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Culp’s Special Sopwith Pups And Culp’s Special Biplane To MakeThreeship Flight to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
On Wednesday, July 20, 2005, two 1916-era Sopwith Pups and a Culp’s Special biplane will depart Shreveport, Louisiana’s Downtown (DTN) Airport for EAA AirVenture 2005. Pup owner Steve Culp, designer of the planes and the builder, Howard Ham, owner of Sopwith Pup #2, and Charles “Doc” Hamm (no relation to Howard), owner of the Culp’s Special, hope to complete the 728 mile journey in two days.
Culp’s Sopwith Pup debuted at AeroShell Square at EAA AirVenture 2004. The full-size aircraft, designed and built by Culp from old modeler’s plans, took 5000 hours to build. The project began when Culp began looking around for ideas for an airshow aircraft unlike anything flying today. He decided a plane that saw its heyday in the skies over Europe ninety years ago would be unique...and it certainly has been.
Culp’s Pup, in the red, white and blue of British Training Squadron C417, and Ham’s Pup in distinctive red and white painted with the capture insignia of the German Maltese cross would look right at home in a dogfight over Verdun, France. But whereas the original Pups, much feared by pilots who flew against them, were powered by 80-to -120 hp LeRone, Gnome or Clerget rotary engines, Culp and Ham’s Pups sport the 360-hp Vendeyev M14 P Russian radials. In addition, the frames are beefed up to stand the rigors of +/- 10 g’s of aerobatic flight. These are definitely NOT your grandfather’s Sopwith Pups.
Flying along with the Pups will be motorcycle builder and ICAS competitor Charles “Doc” Ham, at the controls of his red and white Culp’s Special. Hamm just completed the Special and his flight to Oshkosh will be his maiden cross-country trip. This Special is very reminiscent of the MG2. The Special will see cross-country speeds of 170 mph, the Pups 150 mph.
The British and German Sopwith Pups will be parked at AeroShell Square during EAA AirVenture.