Albatros D.I

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Albatros D.I
Albd1.jpg
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Albatros Flugzeugwerke
Designer Robert Thelen
Introduction 1916
Primary user Germany
Number built 50

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.

Design and development[edit]

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 had a semi-monocoque plywood fuselage, consisting of a single-layered outer shell, supported by a minimal internal structure. This 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. At the same time its panelled-plywood skinning, done with mostly four-sided panels of thin plywood over the entire minimal fuselage structure, was less costly to manufacture than the "wrapped body" (Wickelrumpf) monocoque fuselage common to the LFG Roland (creator of the technique) and Pfalz (licensee of LFG-Roland for the technique) single-engined airframe designs, that used long, narrow strips of plywood diagonally "wrapped" over a male form to create them.[2] The Albatros D.I 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 additional power enabled twin fixed Spandau machine-guns to be fitted without any loss in performance.[2]

The D.I had a relatively high wing loading for its time, and was not particularly manoeuvrable. This was compensated by its superior speed and firepower and it quickly proved the best all-round fighter available.[2]

Operational history[edit]

A total of 50 pre-series and series D.I aircraft were in service by November 1916, replacing the early Fokker and Halberstadt D types, giving real "teeth" to the Luftstreitkräfte's new Jagdstaffeln (fighter squadrons). Further production of D.Is was not undertaken, however; instead, a reduction in the gap between the top and bottom planes in order to improve the pilot's forward and upward vision resulted in the otherwise identical Albatros D.II,[1] which became Albatros' first major production fighter.

Operators[edit]

 German Empire

Specifications (D.I)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Length: 7.40 m (23 ft 3.5 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.50 m (27 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 22.9 m2 (246.4 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 647 kg (1,423 lb)
  • Gross weight: 898 kg (1,979 lb)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 175 km/h (109 mph)
  • Endurance: 1.5 hours
  • Service ceiling: 5,000 m (16,400 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 2.8 m/s (547 ft/min)

Armament

  • 2 × forward-firing synchronized 7.92 mm (.312 in) lMG 08

Data from Wagner, Ray and Nowarra, Heinz. German Combat Planes: A Comprehensive Survey and History of the Development of German Military Aircraft from 1914 to 1945. New York: Doubleday, 1971, pg. 64.

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cheesman, P.108
  2. ^ a b c Gray and Thetford, p.39

Bibliography[edit]

  • Cheesman, E.F. (1960). Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Harleyford Publications. 
  • Munson, Kenneth (1968). Fighters, Attack and Training Aircraft 1914-1919 War. Blandford Press. 
  • Taylor, John W.R. (1969). Combat Aircraft of the World from 1909 to the Present. Putnam. 
  • Grey & Thetford (1962–70). German Aircraft of the First World War (2nd ed.). Putnam & Company.