Fokker V.8 (Quintuplane) - Imperial Germany, 1917
Detailing the development and operational history of the Fokker V.8 (Quintuplane) Quintuplane Fighter Prototype.
Entry last updated on 4/27/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Five wings made the Fokker V.8 Quintuplane prototype one of the most unique fighter offerings of World War 1 - it made two modest flights before being abandoned.
The arrival of the Sopwith Triplane for the Allies in World War 1 immediately showcased to the Germans the need for a plane of equal capability. The triple-wing arranged offered excellent maneuverability, rate-of-climb, and operating ceilings when compared to the traditional biplanes being fielded by the German Air Service at the time. Thus began a series of progressive developments into the realm of triplane flight beginning with the Fokker V.4 prototype and ending with the V.7. The V.5 ultimately served as the basis for the classis Fokker Dr.I triplane - the famous mount of the "Red Baron".
To benefit such a design even further, company own Anthony Fokker pushed the idea of a quintuplane - that is a fighter aircraft that relied on five whole wing mainplanes - reasoning that five mainplanes could have as much of an impact on capabilities as a triplane wing arrangement. The idea was realized (more or less) through the ungainly Fokker V.8 prototype which went on to complete two modest test flights and little more before the idea was abandoned.
Components of the equally-abandoned V.6 prototype made up some of the framework for the V.8. A slab-sided, long fuselage was created which sat the pilot ahead of midships in an open-air cockpit. The engine (driving a two-blade propeller) was fitted to the nose in the usual way. The tail unit was quintessentially Fokker with fuselage-mounted horizontal planes and a rounded vertical fin. The wing arrangement eventually settled on encompassed a full triplane configuration at the nose and a biplane configuration aft of the cockpit (at about midships). The undercarriage was fixed and sported a pair of wheels for ground running. The aircraft was powered by a Mercedes D.III water-cooled engine of 160 horsepower.
Beyond the V.8 being a "quintuplane" it was also, by definition, a tandem-wing aircraft. The forward tri-wing arrangement held unstaggered planes with vertical strutworks for strength. Balanced ailerons were affixed to the top-most wing mainplanes of both wing sets for improved controlling. The rear wing set held a thicker wing chord than that as seen in the triplane wings.
A first flight, essentially a running hop, was completed by Fokker himself during October of 1917. Some issues were revealed that brought along modifications to the aircraft and preceded a second flight some two weeks later. It was found that the five-wing configuration added little to fighter design and the whole program was abandoned a short time later.
Performance specifications on this page are pure estimates on the part of the author.