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Fokker D.I and B.III
Role Fighter aircraft
Manufacturer Fokker-Flugzeugwerke
Designer Martin Kreutzer
Introduction 1916
Produced July 1916
Number built 144
Developed from Fokker D.II
Variants D.III and D.IV.

The Fokker D.I (company designation M.18) was a development of the D.II fighter. The D.I was also flown in Austro-Hungarian service as a reconnaissance aircraft under the designation B.III. Confusing the matter further, both the D.II and D.I arrived at the Front in German service at similar times, in July–August 1916. The main designer was Martin Kreutzer.

Design and development[edit | edit source]

Similar to the D.II, the D.I was an unstaggered single-bay equal-span biplane. The upper fuselage was parallel with the upper wing. Unlike the D.II, the D.I was fitted with the 75 kW (100 hp) Mercedes D.I six-cylinder watercooled engine.

Control was achieved using wing-warping. The wings were also tested in twin-bay form. To improve visibility, the center section was cut into and the wings were slightly staggered. These improvements were retained, and the airplane was ordered into production with a 89 kW (120 hp) Mercedes D.II inline engine and a single synchronized 7.92 mm (.312 in) LMG 08/15 machine gun. The Austro-Hungarian B.IIIs retained the D.I engine, and were armed with a Schwarzlose machine gun.

Operational history[edit | edit source]

Deliveries began in July 1916. 90 were delivered to the German Fliegertruppen, and 16 to the Austro-Hungarian Luftfahrttruppen (as the B III). Eight were license produced by the Magyar Általános Gépgyár in Hungary. One Austro-Hungarian B III was experimentally fitted with a 119 kW (160 hp) Mercedes D.III engine. Another had ailerons instead of wing warping, and still another had long span, swept back wings.

Compared with aircraft in service at that time, such as the Albatros D.II and the Nieuport 11, this Fokker's design and performance were decidedly unimpressive, and further production did not take place.

The D.I was the basis for the D.III and D.IV.

Operators[edit | edit source]

 Austria-Hungary
Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops
 German Empire
Luftstreitkräfte
 Turkey

Specifications (D.I)[edit | edit source]

Data from The Complete Book of Fighters [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One, pilot
  • Length: 6.30 m (20 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.05 m (29 ft 8 in)
  • Height: 2.55 m (8 ft 4 in)
  • Wing area: 20.00 m² (215.3 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 463 kg (1,020 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 670 kg (1,477 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Mercedes D.II 6-cylinder water-cooled inline engine, 89 kW (120 hp)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 150 km/h (81 kn, 93 mph)
  • Rate of climb: 3.33 m/s (656 ft/min)
  • Endurance: 1.5 hours

Armament

  • 1 × forward-firing 7.92 mm (.312 in) LMG 08/15 machine gun
  • See also[edit | edit source]

    References[edit | edit source]

    Notes[edit | edit source]

    1. Gray and Thetford 1962, p.90

    Bibliography[edit | edit source]

    • Gray, Peter and Thetford, Owen. German Aircraft since the First World War. London:Putnam, 1962.
    • Green William and Swanborough, Gordon. The Complete Book of Fighters. New York: Smithmark, 1994. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.


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