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Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD)

Austria-Hungary (1916)
Picture of Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD) Biplane Fighter Aircraft

The Hansa-Brandenburg D.I was produced in limited numbers though it made several aces for Austria-Hungary during her tenure.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD) Biplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 7/1/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The D.I was another of Ernst Heinkel's aircraft designs for the Hansa-Brandenburg firm (known formally as Hansa und Brandenburgische Flugzeug-Werke) during World War 1. The single-seat aircraft was categorized as a fighter, achieved first flight in 1916 and entered service with Austro-Hungarian pilots in the fall of that year. Though not without some notable (rather poor) handling issues in-flight, the type served in some number through to the end of the conflict and was known to make aces of some of her pilots.

Externally, the D.I was definitely a unique sort of aircraft design even when compared to her contemporaries. The fuselage was a deep though straight-lined and aerodynamic affair. The fuselage made vision out of the cockpit somewhat poor, adding only insult upon injury by the use of a biplane wing arrangement and a large forward engine compartment. The fuselage featured a raised spine extended aft to the empennage which itself sported some interestingly designed tail surfaces - of note was the rather smallish vertical tail fin. The pilot sat just forward of amidships behind and under the upper wing assembly. The equal span wings consisted of an upper and lower wing assembly joined to one another and the fuselage via a complex arrangement of crisscrossing struts that only added to the aircraft's distinct look. The wings were staggered in their placement, with the upper assembly set forward of the lower. The undercarriage was made up of a pair of fixed main landing wheels on struts joined to the underside of the fuselage while a simple tail skid was affixed to the rear underside. The engine powered a two-blade wooden propeller set low in the forward fuselage.

The D.I was meagerly armed with a single 8mm Schwarzlose machine gun fitted to the upper wing assembly within a clumsy-looking fairing. This was brought about through necessity for the complexities involved in synchronizing the Schwarzlose to fire through the propeller proved something of a grand mechanical undertaking. Installation of the weapon in the chosen fairing arrangement proved a drawback as it situated the machine gun far from the pilot's reach should he need to unjam the weapon. Conversely, it allowed for unobstructed firing over any spinning propeller - in a way becoming a simple solution to a complex problem. Several early British mounts took the same design course until the introduction of synchronized firing in the West.

Performance from the single Austro-Daimler 6-cylinder, air-cooled inline engine of 185 horsepower brought about a maximum speed of 116 miles per hour, a service ceiling of up to 16,400 feet and an endurance time of 2.5 hours. Hansa-Brandenburg D.Is produced in Germany were powered by a 150 horsepower Austro-Daimler powerplant (the 185 horsepower D.Is were produced in Vienna). While Hansa-Brandenburg handled production of 50 D.Is, Phonix of Vienna license-produced the type in a further 72 examples.

In practice, the D.I was limited in capability from the start. Handling proved something of a challenge for any level of pilot for the deep fuselage worked against the small vertical tail fin, limiting lateral stability of the airframe and promoting poor spin recovery. These attributes no doubt were a limiting factor for the D.I was produced in a rather lowly sum of 122 examples.

The Hansa-Brandenburg D.I may also be known as the "KD" (abbreviation of "Kampf Doppeldecker") in some publications and carried the nicknames of "Spider" and "Coffin". The former was an indicator of the bracing used for the biplane wings while the latter was taken to be derogatory - a name fitting the treacherous nature of flying the machine. The D.I was further developed into the Benz Bz.III-powered KDW floatplane - also in 1916 - of which some 60 were ultimately produced.

Any available statistics for the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD) Biplane Fighter Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






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 (116mph).

    Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
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
122
122


  * 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  
Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Austria-Hungary
Service Year: 1916
Classification Type: Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Hansa-Brandenburg - Germany / Phonix Flugzeug-Werke AG; Ungarische Flugzeugfabrik AG - Austria
Production Units: 122
Global Operators:
Austria; Austria-Hungary
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
20.83 ft


Meters
6.35 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
27.92 ft


Meters
8.51 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
9.15 ft


Meters
2.79 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,477 lb


Kilograms
670 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
2,022 lb


Kilograms
917 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Austro-Daimler liquid-cooled 6-cylinder inline engine delivering 160 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
116 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
187 kph


Knots
101 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
162 mi


Kilometers
260 km


Nautical Miles
140 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
16,404 ft


Meters
5,000 m


Miles
3.11 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,000 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
305 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

1 x 8mm Schwarzlose synchronized forward-firing machine gun fitted in a fairing over the upper wing assembly.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• D.I (Type KD) - Base Series Production Designation; produced by Hansa-Brandenburg in Germany and Phonix of Vienna; German-produced aircraft yeilded output of 150 horsepower while Vienna-produced aircraft fitted a 185 horsepower engine.