Halberstadt D.I Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Prototype
The Halberstadt D.I fighter prototype failed to impress German authorities and this limited the design to just two prototypes.
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Halberstadter Flugzeugwerke (Halberstadt) of German made its first foray into fighter aircraft design with the "D.I" of 1915. The design was a dimensionally smaller version of the company's B.II product and featured many qualities of combat aircraft of the period - an over-under biplane wing structure, fixed undercarriage and open-air cockpit. The D.I initially failed to impress German authorities and the line ended at just two prototypes completed - but this work served to produce the refined D.II model (detailed elsewhere on this site).
The D.I differed from the earlier B.II in that it held smaller-area wings and these appendages were staggered. As a combat aircraft, it was also finalized with a single 7.92mm MG08 machine gun in a fixed, forward-firing mounting. The engine was fitted to the nose in the usual way and drove a two-bladed propeller unit. The radiator element protruded noticeably out of the nose and restricted forward vision some. The fuselage showcased slab sides and the tail was of conventional arrangement.
The first of two prototypes emerged for testing with an Argus As II engine of 120 horsepower and a first-flight was recorded in late-Autumn of 1915. The second followed with a Mercedes D.I of 100 horsepower. Some promise was shown in the latter offering to the point that a twelve-strong order was placed in March of 1916. However, during the evaluation period, the aircraft was found lacking in certain qualities which, when refined, led to the developed "D.II" detailed elsewhere on this site.
From the recorded work, the D.I showcased a wingspan of 28.9 feet, an empty weight of 1,210lb and a MTOW of 1,630lb. Much of its performance figures are unknown.