Douglas Campbell, the first American-trained pilot to become an ace, flew a French Nieuport 28C.1. The 28C.1 was one of the most handsome of World War I fighters.

Originally rejected as first line equipment by the French Air Service, the Nieuport 28 C.1 was supplied to the 1st pursuit squadrons of American expeditionary forces in early 1918 due to lack of more suitable craft. The 28 was a departure from traditional Nieuport design, featuring a longer fuselage, and two, elliptically tipped two-spar wings. Previous Nieuports relied on Sesquiplane, or 1 ½ wing design, featuring angular, raked wingtips. Although it was light, maneuverable, and accelerated rapidly, the 28 C.1 had a tendency to shed its upper wing fabric during high-speed maneuvers, due to stitching running the span of the wing’s fabric. Another source of problems was its reportedly unreliable Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine. In spite of this, aces Eddie Rickenbacker and Raoul Lufbery had victories flying 28C.1s. The SPAD XIII.C eventually replaced the Nieuport in American squadrons.

The Museum’s Nieuport is painted in the colors of the 95th Aero Squadron, the “Kicking Mules” – the first American pursuit squadron to fly in combat on the Western Front. Among its members was ace pilot Sumner Sewall, a native of Bath, Maine, and governor of Maine from 1941-1945.

Specifications: Span 26’ 9”, length 21’, takeoff weight 1,625 lbs. Engine: 160 horsepower Gnome Monosoupape nine-cylinder air-cooled rotary (original); Lycoming air-cooled flat four (representation); maximum speed 128 mph. Armament: one Vickers .303 caliber machine gun.

Accession no. 1992G38

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