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Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker)

Imperial Germany (1917)
Picture of Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker) Triplane Fighter Aircraft
Picture of Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker) Triplane Fighter Aircraft Picture of Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker) Triplane Fighter Aircraft

With a three-wing arrangement inducing substantial drag, the Fokker Dr.I was slower than her contemporaries but made up for this in maneuverability and rate-of-climb against fighters of the period.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker) Triplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 8/8/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Fokker Dr.I ("Dr" for "Dreidecker" meaning "triplane") series is most closely associated with Manfred von Richthofen (aka "the Red Baron") as the triplane aircraft was his chosen mount in the final months of his life, accounting for his last 20 kills. Designed to match the Sopwith Triplane and appearing by October of 1917, the Dr.I was a capable aircraft made more so by the pilots that flew her than the unique three-wing design. In the end, the system was limited in production quantity and saw a career spanning just the final year of the conflict, which by 1918, was being used as a defensive system over Germany.

Obviously the most identifying feature of the type was the three wing design made popular by the Sopwith Triplane - and proved itself a worthy design overall. Though inducing drag (which in turn caused a decrease in overall speed) the arrangement made for a highly maneuverable aircraft, quick to turn, and offered up a tremendous rate of climb while delivering in a steady dive. Overall the design was typical, featuring the pilot sitting in an open cockpit seated just behind the large wing structures. The undercarriage was fixed and dominated by two large wheels with a tail skid at the rear. Armament consisted of twin Spandau machine guns of 7.92mm caliber firing forward through the synchronized propeller system. The Dr.I was also one of the last aircraft types to feature a rotary piston engine in the Oberursel Ur.II 9-cylinder series.


Picture of the Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker) Triplane Fighter Aircraft
Picture of the Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker) Triplane Fighter Aircraft


The initial 100 Dr.I's on order were delivered to Richthofen's fighter squadron in October of 1917 after combat evaluation. By the end of that month, it soon became apparent that there was trouble in the assembly of the wings to the point that some Fokker Dr.I's had broken up in mid-flight resulting in several fatal crashes. This, of course, forced the entire type to be grounded upon further review by an authorized crash commission. The resulting verdict was found to be in the construction of the wings. With adjustments made along the production lines at Fokker, the Dr.I was given the green light back into the air by end of November with all Dr.I wings checked and repaired/replaced if necessary. This setback no doubt attributed to the low production numbers overall, numbering just some 320 examples by the time the lines closed in May of 1918. By then, the fine machine was highly outclassed by her rivals and gradually disappeared into aviation history.






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 (103mph).

    Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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
320
320


  * 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  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Imperial Germany
Year: 1917
Type: Triplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Fokker Flugzeug-Werke GmbH - Germany
Production: 320
Global Operators:
Imperial Germany
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
18.93 ft


Meters
5.77 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
23.62 ft


Meters
7.2 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
9.68 ft


Meters
2.95 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
895 lb


Kilograms
406 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
1,290 lb


Kilograms
585 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Oberursel U.R. II air-cooled rotary engine developing 110 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
103 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
165 kph


Knots
89 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
186 mi


Kilometers
300 km


Nautical Miles
162 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
19,997 ft


Meters
6,095 m


Miles
3.79 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,090 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
332 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

STANDARD:
2 x 7.92mm Spandau LMG 08/15 machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• V.3 - Prototype Model Designation
• V.4 - Prototype Production Model
• V.5 - Prototype Model fitted with Goebel Goe.III series engine.
• V.6 - Prototype Model fitted with Mercedes D.II series engine.
• V.7 - Prototype Model fitted with Siemens-Halske Sh.III series engine.
• V.10 - Prototype Model fitted with Oberusel Ur.III series engine.
• Dr.I - Production Series Designation