Dornier-Zeppelin D.I

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Zeppelin-Lindau (Do) D.I.jpg
Role Single-seat fighter
National origin Germany
Manufacturer Zeppelin-Lindau
Designer Claude Dornier
First flight 4 June 1918[1]
Status Abandoned
Primary users Luftstreitkräfte
United States Navy
United States Air Service
Number built 7
Developed into Dornier Do H Falke

The Zeppelin D.I, or Zeppelin-Lindau D.I or Zeppelin D.I (Do) (as named in German documents), also sometimes referred to postwar as the Dornier D.I or Dornier-Zeppelin D.I, for the designer,[2] was a single-seat all-metal stressed skin[3][4] monocoque[3] cantilever-wing biplane fighter,[3][4] developed by Claude Dornier while working for Luftschiffbau Zeppelin at their Lindau facility.[3] It was too late to see service with the German Air Force (Luftstreitkräfte) during World War One.

Development and design[edit]

Zeppelin-Lindau (Dornier) D.I on trestle

The Dornier D.I was one of several designs by Claude Dornier to have an all-metal stressed skin[3] monocoque structure,[3] and it was the first fighter to feature such construction and although production was cancelled prior to the completion of any production versions, it was also the first aircraft with these features to go into production. To reduce the hazards of inflight fires, it also had an external fuel tank, which, according to some sources may have been jettisonable,[2][5] and thick-section cantilevered wings for improved aerodynamics. The Dornier Do H Falke was developed from it, but had an enlarged upper wing and dispensed with the lower wing.

Operational history[edit]

Seven prototypes were built as part of the development program. It was never used operationally, due to the end of World War I. Luftstreitkräfte pilots evaluated the type in May and June 1918 and again in October.[6][7] German ace Wilhelm Reinhard was killed on 3 July 1918 after a structural failure, while it was supposed to have been grounded for structural improvements.[6] There were reports of heavy aileron controls and poor climb performance at higher altitudes. After being fitted with a more powerful BMW IIIa inline-six liquid-cooled engine that boosted the climb rate to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) from 25 minutes to 13 minutes, an order was placed for 50 aircraft either in October or November.[8] The airframes for this order were roughly 50 percent complete when production was halted in early 1919.[7] One of the prototypes went to the US Navy and another to the US Army Air Service, both purchased in 1921 and delivered in 1922, for evaluation of the novel construction methods used.[9]


 German Empire
 United States

Survivors/Aircraft on display[edit]

None of the examples built survive.


Data from Grey, 1970, p.580

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Length: 6.37 m (20 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 7.8[5] m (25 ft 7.125 in)
  • Height: 2.6[5] m ( ft in)
  • Wing area: 18.7[5] m2 (202 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 725[5] kg (1562 lb)
  • Gross weight: 885[5] kg (1958 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × BMW IIIa[5] water cooled inline 6 cylinder, 138 kW (185 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 200[5] km/h (124 mph)
  • Service ceiling: 8100[5] m (26575 ft)


  • 2 × fixed, forward-firing Spandau machine guns
  • See also[edit]

    Related development

    Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

    Related lists



    1. ^ Grosz, 1998, p.8
    2. ^ a b Grosz, 1998, p.12
    3. ^ a b c d e f Grosz, 1998, p.0
    4. ^ a b Grey, 1970, p.580
    5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kössler, 1985, p.78
    6. ^ a b Grosz, 1998, p.1
    7. ^ a b Grosz, 1998, p.10
    8. ^ Grosz, 1998, p.9
    9. ^ Grosz, 1998, p.10
    10. ^ Grosz, 1998, pp.3-4 and 8-10
    11. ^ "1908-1921 USASC-USAAS Serial Numbers". Joseph F. Baugher. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
    12. ^ Grosz, 1998, pp.10-13


    • Grosz, Peter (1998). Dornier D.I Windsock Mini datafile # 12. Hertfordshire, UK: Albatros Publications. ISBN 9780948414923. 
    • Gray, Peter; Thetford, Owen (1970). German Aircraft of the First World War (second ed.). London: Putnam. p. 580. 
    • Hundertmark, Michael; Steinle, Holger (1985). Phoenix aus der Asche - Die Deutsche Luftfahrt Sammlung Berlin. Berlin: Silberstreif Verlag. ISBN 978-3924091026. 
    • Kössler, Karl (1985). Dornier - Die Chronik des ältesten deutschen Flugzeugwerks. Friedrichshafen, Germany: Walter Biering GmbH. p. 78. ISBN 3-925505-01-6. 
    • Ogden, Bob (1983). Dornier - Flypast Reference Library. Lincs, England: Key Publishing. ISBN 0 946219 05 2. LCCN 0263-5887. 
    • Sheppard, Milton (Winter 1968). "Dornier D.I Static Test". Cross & Cockade. Society of WW1 Aero Historians. 9 (4): 391–395. 
    • Terry, Gerard (1981). "The Development of Dornier Landplanes 1914-1918". Cross & Cockade Great Britain Journal. Society of WW1 Aero Historians. 12 (3): 97–117. 
    • unknown author (23 December 1920). "Some "Dornier" Milestones". Flight. Flight Magazine. pp. 1269–1273 and pp.1289–1292.