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Sopwithbee

The Sopwith Bee was a small biplane built in 1916 as a personal aircraft for Harry Hawker, Sopwith's chief test pilot.

The Bee was a single-bay biplane powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Gnome Omega rotary engine, intended for use by Hawker as a runabout and for aerobatics. As with contemporary Sopwith fighter aircraft, great effort was made to concentrate the heaviest components as close to the aircraft's centre of gravity in order to optimise manoeverability: this necessitated a large semi-circular cutout in the trailing edge of the upper wing to accommodate the pilot. Lateral control was achieved by wing-warping. The Bee was subsequently fitted with a single synchronised Vickers .303 machine gun, possibly with a view to meeting the Admiralty's requirement for a small scout aircraft capable of operating from torpedo-boat destroyers, but this came to nothing and no further development of the type was carried out.

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