A Pup Project
Building a full-scale Sopwith Pup
BY WES JONES, EAA 305185; ORIENT, OHIO
THE INSPIRATION TO BUILD a full-scale Sopwith Pup came to me
in 2005 after talking with Robert Baslee, owner of Airdrome
Aeroplanes, about the feasibility of such a design. After sketching
the major components on a napkin, I decided it could be
accomplished and purchased a set of drawings from Replicraft and
began earnest construction in December 2005.
For all outward appearances, I wanted my plane to resemble an
original Pup, though there were some mandatory considerations
given the size of my bank account. I used the plans for placement
of all uprights and longerons to ensure the dimensions matched the
originals, but the materials I used were more modern and fit my
I used 3/4-inch chromoly for the forward section of the fuselage
and transitioned to 5/8-inch aft of the cockpit for the longerons.
The wing struts and cabanes were fashioned to the original
dimensions out of Douglas fir wood to fit-welded fittings à la Dennis
Wiley’s Early Bird Jenny. The landing gear legs were fashioned from
streamline tubing to exact specifications in the original prints.
Being ever vigilant for good, inexpensive parts, I used a set of
horse racing cart wheels for my rims and inner spoke attachments.
The hubs were made on a lathe to get 8 inches between the spokes
at the axle, and using different lengths of spokes, I achieved the
dished look of the original wheels.
The steerable tailskid was built closely following the original
specs since it would be prominently displayed for everyone to
see. Wings were fashioned from 2-inch
by 0.065-inch-wall 6061 aluminum tube,
with the rear spar giving me fits because
of clearance with the ribs to get the same
airfoil shape as the original. I used 3/8-
inch aluminum tubing to fashion the ribs
à la the Graham Lee design. I did vary
with looks in the leading edge, opting to
use aluminum sheet metal to cover that
area instead nose ribs. Wing-root fittings
were copies of the Early Bird Jenny’s root
fittings scaled up for the extra weight. I got
some expert assistance on the rib stitching
from Dallas Shaw, Randy O’Conner, and
Brad Strohm. My friend Rick Bennett was
able to turn me on to a correct size cowling
and had one delivered to me.