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Pfalz Dr.I

Imperial Germany (1918)
Picture of Pfalz Dr.I Triplane Fighter Aircraft

Only ten of the late-war Dr.I triplanes were produced by the Pfalz concern - the type found to be rather unreliable for the intended fighting role.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Pfalz Dr.I Triplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 11/19/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The triplane as a military aircraft held a short reign in the skies during World War 1 (1914-1918). Its design offered unprecedented maneuverability and handling in close-quarters which made them ideal gunnery platforms for dogfighting ventures. However, the battlecry of the air war soon returned to speed as the call of the day and triplanes quickly lost favor in the grand aerial campaigns of the First World War - leaving only a few successful designs in its wake. The Pfalz Dr.I was developed by Pfalz Flugzeugwerke of the German Empire during the height of triplane interest but it proved unreliable enough to limit its production to just ten aircraft which served from April 1918 on.

The aircraft was given a typical tri-winged arrangement which retained the upper and lower wing sections of a conventional biplane but added a third element sandwiched between the two existing planes. The wings were all braced by a thick strut arrangement which created single bays to each side of the fuselage. The fuselage was well-rounded and therefore quite streamlined with the engine encased in metal at the nose and driving a two-bladed propeller unit. Machine guns (2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15) were fitted over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning blades with the pilot's open-air cockpit just aft of the guns (and under / behind) the upper-most wing element. The tail unit incorporated the usual single tail fin (rounded) and low-set horizontal planes. The undercarriage was of a tail-dragger arrangement with the main legs wheeled and fixed in flight. A tailskid brought up the rear.

Dimensions included a length of 5.5 meters, a wingspan of 8.5 meters and a height of 2.7 meters. Empty weight was 1,125lb against a MTOW of 1,555lb. Power was had from a Siemens-Halske Sh.III 11-cylinder, geared rotary engine of 160 horsepower which could propel the aircraft to speeds of 118 miles per hour up to a ceiling of 19,680 feet. Flight time was about 1.5 hours.

On looks alone the aircraft should have been a proper contender to claim air supremacy from Allied offerings of the day but the choice of engine fit made for an unreliable product in the end. Formal evaluations of the aircraft noted its lack of speed in addition to the temperamental engine and this led to a small batch of just ten aircraft being procured and fielded during 1918. The war was over with the November Armistice and this Pfalz triplane attempt subsequently fell to aviation history.

Any available statistics for the Pfalz Dr.I Triplane 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 (118mph).

    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 Pfalz Dr.I'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
10
10


  * 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: 1918
Classification Type: Triplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Pfalz Flugzeugwerke - Imperial Germany
Production Units: 10
Global Operators:
Imperial Germany
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Pfalz Dr.I model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
18.04 ft


Meters
5.5 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
28.05 ft


Meters
8.55 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
9.02 ft


Meters
2.75 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,124 lb


Kilograms
510 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
1,554 lb


Kilograms
705 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Siemens-Halske Sh.III 11-cylinder, geared rotary engine developing 160 horsepower and driving two-bladed propeller at the nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
118 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
190 kph


Knots
103 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
186 mi


Kilometers
300 km


Nautical Miles
162 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
19,685 ft


Meters
6,000 m


Miles
3.73 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,215 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
370 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

2 x LMG 08/15 machine guns over the nose synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Dr.I - Base Series Designation