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Rumpler B.I

Imperial Germany (1914)
Picture of Rumpler B.I Reconnaissance Biplane

At least 224 Rumpler B.I reconnaissance aircraft were produced during World War 1 including some 26 floatplane types for the German Navy.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Rumpler B.I Reconnaissance Biplane.  Entry last updated on 4/15/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

While discussions of World War 1 (1914-1918) aircraft inevitably turn to Fokkers, SPADs and Sopwiths, the Rumpler concern proved an equally-adept manufacturer of several aircraft types involved in The Great War. Rumpler Flugzeugwerke was founded in 1909 by Austrian engineer Edmund Rumpler in Berlin, Germany and began its business by replicating the Etrich Taube, a bird-like monoplane that appeared in 1910 and was designed by Igo Etrich. The type served in all manner of roles prior to World War 1 but was quickly superseded by the available advanced technologies of the period. Within short order, Rumpler turned his attention to in-house aircraft designs and production and the arrival of the World War solidified his mark on aviation history. The company went on to produce the Rumpler 6B, the Rumpler B.I, the Rumpler C-series, the Rumpler D.I and the Rumpler G.I.

The Rumpler B.I recorded its first flight in 1914 and was then adopted by the Imperial German Air Service (the Luftstreitkrafte) and German Navy (in floatplane form). Approximately 224-225 of the type would be produced in all - 198 for the German Air Service and 26 for the Navy. Some examples were shipped to stock the allied Ottoman Air Force attempting to control its holdings in the Middle East.

The B.I line existed in two major variants - the land-based B.I "4A" and the B.I "4B" floatplane equipped with a pontoon undercarriage. The 4A was outfitted with a Mercedes D.I series inline liquid-cooled piston engine outputting at 100 horsepower. The 4A13 was a slightly modified design with a revised rudder tail fin. The 4A14 was another 4A production model though now fitted with a Benz Bz.III series 6-cylinder inline, water-cooled piston engine of 150 horsepower. The floatplane variant, the 4B, was also evolved along similar lines, primarily featuring different engine installations. This was headed by the 4B1 with its standard Mercedes D.I powerplant and led to the 4B2 with its Benz Bz.III series engine. The 4B11 was outfitted with the Benz Bz.I engine and the 4B12 followed with its Benz Bz.III engine.

In practice, the Rumpler B.I served in the unarmed reconnaissance role which provided observers with tremendous views of the countryside battlefields from a lofty perch. Such aircraft proved useful in marking enemy locations for upcoming offensives and artillery barrages or detailing enemy movements. As one of the earlier war-time aircraft designs, the B.I was not typically armed in flight. Its crew was made up of two - a pilot and his observer. Structurally, the aircraft exhibited a wingspan of 42 feet, 8 inches with a running length of 27 feet, 7 inches and, when at rest, reached a height of 10 feet. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 90 miles per hour - on par with early-war offerings of similar scope and function. Externally, the aircraft was of a conventional biplane design with an upper and lower wing segment (of unequal span) joined by parallel struts and a network of cabling throughout. The struts also identified the wing's design as "twin-bay" for the two visible segments it created along the wingspan when views from the front or rear profiles. The undercarriage was wheeled and fixed to the fuselage underside by way of reinforced struts. The engine, partially exposed at the front of the fuselage, powered a two-bladed wooden propeller. The empennage exhibited "tear-drop" shaped tailplanes and simplistic tailskid (the latter for supporting the empennage when landing). The crew of two sat in tandem across two seperate open-air cockpits.

Denmark adopted some Rumpler B.Is in the post-war years though no other foreign operator took on the aircraft from there. Like the famous Sopwith concern of England, Rumpler attempted to survive in the post-war world (where military contracts proved harder to come by) and tried a stint in the civilian market, developing the Rumpler "Tropfenwagen" automobile (Sopwith attempted civilian aircraft and then motorcycles). As history shows, both companies failed in their endeavors and fell to history by way of liquidation.

Any available statistics for the Rumpler B.I Reconnaissance Biplane 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.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (90mph).

    Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era Impact
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
224
224


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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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: Imperial Germany
Service Year: 1914
Classification Type: Reconnaissance Biplane
Manufacturer(s): Rumpler Flugzeugwerke - Imperial Germany
Production Units: 224
Global Operators:
Denmark; Imperial Germany; Ottoman Empire (Turkey)
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Rumpler B.I model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
27.56 ft


Meters
8.4 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
42.65 ft


Meters
13 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
10.17 ft


Meters
3.1 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,653 lb


Kilograms
750 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
2,138 lb


Kilograms
970 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Mercedes D.I inline liquid-cooled piston engine developing 100 horsepower OR 1 x Benz Bz.I/III inline liquid-cooled engine of 150 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
90 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
145 kph


Knots
78 kts

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• 4A (B.I) - Land-Based Variant; fitted with Mercedes D.I engine; 198 examples produced.
• 4A13 - Revised rudder design
• 4A14 - Fitted with Benz Bz.III series engine.
• 4B - Seaplane Variant; 26 examples produced.
• 4B1 - Fitted with Mercedes D.I engine
• 4B2 - Fitted with Benz Bz.III engine
• 4B11 - Fitted with Benz Bz.I engine
• 4B12 - Fitted with Benz Bz.III engine