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Amongst all of the Nieuport fighters that fought during WWI, the Nieuport 28C1 significantly differed from all of its predecessors. This aircraft is still considered one the most elegant fighters of that time.
At the end of 1917, the Societe Anonyme des Etablissements Nieuport continued work on improving the Nieuport 24 and Nieuport 25 types, the most recent successors of the excellent Nieuport 11 Bebe of 1916. All of the Nieuport 28's predecessors were sesquiplanes rather than classic biplanes, due to the fact that their lower wing was considerably smaller than the upper one, both in wing span and chord. In November 1918 the comparative test flights of four new prototypes took place. The results showed that the machine with the new wing design of classic biplane type offered the best performance. Both wings had elliptical tips in plan view, and the upper wing was slightly dihedral from the front. The fighter had a 160 hp engine, the Gnome-Rhone Monosoupape 9N, and was armed with two Vickers guns, installed on the fuselage (one in the center, another one at the port side).
The Nieuport 28C1 satisfied contemporary fighter requirements, however, its use by the French Air Service ended shortly after it began: the test flights of the Spad 13C1 took place and this aircraft was recommended as the sole standard fighter for the French Air Force.
The career of the Nieuport 28C1 should have been over; however history decided otherwise. After entering the war, the United States of America did not have its own air force and one had to be hastily created by means of purchasing the necessary military equipment from its allies. In March 1918, 297 machines of the Nieuport 28C1 type were transferred to the 94th and 95th Aero Squadrons and shortly afterwards began to fight against the enemy.
On April 14th 1918, Lieutenants Douglas Campbell and Alan Winslow (94th Aero Sqn) shot down two German fighters in the skies of the Western front - this was the first victory in the glorious history of American fighter aviation, and the Nieuport 28C1 became the first aeroplane to win victories for American pilots.
The most successful American WWI ace, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, scored several victories flying the Nieuport 28C1 - his total score was 26.
While putting the aircraft through intensive military service, American pilots discovered quite an unpleasant 'peculiarity' of this plane, which was first noticed during the test flights - the linen wing covers could be torn off during extreme maneuvers and this often led to catastrophes. This problem was resolved by the end of July, however it was too late - the Spad 13C1 was being built in great quantity and started to arrive in the ranks of the American Air Force, and it had completely replaced the Nieuport 28C1 by August 1918.
After the end of WWI a number of Nieuport 28C1s which by that time were the property of the United States, returned to their motherland. Upon arrival they were used as training planes, then they were transferred to the Navy for experiments in the use of fighters aboard ships. By the mid 1920s the Nieuport 28C1 was considered completely obsolete and machines of this type were sold to numerous air circuses and to Hollywood. Several Nieuport 28C1s - witnesses of the real air battles of WWI - prolonged their careers in these ways.