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Pfalz D.XII


Biplane Fighter Aircraft


Imperial Germany | 1918



"Despite arriving in the last year of World War 1, the Pfalz D.XII biplane fighter managed a production total nearing 800 aircraft."



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.
The D.III biplane fighter ended as Pfalz Flugzeugwerke's most promising design of World War 1 (1914-1918) but even that venture could not match contemporary offerings from competitors Albatros and Fokker. The company returned to the drawing board and attempted another aircraft, this becoming the D.XII, and 800 of the type were completed before war's end in November of 1918. The D.XII matched favorably against Allied warplanes of the day but the competing design from Fokker, the D.VII, stole the limelight and saw production reach 3,300 systems. Both arrived in the war's final year.

The Pfalz D.XII was based on earlier approaches by the company which saw D.III aircraft fielded with wing elements inspired by the French SPAD S.VII (detailed elsewhere on this site). The program eventually evolved along its own lines by Pfalz which became the standalone D.XII. A prototype was made ready for March 1918 and a first-flight had that month. The design proved sound enough to warrant an order for 50 of the type and certification was granted in June. A revised rudder design greeted airframes after the 200th production example.

The D.XII became available in useful numbers for German forces during July but could not match the popularity of the Fokker D.VII. However, there were some airmen who learned the nuisances of the Pfalz aircraft and admired its particular diving capabilities. However there proved more than a fair share of detractors who thought the aircraft was rough at the controls, lacked robustness and could be dangerous to land.

The end of the war limited overall production figures and the design was studied at length by the conquering Allied powers - but few found it offering any benefit over competing designs. Poland operated two D.VII aircraft in the post-war years - becoming the only foreign user of the design.

As completed, the D.XII featured a length of 20.9 feet, a wingspan of 29.5 feet and a height of 8.9 feet. Empty weight was 1,580 lb against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 1,980 lb. Power was from a Mercedes D.IIIa 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine of 160 horsepower capabilities including a maximum speed of 106 miles per hour, a ceiling up to 18,500 feet and a rate-of-climb of over 800 feet-per-minute.

Its general makeup was conventional as a biplane wing arrangement was used. The wings were given N-style struts and applicable cabling for support. The fuselage exhibited slab sides and the engine was fitted to the nose in the usual way - driving a two-bladed propeller unit. The tail incorporated a single, rounded vertical fin with low-mounted horizontal planes. The undercarriage held two main legs that were wheeled with the tail supported by a simple skid. The pilot sat under and behind the upper wing element in an open-air cockpit. Machine gun armament was fitted just ahead of his position. Construction consisted of a monocoque fuselage with plywood skinning and fabric.

Armament was 2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns set over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

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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 Pfalz D.XII Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Mercedes D.IIIa 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 160 horsepower and driving a two-bladed wooden propeller at the nose.
Propulsion
106 mph
170 kph | 92 kts
Max Speed
18,504 ft
5,640 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
264 miles
425 km | 229 nm
Operational Range
805 ft/min
245 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 Pfalz D.XII Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
20.8 ft
6.35 m
O/A Length
29.5 ft
(9.00 m)
O/A Width
8.9 ft
(2.70 m)
O/A Height
1,576 lb
(715 kg)
Empty Weight
1,962 lb
(890 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 Pfalz D.XII Biplane Fighter Aircraft .
2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns over the nose synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Pfalz D.XII family line.
D.XII - Base Series Designation
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Pfalz D.XII. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 800 Units

Contractor(s): Pfalz Flugzeugwerke GmbH - Imperial Germany
National flag of the German Empire National flag of Poland National flag of the United States

[ German Empire; Poland (post-war); United States (civilian) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (106mph).

Graph Average of 90 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
800
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
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1 / 2
Image of the Pfalz D.XII
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 2
Image of the Pfalz D.XII
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
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 Pfalz D.XII Biplane Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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