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DFW T.28 Floh (Flea)

Imperial Germany (1915)
Picture of DFW T.28 Floh (Flea) Biplane Fighter Prototype

The proposed DFW T.28 Floh biplane fighter held several inherent flaws in its design - the greatest of these was its deep fuselage which limited forward vision.


Detailing the development and operational history of the DFW T.28 Floh (Flea) Biplane Fighter Prototype.  Entry last updated on 4/5/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Perhaps one of the ugliest biplane fighters ever designed, the DFW T.28 "Floh" ("Flea") was the product of Deutsche Flugzeug-Werke of the German Empire during World War 1 (1914-1918). It achieved its monumental first flight in 1915 as the war in Europe raged on. The T.28 was developed along the lines of a high-speed fighting biplane but held such poor qualities for the role that it became a largely forgotten entry as the wartime fighters went. Key deficiencies in the design included extremely poor forward visibility due to the deep fuselage, a rather ultra-thin fuselage design which gave the aircraft its ungainly appearance, and oversized tailplanes which added something of a comical design element.

It is perhaps best that the sole prototype crashed when attempting its first landing - reducing the chance that the design would be picked up for wartime production by the German air service.

Design-wise, the T.28 mimicked established biplane fighter characteristics of the day - a two-wing mainplane structure (single bay, parallel interstruts), a fixed wheeled undercarriage and open-air cockpit for its single pilot. The engine drove a two-bladed wooden propeller mounted at the nose in the usual way. Dimensionally, the aircraft was small by the standards of the day, showcasing a length of 14.8 feet and a wingspan of 21.3 feet. Empty weight was 925 lb against a gross weight of 1,435lb. Power was served through a Mercedes D.I water-cooled inline piston engine developing 100 horsepower. Maximum speed reached 112 miles per hour during a first flight and armament was rather modest - just 1 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 Spandau machine gun in a fixed, forward-firing position.

The Floh came about during late 1915 as chief designer Hermann Dorner attempted to develop a compact, fast and agile fighter to compete with emerging Allied types (the air war of World War 1 was one of won-lost initiatives). The result was one of the more unique offerings of the World War 1 fighters and certainly one of the more forgettable entries. Construction incorporated the usual fabric-over-wood approach and, while the Floh achieved an impressive 100+ mile per hour top speed in testing, it suffered damage upon landing which hampered the project's reach. By the time it could be relevant again, attention on the part of German authorities had shifted to more traditional fighter designs and arrangements with better performance and armament support.

Any available statistics for the DFW T.28 Floh (Flea) Biplane Fighter Prototype 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: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (112mph).

    Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era Impact
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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
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


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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: 1915
Classification Type: Biplane Fighter Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Deutsche Flugzeug-Werke (DFW) - Imperial Germany
Production Units: 1
Global Operators:
Imperial Germany (abandoned)
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the DFW T.28 Floh (Flea) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
14.76 ft


Meters
4.5 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
20.34 ft


Meters
6.2 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
7.55 ft


Meters
2.3 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
926 lb


Kilograms
420 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
1,433 lb


Kilograms
650 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Mercedes D.I water-cooled inline piston engine developing 100 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller in the nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
112 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
180 kph


Knots
97 kts

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

1 x 7.92 Spandau LMG 08/15 machine gun
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• T.28 "Floh" - Base Series Designation; sole prototype completed and flown.