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LFG Roland D.II (Shark)

Imperial Germany (1917)
Picture of LFG Roland D.II (Shark) Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft

Introduced in early 1917, the LFG Roland D.II biplane fighter saw production reach 300 units before the end of World War 1.


Detailing the development and operational history of the LFG Roland D.II (Shark) Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 10/27/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

LFG Roland of Germany built a healthy, deep stable of combat aircraft for the German Empire during World War 1 (1914-1918) and this included fixed-wing types as well as airships. A development of 1916 became the D.II - later known as the "Shark" - a single-seat, single-engine biplane fighter that was adopted for service in early-1917 and produced to the tune of 300 examples by both LFG Roland and competitor Pfalz. The D.II was developed from the earlier D.I biplane which, itself, was a further evolution of the two-seat C.II reconnaissance mount. The D.II was fielded by the German Empire and Bulgarian air services.

Due to its origins in the C.II/D.I, the D.II carried over similar physical features that included a streamlined, and rather deep, fuselage. A large spinner covered the propeller hub. The biplane wing arrangement showcased single bays with parallel strut works and applicable cabling. The pilot sat aft and under the upper wing assembly - though the wing itself sat low over the forward fuselage and restricted much of the forward-down, forward-side vision from the pilot. A wheeled, tail-dragger undercarriage was featured as was a single vertical tail fin.

Internally, the D.II was completed with a plywood monocoque fuselage construction. The fuselage was essentially made up of two halves joined at a center line (with glue) and the entire structure was skinned over in fabric for added strength. Not only did this provide for the needed clean and aerodynamically refined look of the aircraft it also produced a rather lightweight overall structure.

Armament was conventional for the period - 2 x LMG08/15 (Spandau) series machine guns set over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades by way of "interrupter" gear.

As finalized, the D.II design could stay aloft up to two hours and reach a ceiling of over 16,000 feet. Maximum speed was listed at 112 miles per hour.

The initial field variant was known simply as "D.II" and these forms carried the Mercedes D.III piston engine of 160 horsepower. The mark was followed by the "D.IIa" which switched over to an Argus As.III engine of 180 horsepower but, despite the added output power, the aircraft suffered at altitudes beyond 10,000 feet - forcing the type to low-level operations. The C.V existed as a "one-off" two-seat prototype form still carrying the original Mercedes D.III engine (160 horsepower). Pfalz-produced D.II and D.IIa models were designated as D.II (Pfal) and D.IIa (Pfal) respectively to differentiate their factory origins. One hundred of each form were produced by Pfalz Flugzeugwerke.

In service, the aircraft did not prove itself as formidable as its appearance would suggest. Controlling was deemed below average, requiring a steady hand by the pilot and some useful experience in combat, and vision out-of-the-cockpit was poor owing to the placement of the upper wing assembly. Where the D.II did shine was in straightline performance from its Mercedes engine coupled with the sleek fuselage - it could match or outpace contemporary fighters. It was also well-armed and featured a strong internal structure.

Any available statistics for the LFG Roland D.II (Shark) Single-Seat Biplane Fighter 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: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (112mph).

    Graph average of 90 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 LFG Roland D.II'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
300
300


  * 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: 1917
Classification Type: Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft GmbH (LFG Roland) / Pfalz - Imperial Germany
Production Units: 300
Global Operators:
Bulgaria; Imperial Germany
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the LFG Roland D.II model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
22.80 ft


Meters
6.95 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
29.36 ft


Meters
8.95 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
10.24 ft


Meters
3.12 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,576 lb


Kilograms
715 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
2,105 lb


Kilograms
955 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder in-line water-cooled piston engine developing 160 horsepower and driving two-bladed wooden propeller in nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
112 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
180 kph


Knots
97 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
224 mi


Kilometers
360 km


Nautical Miles
194 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
16,404 ft


Meters
5,000 m


Miles
3.11 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
715 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
218 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

2 x 7.92mm LMG08/15 machine guns over nose synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• D.II - Base Series Designation; initial production model; fitted with Mercedes D.III piston engine of 160 horsepower.
• D.IIa - Fitted with Argus As.III series engines of 180 horsepower.
• C.V - Single two-seat prototype; fitted with Mercedes D.III engine of 160 horsepower.
• D.II (Pfal) - Production of D.II aircraft by Pfalz
• D.IIa (Pfal) - Production of D.IIa aircraft by Pfalz