Nieuport 28

Nieuport 28
Nieuport 28 with offset twin machine guns

This late variant of Nieuport’s biplanes was used mainly by American pilots, notably Eddie Rickenbacker, the French having switched over to Spads.

The Type 28 looked quite different from the earlier Nieuports: it had a longer, rounded fuselage; it dispensed with the sesquiplane configuration (and the associated V struts); and it had rounded, not angular wingtips. A very distinctive feature was pair of machine guns mounted on the port side cowling, the only aircraft so equipped by any country. (Detail photo from

[ad#ad-1]Top Speed: 122 m.p.h.

Manufacturer: Nieuport

Year: 1917

Engine: 160 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape 9-cylinder rotary

Wingspan: 26 feet 9 inches

Weight: 1,627 lb.

Armament: 2 machine guns

On April 14, 1918, a year after the United States had declared war, the first two German planes fell to Nieuport 28’s of the American Air Service, flown by Lieutenant Alan F. Winslow, later shot down and held prisoner in Germany, and Lieutenant Douglas Campbell, later America’s first ace.

On Sunday morning April 14th, Winslow was waiting in the alert tent, playing cards with Lt. Douglas Campbell. Their airplanees were outside, ready at a moment’s notice. At 8:45 the phone rang, and he was told that two German airplanes were about two thousand meters above the city, only a mile away. They were rushed down to their Nieuport 28s in side cars, and in another minute were off in the air. Doug Chambers started first, as Winslow was to meet him above a certain point at five hundred meters, and then take the lead. He gave Chambers about forty-five seconds’ start, and then took off, climbing steeply in a left-hand spiral to save time. He had not made a complete half turn, and was at about two hundred and fifty meters, when straight above and ahead of him in the mist of the early morning, and not more than a hundred meters away, Winslow saw a plane coming toward him with huge black crosses on its wings and tail. He was so furious to see a Hun directly over his own field that he swore out loud and opened fire.

At the same time, to avoid the bullets, the German slipped into a left-hand reversement, and came down, firing. Winslow climbed, however, in a right-hand spiral, and slipped off, coming down directly on his tail. Again he opened up with his twin machine guns. He had his opponent at a great disadvantage, due to the greater speed and maneuverability of the Nieuport. Winslow fired twenty to thirty rounds and could see the tracers entering the enemy airplane.

Then, in another moment, it went straight down in an uncontrolled nose-dive, engine out of commission. Winslow followed in a straight dive, firing all the way. Just above the ground the German tried to regain control of his machine, but could not, and crashed to earth. Winslow darted down near him, made a sharp turn by the wreck, to make sure he was out of commission, then made a victorious swoop down over him, and climbed up again to see if Chambers needed any help with the other airplane.

[ad#ad-1]The fight took place only three hundred meters high, in full view of all on the ground and in the near-by town, and directly above the American airfield. Furthermore, Winslow’s victim dropped about one hundred yards to the right, and Chamber’s one hundred yards to the left of their airfield.

These was a remarkable feat, for one of their Majors, who, with the French army since 1915, had shot down seventeen machines, never had one land in France — and right off the bat, these two staged a fight over their own aerodrome and brought down two Germans right on top of it. When the two fliers landed, only their respective mechanics were left in the drome to help them out of their flying clothes.

The whole camp poured out: on foot, bicycles, side cars, automobiles; soldiers, women, children, majors, colonels, French and American — all poured out of the city. In ten minutes several thousand people gathered. Chambers and Winslow congratulated each other, and his mechanic, no longer military, jumping up and down, waving his hat, pounded Winslow on the back instead of saluting and yelled: “Damn it! That’s the stuff, old kid!” Then Campbell and Winslow rushed to their respective wrecks.