Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Germany - 1918 Fokker D.VIII

Winner of the April 1918 fighter competition, the Fokker D.VIII monoplane was delayed by production problems. Only thirty six of them entered service during the last weeks of the war. Equipped with an underpowered engine, the D.VIII was nevertheless an excellent fighter eagerly received by the German air service. Dubbed the “Flying Razor” by Allied pilots, it had the distinction of scoring the last aerial victory of the war.


  1. "Fokker D.VIII", From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fokker_D.VIII
  2. Connors, John F., "Fokker's Flying Razors", Wings, Granada Hills, California, August 1974, Volume 4, Number 4, pages 45, 48.
  3. Weyl, A.R. "Fokker: The Creative Years". 1988. ISBN 0-851778-17-8.


Jon said...

It seems that engines were the main problem for aircraft designers and builders. Were the aircraft designs maturing faster than engine designs?

W. I. Boucher said...

In some cases yes. However in the case of the D.VIII the engine was considered to be underpowered for the time it worked well when paired with the light weight of the airframe, In many cases the problem was one of producing a sufficient number of a particular engine for a design. More a failure of logistics than engineering.

Many designs were forced to use engines which were not planned for when designing the airframe. That meant retrofitting them with less than ideal engines for the weight and balance for the aircraft design.

Occasionally the substitution produced better performance. When the Rolls Royce engines were unavailable for British bombers the American Liberty performed better than the engine it replaced. The devil is always in the details.