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Biplane Fighter Prototype Aircraft

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 | Edited: 7/31/2019
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Year: 1917
Status: Cancelled
Manufacturer(s): Allgemeine Elektricitats-Gesellschaft AG (AEG) - Imperial Germany
Production: 3
Capabilities: Fighter; X-Plane;
Crew: 1
Length: 20.01 ft (6.1 m)
Width: 27.89 ft (8.5 m)
Height: 8.69 ft (2.65 m)
Weight (Empty): 1,510 lb (685 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 2,072 lb (940 kg)
Power: 1 x Daimler D.IIIa 6-cylinder liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 160 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
Speed: 127 mph (205 kph; 111 kts)
Ceiling: 16,404 feet (5,000 m; 3.11 miles)
Range: 289 miles (465 km; 251 nm)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,313 ft/min (400 m/min)
Operators: German Empire (cancelled)
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.


2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun

Variants / Models

• D.I - Base Series Designation; three prototypes completed.
• Dr.I - Triplane variant of 1917 based on the D.I design.
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