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DFW T.28 Floh (Flea)


Biplane Fighter Prototype


Imperial Germany | 1915



"The proposed DFW T.28 Floh biplane fighter held several inherent flaws in its design - the greatest of these was its deep fuselage which limited forward vision."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/31/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Flag of Image from the Public Domain.
Firepower
Performance
Survivability
Versatility
Impact
Perhaps one of the ugliest biplane fighters ever designed, the DFW T.28 "Floh" ("Flea") was the product of Deutsche Flugzeug-Werke of the German Empire during World War 1 (1914-1918). It achieved its monumental first flight in 1915 as the war in Europe raged on. The T.28 was developed along the lines of a high-speed fighting biplane but held such poor qualities for the role that it became a largely forgotten entry as the wartime fighters went. Key deficiencies in the design included extremely poor forward visibility due to the deep fuselage, a rather ultra-thin fuselage design which gave the aircraft its ungainly appearance, and oversized tailplanes which added something of a comical design element.

It is perhaps best that the sole prototype crashed when attempting its first landing - reducing the chance that the design would be picked up for wartime production by the German air service.

Design-wise, the T.28 mimicked established biplane fighter characteristics of the day - a two-wing mainplane structure (single bay, parallel interstruts), a fixed wheeled undercarriage and open-air cockpit for its single pilot. The engine drove a two-bladed wooden propeller mounted at the nose in the usual way. Dimensionally, the aircraft was small by the standards of the day, showcasing a length of 14.8 feet and a wingspan of 21.3 feet. Empty weight was 925 lb against a gross weight of 1,435lb. Power was served through a Mercedes D.I water-cooled inline piston engine developing 100 horsepower. Maximum speed reached 112 miles per hour during a first flight and armament was rather modest - just 1 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 Spandau machine gun in a fixed, forward-firing position.

The Floh came about during late 1915 as chief designer Hermann Dorner attempted to develop a compact, fast and agile fighter to compete with emerging Allied types (the air war of World War 1 was one of won-lost initiatives). The result was one of the more unique offerings of the World War 1 fighters and certainly one of the more forgettable entries. Construction incorporated the usual fabric-over-wood approach and, while the Floh achieved an impressive 100+ mile per hour top speed in testing, it suffered damage upon landing which hampered the project's reach. By the time it could be relevant again, attention on the part of German authorities had shifted to more traditional fighter designs and arrangements with better performance and armament support.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the DFW T.28 Floh (Flea) Biplane Fighter Prototype.
1 x Mercedes D.I water-cooled inline piston engine developing 100 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller in the nose.
Propulsion
112 mph
180 kph | 97 kts
Max Speed
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the DFW T.28 Floh (Flea) Biplane Fighter Prototype.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
14.8 ft
4.50 m
O/A Length
20.3 ft
(6.20 m)
O/A Width
7.5 ft
(2.30 m)
O/A Height
926 lb
(420 kg)
Empty Weight
1,433 lb
(650 kg)
MTOW
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the DFW T.28 Floh (Flea) Biplane Fighter Prototype .
1 x 7.92 Spandau LMG 08/15 machine gun (fixed, forward-firing).
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the DFW T.28 Floh (Flea) family line.
T.28 "Floh" - Base Series Designation; sole prototype completed and flown.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the DFW T.28 Floh (Flea). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 1 Units

Contractor(s): Deutsche Flugzeug-Werke (DFW) - Imperial Germany
National flag of the German Empire

[ German Empire (abandoned) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (112mph).

Graph Average of 90 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Production Comparison
1
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the DFW T.28 Floh (Flea)
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
X-PLANE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The DFW T.28 Floh (Flea) Biplane Fighter Prototype appears in the following collections:
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