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Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD)

Biplane Fighter Aircraft

Austria-Hungary | 1916

"The Hansa-Brandenburg D.I was produced in limited numbers though it made several aces for Austria-Hungary during her tenure."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/11/2020 | 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.I was another of Ernst Heinkel's aircraft designs for the Hansa-Brandenburg firm (known formally as Hansa und Brandenburgische Flugzeug-Werke) during World War 1. The single-seat aircraft was categorized as a fighter, achieved first flight in 1916 and entered service with Austro-Hungarian pilots in the fall of that year. Though not without some notable (rather poor) handling issues in-flight, the type served in some number through to the end of the conflict and was known to make aces of some of her pilots.

Externally, the D.I was definitely a unique sort of aircraft design even when compared to her contemporaries. The fuselage was a deep though straight-lined and aerodynamic affair. The fuselage made vision out of the cockpit somewhat poor, adding only insult upon injury by the use of a biplane wing arrangement and a large forward engine compartment. The fuselage featured a raised spine extended aft to the empennage which itself sported some interestingly designed tail surfaces - of note was the rather smallish vertical tail fin. The pilot sat just forward of amidships behind and under the upper wing assembly. The equal span wings consisted of an upper and lower wing assembly joined to one another and the fuselage via a complex arrangement of crisscrossing struts that only added to the aircraft's distinct look. The wings were staggered in their placement, with the upper assembly set forward of the lower. The undercarriage was made up of a pair of fixed main landing wheels on struts joined to the underside of the fuselage while a simple tail skid was affixed to the rear underside. The engine powered a two-blade wooden propeller set low in the forward fuselage.

The D.I was meagerly armed with a single 8mm Schwarzlose machine gun fitted to the upper wing assembly within a clumsy-looking fairing. This was brought about through necessity for the complexities involved in synchronizing the Schwarzlose to fire through the propeller proved something of a grand mechanical undertaking. Installation of the weapon in the chosen fairing arrangement proved a drawback as it situated the machine gun far from the pilot's reach should he need to unjam the weapon. Conversely, it allowed for unobstructed firing over any spinning propeller - in a way becoming a simple solution to a complex problem. Several early British mounts took the same design course until the introduction of synchronized firing in the West.

Performance from the single Austro-Daimler 6-cylinder, air-cooled inline engine of 185 horsepower brought about a maximum speed of 116 miles per hour, a service ceiling of up to 16,400 feet and an endurance time of 2.5 hours. Hansa-Brandenburg D.Is produced in Germany were powered by a 150 horsepower Austro-Daimler powerplant (the 185 horsepower D.Is were produced in Vienna). While Hansa-Brandenburg handled production of 50 D.Is, Phonix of Vienna license-produced the type in a further 72 examples.

In practice, the D.I was limited in capability from the start. Handling proved something of a challenge for any level of pilot for the deep fuselage worked against the small vertical tail fin, limiting lateral stability of the airframe and promoting poor spin recovery. These attributes no doubt were a limiting factor for the D.I was produced in a rather lowly sum of 122 examples.

The Hansa-Brandenburg D.I may also be known as the "KD" (abbreviation of "Kampf Doppeldecker") in some publications and carried the nicknames of "Spider" and "Coffin". The former was an indicator of the bracing used for the biplane wings while the latter was taken to be derogatory - a name fitting the treacherous nature of flying the machine. The D.I was further developed into the Benz Bz.III-powered KDW floatplane - also in 1916 - of which some 60 were ultimately produced.

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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 Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD) Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Austro-Daimler liquid-cooled 6-cylinder inline engine delivering 160 horsepower.
116 mph
187 kph | 101 kts
Max Speed
16,404 ft
5,000 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
162 miles
260 km | 140 nm
Operational Range
1,000 ft/min
305 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD) Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
20.8 ft
6.35 m
O/A Length
27.9 ft
(8.51 m)
O/A Width
9.2 ft
(2.79 m)
O/A Height
1,477 lb
(670 kg)
Empty Weight
2,022 lb
(917 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD) Biplane Fighter Aircraft .
1 x 8mm Schwarzlose synchronized forward-firing machine gun fitted in a fairing over the upper wing assembly.
Notable series variants as part of the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD) family line.
D.I (Type KD) - Base Series Production Designation; produced by Hansa-Brandenburg in Germany and Phonix of Vienna; German-produced aircraft yeilded output of 150 horsepower while Vienna-produced aircraft fitted a 185 horsepower engine.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 122 Units

Contractor(s): Hansa-Brandenburg - Germany / Phonix Flugzeug-Werke AG; Ungarische Flugzeugfabrik AG - Austria
National flag of Austria National flag of the Austro-Hungarian Empire National flag of Hungary

[ Austria; Austria-Hungary ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (116mph).

Graph Average of 90 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
1 / 1
Image of the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD)

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
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 Hansa-Brandenburg D.I (Type KD) Biplane Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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