As one of the most heavily armed allied aircraft of the first World War, the Nieuport 28 was the first fighter plane to carry American colors into combat. Although rejected by the French Air Service, 297 passed to the Americans in the absence of better equiptment. The pilot fired twin Vickers .303 machine guns over a tight aluminum engine cowling. Lt. Eddie Rickenbacker flew his first patrol in a Nieuport 28 in April 1918. He later became the top scoring American "Ace" with 26 victories.
28th in a long line of fighters, the little single seater had a 26 foot 3inch wingspan,20foot 4inch long fuselage, and a 160 horsepower rotary engine. The powerplant, a 9 cylinder Gnome rotary had dual ignition but no throttle! To reduce RPMs' the control stick had a "blip" switch that enabled the pilot to cut off the ignition in one or more cylinders. To prevent flooding, fouling the plugs and the danger of fire from accumulated fuel, it was necessary to frequently switch all cylinders back "on". This produced a very unique and distinctive sound.
After WW I ended more than fifty N28C-1s were shipped to the US and twelve of these aircraft were turned over to the U.S. Navy. Records indicate that five of these aircraft survived. Four were purchased by Garland Lincoln, a Hollywood stunt pilot, who made three flyable planes from the parts. These three were used extensively by movie studios to make the famous aerial films "Dawn Patrol", "Men with Wings" and many others.
Paul Mantz purchased the planes from Paramount Pictures. Eventually enough parts for one and a half aircraft were sold to G.D. Hunt and R. Folsom who used the parts to create the original on display here at the museum.
air & space gallery
currently there are no photos in this gallery.