The Schutte-Lanz D.III continued the line of biplane fighters established by the company in 1915 with the introduction of the D.I (detailed elsewhere on this site). The D.I, and its subsequent iteration the D.II, were not adopted for service by the German Empire but went on to lay the groundwork for improved designs still to come. The D.III was another prototype biplane fighter offering and developed for the D-type competition (scheduled for early-1918) arranged by the German Air Service to find its next fighting platform. In failed in this respect and managed only a sole flyable prototype.
The D.III was of wholly conventional design incorporating an open-air cockpit, biplane wings and fixed undercarriage. The wing planes were staggered and supported through N-type struts which produced the single-bay appearance. The engine was accordingly mounted at the nose and drove a two-bladed wooden propeller ahead of the single-seat cockpit - whose placement was aft and under the upper wing member. The upper wing itself sat low over the fuselage to provide better vision for the pilot. The fuselage tapered nicely to the rear of the aircraft to which a conventional tail unit was affixed. The undercarriage relied on wheeled main legs and a tailskid at the rear. Armament was to become 2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 series machine guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. Internally, the aircraft held a wooden structure covered over in fabric skinning.
Dimensions included a length of 21.3 feet and a wingspan of 26.2 feet. Loaded weight became 860 kilograms.
The engine-of-choice was the Mercedes D.III, a 6-cylinder liquid-cooled inline piston design generating 160 horsepower driving the aircraft to speeds of 121 miles per hour. Rate-of-climb was 515 feet-per-minute. An interesting design approach to this powerplant was its cylinders each was afforded their own exhaust pipe.
The D.III was trialed in the D-type competition but found to be rather average and was ultimately passed upon by authorities. Schutte-Lanz also developed their D.IV in concert but persistent issues with this design led to its abandonment. The company continued with other late-war products such as the D.VI and D.VII but neither made an impact beyond becoming flyable prototypes.
(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.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
21.3 ft (6.50 m)
26.2 ft (8.00 m)
1,433 lb (650 kg)
1,896 lb (860 kg)
+463 lb (+210 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Schutte-Lanz D.III production variant)
1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 160 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
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