The Sopwith Pup had not reached it's RFC and RNAS squadrons when the Sopwith Triplane first flew in 1916. The Triplane was evolved from the Pup using a radical and ingenious triplane layout. By using this layout the field of view was improved, six aelerons, improved the handling over the Pup and the patented I-type interplane struts permitted fewer bracing wires. The first prototype Triplane was sent to Furnes on the Western Front for operational trials and was in action fifteen minutes after refuelling.
The Sopwith Triplane, (Tripehound to it's pilots) was an excellent scout for it's day, but petty bureaucratic jealousies between the War Office and the Admiralty meant that the Triplane was not built in the numbers it should have been and it only served with the naval squadrons.
The most famous exponent of the Sopwith Triplane was the Canadian, Flight Sub-Lt Raymond Collishaw of Naval Ten fighter squadron. Commanding B flight, his pilots who were all Canadian and all aces, became known as 'Black Flight' as their Triplanes were all painted black with grim names, (Black Death, Black Sheep, Black Prince and Collishaws own Black Maria). During June 1917 Collishaw alone accounted for sixteen enemy aircraft, whilst the rest of Black flight claimed 54. Collishaw finished the war with 60 confirmed victories which made him the third highest ranking British and Commonwealth fighter pilot