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Pfalz Dr.I

Triplane Fighter Aircraft

Imperial Germany | 1918

"Only ten of the late-war Dr.I triplanes were produced by the Pfalz concern - the type found to be rather unreliable for the intended fighting role."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Pfalz Dr.I Triplane Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Siemens-Halske Sh.III 11-cylinder, geared rotary engine developing 160 horsepower and driving two-bladed propeller at the nose.
118 mph
190 kph | 103 kts
Max Speed
19,685 ft
6,000 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
186 miles
300 km | 162 nm
Operational Range
1,215 ft/min
370 m/min
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Pfalz Dr.I Triplane Fighter Aircraft.
18.0 ft
5.50 m
O/A Length
28.1 ft
(8.55 m)
O/A Width
9.0 ft
(2.75 m)
O/A Height
1,124 lb
(510 kg)
Empty Weight
1,554 lb
(705 kg)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Pfalz Dr.I Triplane Fighter Aircraft .
2 x LMG 08/15 machine guns over the nose synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Notable series variants as part of the Pfalz Dr.I family line.
Dr.I - Base Series Designation

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 triplane as a military aircraft held a short reign in the skies during World War 1 (1914-1918). Its design offered unprecedented maneuverability and handling in close-quarters which made them ideal gunnery platforms for dogfighting ventures. However, the battlecry of the air war soon returned to speed as the call of the day and triplanes quickly lost favor in the grand aerial campaigns of the First World War - leaving only a few successful designs in its wake. The Pfalz Dr.I was developed by Pfalz Flugzeugwerke of the German Empire during the height of triplane interest but it proved unreliable enough to limit its production to just ten aircraft which served from April 1918 on.

The aircraft was given a typical tri-winged arrangement which retained the upper and lower wing sections of a conventional biplane but added a third element sandwiched between the two existing planes. The wings were all braced by a thick strut arrangement which created single bays to each side of the fuselage. The fuselage was well-rounded and therefore quite streamlined with the engine encased in metal at the nose and driving a two-bladed propeller unit. Machine guns (2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15) were fitted over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning blades with the pilot's open-air cockpit just aft of the guns (and under / behind) the upper-most wing element. The tail unit incorporated the usual single tail fin (rounded) and low-set horizontal planes. The undercarriage was of a tail-dragger arrangement with the main legs wheeled and fixed in flight. A tailskid brought up the rear.

Dimensions included a length of 5.5 meters, a wingspan of 8.5 meters and a height of 2.7 meters. Empty weight was 1,125lb against a MTOW of 1,555lb. Power was had from a Siemens-Halske Sh.III 11-cylinder, geared rotary engine of 160 horsepower which could propel the aircraft to speeds of 118 miles per hour up to a ceiling of 19,680 feet. Flight time was about 1.5 hours.

On looks alone the aircraft should have been a proper contender to claim air supremacy from Allied offerings of the day but the choice of engine fit made for an unreliable product in the end. Formal evaluations of the aircraft noted its lack of speed in addition to the temperamental engine and this led to a small batch of just ten aircraft being procured and fielded during 1918. The war was over with the November Armistice and this Pfalz triplane attempt subsequently fell to aviation history.

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Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Pfalz Dr.I. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 10 Units

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

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Image of the Pfalz Dr.I
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The Pfalz Dr.I Triplane Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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