Aviatik (Berg) D.I
|Aviatik D.I at The Museum of Flight, Seattle.|
|Designer||Julius von Berg|
|First flight||24 January 1917|
|Primary user||Austro-Hungarian Empire|
|Produced||1917 - 1918|
|Number built||~ 700|
The Aviatik (Berg) D.I, was a single-engine, single-seater fighter biplane. It was also known as Berg D.I or the Berg Fighter because it was designed by Dipl. Ing. Julius von Berg, and to distinguish it from the D.I fighter built by the parent Aviatik firm in Germany. The D.I was the first locally designed fighter aircraft of the Austro-Hungarian Air Service (Luftfahrtruppen).
Work on the prototype began in August 1916, while the first flight of the prototype, marked 30.14, took place at 16 October 1916 at Aspern, unfortunately killing the test pilot.
Further modifications were made, and three more prototypes were manufactured, labeled 30.19 (for tests on the ground), 30.20 (for tests in flight) and 30.21 (as a reserve airframe). These prototypes differed from the production aircraft in having a single unsynchronized Schwarzlose machine gun above the top wing, firing over the propeller.
Tests of the modified aircraft were good and the first unit to receive production examples (with two synchronized Schwarzloses, on each side of the cylinders) of the Aviatik D.I was Fluggeschwader I (FLG I, later to be renamed to Flik 101G) on the Divača airfield.
The Aviatik (Berg) D.I was manufactured under license by a number of subcontractors.
- Austrian Aviatik manufactured the 38, 138, 238 and 338 Series
- Lohner manufactured the 115 and 315 Series
- Lloyd manufactured the 48, 248 and 348 Series.
- MAG (Magyar Általános Gépgyár - General Hungarian Machine Works) manufactured the 84 and 92 Series
- Thöne und Fiala manufactured the 101 Series
- Wiener Karosserie Fabrik (WKF) (Vienna Coachwork Factory) manufactured the 184, 284 and 384 Series.
Ordered but not built were the 215 and 201 Series from Lohner and Thöne und Fiala respectively.
The main differences between the different series were in the power of Austro-Daimler engines used (185 hp in the early production aircraft, 200 or 210 hp in the mid-production, and 225 hp in the last ones), in positioning of the machine guns, and in structural and radiator details.
By the 31st October 1918, 677 Aviatik (Berg) D.I airframes of all batches had been handed over to the Austro-Hungarian Air Force.
In many respects, the D.I was a good combat aircraft. It was reasonably fast, had excellent flying characteristics and maneuverability, and could reach higher altitudes than most of its adversaries. In addition, it was provided with a roomy and comfortable cockpit which gave a good field of view.
Despite those desirable features, the new Aviatik fighter wasn't greeted with enthusiasm when it entered service in autumn 1917, as the type also had some serious defects which didn't endear it to its pilots. The early aircraft had structural deficiencies and their machine guns were installed beyond the reach of the pilot so that when they jammed, there was nothing the pilot could do about it. These problems were later rectified with the strengthening of the airframe and the repositioning of the guns. While the original Aviatik D-I design by Julius von Berg was sound, the Series 115 aircraft license-produced by the Lohner firm at Wien-Floridsdorf were notorious for failures along the wing trailing edges in high speed maneuvers, as Lohner had deviated from Aviatik specifications by employing thinner, lighter wing ribs. The main cause of complaints was the engine's tendency to overheat far too easily. To alleviate these cooling problems, operational units tended to fly their aircraft without the engine's top panels and sometimes the side panels were also left off.
The Austro-Hungarian aviation units used the D.I widely until the end of World War I on Eastern, Italian and Balkan fronts, mainly as an escort for reconnaissance aircraft, as most of the fighter units preferred the Albatros D.III for air superiority.
The D.II was a version of the D.I with a cantilever lower wing. The model went into production in late 1918 in two Series (39 and 339), but the production aircraft were too late for operational service. The D.III high-altitude version with a 230 hp Hiero engine and the Dr.I triplane development remained as prototypes only.
- Hungarian Air Force - Postwar.
- Royal Romanian Air Force - Postwar.
- Royal Yugoslav Air Force - Postwar.
Data from Holmes, 2005. p 22.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 6.86 m (22 ft 6 in)
- Wingspan: 8.00 m (26 ft 3 in)
- Height: 2.48 m (8 ft 2 in)
- Wing area: 21.80 m² ()
- Empty weight: 610 kg (1,345 lb)
- Loaded weight: 852 kg (1,878 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Austro-Daimler 6-cylinder water-cooled in-line, 147 kW (200 hp)
- Maximum speed: 185 km/h at sea level (115 mph)
- Service ceiling: 6,150 m (20,177 ft)
- Endurance: 2 hours 30 minutes
- 2 × fixed 8 mm Schwarzlose
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Albatros D.Va
- Ansaldo SVA
- Fokker D.V
- Morane-Saulnier AI
- Nieuport 28
- Pfalz D.III
- Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5
- Sopwith Camel
- SPAD S.XIII
- Related lists
- Holmes, 2005. p 22.
- The German parent company of Aviatik built the Halberstadt D.II under licence as the Aviatik D.I. This was later redesignated Halberstadt D.II(Av) when the German military changed its nomenclature, however the D.I designation was never reused. The Aviatik (Berg) D.I designation was in a different sequence, used by the Austro-Hungarian military.
- Grosz, P.M. (1994). Aviatik D.I. Windsock Datafile 45. Hertfordshire, UK: Albatros Publications. ISBN 978-0948414602.
- Haddow, George (1967). The O. Aviatik (Berg) D.I. Aircraft Profile Number 151. Surrey, UK: Profile Publications. ASIN B0007JXD26.
- Holmes, Tony. Jane's Vintage Aircraft Recognition Guide. London: Harper Collins, 2005. ISBN 0-00-719292-4.
- Munson, Kenneth. Fighters, Attack and Training Aircraft 1914-19 (The Pocket Encyclopedia of World Aircraft in Colour ). London: Bounty Books, 2004. ISBN 0-7537-0916-3.
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