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Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII

Imperial Germany (1919)
Picture of Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII Heavy Bomber Biplane Aircraft

The Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII was the largest completed aircraft in the world by 1919 standards.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII Heavy Bomber Biplane Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 10/26/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII was a mammoth biplane aircraft design intended as a heavy bomber for the German Air Service during World War 1 (1914-1918). Work began as early as 1916 but progress proved slow and only one airframe was wholly complete by the end of the war - a second example lay partially finished. For its time, the R.VIII was the largest complete aircraft anywhere in the world. The first prototype actually entered ground trials in early 1919 but was undone in by a gearbox failure as well as the restrictions imposed on German war-making capabilities through the Treaty of Versailles. No more work on the type was done.

As completed, the R.VIII showcased a crew of at least eight to manage piloting, engine repairs, and defensive machine gun positions. Its length was 70 feet, 10 inches with a wingspan of 157 feet, 6 inches, and height of 24 feet, 3 inches. Empty weight was listed at 23,100lbs with a gross weight in the vicinity of 35,000lbs. Power was through 6 x Basse und Selve BuS.IVa 6-cylinder, water-cooled, inline piston engines developing 300 horsepower each. The engines were arranged in a unique formation with two as "puller" units and the remaining four as "pusher" units. The actual powerplants resided within the fuselage so as to provide easier access for the in-flight mechanics to which drive shafts managed the externally-mounted propeller units. Performance estimates included a maximum speed of 78 miles per hour with a range of 560 miles and a service ceiling of 13,125 feet.

It can be assumed that, as a military bomber, the R.VIII would have been outfitted with a network of machine guns for local defense. Machine guns were have been perched at the nose, on the dorsal spine aft of the upper wing unit, over the upper wing unit, and at a rear ventral position. Its actual bombload remained unknown though, for its size and deep fuselage, it would have packed quite a load when compared to the largest German Air Service bombers of the war.

Externally, the aircraft managed a typical configuration of the time utilizing a wide-spanning biplane wing arrangement made up of an upper and lower wing mainplane. At least six bays were used in the wing structure that featured parallel struts and applicable cabling for support and controlling. The fuselage was of a deep-hulled design and the tail sported a three-vertical-finned biplane wing. As with other aircraft of the period, its undercarriage was wheeled and not retractable. The tail was supported by its own wheel unit.

Any available statistics for the Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII Heavy Bomber Biplane Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (78mph).

    Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
2
2


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Imperial Germany
Service Year: 1919
Classification Type: Heavy Bomber Biplane Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Siemens-Schuckert - Imperial Germany
Production Units: 2
Global Operators:
Imperial Germany
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
8


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
70.87 ft


Meters
21.6 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
157.48 ft


Meters
48 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
24.28 ft


Meters
7.4 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
23,149 lb


Kilograms
10,500 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
35,274 lb


Kilograms
16,000 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
6 x Basse und Selve BuS.IVa 6-cylinder, water-cooled, inline piston engines developing 300 horsepower each; 2 x Propellers in puller arrangement with 4 x Propellers in pusher arrangement.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
78 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
125 kph


Knots
67 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
559 mi


Kilometers
900 km


Nautical Miles
486 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
13,123 ft


Meters
4,000 m


Miles
2.49 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

PROPOSED:
1 x 7.92mm machine gun in nose position
1 x 7.92mm machine gun in dorsal spine position
1 x 7.92mm machine gun in upper wing assembly
1 x 7.92mm machine gun in ventral position

Unknown internal bomb load.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Variants: Series Model Variants
• R.VIII - Base Series Designation; two aircraft constructed with only one wholly completed.