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You asked for proof: the Albatros D.Va


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#81 Wolfstrike

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 00:29

A question I always think is why did the Albatros engineers go with wood fuselage when fabric wrapped saves so much weight that could of then been added to wing support?
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#82 JG1_Lee_J10

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 00:46

The Albatros three ply wood laminate fuselage is stiff, strong, light and streamlined. Fabric requires a truss frame, shear bracing wires, formers and stringers. I'd guess fabric on truss frame is easier to make than the laminated shell, but the shell is lighter.
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#83 Browning

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:17

A question I always think is why did the Albatros engineers go with wood fuselage when fabric wrapped saves so much weight that could of then been added to wing support?

As noted above, laminated wood has many advantages over canvass on a frame.
So why didn't everyone use laminated wood? The answer to that is that modern laminated wood was a very new thing at the time. Not very many places where making or using wood in this way.
I suspect the adhesives used where not ideal either. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that the Albie's fuselage was not 100% weather proof.
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#84 piecost

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 13:29

I would not assume that the monocoque is necessarily lighter. The braced wooden truss is structurally efficient and thus light. IIRC some wood monocoques were prone to warping. This could have been on Pfalz rather than Albatross. They were of different construction; the former layed up strips of wood over a former to form the shell, whilst the latter attached ply panels over a fuselage frame and was really a semi-monocoque.

According to the Vintage Aviator; once the tooling is set up the Albatross fuselages are quick to build.
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#85 Wolfstrike

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 23:15

I'm still confused.A few 1917 planes listed below which you will notice the plywood fuselage planes being a bit heavier.

Sopwith Dolphin.436
Sopwith Camel…431
SPAD 7.C1 ……500
Nieuport 28.C1..436

Albatros DIII…673
Pfalz D.IIIa….725

In 1918 the empty weights went up in many planes due to what appears to be converting to wooden fuselages.
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#86 gavagai

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 01:16

No, what you're seeing there is the weight of the engine. The power/weight ratio of the Mercedes engines was never as good as the Entente stationary engines.

Plywood is a relatively light weight material. The most dense components are far and away made of steel.
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#87 Gadfly21

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 05:34

The Alb and Pfalz are also just big planes.
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#88 Browning

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:08

Plywood is a relatively light weight material. The most dense components are far and away made of steel.

I think I have been saying 'laminated ' and 'laminated wood', but on the alb it was just one layer of wood, right? More of a thin strip than a ply.
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#89 J2_Adam

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 11:01

Wallenberg's visit to Koloman Mayrhofer's shop revealed the use of 3mm birch plywood which was custom made.
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#90 Mogster

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:16

Net sources have the Mercedes Diiiau as weighing 310kg dry, the BMWiiia 285Kg.

The Wolseley Viper was much lighter at 227kg.
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#91 gavagai

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 13:44

Thankyou mogster!

The difference in dry engine weight is greater than the difference in unloaded weight between the Albatros D.Va and SE5a. Much has been said already of the Albatros's light construction, but the real disadvantage was in the heavy engine that produced slightly less power than its lighter rivals, like the Wolseley Viper.
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#92 Wolfstrike

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 15:31

No, what you're seeing there is the weight of the engine. The power/weight ratio of the Mercedes engines was never as good as the Entente stationary engines.

Plywood is a relatively light weight material. The most dense components are far and away made of steel.

Thats sorta crazy Gavagi as the ROF site lists the planes weight.Mercedes D.III engine weight listed on Wiki is 310 kg.I think plywood wrapped fuselage and longer plane length coupled with fuselage ribs also being made out of wood is the reason though.I would think metal frames can be made much thinner with same strength.With all that said its all irrelevant as the Albatros are just some heavy ass planes in real and in game. :lol:

SIDE NOTE…..would love to see the plane icons in store and in game get upgraded to very high resolution and at same time all be adjusted to their proper lengths.They all look the same size and I think it would add to the feel if you knew the size of them better by this.
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#93 Wolfstrike

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 15:35

Plywood is a relatively light weight material. The most dense components are far and away made of steel.

I think I have been saying 'laminated ' and 'laminated wood', but on the alb it was just one layer of wood, right? More of a thin strip than a ply.

I think they would use plywood just because plywood is stronger for same thickness as that was its intent.
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#94 gavagai

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 17:42

Either you are trolling or you completely missed the point.

Albatros D.III dry weight - engine weight = 660kg - 310kg = 350kg

SE5a dry weight - empty weight = 635kg - 227kg = 408kg

Subtracting out engine weights, the Albatros is significantly lighter. Even the D.Va comes out lighter than the SE5a, but the Albatros is slightly larger. Now, tell me, what is the most significant difference in the construction techniques that could account for this result?
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#95 NewGuy_

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 18:11

Plywood was probably simply used because it is very light, strong, and it can be warped into a great number of odd shapes, while retaining it's strength. Plywood can be compared to a Japanese daito. Like a single layer of the metal blade of a daito, a single layer of plywood is incredibly strong on one direction, while weak in another direction. The final strength of plywood is achieved in a process of layering that is also not utterly unlike the design of a Japanese Daito's blade. Plywood, when in a finished state, is incredibly durable, light, flexible, and strong, just like a Japanese long sword. Also, think of the exoskeleton of an insect. Given the strength achieved in using plywood for the Alby frame, manufacturers of the Alby could probably eliminate some internal structures, otherwise needed to maintain rigidity.
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Something something SPAD. Something something then dive away. 


#96 Wolfstrike

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 21:17

Got it and thank you Gavagi for the explanation.Was bothering me to no end when flying them wondering all the time why they would use heavy wood to cover the fuselage.But as you point out the D.III engine was the heavy part.
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#97 Browning

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:43

Plywood, when in a finished state, is incredibly durable, light, flexible, and strong

I wouldn't be so sure that this describes 1910s plywood as much as it describes modern plywood.

Although around since the 1830s-1860's, plywood was not common as a hardware/construction material before the 1920s (See Thomas Autzen) and in the first war adhesives suitable for plywood where not ideal. I suspect they used a casein based glue (same family of glue used on the mosquito in ww2 and available at the time). Such glues do not last forever and do not like to be left damp. If wood is not compleatly dry, these glues eventually fail.
Modern production methods for plywood where not yet mastered and I suspect shaping plywood as with the alb was an even newer thing.

I suspect it was hard or impossible to check for faults and replace individual parts of the Albie's fuselage, so maintenance was likely either make do and mend or complete replacement. A canvas structure is far more maintenance friendly.


It's a good material to build a plane from in 1915, but the downsides of it when enough to put off most manufactures.
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#98 elephant

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:27

Those planes had a couple of months operational life, average, in front line units.
They were not meant to last for ever by default, anyway…
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#99 Mogster

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:09

The TVAL page about building their Albatros replicas.

http://thevintageavi...ng-new-albatros" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://thevintageavi....co.nz/projects … w-albatros

If you have someone with the necessary skills then they don't make it sound like a difficult process.
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#100 Catfish

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:16

German 'Flugzeugsperrholz' of the time came in all kinds of thicknesses. It had a special glue and treatment to withstand moisture and swelling.

3 mm Sperrholz consisted of 5 layers of very thin birch layers, being glued and pressed to form the kind of wood used for almost all german planes. The word 'sperr' means that it provided resistance against being torn apart while blocking flexure in all directions, and it has more tenacity than a steel of that thickness. Which is why a lot of automotive builders used this kind of wood for Chassis-building.
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#101 flapping-brown

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:35

all good research from the usual suspects very impressive.
BUT lets not forget this is a computer game for our enjoyment.
to fuss over a perhaps slightly inaccurate rate of climb at 3km seems a bit unnecessary.
suppose the devs can give us a variable pitch adjustment prop diameter etc so we can hone our favourite albi to be the very best…..perhaps a squad will have a genius that can mod the fm as was in IL2 and beat the hell out of the opposition …
for me im happy with the very original version of ROF it fun its a visual masterpiece lets remember that and though we must applaud the deep immersion of the historical must have things exactly as they were brigades lets be happy with what we have been given ?
flapping brown
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#102 hq_Jorri

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:40

I don't know about all that, I'm just here to simulate WWI air combat between Camel and Albatros and this sim is giving me a very hard time to do that.
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#103 J2_Wallenberg

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:51

all good research from the usual suspects very impressive.
BUT lets not forget this is a computer game for our enjoyment.
to fuss over a perhaps slightly inaccurate rate of climb at 3km seems a bit unnecessary.

Masterpiece, yes. But then can we strike out "simulation" and call it "arcade" please?
Is it still a "slight" inaccuracy even when the most inaccurate data (personal accounts) of WWI suggests that not the Camel was faster than the Albatros, but vice versa?
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#104 hq_Jorri

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 13:07

the most inaccurate data (personal accounts)

I agree about the accuracy of personal accounts but when ALL personal accounts agree I think the pile of circumstantial is getting very big :)
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#105 Waxworks

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 18:35

This Camel vs Snipe at theaerodrome discusses performance issues.

It seems possible that the Snipe may have become a failure comparable to the DH9- you can't deprive a machine of a quarter of its designed horsepower without at least some ill effects. Also, the Snipe was intended to appear in early 1918. However, its pilots liked it and apparently after the war it handily defeated the touted Buzzard in combat trials. It is an attractive machine. Very reluctantly I would agree that the BE2 might be more useful, especially if we can work some routines into the game so that combat flying is less central to the two-seater role, but I'd still like a Snipe.

I always wondered with the SE5a being so popular and effective why the machine wasn't developed further- the preference for future inline scouts seems to have been for the Dolphin or Buzzard. It is easy to understand why the Camel's handling characteristics might be unwanted, and the Camel may not have been able to mount the BR2, but why not continue to improve the engine on the SE5a?

The quote to the effect that a Bentley Camel should always defeat a DVII in a climbing turn fight is very leading. All the other Great War games I've known cast the Albatros as a sleek, fast, heavy machine with a heavy engine, pitted against the lighter, slower but more manoeuvrable and better climbing Pups and Triplanes. The Pfalz is always a slightly slower Albatros which dives as quickly and can also attain higher dive speeds. Why a machine noted for its heavy engine should be good at prop-hanging is a complete mystery???
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#106 hq_Jorri

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 18:55

The D.VII is the only plane with a very thick wing profile, though.
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#107 Mogster

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 12:20

However, its pilots liked it and apparently after the war it handily defeated the touted Buzzard in combat trials.

The "downgraded" 300hp F4 Buzzard was capable of nearly 150mph, climbed to 10K in under 8 minutes and had a ceiling of 24K. I'm curious how the Snipe could be judged as a better aircraft on any terms but pure manoeuvrability especially as by 1919 the Buzzard would have a more powerful engine.
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#108 Waxworks

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 15:47

A Buzzard was tested against a Fokker DVII just after the war and the DVII emerged as easily the better machine, while the Snipe was considered a match for the DVII. Sopwith had always produced agile fighters while the previous Martinsyde effort had been the unwieldy Elephant- no doubt the Buzzard was manoeuvrable in comparison to the Elephant! Of course pilots would have emphasised fighting characteristics over performance factors like ceiling.

The production F4 Buzzard might reach about 140 mph top speed. Rolls-Royce Eagle engines were used in the F.3, however these were required for Bristol Fighters so the Martinsyde got the second choice engine the 300 hp Hispano. The higher powered Hispano engines were not regarded as reliable and the Dolphin II which was to have the 300 hp Hispano was also dropped. While the engine was capable of high performance in a few racer machines, it was very maintenance intensive.

As to the future, it was not yet apparent that the next generation Dragonfly engines would be a failure and that the rotary engine had reached the limits of its capability. Though it is possible that the Martinsyde would have got a more powerful engine in 1919 it is difficult to specify which one?
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#109 piecost

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 17:26

Snipe comparative trials…

Attached Files


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#110 piecost

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 17:31

and the Buzzard

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#111 Waxworks

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 20:13

I've seen it posted that WE Johns observed the trial and the DVII and Martinsyde pilots exchanged machines, with the DVII on top on both occasions.

Ironically, only two machines involved in that trial had a reliable engine- the production Snipe and the captured DVII. The Martinsyde F4 Buzzard was not even able to fly, while the Bantam and Wagtail both used the radial engines which would never be succesful. Whether the end of the war had an impact on engine development is another question, however the Sopwith Dragon, a Snipe fitted with a Dragonfly radial, was faster than the F4 Buzzard. The F3 Buzzard used, with the Falcon engine which it had been denied, had significant deficiencies in equipment compared to a production machine.

The Nieuport 29 with the 300hp Hispano finally became a production machine and the French front line fighter- in 1920. Again, whether the 300hp Hispano would have been made an effective engine earlier under wartime pressure cannot be known. The British may have made their own version of the engine to improve its consistency, as with the Bentley and Viper.

The Snipe is always slated for its inferior performance and yet every pilot comment I've come across has nothing but praise for its fighting qualties, particularly its ability to maintain its dogfighting advantages at altitude, which Camels could not. Anyway, a wartime production batch of Snipes existed, unlike its rivals.
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#112 gavagai

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 20:15

I don't believe that a duel is the best way to evaluate which fighter was better. In a 2vs2 matchup (or more), I would expect a 140mph Buzzard to mop the floor with the D.VII, even with a BMW engine.
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#113 Waxworks

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 22:05

Is your comment on a possible Rise of Flight match up, or a historical match up? Effective communication helps in cooperative fighting. I'm not sure that machines were tested in 2 v 2 combats during or shortly after the war?

Here's a comment from theaerodrome

'The following are unpublished excerpts from an old penpal of mine, Lt. Fred K. Tully of RAF 29 and 43. Despite his repeated requests for posting to an active squadron, he remained an instructor and test pilot for the duration. He flew every type you can imagine and evaluated each of them, including a number of German types at the EAD in Rely. And you guys are right about the climbing advantage of the Snipe; Tully was in mock combat in Snipes and Fkr DVII's, and flew both types. He claimed that the Snipe had a clear advantage in climb, and in maintaining height during maneuvers. The following quotes are from our personal correspondences:

"I had numerous opportunities to engage in maneuvers with experienced combat pilots - and at that time I would have been glad to settle for either the SE5 or the Snipe in order to maintain the advantage of height or top position." June 6, 1988

"Re SE5 vs Snipe superiority - my recollection, based on maneuvers with seasoned pilots - was that there was little to choose between these two aircraft and it would largely depend on the individual at the controls as to who could gain the advantage of height in any maneuver. In the case of the SE5 and/or Snipe vs the Fokker DVII, my impression was that the same situation would apply - although I prefer to be in the SE5 or Snipe simply because the feel of either of these two aircraft was more to my liking, plus the fact that there was nothing lacking in performance compared with the Fokker." Sept 19, 1988

"The only preference I would have for the Snipe would be the sensitivity of control due to the rotary engine, which contributed to the thrill and precision in some aerobatics. My 6 foot one inch frame fitted into the cockpit of the Snipe very neatly. Incidentally I could adjust the seat so that my shoulders could rest on the padded rim of the cockpit when in an upside down position, without having to rely on harness or feel it necessasry to hang on to something for security." Oct 13, 1988

Tully had a soft spot for the SE5, which he spent most of his time on, but acknowledged that the Snipes "touch" was much better. He'd have taken either of them over the DVII in a moment… the SE5 because he was more accustomed to it, and the Snipe because it would outmaneuver and outclimb the Fokker. So far as the SE5 vs the Fokker, he told me several times it was a dead heat. He also flew the Pfalz DXII, Rumpler, Roland, and a bunch of other evaluation flights. He and a friend/student of his named Wiseman were assigned to different squadrons shortly after the armistice; he got an SE, Wiseman got a Snipe. They got together at an airfield socially later and discovered they'd not flown each other's types yet… so up they went. Reading between the lines, I always got the impression from him that the Snipe had the edge… but he'd never come right out and admit it. He loved the SE5. It was HIS plane.'
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#114 piecost

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 23:51

Interesting stuff Waxworks. I do like the Snipe, especially having seen the static replica at Hendon and am glad to hear that is may not have been as mediocre as I feared. I would love to have it in RoF to complete my Sopwith managery.

Do we know what engine the various DVIIs used in these tests? Does anyone have any idea why the Dolphin was considered worthy of fitment of the 300HP engine and not the SE5a? I got the impression that the BR2 was not much of an improvement over the Camel, but perhaps some of this was disappointment at the failure of the terrible ABC Dragonfly.

Some more Snipe and Buzzard stuff for those interested:

Planes we'd like to fly: Sopwith Snipe

Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard

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#115 Mogster

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 00:11

Interesting stuff, thanks chaps :)
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#116 J2_Adam

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 00:36

Whatever engine they used for the D7 tests I'm sure they screwed something up lol
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#117 gavagai

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:45

Is your comment on a possible Rise of Flight match up, or a historical match up? Effective communication helps in cooperative fighting. I'm not sure that machines were tested in 2 v 2 combats during or shortly after the war?

Historically speaking. I have little doubt that the Fokker Dr.1 could out-duel a Spad, but for some reason the Dr.1 was retired after a short service life and the Spad served from 1916 through the armistice.

Before anyone asks, yes, we have pilot descriptions of Spad pilots using BnZ tactics in the way that WW1 pilots supposedly never knew how to do.

Anyway, my point is that I don't take think those evaluations are reliable indicators of true combat potential for a scout.

———————-

Now, for the Camel/Snipe passage. The same aircraft is in this table:

Attached File  camelperf1.jpg   65.8KB   290 downloads

But notice that the airspeed at 10,000ft is given as 121mph. The 115mph figure is only 2mph faster than the F.1/3 prototype with a 130hp Clerget.

Here is the Snipe performance table that corresponds to piecost's passage:

Attached File  snipeperf1.jpg   52.17KB   289 downloads

It makes me wonder if some numbers weren't mixed up somewhere.

The BR1 engine did not have a reputation for losing power over time. It was a reliable power plant. But, regardless, it's fascinating to see how much airspeed was lost after 24 hours, which could have been due to other causes besides the engine.
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#118 2Lt_Joch

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 12:09

Interesting thread. Just wanted to make some comments on the Alb DVa.

1. the top speed of 186/188 kmh is controversial. It is far from clear where it comes from since no author has ever listed a source for it. It may be an error or it might come from the first fighter competition. If it does come from the competition, it probably comes from one of the two prototypes Albatros entered with a DIIIau or BMW engine. These prototypes set a few records at that event. The most likely top speed of a AlbDVa with a DIIIa engine is probably in the 170-175 kmh range.

2. it does not appear any production AlbDVa was ever produced with a DIIIau engine. We have a pretty good idea of how many DIIIau engines were produced during the war and all were allocated to the Fokker DVII or to a few other types, none to the Alb DVa. It is of course possible that some were fitted to Alb DVa as a field modification.
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#119 Trooper117

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 12:24

Some very interesting accounts here… good stuff chaps!
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#120 gavagai

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 13:12

Joch, don't be a troll. You seem to have forgotten TC's lesson about backing up your claims with supporting evidence.
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