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LFG Roland D.II (Shark)


Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft


Imperial Germany | 1917



"Introduced in early 1917, the LFG Roland D.II biplane fighter saw production reach 300 units before the end of World War 1."



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.
LFG Roland of Germany built a healthy, deep stable of combat aircraft for the German Empire during World War 1 (1914-1918) and this included fixed-wing types as well as airships. A development of 1916 became the D.II - later known as the "Shark" - a single-seat, single-engine biplane fighter that was adopted for service in early-1917 and produced to the tune of 300 examples by both LFG Roland and competitor Pfalz. The D.II was developed from the earlier D.I biplane which, itself, was a further evolution of the two-seat C.II reconnaissance mount. The D.II was fielded by the German Empire and Bulgarian air services.

Due to its origins in the C.II/D.I, the D.II carried over similar physical features that included a streamlined, and rather deep, fuselage. A large spinner covered the propeller hub. The biplane wing arrangement showcased single bays with parallel strut works and applicable cabling. The pilot sat aft and under the upper wing assembly - though the wing itself sat low over the forward fuselage and restricted much of the forward-down, forward-side vision from the pilot. A wheeled, tail-dragger undercarriage was featured as was a single vertical tail fin.

Internally, the D.II was completed with a plywood monocoque fuselage construction. The fuselage was essentially made up of two halves joined at a center line (with glue) and the entire structure was skinned over in fabric for added strength. Not only did this provide for the needed clean and aerodynamically refined look of the aircraft it also produced a rather lightweight overall structure.

Armament was conventional for the period - 2 x LMG08/15 (Spandau) series machine guns set over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades by way of "interrupter" gear.

As finalized, the D.II design could stay aloft up to two hours and reach a ceiling of over 16,000 feet. Maximum speed was listed at 112 miles per hour.

The initial field variant was known simply as "D.II" and these forms carried the Mercedes D.III piston engine of 160 horsepower. The mark was followed by the "D.IIa" which switched over to an Argus As.III engine of 180 horsepower but, despite the added output power, the aircraft suffered at altitudes beyond 10,000 feet - forcing the type to low-level operations. The C.V existed as a "one-off" two-seat prototype form still carrying the original Mercedes D.III engine (160 horsepower). Pfalz-produced D.II and D.IIa models were designated as D.II (Pfal) and D.IIa (Pfal) respectively to differentiate their factory origins. One hundred of each form were produced by Pfalz Flugzeugwerke.

In service, the aircraft did not prove itself as formidable as its appearance would suggest. Controlling was deemed below average, requiring a steady hand by the pilot and some useful experience in combat, and vision out-of-the-cockpit was poor owing to the placement of the upper wing assembly. Where the D.II did shine was in straightline performance from its Mercedes engine coupled with the sleek fuselage - it could match or outpace contemporary fighters. It was also well-armed and featured a strong internal structure.

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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 LFG Roland D.II Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder in-line water-cooled piston engine developing 160 horsepower and driving two-bladed wooden propeller in nose.
Propulsion
112 mph
180 kph | 97 kts
Max Speed
16,404 ft
5,000 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
224 miles
360 km | 194 nm
Operational Range
715 ft/min
218 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the LFG Roland D.II Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
22.8 ft
6.95 m
O/A Length
29.4 ft
(8.95 m)
O/A Width
10.2 ft
(3.12 m)
O/A Height
1,576 lb
(715 kg)
Empty Weight
2,105 lb
(955 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the LFG Roland D.II (Shark) Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft .
2 x 7.92mm LMG08/15 machine guns over nose synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the LFG Roland D.II (Shark) family line.
D.II - Base Series Designation; initial production model; fitted with Mercedes D.III piston engine of 160 horsepower.
D.IIa - Fitted with Argus As.III series engines of 180 horsepower.
C.V - Single two-seat prototype; fitted with Mercedes D.III engine of 160 horsepower.
D.II (Pfal) - Production of D.II aircraft by Pfalz
D.IIa (Pfal) - Production of D.IIa aircraft by Pfalz
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the LFG Roland D.II (Shark). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 300 Units

Contractor(s): Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft GmbH (LFG Roland) / Pfalz - Imperial Germany
National flag of Bulgaria National flag of the German Empire

[ Bulgaria; German Empire ]
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)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
300
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
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 1
Image of the LFG Roland D.II (Shark)
Image from the Public Domain; Two-seat fighter prototype pictured.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
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 LFG Roland D.II (Shark) Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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