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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Early Years of Flight Day 4: Nieuport 28

Our week started with the very early years of flight, along with the Schneider Schulgleiter SG 38 and Halberstadt CL IV. We continue our tour of flight's early years with the French built Nieuport 28.

 Nieuport 28 early years airplane

The Nieuport 28 was the first fighter airplane flown in combat by pilots of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in World War I. The first flight on April 14, 1918 resulted in two victories by  Lts. Alan Winslow and Douglas Campbell of the 94th Aero Squadron. The first victories by an AEF unit in fact.

Nieuport 28

The creativity and super savvy painted body of the the Nieuport 28 was no match for the aircraft’s terrible reputation to shed it’s upper wing fabric on dives.  In 1918, many considered the Nieuport 28 obsolete. Yet, there were many famous pilots who faired quite well in this early years plane.

WWI 26-victory ace Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker flew the Nieuport 28 several times during his career. The Nieuport was soon replaced by a less maneuverable aircraft in March 1918 called the SPAD XIII.

The aircraft on display at the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio is a reproduction. Like many of the  planes from the early years hanger, it contains wood and hardware from an original Nieuport 28.
The aircraft is painted and marked to represent a Nieuport of the 95th Aero Squadron, Third Flight, as it appeared in July 1918. It was placed on display in May 1994.

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