MICHIGAN CITY | Visit Michigan City LaPorte Convention and Visitors is featuring a scale model of a WWI fighter plane at their office located in Marquette Mall in Michigan City.
Local artist Frank Di Giacomo has many interests, one of which is WWI airplanes, so when he got an opportunity to buy a Sopwith Pup model he jumped at the chance.
Mr. Di Giacomo said, “This plane did fly and after I bought it I detailed it out then donated it to the Great Lakes Military Museum. Unfortunately the museum closed, so I brought the plane to the visitor’s bureau so people could enjoy it there”.
The actual plane is a Sopwith Pup, predecessor of the Sopwith Camel, manufactured in England by the Sopwith Aviation Company Ltd.
The Pup was a biplane fighter and it entered service with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in the autumn of 1916. It had a 9 cylinder air-cooled rotary 80 horsepower engine. The wing span is 26 feet 6 inches. Its length is 19 feet 3 ¾ inches. The height of this fighter is 9 feet 5 inches, weight is 1225 pounds, speed was 111.5 mph, maximum ceiling is 17,500ft and the endurance was 3 hours. This biplane fighter carried one machine gun and one crew member and it was constructed out of a wooden frame that was covered with canvas.
Mr. Di Giacomo went on to explain that the model has a 9 foot wingspan, it was manufactured using Balsa Usa, which is balsa bass wood with Dacron covering. The engine was made by Zenoah Manufacturing Company and the single cylinder 2 cycle gasoline engine size .650cc.
Stop by the LPCCVB office to see the plane and to view the many works of art on display there.