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  • LFG Roland D.VI Biplane Fighter Aircraft


    The LFG Roland D.VI biplane fighter series arrived in small numbers by the end of World War 1 - making a minimal impact on the air war.

     Updated: 10/27/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    The LFG Roland D.VI was adopted by the German Air Service of World War 1 (1914-1918) as a successor to the outgoing Albatros D.Va and Pfalz D.IIIa series biplane fighters. It originally failed to overcome the competing Fokker D.VII in a fly-off competition but was nonetheless ordered for serial production pending the outcome of the D.VII's development and production phases. The D.VI existed in 350 total aircraft and was introduced during the final year of the war.

    As completed, the D.VI became an all-new biplane fighter attempt that broke away from the accepted norms witnessed in earlier Roland aircraft attempts. A "klinker-built" - or "lapstrake" - construction method was employed which used thin overlapping strips of wood over a wooden understructure producing a "planking" effect - similar to that as used in boats. This method was first witnessed on the earlier, ultimately abandoned LFG Roland Dr. IV triplane fighter prototype and now continued with the new D.VI effort.

    The D.VI entered its flight test phase during November of 1917 as the war raged on. This form was outfitted with the Mercedes D.III series engine of 160 horsepower and three total prototypes were eventually completed for the D.VI test program. Due to limitations in the availability of the D.III engine, the Benz Bz IIIa of 150 horsepower was also tested and this phase took the aircraft into January of 1918.

    That same month, the D.VI fell to the Fokker D.VII in a fly-off but was ordered into serial production as a failsafe to the Fokker design. In February an order for fifty of the LFG Roland aircraft was placed which would include Mercedes-engined versions as the "D.VIa" and Benz-engined versions as the "D.VIb". Deliveries occurred from May into June and strength reached seventy before the final months of the war - 58 were of the D.VIa type and 12 of the D.VIb model.

    In practice, the new biplane performed admirably well for its role as fighter. It was modestly armed through 2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades and its straightline performance was good with agility being a noted quality. The aircraft lacked an improved rate-of-climb when compared to the aircraft it was to succeed and the end of the war limited its reach in both terms of operational service and production numbers - total manufacture netted 150 D.VIa and 200 D.VIb aircraft before the end.

    Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 125 miles per hour, a service ceiling of 19,000 feet and a rate-of-climb near 865 feet per minute. The aircraft found varying levels of service within the inventory of the German Air Service and the German Navy.

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    LFG Roland D.VI Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 1918
    Type: Biplane Fighter Aircraft
    National Origin: Imperial Germany
    Manufacturer(s): Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft GmbH (LFG Roland) - Imperial Germany
    Production Total: 350



    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)


    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 20.73 feet (6.32 meters)
    Width: 30.91 feet (9.42 meters)
    Height: 9.19 feet (2.80 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 1,444 lb (655 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 1,863 lb (845 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance


    Engine(s): 1 x Benz Bz.IIIa engine of 200 horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 124 mph (200 kph; 108 knots)
    Maximum Range: 249 miles (400 km)
    Service Ceiling: 19,029 feet (5,800 meters; 3.60 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 860 feet-per-minute (262 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns in fixed, forward-firing positions along the fuselage.

    Global Operators / Customers


    Imperial Germany

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)


    D.VI - Base Series Designation

    D.VIb - Production model