Thursday, May 5, 2011

Germany - 1916 Albatros D.I

The First Albatros Fighter

The Albatros D.I established the shape of a line of fighter aircraft. It is easily identified by the shape of the radiators on the side of the flat sided fuselage, and tall, straight wing struts. The paint schemes were simple and the wings did not have the two-three color green purple camouflage patterns of later Albatros fighters.

The Albatros D.I was a German fighter aircraft used during World War I. Although its operational career was short, it was the first of the Albatros D types which equipped the bulk of the German and Austrian fighter squadrons (Jagdstaffeln) for the last two years of the war.

The D.I was designed by Robert Thelen, R. Schubert and Gnädig, as an answer to the latest Allied fighters, such as the Nieuport 11 Bébé and the Airco D.H.2, which had proved superior to the Fokker Eindecker and other early German fighters, and established a general Allied air superiority. It was ordered in June 1916 and introduced into squadron service that August.1

The D.I used a paneled plywood semi-monocoque fuselage, which was lighter and stronger than the fabric-skinned box-type fuselage then in common use, as well being easier to give an aerodynamically clean shape. On the other hand it was less costly to manufacture than a "full monocoque" fuselage. It was powered by either a 110 kW (150 hp) Benz Bz.III or a 120 kW (160 hp) Mercedes D.III six-cylinder water cooled inline engine. The D.I thus became the most powerful fighter aircraft yet introduced by the Luftstreitkräfte. The additional power enabled twin fixed Spandau machineguns to be fitted without any loss in performance.

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