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AEG Dr.I Triplane Fighter Prototype

 Updated: 4/14/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  AEG Dr.I  
Picture of AEG Dr.I Triplane Fighter Prototype

A single, poorly-performing prototype was all that was realized of the AEG Dr.I triplane fighter project during World War 1.

The end of the D.I biplane fighter for AEG did not mark the end of work on the series. The design was evolved into a triplane form as the Dr.I. The triplane made its mark through several notable designs put forth by the Allies and the Germans and advantages included maximized control due to the increase in lift and drag. Such fighters held a short-lived mastery of the skies for designs ultimately reverted back to biplane types. Nevertheless, just about every major aircraft firm attempted a three-winged (or more) design before the end of the war.

Development of the Dr.I originated from a review of a captured British Sopwith Triplane fighter during July of 1917. This possessed the Germans to develop something of equal capability lest they be outdone in the air by their long-time enemy. In October of 1917, AEG attempted just that and took their ultimately-abandoned D.I biplane and added a third wing member between the existing upper and lower sections. The aircraft retained the fuselage, tail unit and armament suite (2 x 7.92mm machine guns) of the D.I as well as the wheeled tail-dragger undercarriage. Power was derived from a Daimler D.IIIa 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine of 170 horsepower.

Despite the third wing element, the Dr.I showcased poor handling and the added drag reduced performance of an already poor-performing fighter (maximum speed was 106 miles per hour). As quickly as the Dr.I appeared, it was abandoned as no interest in the type had formed.

The war would progress without it.

AEG Dr.I Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1917
Type: Triplane Fighter Prototype
National Origin: Imperial Germany
Manufacturer(s): Allgemeine Elektricitats-Gesellschaft AG (AEG) - Imperial Germany
Production Total: 1

Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 1
Overall Length: 20.01 feet (6.1 meters)
Overall Width: 27.89 feet (8.50 meters)
Overall Height: 8.69 feet (2.65 meters)

Weight (Empty): 1,510 lb (685 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 2,072 lb (940 kg)

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Propulsion: 1 x Daimler D.IIIa 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 170 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.

Maximum Speed: 106 mph (170 kph; 92 knots)
Maximum Range: 286 miles (460 km)
Service Ceiling: 15,092 feet (4,600 meters; 2.86 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,300 feet-per-minute (396 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

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

Global Operators / Customers

Imperial Germany (cancelled)

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

Dr.I - Base Series Designation; single prototype completed.

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