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WORLD WAR 1

Pfalz Dr.I


Triplane Fighter Aircraft (1918)


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Image from the Public Domain.

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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.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/31/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
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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.

Specifications



Service Year
1918

Origin
Imperial Germany national flag graphic
Imperial Germany

Status
RETIRED
Not in Service.
Crew
1

Production
10
UNITS


Pfalz Flugzeugwerke - Imperial Germany
National flag of the German Empire German Empire
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.


Length
18.0 ft
(5.50 m)
Width/Span
28.1 ft
(8.55 m)
Height
9.0 ft
(2.75 m)
Empty Wgt
1,124 lb
(510 kg)
MTOW
1,554 lb
(705 kg)
Wgt Diff
+430 lb
(+195 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Pfalz Dr.I production variant)
Installed: 1 x Siemens-Halske Sh.III 11-cylinder, geared rotary engine developing 160 horsepower and driving two-bladed propeller at the nose.
Max Speed
118 mph
(190 kph | 103 kts)
Ceiling
19,685 ft
(6,000 m | 4 mi)
Range
186 mi
(300 km | 556 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
1,215 ft/min
(370 m/min)


♦ 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


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Pfalz Dr.I production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
2 x LMG 08/15 machine guns over the nose synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0


Dr.I - Base Series Designation


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