Sunday, August 28, 2011

Austria - 1917 Albatros D-III Oeffag

Unforeseen Complications

Due to a series of events I have not posted or followed my blog list for a few days. Between some medical issues and new lines of research I have not been able to participate in the daily routine.

One of the new lines I have been researching is a deeper look at Austrian aircraft, and Oeffag's version of the Albatros D.III in particular. It has turned into an embarrassment of wealth on the subject. I have been setting up a series of master drawings, but there are a lot of major variations to nail down. Eventually I will have things running smoothly again. My post today is a taste of things to come.

A Taste of the Other Flavor of Albatros Goodness

The Austro-Hungarian version of the Albatros D-III was produced under license by the firm Oeffag. It had several minor external differences identifying it from the German made fighters. In the autumn of 1916, Oesterreichische Flugzeugfabrik AG (Oeffag) obtained a license to build the D.III at Wiener-Neustadt. Deliveries commenced in May 1917.

The Oeffag aircraft were built in three main versions (series 53, 153, 253) using the 185, 200, or 225 hp (138, 149, or 168 kW) Austro-Daimler engines respectively. The Austro-Daimlers provided improved performance over the Mercedes D.IIIa engine. For cold weather operations, Oeffag aircraft featured a winter cowling which fully enclosed the cylinder heads.

Austrian pilots often removed the propeller spinner from early production aircraft, since it was prone to falling off in flight. Beginning with aircraft 112 of the series 153 production run, Oeffag introduced a new rounded nose that eliminated the spinner. Remarkably, German wind-tunnel tests showed that the simple rounded nose improved propeller efficiency and raised the top speed by 14 km/h (9 mph).

All Oeffag variants were armed with two .315 in (8 mm) Schwarzlose machine guns. In most aircraft, the guns were buried in the fuselage, where they were inaccessible to the pilot. In service, the Schwarzlose proved to be somewhat less reliable than the 0.312 in (7.92 mm) LMG 08/15, mainly due to problems with the synchronization gear. The Schwarzlose also had a poor rate of fire. At the request of pilots, the guns were relocated to the upper fuselage decking late in the series 253 production run.

Oeffag engineers noted the wing failures of the D.III and modified the lower wing to use thicker ribs and spar flanges. These changes, as well as other detail improvements, largely resolved the structural problems that had plagued German versions of the D.III. In service, the Oeffag aircraft proved to be popular, robust, and effective. Oeffag built approximately 526 D.III aircraft between May 1917 and the Armistice

The type 153 from Flik 55 was flown by Oblt. Georg Kenzian and several other pilots. The plane feartures the winter engine cover and lack of a propeller spinner. The color scheme has been in dispute, several other drawings show a red and white pennant design.Consensus now favors the blue design as in this drawing.

This is another type 153 from Flik 55J The pilot was the Austrian ace Lt. Jozsef Kiss. As with the previous example it is in winter gear. The small black and white triangle near the nose is the logo for Oeffag.


  1. From Wikipedia Albatros D.III, ""
  2. Grosz, Peter M., George Haddow and Peter Schiemer. "Austro-Hungarian Army Aircraft of World War I". Boulder, CO: Flying Machines Press, 2002. ISBN 1-89126-805-8.


Paul´s Bods said...

I like the look of the the Albatros D-III Oeffag Ba. 153 Flik 55J Lt. Jozsef Kiss serial number 153.47 - 1917..a nice looking blue.
I´ve searched, but have you got a pic of Richthofens Alby DV..the one with red upper and tail??

Unknown said...

Thanks Paul I had to do that plane after I saw it. I have been working more Offag D.III types, some have very strange camouflage schemes. I will be posting soon. I should be able to email you through the post notification email and I hope to be able to find the correct D.V for MVR.