of lift. while ww1 aircraft had high lift ratios due to the bi-plane design allowing for small 100 hp or less motors to fly them at over 90mph … which is not bad at all considering wood and cloth construction but if you look at the total weight of the ww1 fighter (Scout) compared to ww2 the power to weight ratio is really low not to mention engine weight to power. so the bi-plane was the only way this system worked. now bringing that into account the higher lift required less elevator pitch to turn smoothly at a constant altitude and in fact most turning force was generated by the rudder compared to ailerons. so when you take this into consideration the torque factor becomes higher as a pilot turns like usual to the right but the aircraft rolls 2-3 times faster that way so at low alts (below 1000) feet lift is lost and the aircraft slips into a spin also realize that at this time there was no known way to recover from a spin well at least not a way that was trained to pilots so it was experience and having a touch or feeling that allowed pilots to recover. that and as stated before the average flight time of a new pilot to the front was 10-14 hours usually only an hour or two in rotary driven aircraft and older less powerful ones at that. no also think that between 1914 and 1918 the Germans started with the Fokker eindecker and ended with the Albatross 5 and phaltz 3 and so on and the British started with early french and British barn built aircraft and finished with the Camel and SaE5 that is a huge technological leap when you think engines also more than doubled in power from early 60 hp engines to 200 hp at the end…. so lots of things to both sides but i believe the middle ground is accurate i think the Camel was the F4U of ww1.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. boxcarleader says:

    you know i was hopeing that there would be more discussion on this topic as I thought there was a larger community for the Flying circus section ;(

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Hey Boxcarleader,

      What kind of discussion were you hoping to see or to see in the future?

      Flying Circus is slowly winning over much of the Rise of Flight crowd but it’s taking time. You’ll see more people and more discussion as Flying Circus becomes fully realized.

      Like

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