Any folding wing single seat biplane naval fighters?

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Admiral Beez

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There are lots of folding wing 2-3 seat biplane naval aircraft, but no single seaters? Presumably they're sufficiently compact for stowage and the added weight of folding mechanisms is best avoided. But no examples whatsoever?

The first folding wing single seat carrier aircraft of any configuration was the French Dewoitine D.373.
 
I can't think of any single-seater, right off hand.

I know the Short Brothers had several folding types, but none were single seat.

One of the reasons we may not find any, is because back in the early days of Naval Aviation, the vast majority of their aircraft (of all mission types) had at least a crew of two.

Even into the late interwar period (and beyond biplanes), a two man crew (even for some land based types) was a persistent feature.
 
There are lots of folding wing 2-3 seat biplane naval aircraft, but no single seaters? Presumably they're sufficiently compact for stowage and the added weight of folding mechanisms is best avoided. But no examples whatsoever?

The first folding wing single seat carrier aircraft of any configuration was the French Dewoitine D.373.
????

Which ignores the single seat Sopwith T.1 Cuckoo torpedo bomber. First flight June 1917. First 100 production aircraft ordered Feb 1918 (50 each from Pegler of Doncaster and Blackburn). First delivery from Blackburn July 1918 followed by Pegler in Oct. Entered service with the Torpedo Aeroplane School at East Fortune, East Lothian Scotland (now home to the National Museum of Flight) then with 185 squadron RAF on its formation on 19 Oct 1918. These were photographed aboard the first flush decked carrier, HMS Argus (completed Sept 1918) the following month.

The plan had been for aircraft from Argus to carry out a torpedo attack on the German High Seas Fleet in its home ports before the end of 1918. The Armistice put an end to these plans.

Cuckoos in Argus' hangar Nov/Dec 1918.

1694761577260.jpeg



The Avro Bison of 1921, a 3/4 seat carrier borne fleet spotter-recce aircraft also had folding wings. Blackburn Ripon 2 seater of 1926 was another.

In terms of early fighters (or "scouts" as they were referred to in the early days) with folding wings, there was the Beardmore W.B. III of 1918. This was a derivative of the Sopwith Pup built by William Beardmore & Co of Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire. Beardmore had been building Pups for the RNAS under licence, but the folding wings were designed by a Mr G Tilghman Richards of Beardmore. On 31 Oct 1918, 55 are recorded as being in service with the RAF, including 18 with the Grand Fleet.

Two versions built - one with folding undercarriage S.B.3F and one with jettisonable undercarriage S.B.3D.

And here all folded up ready for the hangar
1694762904307.jpeg
 
Besides, the Cuckoo wasn't a fighter (as called out in the thread title), so didn't qualify... neither do the Bison or Ripon (which two are not single-seat, either).

Now the Beardmore Pup derivative... that does qualify!
Good find there!
 
Besides, the Cuckoo wasn't a fighter (as called out in the thread title), so didn't qualify... neither do the Bison or Ripon (which two are not single-seat, either). Now the Beardmore Pup derivative... that does qualify!
Indeed, it was fighters I was looking for. I wonder if a folding wing Arado Ar 68 or Heinkel He 51 was considered for Graf Zeppelin before the Bf 109 was chosen. The four gun, enclosed cockpit BMW radial-powered Ar 68H shown below with arrestor hook, might have been a match for the RN's Gloster Gladiator. I have to assume that it could fit down Graf Zeppelin's lifts without needing a wing fold.

68h.jpg


The Arado Ar 195 torpedo bomber biplane was also intended and rejected for Graf Zeppelin, but there is no record of this wider Arado being fitted with folding wings, unlike like the Fieseler Fi 167, shown below.

b60bceba2140c21da78bd5afebc5505b.jpg


Perhaps if chosen the subsequent prototypes of the Ar 68 and/or Ar 195 might have had been fitted with folding wings.
 
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