A bonny biplane

Craig Allen investigates the long-term building of an airworthy Sopwith 1½ Strutter replica that’s close to completion

The Strutter looks magnificent in its present state, despite the temporary surroundings of a former market garden storage unit.

Some years ago, during a visit to Scotland’s National Museum of Flight at East Fortune in East Lothian, I came across a group of senior gentlemen busily hand-building components for a World War One aircraft. We chatted briefly and I admired their handiwork before continuing to explore the rest of the attraction. I was therefore intrigued on recently reading an article in The Sunday Times about this self-same group, the Aviation Preservation Society’ of Scotland (APSS). It turned out that the aircraft in question was a reproduction Sopwith IV2 Strutter, which is now nearing completion after some 20 years of dogged effort from this dedicated band of enthusiasts. The intention is to make it airworthy. However, this wonderful project has not been without its hurdles. In the intervening years since I first encountered it, the APSS has had to leave East Fortune due to the museum needing the space, and National Museums Scotland withdrew its support for the project.

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