The growing status of airplanes in warfare, coupled with the desire to gain an advantage over one's enemy, allowed aeronautical engineers to flourish with ideas during The Great War (1914-1918). The "Geest" of 1916 was one such development, a single-seat / single-engine biplane fighter at its core but incorporating the patented Mowe-designed gull-wing as its mainplane. The novel design (attributed to one Dr. Waldemar Geest) was certainly forward-thinking for its time yet suffered from the general interest in ready-made instruments of war. As such, a single, flyable prototype was all that was had for the project.
The Mowe allowed the mainplane a certain degree of variable-incidence which aided stability and dihedral was worked into the member to better respond to airflow over, under, ahead, and behind the aircraft when in flight. The concept was proven through no fewer than six prototypes (of monoplane form) in the years preceding World War 1. German aeroplane-maker Aviatik constructed the first - and last - airframe based on Geest's design work.
Beyond its unique planform, the aircraft was wholly conventional by World War 1 fighter standards. The engine sat at the nose in the usual way and consisted of a Mercedes D.III series 6-cylinder water-cooled inline developing 160 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller unit. Aft of the engine installation was the single-seat, open-air cockpit. The mainplanes were seated ahead of midships and involved a larger overhead member (with gull wing-like form and dihedral) and a smaller-area lower member also given the gull wing-type shaping. The fuselage tapered sharply down towards the tail unit which mounted a single rudder fin and low-mounted horizontal planes. Ground-running was accomplished by way of a tail-dragger arrangement showcasing wheels at the main legs and a tail skid.
All told, the fighter was of elegant form with attention given to aerodynamic integrity. The stability brought about by the mainplanes only added to the design's excellent traits.
Despite its promising nature, the Geest fighter was only trialed at the military level, this taking place in 1917 as the war raged on. It was not furthered beyond the sole prototype which managed, in flight testing, to reach speeds of 99 miles-per-hour up to a ceiling of 11,495 feet.
Because of its abrupt termination, its influence on the course of the war is left to the imagination of the reader.
Production 1 Units
Automobil und Aviatik AG (Aviatik) - German Empire
German Empire (cancelled)
- X-Plane / Developmental
31.66 ft (9.65 m)
26.25 ft (8 m)
8.20 ft (2.5 m)
1,433 lb (650 kg)
1,907 lb (865 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Aviatik Geest production model)
1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 160 horsepower driving two-bladed (fixed-pitch) propeller unit at the nose.
99 mph (160 kph; 86 kts)
11,483 feet (3,500 m; 2.17 miles)
202 miles (325 km; 175 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Aviatik Geest production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns over the nose synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Aviatik Geest production model)
Geest - Base Project Name; single example completed in 1916.
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
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