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Sopwith Baby in use with Norway's Marinens flyvåpen
Role Single-seat scout and bomber biplane seaplane
Manufacturer Sopwith Aviation Company
First flight September 1915[1]
Primary user Royal Naval Air Service
Number built 286
Developed from Sopwith Schneider
Variants Fairey Hamble Baby

The Sopwith Baby was a British single-seat tractor seaplane used by the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) from 1915.

Development and design

The Baby (also known as the Admiralty 8200 Type) was a development of the two-seat Sopwith Schneider. Although the Schneider had won the Schneider trophy in 1914, the RNAS did not place a formal order until January 1915. The initial, Sopwith built production version of the Baby differed little from the Schneider Trophy winner.[2]

Further modified aircraft, designed to met the more demanding conditions of 1916-18, were later built by Blackburn Aircraft at Leeds, United Kingdom. In Italy, licensed manufacture was undertaken by SA Aeronautica Gio Ansaldo of Turin. A modified variant of the Baby, the Fairey Hamble Baby was built by Fairey and Parnall. Altogether, 286 Babies were built for the Royal Naval Air Service, 100 by Sopwith at Kingston and 186 by Blackburn Aircraft at Leeds with others for export.

Operational history

The Baby was used as a shipborne scout and bomber aircraft operating from larger ships such as seaplane carriers and cruisers, and smaller vessels such as naval trawlers and minelayers. It was even considered for operation from submarines. The main role of the Baby was to intercept German Zeppelin raids as far from Britain as possible. Babys saw service with Canada, the United States, France, Chile, Greece and Norway. In Norway Babys were built occasionally as replacements, with a few seeing service until 1930. Two of the 10 Sopwith Baby floatplanes that were acquired by the Norwegian Navy were brought to Svalbard in midsummer 1928 to participate in the search for the disappeared Norwegian Polar explorer Roald Amundsen, but were not used as intended.


 Kingdom of Italy
 United Kingdom
United States


Data from Holmes, 2005. p 44.

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 23 ft 0 in (7.01 m)
  • Wingspan: 25 ft 8 in (7.82 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
  • Wing area: 240 ft² (22.30 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,226 lb (557 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 1,715 lb (779 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Clerget rotary engine, driving a two blade wooden propeller, 110 hp (82 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 87 knots (100 mph, 162 km/h) at sea level
  • Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
  • Rate of climb: 285 ft/min (1.45 m/s)
  • Endurance: 2.25 hrs


  • 1 × Lewis gun
  • 2 × 65 lb (28 kg) bombs
  • See also


    1. Holmes, 2005. p 44.
    2. Lamberton, 1960. p 58.
    3. Huertas Air International February 1984, pp. 73–74.


    • Holmes, Tony (2005). Jane's Vintage Aircraft Recognition Guide. London: Harper Collins. p. 44. ISBN 0-00-719292-4. 
    • Huertas, Salvador Mafé (February 1984). "The Chilean Air air arm with a problem". pp. pp. 69–74, 91, 98–101. ISSN 0306-5634. 
    • Lamberton, W.M. (1960). Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Herts: Harleyford Publications Ltd.. 

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