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Kondor Dreidecker Single-Seat, Single-Engine Triplane Fighter Prototype

 Updated: 8/8/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

Excessive vibrations, even after an engine change, doomed the Kondor Dreidecker triplane fighter attempt of World War 1.

Kondor Flugzeugwerke of Essen, Germany (then the German Empire) was committed to building Albatros B.II and B.IIa series biplane fighters during World War 1 until, in mid-1917, the company benefitted from the arrival of designers Walther Rethel and Paul G. Ehrhardt who, previously, had served with competing LVG (Luft-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft). The first original aircraft put forth by the company then became the Kondor "Dreidecker", a triplane-winged single-seat, single-engine fighter.

In prototype form, this aircraft recorded a first-flight during October 1917. However, the design underperformed with its original engine (unknown make and model) and was re-engined with a Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder liquid-cooled powerplant of 160 horsepower output (this still driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose). In this form, the triplane did no better for excessive vibrations, unable to be overcome, ultimately doomed the project to the single prototype.

The Kondor D.1, a more conventionally-arranged biplane fighter design, was being developed at the same time but even this model appears to have fared no better.

Kondor Dreidecker Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1917
Type: Single-Seat, Single-Engine Triplane Fighter Prototype
National Origin: Imperial Germany
Manufacturer(s): Kondor Flugzeugwerke - German Empire
Production Total: 1

Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 1
Overall Length: 18.04 feet (5.5 meters)
Overall Width: 22.97 feet (7.00 meters)
Overall Height: 9.68 feet (2.95 meters)

Weight (Empty): 882 lb (400 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 1,213 lb (550 kg)

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Propulsion: 1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder liquid-cooled geared engine developing 160 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.

Maximum Speed: 96 mph (155 kph; 84 knots)
Maximum Range: 155 miles (250 km)
Service Ceiling: 18,045 feet (5,500 meters; 3.42 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 800 feet-per-minute (244 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 7.92mm machine guns over the nose synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

Global Operators / Customers

Imperial Germany (cancelled)

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

Kondor Dreidecker - Base Series Name; single flyable example completed in 1917.