LVG D.III Biplane Fighter Prototype Aircraft
The LVG D.III competed unsuccessfully for adoption into the German Air Service of World War 1.
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LVG (Luft-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft) was established in Berlin-Johannisthal, Germany during 1912 and among its first projects was construction of simple aircraft. When Germany entered World War 1 (1914-1918) the company began ramping up its lines for contract work as well as delve into design of in-house fighter-reconnaissance and light bomber types. The first in-house fighter to emerge was the E.1 biplane which came to be nothing more than an experimental platform and whose sole prototype was lost during 1915. The D 10 and D 12 prototypes followed but these too were not furthered beyond their experimental forms. However, their work prompted a succeeding design in the D.III which showed considerable promise and was eventually evaluated for front line service.
The D.III showcased lessons learned from previous attempts by LVG engineers. Its construction featured a semi-monocoque design with plywood skinning and landing wires were replaced by a more conventional strut network for robustness. A biplane planform was used that featured single bays with N-type struts. The undercarriage fitted two landing wheels with the rear of the aircraft supported by a simple skid arrangement. The pilot sat in an open-air cockpit just under and aft of the upper wingspan. Armament was 2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. A large spinner was attached to the two-bladed propeller unit. Power to the aircraft was through a single NAG C.III series 6-cylinder inline engine of 185 horsepower and the completed design showcased a maximum speed of 109 miles per hour.
The D.III was developed to compete against the Albatros D.III series which gained a certain level of fame since its introduction in 1916. Whereas that airframe was produced in 1,866 examples (approximate), the LVG D.III only saw life as another "one-off" prototype - the aircraft judged to be too large and heavy for serious frontline service at a time when light, agile fighters were being sought.
As such, the D.III, like many of LVG's early attempts, was not furthered during the course of the war.