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Pfalz E.I

Imperial Germany (1915)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Pfalz E.I Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter.

 Entry last updated on 5/18/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Pfalz E.I  
Picture of Pfalz E.I Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter

A few E.I monoplane fighters were available to the Germans by the end of 1915 and total strength eventually reached twenty-seven in early 1916.

Pfalz Flugzeugwerke (PFW) was arranged to manufacture aircraft for the Bavarian Flying Service in 1913. In 1914, the German Empire found itself in a World War across Europe and relied on such companies to stock its air service's inventory. Some of the more notable contributions by the concern during the conflict became the Pfalz D.III and D.XII models, both completed as fighting biplanes in 1917 and 1918 respectively.

Prior to the war in 1914, the company had secured local license production of the French Morane-Saulnier Type H and Type L monoplanes, the latter a variant of the former. In time, the company committed to the E.I, E.II, E.V, and E.VI monoplane products all their own which were influenced by the French design but fitted with progressively powerful, local engines. The E.I was the beginning of the line and broadly based on the original French offering - the German offshoot served in World War 1 (1914-1918) from late October 1915 on and this became the company's first to field a machine gun armament.

The new aircraft was powered by an Oberursel U0 rotary piston engine of 80 horsepower, this also based on the French Gnome rotary series. The engine was mounted at the nose of the aircraft in the traditional way with the pilot's open-air cockpit seated directly aft. The monoplane wings were shoulder-mounted along the slab-sided fuselage. The fixed, wheeled undercarriage resided under the frontal mass of the aircraft with a skid bringing up the rear. The tail unit utilized a single vertical fin and low-mounted horizontal planes. A network of cables connected the wing mainplanes to the dorsal and ventral regions of the aircraft's fuselage. Construction was largely of wood save for sections of the engine compartment which also held a rounded cowling affixed over the engine's face.

Armed as potential fighters, the E.I carried a single 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine gun. This weapon was synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades (by way of "interrupter" gear). Some forms, required to conduct high-speed reconnaissance runs, had their weapons stripped as a weight-savings measure.

Type certification for the E.I occurred during September of 1915 and a pair of these aircraft were formed in the German ranks the month following. By the end of April 1916, fleet strength reached some twenty-seven examples and these were active participants in the armed escort role, partnered with slower moving observation platforms used to help gain the advantage against enemy movements on the ground. Beyond their service over European battlefields, the E.I also saw combat exposure in the Middle East during the Sinai Campaign (1916).
Any available statistics for the Pfalz E.I Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter 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).
Pfalz E.I Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Imperial Germany
Year: 1915
Type: Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter
Manufacturer(s): Pfalz Flugzeugwerke - Imperial Germany
Production: 30
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 1
Length: 20.67 ft (6.3 m)
Width: 30.35 ft (9.25 m)
Height: 8.37 ft (2.55 m)
Empty Weight: 761 lb (345 kg)
MTOW: 1,179 lb (535 kg)

Installed Power
1 x Oberursel U0 rotary piston engine developing 80 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 87 mph (140 kph; 76 kts)
Maximum Range: 124 mi (200 km; 108 nm)
Service Ceiling: 11,483 ft (3,500 m; 2.17 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 875 ft/min (267 m/min)

1 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine gun synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades (by way of interrupter gear).

Operators List
Imperial Germany

Series Model Variants
• E.I - Base Series Designation