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Aviatik C.I Reconnaissance Biplane Aircraft

The German Aviatik C.I was designed from the outset with military use in mind, sporting a single 7.92mm Parabellum machine gun for self-defense.

 Entry last updated on 4/11/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Aviatik C.I  
Picture of Aviatik C.I Reconnaissance Biplane Aircraft

Aviatik C.I

Service Year: 1915
Type: Reconnaissance Biplane Aircraft
National Origin: Imperial Germany
Manufacturer(s): Automobil und Aviatikwerke - Imperial Germany
Total Units Built: 500

Aviatik (Automobil und Aviatikwerke) of Germany was already involved in aircraft designs from the outset of the war, graduating from the copying of French designs to producing their own new design in the Aviatik B.I. Following that, Aviatik produced their first full military-ready design in the Aviatik C.I series, a biplane reconnaissance aircraft that would serve effectively along the Front.

The C.I was a single-engine, twin-seat biplane with a Mercedes D.II 6-cylinder engine producing upwards of 120 horsepower and driving a two-blade propeller. The system followed suit with the previous B.I in that the observer was seated in the front - just behind the engine - and the pilot was at rear. This time, the forward observer was afforded a single 7.92mm Parabellum machine gun on a flexible mounting. Though in theory, this seemed to improve upon the previous B.I system, it was soon found that the field of fire for the observer was quite restricted and the rearward seating position of the pilot was ill-suited when compared to other aircraft types coming out at the time. As such, later examples of the C.I began seating the observer (with gun) to the rear and the pilot forward, but still aft of the engine. This provided the pilot a better field of vision forwards and out of the cockpit while expanding the field of fire for the rear observer. This new arrangement produced the designation of "C.Ia".

In the end, the C.Ia performed admirably well throughout its frontline tenure, undertaking a host of reconnaissance sorties. The C.I series as a whole would be replaced by the improved C.II, which would sport an even more powerful engine, but this time showcasing the Benz brand as opposed to the Mercedes found in other Aviatik models.

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 2
Overall Length: 25.98 feet (7.92 meters)
Overall Width: 41.01 feet (12.50 meters)
Overall Height: 9.68 feet (2.95 meters)

Weight (Empty): 1,653 lb (750 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 2,954 lb (1,340 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine Type: 1 x Mercedes D.II 6-cylinder inline engine developing 120 horsepower.

Top Speed: 77 knots (88 mph; 142 kph)
Maximum Range: 227 nautical miles (261 miles; 420 km)
Service Ceiling: 11,483 feet (3,500 meters; 2.17 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 255 feet-per-minute (78 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

1 x 7.92mm Parabellum machine gun in flexible mounting in rear cockpit.

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Austria-Hungary; Imperial Germany; Romania; Yugoslavia

Aviatik C.I Variants

C.I - Base Production Model Series Designation; oberserver with trainable machine gun mounting placed in the front cockpit with pilot to the rear.
C.Ia - Observer with machine gun mounting moved to rear cockpit seating area with pilot moved to front.
C.II - More powerful Benz engine fitted to the series.

Aviatik C.I Images