The AEG D.I biplane fighter program was marred by crashes of two of the three prototypes - as such the 20-strong pre-series order was cancelled.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image from the Public Domain.
Allgemeine Elektricitats-Gesellschaft AG (AEG) served the German Empire in World War 1 (1914-1918) as an aircraft maker. Among their contributions was the short-lived AEG D.I biplane fighter. This design managed only three prototypes for its time and a first-flight was held during May 1917. The AEG Dr.I was an off-shoot of the series, developed along the lines of a triplane fighter. It was no more successful with just one example constructed.
The D.I marked the first fighter to be developed by the company and it incorporated traditional biplane qualities - an over-under wing arrangement, fixed wheeled undercarriage (tail-dragger), and open-air cockpit. The wings were slightly unequal span with a single bay each and single struts reinforced the members outboard of the fuselage. The pilot sat in an open-air cockpit under and aft of the upper wing assembly. The engine was fitted forward of the pilot in a streamlined housing and drove a two-bladed propeller at the nose. Internally there was a steel-tubed understructure and fabric skinning was used along the wing surfaces. Proposed armament was 2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns set over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. Power was from a Daimler D.IIIa 6-cylinder liquid-cooled inline piston engine of 160 horsepower.
As tested, the D.I managed a top speed of 127 miles per hour and ranged out to 300 miles. Its service ceiling was 16,000 feet and initial rate-of-climb reached 1,313 feet per minute.
A total of three prototypes were eventually completed by AEG with the first arriving in May of 1917. Between August and September of that year, the aircraft saw a lengthening of its fuselage to improve stability. The radiators were changed in the second and third prototypes.
Despite a prototype having crashed during testing, some twenty pre-production forms were ordered by the German Air Service for active evaluations. Following the crash of a second prototype on September 5, 1917, this commitment was abandoned and the D.I fell to history - proving to be unstable and a handful at the controls.
[ 3 Units ] : Allgemeine Elektricitats-Gesellschaft AG (AEG) - Imperial Germany
German Empire (cancelled)
- X-Plane / Developmental
20.01 ft (6.1 m)
27.89 ft (8.5 m)
8.69 ft (2.65 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the AEG D.I production model)
1,510 lb (685 kg)
2,072 lb (940 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the AEG D.I production model)
1 x Daimler D.IIIa 6-cylinder liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 160 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the AEG D.I production model)
127 mph (205 kph; 111 kts)
16,404 feet (5,000 m; 3.11 miles)
289 miles (465 km; 251 nm)
1,313 ft/min (400 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the AEG D.I production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the AEG D.I production model)
D.I - Base Series Designation; three prototypes completed.
Dr.I - Triplane variant of 1917 based on the D.I design.
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