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Friedrichshafen FF.46 (D.I)


Single-Seat, Single-Engine Biplane Fighter Prototype (1917)


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Image from the Public Domain.

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The Friedrichshafen D.I failed to impress with its two prototypes and was thus abandoned during 1917.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/13/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The one-off Friedrichshafen FF43 floatplane fighter prototype (detailed elsewhere on this site) failed to impressed German Navy authorities back in 1916 but the service thought enough of the base design to order it in three prototype land-based forms. As such, the FF43 lost its twin floats (which permitted waterborne landings and take-offs) and was given a traditional "tail-dragger" wheeled arrangement. Three aircraft - known internally as "FF46" - were contracted for in September 1916 by authorities to serve under the "D.I" designation.

Like the FF.43 before it, the FF46 carried the proven Mercedes D.III V6 water-cooled inline piston engine of 160 horsepower, this used to drive a two-bladed, fixed-pitched wooden propeller at the nose in tractor fashion. The fighter seated one in an open-air cockpit and relied on a single-bay, unequal-span wing mainplane arrangement with parallel struts. The upper wing member was kept close to the fuselage and had a section of its trailing edge cut out to enhance pilot vision around his aircraft. Armament would centered on 2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mountings over the nose - synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades as was common to the time.

Despite the order for three total aircraft, just two prototypes would eventually be realized. The first was given vertical cabane-style struts at the wing members while the second offering differed in its implantation of splayed strut supports in an effort to further enhance pilot vision.

The FF.46 was not formally tested by the Germans until April of 1917 by which point the design had little to offer over its competitors. As such, no serial production was undertaken of the type and the two examples were later scrapped.

The FF.46 was the first in several biplane fighters that Friedrichshafen would offer during the war - contracts proving to be elusive. The company went defunct in 1923 and its production center taken over by Dornier.

Specifications



Service Year
1917

Origin
Imperial Germany national flag graphic
Imperial Germany

Status
CANCELLED
Development Ended.
Crew
1

Production
2
UNITS


Flugzeugbau Friedrichshafen - German Empire
National flag of the German Empire German Empire (cancelled)
(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.


Length
21.2 ft
(6.45 m)
Width/Span
29.7 ft
(9.05 m)
Height
9.5 ft
(2.90 m)
Empty Wgt
1,510 lb
(685 kg)
MTOW
1,984 lb
(900 kg)
Wgt Diff
+474 lb
(+215 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Friedrichshafen D.I production variant)
Installed: 1 x Mercedes D.III 6-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine developing 160 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
Max Speed
109 mph
(175 kph | 94 kts)
Ceiling
15,502 ft
(4,725 m | 3 mi)
Range
217 mi
(350 km | 648 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
550 ft/min
(168 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 Friedrichshafen D.I production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
PROPOSED:
2 x 7.92mm LMG 08/15 air-cooled, belt-fed machine guns over the nose in fixed, forward-firing mountings 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


FF.46 - Base series / company designation; two flyable prototypes completed and tested.
D.I - In-service designation of the FF.46.


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