Ian Turney-White’s Nieuport 28

The full-size Nieuport 28 was considered pleasant to fly, but its performance was not considered exceptional and it suffered from some design flaws. By 1917 the development of rotary-engined sesquiplane fighters had really had its day and had been eclipsed by the Spad 7 in terms of overall performance and ruggedness.

One of the problems was that there was no throttle. Engine speed was partially regulated by switching off the ignition to some of the cylinders. Caution was required as fuel would build-up in the crankcase and often ignited causing a disastrous engine fire. Another problem was caused by the covering which was only glued to the frame; no use being made of rib stitching/tapes. After some use it was possible to rip the covering off the wing when the aircraft was steeply dived.

The Nieuport was therefore rejected by the French Air Service. It became the first operational fighter in the American Expeditionary Force simply because there were not enough Spad 13s available. Nearly three hundred Nieuports were purchased. The plane only became a legend because of the list of distinguished airmen in the US Army Air Service who used it.

The Model

The model was developed as a consequence of being offered the Weslake 342cc engine for an irresistible price. The engine had been used on a target drone, but was in reasonably good condition. The model took two years to complete. The test programme was completed just in time for the plane’s first outing at La Ferte-Alais in July 1998.

The model was designed using profile drawings from the Windsock Journal and the Windsock Datafile on the N28.



(Longhorsley 2004)

The construction used in the full-size was copied using clear Colombian pine for the main structure with some ash for high stress areas. The ribs are 3/16″ balsa with 3/16″ balsa strips on each side of the rib’s top and bottom. Tapered 1/32″ ply capstrips were added. The wing spars were made from two pieces of Columbian pine glued together.

Top view of the fuselage.

Underside of the fuselage showing the tubes bolted between the struts, lower wing dowels and the rigging straps.


nieu28_tailskid nieu28_struts

Sprung ash skid. Also, the elevator crank is just visible behind the elastic.

The dural channel struts. The cowl was made using a blue foam former and split glass mould. It is 20″ diameter and 10″ deep. The laminated propeller made is 41 1/4″ x 11 1/4″.

The model was originally tail heavy, but with some careful reconstruction and recovering of the tail, the final Centre of Gravity position of 28% was achieved without any lead being needing.


The model is covered in Polytex and painted by hand using Humbrol matte enamel. The kicking army mule is the insignia of the 95th Aero Squadron.


(Longhorsley 2004) The aeroplane is not particularly easy to fly. The lateral stability is quite poor and turns need to be started with rudder and then reduced to prevent the nose from dropping. After the turn the ailerons are used to achieve level flight. It has considerable torque effect and hence turns more easily at low throttle than full throttle. Also, the plane turns easier to the left than the right.

The aircraft will easily ground loop when flown from a hard surface.


Ian with his 50% scale Nieuport 28.

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