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NAMESAKE OF THE SOPWITH SNIPE WWI FIGHTER BIPLANE (Read 150 times)
Reply #5 - Jan 18th, 2018 at 5:31pm

Kerak   Offline
Senior Member
I Love YaBB 2.5 AE!
Roy, Utah

Posts: 979
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GREAT STUFF, Rick!  Love the photos...and all the information!  Really makes one THINK about what's behind a name!  It's interesting that some aircraft are named by the manufacturer...often-times I think with something they hope will be...and at other times...it's the flyers themselves who give the "christening" nomenclature.  THE SNIPE seems to have accurately achieved everything that was desired by the people at Sopwith.

Again...thank you for the intellectual presentation of a wonderful creature...and a beautiful aircraft.

Neal

 
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Reply #4 - Jan 18th, 2018 at 11:54am

LASTWOODSMAN   Online
Senior Member
REAL PLANES HAD ROUND
ENGINES AND TWO WINGS
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Posts: 1256
****
 
SOPWITH SNIPE NAMESAKE a short essay
     The difficulties involved in hunting snipes gave rise to the term
"sniper"
, meaning a hunter highly skilled in marksmanship and camouflaging.   
"Going on a snipe hunt"
   is a phrase suggesting
a fool's errand
,  or an impossible task,  due to hunters having difficulty wing-shooting a speeding flying Snipe,  due to the bird's erratic,  acrobatic flight pattern.   The 
'snipe hunt'
   
is a practical joke
in which an unsuspecting newcomer is led to an outdoor spot and instructed to hold a bag or pillowcase for catching the snipe,  and then is
left  "holding the bag"
  while the other group members disappear.   Remember the old TV sitcom episode of "Fraser" ?    As
an American rite of passage
,  it is often associated with
summer camps
and groups such as the
Boy Scouts
.
     The Wilson's snipe population was reduced near the end of the 19th century by hunting and habitat destruction,  declining markedly when faced with large-scale draining of marshland.
     I have acquired the deeper, newfound
admiration and respect
,  that was once held in
such high esteem
, for dignified Snipe in the days of yore.  So much so, that they named the Sopwith Snipe fighter biplane of WWI after the valiant, noble, stalwart little Snipe bird.

   And here is a link to the Smithsonian Institution's Life History of the Snipe 1927 - very interesting reading ...
http://www.birdsbybent.com/ch61-70/snipe.html

and Cornell University here https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Wilsons_Snipe/lifehistory
LWM
Richard
 

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OH, I HAVE SLIPPED THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH ... UP, UP THE LONG DELIRIOUS BURNING BLUE ... SUNWARD I'VE CLIMBED AND JOINED THE TUMBLING MIRTH OF SUN-SPLIT CLOUDS ...
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Reply #3 - Jan 18th, 2018 at 11:44am

LASTWOODSMAN   Online
Senior Member
REAL PLANES HAD ROUND
ENGINES AND TWO WINGS
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Posts: 1256
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SOPWITH SNIPE NAMESAKE a short essay
     Snipe are fast flying and 
"SWOOPING"
.   The male performs an incredible and spectacular 
"winnowing"
 
flight display during courtship
,  similar to the closely related Wookcock Circle Flights,  the Snipe flying high in circles, and then taking shallow dives to produce a "drumming" sound  ( same concept as the Stuka Dive Bomber and its wailing siren, dubbed the “Jericho Trumpet” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCB8ZVxKqyI ),   by the vibration of the wind through the Snipe's  outer tail feathers.   This  "winnowing drumming"  sound -   a tremulous humming sound,  loud and penetrating, audible at a long distance,  has been compared by others to the bleating of a sheep or goat;   hence, in many languages, the snipe is known by names signifying 
“flying goat"
,   
“heaven's ram"
,  and in Scotland by 
“heather-bleater”
,   and in Finland by the name taivaanvuohi, 
"sky goat"
.   So I guess the Sopwith Snipe biplane could also be called those names too.
     Here is the audio of a Snipe vibrating its tail feathers on its circle flight "winnowing".
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Wilson%27s+Snipe+Winnowing+Sound&&view=deta...
LWM
Richard
« Last Edit: Jan 18th, 2018 at 1:08pm by LASTWOODSMAN »  

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OH, I HAVE SLIPPED THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH ... UP, UP THE LONG DELIRIOUS BURNING BLUE ... SUNWARD I'VE CLIMBED AND JOINED THE TUMBLING MIRTH OF SUN-SPLIT CLOUDS ...
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Reply #2 - Jan 18th, 2018 at 11:38am

LASTWOODSMAN   Online
Senior Member
REAL PLANES HAD ROUND
ENGINES AND TWO WINGS
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Posts: 1256
****
 
SOPWITH SNIPE NAMESAKE a short essay
     This plump little shorebird is quite the fascinating and interesting bird, and has smashed the record for the
fastest, long-distance, nonstop flight
, in the whole animal kingdom.    Great snipes can complete a transcontinental flight across Europe, from Sweden to sub-Saharan Africa,  in as little as two days without resting.   The birds traveled up to 4,200 miles at an average
speed of 60 miles an hour
.
     At first glance,  great snipes don't look especially speedy or well equipped for such an arduous journey.   Their bodies are small and chubby,  not aerodynamic,  and in the autumn the birds get so fat and rotund,   that they almost double their body weight before the flight.   But it's these ample fat reserves that allow the birds to fly such long distances without stopping.   It's a
rare
bird that
can fly both FAR AND FAST
.    It's unclear how great snipes can apparently fly for such long periods with little or no sleep.   This is one of the unsolved mysteries of long-distance flights.
LWM
Richard
 

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OH, I HAVE SLIPPED THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH ... UP, UP THE LONG DELIRIOUS BURNING BLUE ... SUNWARD I'VE CLIMBED AND JOINED THE TUMBLING MIRTH OF SUN-SPLIT CLOUDS ...
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Reply #1 - Jan 18th, 2018 at 11:31am

LASTWOODSMAN   Online
Senior Member
REAL PLANES HAD ROUND
ENGINES AND TWO WINGS
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Posts: 1256
****
 
SOPWITH SNIPE NAMESAKE a short essay
      Snipe are medium sized, plump, skulking wading birds - an upland sandpiper -  with short legs and long straight bills.  The bill’s flexible tip can open to grasp food while the base of the bill stays closed.   Snipe can slurp small prey invertebrates from the mud, without having to remove their bill from the soil.     The  15" to 18"  long  wings are pointed,  and the Snipe flushes only when approached closely,  with a  "heart stopping"  habit of exploding unexpectedly into flight,  from right beneath your feet.   When flushed,  they utter a sharp note that sounds like a rasping   
"scape"
,
"scape"
,   and fly off in a series of aerial zig-zags.
LWM
Richard
 

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OH, I HAVE SLIPPED THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH ... UP, UP THE LONG DELIRIOUS BURNING BLUE ... SUNWARD I'VE CLIMBED AND JOINED THE TUMBLING MIRTH OF SUN-SPLIT CLOUDS ...
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Jan 18th, 2018 at 11:27am

LASTWOODSMAN   Online
Senior Member
REAL PLANES HAD ROUND
ENGINES AND TWO WINGS
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Posts: 1256
****
 
SOPWITH SNIPE NAMESAKE a short essay
     Many aircraft have been named after the qualities and characteristics and habits of the amazing birds that they emulate.   Regarding the WWI Sopwith Snipe biplane fighter aircraft, that short nose moment and "abbreviated length" of the fuse, really makes the Sopwith Snipe look chunky, barrel chested, and muscular.   Maybe that, and other features, such as its excellent climb and maneuverability,  is why they named the Sopwith Snipe biplane fighter, after the stocky, courageous
SNIPE
BIRD, which 
flies FAST and FAR
.  Anyone who has spent time in a marsh, or duck hunting blind, can attest to the speed these birds have, the
'will-o'-the-wisp'
of the marshes,  when they come whipping by in a flash.   The Venery term for more than one Snipe flying is a   
"WHISP OF SNIPE"
  .   The following are some of the admirable characteristics and attributes of the Snipe bird species  ( the American sub-species is the Wilson's Snipe ) .   This bird is responsible for the term
"Sniper"
( sharpshooter ),  and the phrase
"Holding The Bag"
,  and the term
"Going on a Snipe Hunt"
.
LWM
Richard
 

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OH, I HAVE SLIPPED THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH ... UP, UP THE LONG DELIRIOUS BURNING BLUE ... SUNWARD I'VE CLIMBED AND JOINED THE TUMBLING MIRTH OF SUN-SPLIT CLOUDS ...
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