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Rumpler B.I


Reconnaissance Biplane


Imperial Germany | 1914



"At least 224 Rumpler B.I reconnaissance aircraft were produced during World War 1 including some 26 floatplane types for the German Navy."



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.
While discussions of World War 1 (1914-1918) aircraft inevitably turn to Fokkers, SPADs and Sopwiths, the Rumpler concern proved an equally-adept manufacturer of several aircraft types involved in The Great War. Rumpler Flugzeugwerke was founded in 1909 by Austrian engineer Edmund Rumpler in Berlin, Germany and began its business by replicating the Etrich Taube, a bird-like monoplane that appeared in 1910 and was designed by Igo Etrich. The type served in all manner of roles prior to World War 1 but was quickly superseded by the available advanced technologies of the period. Within short order, Rumpler turned his attention to in-house aircraft designs and production and the arrival of the World War solidified his mark on aviation history. The company went on to produce the Rumpler 6B, the Rumpler B.I, the Rumpler C-series, the Rumpler D.I and the Rumpler G.I.

The Rumpler B.I recorded its first flight in 1914 and was then adopted by the Imperial German Air Service (the Luftstreitkrafte) and German Navy (in floatplane form). Approximately 224-225 of the type would be produced in all - 198 for the German Air Service and 26 for the Navy. Some examples were shipped to stock the allied Ottoman Air Force attempting to control its holdings in the Middle East.

The B.I line existed in two major variants - the land-based B.I "4A" and the B.I "4B" floatplane equipped with a pontoon undercarriage. The 4A was outfitted with a Mercedes D.I series inline liquid-cooled piston engine outputting at 100 horsepower. The 4A13 was a slightly modified design with a revised rudder tail fin. The 4A14 was another 4A production model though now fitted with a Benz Bz.III series 6-cylinder inline, water-cooled piston engine of 150 horsepower. The floatplane variant, the 4B, was also evolved along similar lines, primarily featuring different engine installations. This was headed by the 4B1 with its standard Mercedes D.I powerplant and led to the 4B2 with its Benz Bz.III series engine. The 4B11 was outfitted with the Benz Bz.I engine and the 4B12 followed with its Benz Bz.III engine.

In practice, the Rumpler B.I served in the unarmed reconnaissance role which provided observers with tremendous views of the countryside battlefields from a lofty perch. Such aircraft proved useful in marking enemy locations for upcoming offensives and artillery barrages or detailing enemy movements. As one of the earlier war-time aircraft designs, the B.I was not typically armed in flight. Its crew was made up of two - a pilot and his observer. Structurally, the aircraft exhibited a wingspan of 42 feet, 8 inches with a running length of 27 feet, 7 inches and, when at rest, reached a height of 10 feet. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 90 miles per hour - on par with early-war offerings of similar scope and function. Externally, the aircraft was of a conventional biplane design with an upper and lower wing segment (of unequal span) joined by parallel struts and a network of cabling throughout. The struts also identified the wing's design as "twin-bay" for the two visible segments it created along the wingspan when views from the front or rear profiles. The undercarriage was wheeled and fixed to the fuselage underside by way of reinforced struts. The engine, partially exposed at the front of the fuselage, powered a two-bladed wooden propeller. The empennage exhibited "tear-drop" shaped tailplanes and simplistic tailskid (the latter for supporting the empennage when landing). The crew of two sat in tandem across two seperate open-air cockpits.

Denmark adopted some Rumpler B.Is in the post-war years though no other foreign operator took on the aircraft from there. Like the famous Sopwith concern of England, Rumpler attempted to survive in the post-war world (where military contracts proved harder to come by) and tried a stint in the civilian market, developing the Rumpler "Tropfenwagen" automobile (Sopwith attempted civilian aircraft and then motorcycles). As history shows, both companies failed in their endeavors and fell to history by way of liquidation.

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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 Rumpler B.I Reconnaissance Biplane.
1 x Mercedes D.I inline liquid-cooled piston engine developing 100 horsepower OR 1 x Benz Bz.I/III inline liquid-cooled engine of 150 horsepower.
Propulsion
90 mph
145 kph | 78 kts
Max Speed
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Rumpler B.I Reconnaissance Biplane.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
27.6 ft
8.40 m
O/A Length
42.7 ft
(13.00 m)
O/A Width
10.2 ft
(3.10 m)
O/A Height
1,653 lb
(750 kg)
Empty Weight
2,138 lb
(970 kg)
MTOW
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Rumpler B.I family line.
4A (B.I) - Land-Based Variant; fitted with Mercedes D.I engine; 198 examples produced.
4A13 - Revised rudder design.
4A14 - Fitted with Benz Bz.III series engine.
4B - Seaplane Variant; 26 examples produced.
4B1 - Fitted with Mercedes D.I engine.
4B2 - Fitted with Benz Bz.III engine.
4B11 - Fitted with Benz Bz.I engine.
4B12 - Fitted with Benz Bz.III engine.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Rumpler B.I. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 224 Units

Contractor(s): Rumpler Flugzeugwerke - Imperial Germany
National flag of Denmark National flag of the German Empire National flag of Turkey

[ Denmark; German Empire; Ottoman Empire (Turkey) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (90mph).

Graph Average of 75 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Production Comparison
224
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
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
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 1
Image of the Rumpler B.I
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
MARITIME / NAVY
RECONNAISSANCE
Recognition
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 Rumpler B.I Reconnaissance Biplane appears in the following collections:
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