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Aircraft comparison - anecdotal evidence


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#41 SeaW0lf

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 04:47

On July 26th [1917] I went up with Major Henderson to fight in the Salient. We crossed the lines at 14,000 ft. over Bixschoote, and very soon saw a lot of Huns. We continued to climb, as it was our intention to fight at 16,000 or 17,000 ft. in order to use the Pup's maneuverability and light loading to the best advantage. Of course down at 10,000 and 12,000 ft. the V-strutter absolutely waltzed round us for speed and climb, but at 16,000 ft. the average Albatros Scout began to find its ceiling just where the Pup was still speedy and controllable.

(James McCudden)
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#42 SeaW0lf

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 04:52

The Hun immediately dived vertically for a large woolly cloud over Mount Kemmel at 2,000 ft. I followed him through it, expecting to find him near the ground "contour-chasing" home. Very quickly I realized he was still in the cloud, so I climbed and arrived on the eastern side of it just in time to see the Albatros going out of the northern end of it. He was about 300 yards away and was outpacing me at 2,000 ft., for at that height the V-strutter is much faster than the Sopwith Pup. Very soon the Hun was right away in a north-easterly direction; and I felt just mad to have missed such a priceless opportunity of bring down a Hun in our lines.

James MacCudden - July 31st 1917
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#43 SeaW0lf

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 04:56

I now had been up over two hours and so I flew back to my aerodrome, feeling very fed up with things in general. I was most pleased, however, to prove to myself that when it carne to maneuvering the Sopwith Scout would turn twice to an Albatros' once. In fact, very many Pup pilots have blessed their machine for its handiness, when they have been a long way behind the Hun lines and have been at a disadvantage in other ways.

James MacCudden - July 31st 1917
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#44 SeaW0lf

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 05:01

Through a gap in the cloud I now saw that I was a long way east of the lines and I had a strong head wind to fly into. So I made up my mind to run for it quickly. I flew in a zig-zag course with the engine full on and nose slightly down, and although the Albatros was considered much faster I found that only two of the Huns were holding me at close range, and having out-distanced the remainder I started maneuvering to throw off my pursuers. I performed rolls, loops, and spins, and eventually got into the clouds at 6,000 ft. just west of Lens, where the Huns left me, no doubt boiling with rage at having missed a fool of an Englishman who attacked them alone.

James McCudden at 15.000ft, July 28th 1917 (I kept the order from the four previous posts)
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#45 SeaW0lf

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 05:15

The next morning I inspected and took over the Flight, and then had my machine fitted to my liking. The machine was No. B/519, a Vickers-built S.E.5. On the next day I led my first patrol in "M" Squadron, and flew over the area, Menin, Zonnebeke, at 15,000 ft.

James McCudden, August 16th 1917

(…) we had to run for it like anything, and owing to our superior speed we soon outdistanced the Huns and went home for breakfast. It was very fine to be on a machine that was faster than the Huns, and I may say that it increased one's confidence enormously to know that one could run away just as soon as things became too hot for one.

James McCudden, August 18th 1917 (apparently his second patrol with a SE5)
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#46 SeaW0lf

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 05:42

Notwithstanding the fact that they were rated as generally superior in performance to the Albatros and Halberstadt scouts, the Sopwith Triplanes by no means had it all their own way. Between 15 May and 30 June the squadron lost six of its Canadian members, three killed and three wounded or missing. In addition, at least two other members of the squadron were lost, one being killed and the other taken prisoner. [Canadian airman, 412. Used by permission]

Raymond Collishaw and the Black Flight
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#47 JoeCrow

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 06:12

Se5 v Sopwith Dolphin comparison:

So I confess I dived on the Dolphin with the intention of showing him just how an aeroplane should be flown in a fight, sitting on his tail for a bit, and then, when it was obvious that I had killed him ten times over, coming up alongside, waving him a gracious goodbye and proceeding to my aerodrome.
But it didn't work out a bit like that. The Dolphin had a better performance than I had realised. He was up in a climbing-turn and on my tail in a flash. I half-rolled out of the way, he was still there. I sat in a tight climbing-spiral, he sat in a tighter one. I tried to climb above him, he climbed faster. Every dodge I ever learned I tried on him; but he just sat there on my tail, for all the world as if I had been towing him.


The Dolphin pilot turned out to be an Aircraft Depot test-pilot. Cecil Lewis had also spent time as a test-pilot.

Sagittarius Rising: Cecil Lewis.
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#48 Surfimp

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 12:29

This is one of my favorite threads on the forum, ever!

Thanks everybody, great reading.
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#49 =HillBilly=

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 12:47

On July 26th [1917] I went up with Major Henderson to fight in the Salient. We crossed the lines at 14,000 ft. over Bixschoote, and very soon saw a lot of Huns. We continued to climb, as it was our intention to fight at 16,000 or 17,000 ft. in order to use the Pup's maneuverability and light loading to the best advantage. Of course down at 10,000 and 12,000 ft. the V-strutter absolutely waltzed round us for speed and climb, but at 16,000 ft. the average Albatros Scout began to find its ceiling just where the Pup was still speedy and controllable.

(James McCudden)
One question, which V-strutter Albatros was he referring too? Both the D III and D V were in service at that time.
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#50 SYN_Vander

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 13:01

Great additions! Will add these to my list. I like the comparison of SE5a and Dolphin.

Online players, please note that McCudden regards 10,000ft (3000m) not as "high flying" ;)

"Of course down at 10,000 and 12,000 ft. the V-strutter absolutely waltzed round us for speed and climb."
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#51 Timmaaa2945z

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 14:05

As a new pilot here I found these very helpful. Thank-You!! :S!:
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#52 SYN_Vander

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 14:21

As a new pilot here I found these very helpful. Thank-You!! :S!:

As long as you are aware that in RoF not all aircraft behave as described in the quotes! :D (which is what triggered this thread)
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#53 SeaW0lf

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 15:24

On July 26th [1917] I went up with Major Henderson to fight in the Salient. We crossed the lines at 14,000 ft. over Bixschoote, and very soon saw a lot of Huns. We continued to climb, as it was our intention to fight at 16,000 or 17,000 ft. in order to use the Pup's maneuverability and light loading to the best advantage. Of course down at 10,000 and 12,000 ft. the V-strutter absolutely waltzed round us for speed and climb, but at 16,000 ft. the average Albatros Scout began to find its ceiling just where the Pup was still speedy and controllable.

(James McCudden)
One question, which V-strutter Albatros was he referring too? Both the D III and D V were in service at that time.

He doesn't say, but the pilots mostly say V-strutter to differentiate the D.II from the later Albatroses, which seems to mean a watershed in between the early Albatros models to the later types. I assume he is talking about the D.III in general, because he was still flying Pups and later on, in September 1917, when he was already flying SE5s, he mentions:

At this period up on the Ypres sector [september 1917], the German Scout pilots as a rule were undoubtedly good, and one met a larger proportion of skilful pilots up there than I have ever come across elsewhere on the front from La Fere to the sea. Of course, the Albatros Scout, type D.5, was undoubtedly good, but at the same time prisoners said that the German pilots considered the S.E.5 a most formidable fighting machine.

Other than that, this is the only mention he does to the DV type. And he got into the lines way before the DV appearance, and in this particular quote, with the Pup, the DV would be on the front for just a couple months. If the performance difference was so visible, he would have mentioned the new type instead of just casually mentioning that "the V-strutter absolutely waltzed round us for speed and climb", like it was routine for them.

So I take it as a D.III model. But Gould Lee also mentions similar data on the D.III. Anyway, in general they say the V-strutter was far superior to the Pup at lower altitudes, no matter the model. And history tells that the Sopwith Tripe came to level it out with the D.III, like Collishaw's book mentions and I have heard before. So it does not make any sense that the D.III would have a similar* (edit) or worse performance than the Pup.
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#54 SeaW0lf

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 15:33

Online players, please note that McCudden regards 10,000ft (3000m) not as "high flying" ;)

We get so used to it that when I accidentally reach 13,000ft I fear to go into orbit :D Although I love dogfights above 10,000ft (the real deal).
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#55 JoeCrow

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 17:07

Se5a (200hp. Hispano) v SPAD Guynemeyer special (200hp. Hispano, high-compression).

The speeds were almost identical, but the high-compression SPAD climbed quicker. After the race Guynemeyer and I held a demonstration combat over the aerodrome. Again I was badly worsted. Guynemeyer was all over me. In his hands the SPAD was a marvel of flexibility. In the first minute I should have been shot down a dozen times… In self-justification I feel that I must add that both the Sopwith Dolphin and the SPAD were more manoeuvrable than the Se5a. So, given equal flying ablilty, they would win..

Sagittarius Rising:Cecil Lewis.

I guess he must be referring to the Se5a although the text reads SE5.
Guynemeyer was shot down and killed the following week.
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#56 SeaW0lf

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 17:46

The Pfalz was somewhat underpowered and did not climb as well as the Albatros, but I felt it was a safer aeroplane. For some time the Albatros D.Va had a structural problem with the lower wing spar, which had a tendency to break under stress, causing the bottom wing to part company with the rest of the aeroplane. The defect was eventually corrected by encasing the spar in a metal sleeve, but pilots were instructed to avoid going into a very stressful dive, which was one of the best ways to save our own hides when we were on the losing end of an aerial combat. Suffice to say, this information did little to instill confidence in the Albatros fighter 'planes. So, I took the second-rate Pfalz and, having learned its limitations, made the best of it.

Carl Degelow - Black Fokker Leader
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#57 SeaW0lf

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 07:57

During the next ten days Offensive Patrols were carried out daily, and, unfortunately, it soon became clear that, good as the SE5 was, it was still not equal to the enemy. Scrapping at high altitudes, fifteen to eighteen thousand feet, the Huns had a marked superiority in performance. This naturally tended to make us cautious, since we knew that, once we came down to their level, we should not be able to get above them again. (…) This inferiority of performance was an initial difficulty. Later, when the SE5 got a larger motor, things looked up.

April 1917 (Cecil Lewis - Sagittarius Rising)
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#58 SeaW0lf

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 08:29

Adding to the bad situation, the Pfalz D.III was falling out of favor. Until the Fokker D.VII biplane could be made available in Staffel strength, however, further improvements to the Pfalz biplane and [Fokker| triplane fighters were the best immediate hope for German fighter pilots. These feelings were confirmed by a Pfalz pilot who was captured in February and who admitted to a British interrogator that the "Pfalz scout is not popular with pilots owing to its lack of speed and bad maneuverability; an improved type is expected. Richthofen's squadron is being equipped with a much improved aileron control." [1]

[1] Most likely Uffz Hegeler of Jasta 15, who was captured on 26 February 1918 after being forced to land in Pfalz D.III 4184/17; his aircraft was assigned the British captured aircraft number G.141 [Ref: Puglisi, 'German Aircraft Down in British Lines' in Cross & Cockade Journal, Vol. X, p. 162].


Black Fokker Leader, by Peter Kilduff.
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#59 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 14:17

There's some scanned quotes over a few pages on here that may be of interest:

what about the pup?
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#60 SYN_Vander

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 18:17

There's some scanned quotes over a few pages on here that may be of interest:

what about the pup?

A lot of those have already been added and I'm not sure what the sources are of the other quotes? The one about real vs factory test performance I have added, but I'm not sure where it came from.
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#61 JoeCrow

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 19:35

There's some scanned quotes over a few pages on here that may be of interest:

what about the pup?

A lot of those have already been added and I'm not sure what the sources are of the other quotes? The one about real vs factory test performance I have added, but I'm not sure where it came from.

I would like to add the litte rider here (without straying into FM territory) that it is normal practice for aircraft climbing in formation (as stated) to use 'cruise-climb', which is a trade-off between best climb-rate and speed. The reason is that individual aircraft do not always have exactly the same 'best climb rate' which, in turn, would make it impossible to hold formation at that climb-angle. In other words, if a formation is flying at best climb-rate with the throttle wide open there is no excess power available to correct even the slightest of maneuvering errors and the formation quickly becomes scattered. To maintain a formation you must have excess power or speed available at all times, so I suspect that they were climbing at something less than best climb rate.
Cheers.
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#62 Tom-Cundall

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 14:38

It's from No Parachute Vander
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#63 SeaW0lf

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 02:03

Returning south, at 15,000, I spotted two Spads to the east of me. They are French made and look Hunnish, so I approached cautiously, then, reassured, closed up behind them. Five minutes later they began a dive on a Hun two-seater well beyond Houthulst Forest, north of Ypres. I dived with them, and fired when they did, and got off fifty rounds when once more the Vickers jammed. Both the Spads and the Hun, also diving, were much too fast for me, and for the second time I lost a patrol while getting the gun going.

Gould Lee – Open Cockpit (most likely 1916)

In a moment of resentment at having to endure such inflictions, I ask myself, why the devil do we have to do these idiotically high patrols? But of course I know the answer. It is to prevent the highflying Hun fighters attacking our lower-level fighters, such as Spads and Nieuports, which are there to protect artillery observation and other hardworking planes at lower levels still. And Pups get the top patrols because at these heights their light wing-loading confers the advantage over every other fighter, including the Albatros. And so, despite the cold and rare air, I admit I prefer to meet Huns at 17,000 feet upwards, for then we no longer fight at a disadvantage.

Gould Lee – Open Cockpit (most likely 1916)
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#64 SeaW0lf

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:00

Roderic Dallas is quoted in his logbook around May 1917 as having flown an Albatros and "was pleased to see Teddy walk past me on the Triplane". [87, p 110]

Hellwig, A.: 2006, Australian Hawk over the Western Front: A biography of Major R S Dallas DSO. DSC. C de G avec Palme. London, UK: Grub Street.
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#65 SeaW0lf

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:02

Bill Lambert [96, pp 78–82] describes his first real encounter with the Fokker D.VII on the 20th May 1918 and states "They were much better than the triplane but we found the SE5 could handle them". At this date this would be S.E.5a versus Mercedes powered Fokker D.VII. Bill Lambert [96, p 88] states the S.E.5a could out fly and out-maneuver the Pfalz D.III.

Lambert, W. C.: 1973, Combat Report. London, UK: William Kimber and Co.
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#66 SeaW0lf

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:03

Guy Knocker [58, pp 237–240] describes the Albatros D.V and Pfalz D.III as being faster than the Camel both at the level and in a dive. However, he says the Camel could out-maneuver both. He also states the Fokker Triplane had a similar performance to the Camel, but climbed better.

Burgess, C.: 2008, The diary and letters of a World War I Fighter Pilot. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword Aviation. 2nd Lieutenant Guy Mainwaring Knocker’s accounts of his experiences in 1917–18 while serving in the RFC/RAF.
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#67 SeaW0lf

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:08

Sir Gordon Taylor [115, p 130] states his service Sopwith Pup had a maximum speed between 95 and 100 mph, climbed to 10,000ft in 15.5 min and to 15,000ft in 29 min, the next 2,000ft took 11 min and 19,000ft in 55 min. He reached a maximum height of 20,500ft. Sir Gordon Taylor [115, p 4] states that the Pup was outperformed by the Albatros at any height, but between 15,000 to 20,000 ft the Pup performance was relatively better and they had some chance against the Albatros. Sir Gordon Taylor [115, p 123] states that aircraft which had survived more than a hundred hours flying in France were normally returned to Aircraft Depot to be rebuilt to send back to England as training machines.

Taylor, P. G.: 1968, Sopwith Scout 7309. London: Cassell & Company Ltd.
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#68 SeaW0lf

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:12

Sir Gordon Taylor [115, pp 116–117] states that a captured Albatros he flew on 18th June 1917 climbed to 3000ft in a few seconds over 3 minutes, to 6000ft in 7 minutes. The maximum speed was about 125 mph at 3000ft. From the photograph this was a DII (parallel interplane struts, out-splayed centre-section struts), British serial ИG42’.

Taylor, P. G.: 1968, Sopwith Scout 7309. London: Cassell & Company Ltd.
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#69 SeaW0lf

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:13

CPO Bartlett [5, p 60] (20th June 1917) reports on a comparison of a captured Albatros D.III with a Sopwith Camel and a Sopwith Triplane. He reports the Albatros was outclassed in speed and climb, but manoeuvred well.

Bartlett, C. P. O.: 2013, In the Teeth of the Wind: Memoirs of the Royal Naval Air Service in the First World War. Pen & Sword Books Ltd. First published 1974 by Ian Allan Ltd, Nick Bartlett is credited as editor.
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#70 J.j.

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:45

The maximum speed was about 125 mph at 3000ft.

That's 200km/h!!!
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#71 SYN_Vander

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 11:04

Some great additions!

The quote with the performance figures of the Albatros imply at least a ALbatros DV. Is it possible that the picture of the Albatros D.II was just simply the wrong type shown? Also note maximum speed was at 3000ft, not a 0 ft.

In the mean time, we have quite a lot of resources telling exactly the same thing about the Sopwith Pup performance vs Albatros DIII: Only competitive above 16,000ft in maneuverability (turn/turning climb) and Pup being slower at all altitudes. I only wish we had more German sources!
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#72 SeaW0lf

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 16:06

Some great additions!

The quote with the performance figures of the Albatros imply at least a ALbatros DV. Is it possible that the picture of the Albatros D.II was just simply the wrong type shown? Also note maximum speed was at 3000ft, not a 0 ft.

In the mean time, we have quite a lot of resources telling exactly the same thing about the Sopwith Pup performance vs Albatros DIII: Only competitive above 16,000ft in maneuverability (turn/turning climb) and Pup being slower at all altitudes. I only wish we had more German sources!

It is second hand data, from this site: http://sjharker.cust...Performance.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://sjharker.cust....netspace.net.a … rmance.pdf

But since he mentions the source and the page, I thought it was worth quoting, since anyone can go and look on the original. But I also questioned the photo at hand.

Maybe some data comes from tuned engines, like McCudden did with his and Cecil Lewis said that every pilot would tune his own machine, but, with several good pilots saying the same thing, I think we can start to have a good picture about some performances.
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#73 SeaW0lf

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 16:50

ИHarry’ Cobby [61, p 76] describes the Camel in July 1918 as Иat their best up to about twelve thousand feet’, saying that Иthe performance fell off rapidly above this level, and against the new Fokker, would put up an indiferent show’, this refers to the Fokker D.VII.

Cobby, A. H.: 1981, High Adventure. Dandenong, Victoria, Australia: Kookaburra Technical Publications Pty Ltd. Revised edition of 1942 original with additional material.
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#74 Gunsmith86

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 17:39

Jasta 4 leader Hans Georg von der Osten
The Pfalz D.III had a nasty habit of slipping in a turn.

Ltn. Johann Janzen Jasta 4:
Jasta 4 still used the old Pfalz D.III, which in their aged state could only reach an altitude of about 3000m

Ltn. Paul Wenzel Jasta 6:
While Kirschstein was in Berlin, I led Staffel 6 and was able to fly his BMW-engined aircraft. This machine could reach 6000m altitude in 24 min.

Ernst Udet Jasta 4:(BMW-engined aircrafts)
We now used to cross the lines at a height of 5900m, which had not been possible with other engines, and we could stay at this altitude.

On first July Udet shot down a Breguet in flames from an altitude of 6400m.



Richthofen's Flying Circus Jagdgeschwader Nr I Osprey publishing
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#75 SeaW0lf

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 16:09

Marshal of the Royal Air Force William Sholto Douglas, said "Just before the deaths if Jimmy McCudden and Mick Mannock, the Germans had started introducing on the Western Front a new fighter, the Fokker DVII, a single-seater biplane fitted with a new BMW engine - which was one of the best aero engines produced by either side up to that time. Fortunately for us, one of these new Fokkers was captured intact not long after it first appeared, and we were able to try it out against our own SE5. I was one of those who flew it, and we found that our own machine was a shade faster in level flight by about two or three miles per hour, but did not have such a good rate of climb. The Fokker DVII was also slightly more manourvreable than the SE5, but we still had the advantage in being able to pick up speed more quickly in the dive."

From: http://simhq.com/for...a_is_Awful.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://simhq.com/for...bbthreads.php/t … Awful.html
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#76 Gunsmith86

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 20:35

all from:
SIXTY SQUADRON R.A.F,
A HISTORY OF THE SQUADRON
FROM ITS FORMATION
BY
GROUP-CAPTAIN A. J. L. SCOTT,
G.B., M.G., A.F.G.


The Morane "bullet," with a 80 h.p. Le Rhone
engine, was quite a different proposition.
This was a monoplane with a fuselage (body) of
the monococque, or cigar-shaped, type and very
small wings, giving, therefore, a very high loading
per square foot of lifting surface. The speed near
the ground was not too bad for 1916, being about
ninety to ninety- five miles per hour, but, owing
to the high loading on the wings, the machine
became inefficient at a height. It had the gliding angle of a brick,
as a pilot moodily complained
after an unsuccessful forced landing.
Above 10,000 feet it was difficult to turn a
" bullet " sharply and steeply without " stalling ";
moreover, in bad weather it was very uncomfortable
to fly, giving the impression that it was trying
its best to kill the pilot all the time. The lateral
control, 1 of the " warp " type, was to some extent
responsible for this.

Later on we were given some " bullets " with
110 h.p. Le Rhones, but these were no better, as
the loading was even higher with the heavier
engine, and their performance above 8,000 feet was
consequently poor. The climb for the first few
thousand feet was wonderful, as the engine seemed
almost to pull the machine straight up.

"C" Flight, Morane "parasols."
Of the " parasol," a two-seater monoplane, it is
unnecessary to say very much, as they were soon
replaced by "bullets," and "C" Flight did practically no work on them.
It had an 80 h.p. Le
Rhone at that time, almost the best air-cooled
rotary engine. They were good for artillery
registration, as the view downward was excellent;
they were very stable also, easy to fly and to land,
and, in fact, were " kind " machines, giving their
pilots the sort of feeling afforded by a goodtempered,
confidential old hunter.

The Morane biplane had a more powerful engine,
the 110 Le Rhone, also an air-cooled rotary, and
was quite an efficient " kite,"
It was draughty and cold to sit in, but was light on the controls and had
a reasonably good performance. This machine
was also a two-seater, like the " parasol," with
the observer's seat behind the pilot's.


The Nieuport scout deserves a short description,
as it was on the successive types of this aeroplane
that nearly a year's work was done, from September
1916 to July 1917. This single-seater fighter
was a French machine, and one of the most
successful in its day which our allies ever produced.
The various types of this make with which the
squadron was at different times equipped—15, 16,
17, 21, 24, and 29—showed a continuous improvement
in performance, though all had the same
engine, 110 h.p. Le Rhone, which itself was
modified slightly and converted into a 120 h.p.
engine by the substitution of aluminium for castiron
pistons. Through all the modifications introduced
in each successive type the machine preserved
its essential characteristics. It was a
biplane, but its lower planes were non-lifting and
only operated to stabilise the machine to some
extent in flight ; the top planes were streamlined
with the pilot's eyes, giving him the free view
which is essential in a fighting scout. It may be
said that it was mainly this characteristic, that it
was good to see out of, that made the Nieuport, in
1916, the best fighting machine on either side.
Strong in construction and very handy, it could
turn inside any German aeroplane we ever encountered.
It was not very fast, but, with an
exceptionally good climb to 10,000 feet, it was no
bad " grid " on which to go Hun-hunting between
the sea and the Somme. It was armed with a
single Lewis gun carrying a double drum with
ninety rounds of '303 ammunition and two spare
drums.
In conclusion, the Silver Nieuport was a good
machine to fight in, but a bad one either for
running away or for catching a faint-hearted
enemy, as its best air speed, even near the ground,
rarely exceeded ninety-six or ninety-seven miles
per hour.


C. K. Cochrane-Patrick, D.S.O.,
M.C., who had been doing brilliantly in 23
Squadron on Spads, succeeded to the command of
60, who were at that time being re-equipped with
150 h.p. S.E.5s, this being the newest type of
scouts, as the Nieuports were by then rather out
of date.
Not quite so much fighting was done during July
and August, as the change of machines from an
air-cooled rotary engine (the 110 h.p. Le Rhone
which had served us so well) to a 150 h.p. watercooled
stationary (the Hispano Suisa) naturally
took some getting used to. These machines were
again replaced in late August with 200 h.p. Hispano
Suisa S.E.5s, which, though a more powerful engine
than the 150 h.p., was much more difficult to
keep serviceable.

The S.E.5A., with which the squadron was
equipped from July 1917 till the Armistice,
deserves some description. A single-seater fighting
scout, it was armed with a Lewis gun mounted
on the top plane like the Nieuport, but carried,
in addition, a Vicker's firing through the propeller.
Its speed, with the 200 h.p. Hispano
engine, would reach 130 miles per hour near the
ground and was, in consequence, at least 25 miles
per hour faster than the Nieuport. This increase
of speed made a great difference, as it meant that
the enemy could not run away, and, further, that
the S.E.5, if caught at a disadvantage, could outdistance
its adversaries. Against the advantage
gained in speed by this change must be set off a
certain loss in respect of power to manoeuvre
quickly, but, in spite of this, the change was very
greatly to the pilot's advantage.
Every machine has its strong and its weak points,
and though at first we found the S.E. heavy on
the controls and sluggish on her turns, and though
some were inclined to regret the silver Nieuports,
yet we soon found that the former was a far
better fighting instrument. In actual weight the
S.E., when fully loaded (including the pilot), was
about 700 lb. heavier than the Nieuport —
roughly 2,000 lb. as against 1,300 lb. The new
machine, too, was distinctly more difficult to
land, as the under-carriage was relatively a good
deal weaker, and, owing to the extra weight, she
would run on much farther on the ground.
During the first few months, therefore, a great
many machines were crashed on the aerodrome,
more particularly after leaving Izel le Hameau,
which was a beautiful landing ground, and moving
to Marie Capelle, where there was not nearly so
much room. There were more crashes in this
period than we had had since the days of the
Morane "bullets," and from this point of view we
often regretted the little Nieuport, which a good
pilot could put down on a postage stamp anywhere.


He joined the R.F.C. as an air mechanic
before the war, fought as an N.C.O. pilot with
29 Squadron during 1916-17, was then given a
commission and was posted to 56 Squadron, where
he specialised in two-seaters, that variety of twoseater
which the Germans would send over very
high at 20,000 feet or more on clear days to
photograph our back areas, and which were not
easy to bring down. The difficulty was that they
were first seen, as a rule, at a great height, and our
fighting machines had to climb up to them, which
would take fifteen minutes at least. During
this interval which necessarily elapsed before the
attacking machines could get their height, the
Rumpler or L.V.G., which would be flying level,
could usually outdistance the pursuers ; if, however,
the British machine contrived, by flying the
inside of the circle, to keep between the Hun and
the lines, the latter, if he was as cunning as they
usually were, would calmly continue his photography
while his adversary was climbing until
the latter was about 1,500 feet below him, and,
when his pursuer was getting close enough to
be dangerous, would put his nose down slightly,
open up his engine and disappear into Hunland,
leaving a streak of blue smoke, but nothing more
tangible, behind him.



On August 8 we assumed the offensive east of
Amiens. 60 did a great deal of low flying and low
bombing, as well as the usual "scrapping" up
above. The Fokker biplane D.7 first appeared
in numbers at this time. This was an original
type of machine without any external wiring but
with a very thick wing section, which was braced
internally. Its performance was very good, alike
as regards speed, climb, and power to manoeuvre.
Their pilots were usually provided with parachutes,
which quite often failed to open. From all along
the line reports now came in showing that the use
of the parachute was becoming fairly general
among German pilots.

—————————-
Offtopic but really good!!!

One of the pilots of 148, who had been taken
prisoner, told a remarkable story on his return
just after the Armistice. This pilot, who had
served with 56 Squadron, also in the 13th Wing,
some months earlier, was shot down and, after
having landed more or less safely in " Hunland,"
was taken before a German intelligence officer and
asked his name and squadron. Having given his
name and rank only, his examiner said to him,
" But you were in 56—1 dined with you in
December last," and followed this up by asking
the astonished prisoner if he did not remember
a French Breguet (two-seater) landing at 56's
aerodrome one day with an officer pilot and a
mechanic on board. The American did remember,
and recollected, too, that the pilot announced that
he was coming up from the south to join a French
squadron north of our 2nd Army near Dixmude,
but that his engine was running badly and he had
landed to make some adjustments. No one in 56
at this time knew very much about the French
Flying Corps, but everyone knew that their
machines had often passed over the intervening
British armies in this manner, particularly during
the summer of 1917, prior to the Passchendale
battles, and again in April 1918, when Foch's
strategical schemes involved the introduction into
the middle of our 2nd Army area of a French
division, which defended Kemmel Hill after the
German break-through on the Lys. The story,
therefore, appeared to be quite a natural one, and
no one suspected for an instant that anything was
wrong. The " repairs " to the 200 h.p. Renault
engine, a type with which none of our mechanics
were very familiar, took longer than was expected,
and the " Frenchman " dined and stayed the night
with the squadron, making himself most agreeable
but refusing to drink much. Not only did he stay
one night, but, the weather next day proving
unfavourable, he remained a second, and on the
third day flew off, it is believed, to another British
aerodrome. There was no question of the truth
of the story because the hero of it showed, when
talking to his prisoner, a knowledge of the officers
in 56, their appearance and nicknames, together
with the details of the camp and aerodrome, which
could only have been obtained at first-hand.
Moreover, the American pilot remembered the
visit quite well, and even recognised his interrogator.
The German also told him that he had
played the same game with the French Flying
Corps, pretending, on a captured British machine,
to be an English pilot making his way down to our
Independent Air Force, which, under General
Trenchard, was stationed opposite Metz, a long
way from the nearest British unit.
It was easier for the Germans to do this kind of
thing than it would have been for the Allies, owing
to the duality of language on our side of the line ;
but, nevertheless, it must be reckoned a very fine
performance. Presumably, he left the German
aerodrome before dawn and flew about on our side
of the line until it was light enough to land, but,
even so, he was lucky not to have been attacked on
his return by German machines and anti-aircraft
guns when flying an aeroplane with Allied markings,
as it must have been impossible to warn the
German aviators that one particular Breguet was
not to be molested, mainly because of the impossibility
of distinguishing one machine from another
of the same type in the air, but also because to
circulate general instructions of this kind would
almost certainly have given the whole plan away
to some of the Allied agents who, on the whole,
were much more efficient than the German spies.

;)
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#77 ciki

ciki
  • Posts: 407

Posted 12 July 2014 - 02:12

best topic
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#78 Gunsmith86

Gunsmith86
  • Posts: 842

Posted 12 July 2014 - 10:04

Airco The Aircraft Manufacturing Company
by Mick Davis

A significant sortie had been made on
6 December. It is not always realized that
most techniques applied by the RAF in
World War Two had been pioneered in
the earlier conflict; photographic
reconnaissance was one such technique.
55 Squadron was int nded to operate
against uncharted targets, and so sorties hy
individual machines were dedicated to
both gathering target information and
gaining assessment of raid results. The
unit's first such sortie in its new area of
operations was made on that date. Good
weather conditions were necessary for
such missions, and the D.H4s involved
would fly at altitudes of up to 19,000ft
(6,000m). Interception by enemy scouts
was unlikely at such heights, but to
achieve that altitude meant that all
superfluous equipment had to be stripped
from the machines and ammunition kept
to a minimum. On occasions where EA
did make contact, the D.H4s were usually
able to outrun them - an ability shared
with the great de Havilland design of
World War Two, the Mosquito. During its
period with the 41st Wing, 55 Squadron
made ninety-eight such flights and lost
only one machine in the process.
Improvement in the perfotmance of the
unit's D.H,4s was achieved over the
winter of 1917-18 by the replacement of
the original 250hp Eagle III engines with
275hp Eagle VIIs. The replacements were
made at unit level.
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#79 SYN_Vander

SYN_Vander
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Posted 12 July 2014 - 12:15

Thanks Gunsmith! I'll try to extract the bits that directly deal with aircraft performance. That story of the German intelligence officer is really good! Although I doubt he would confess this to a captured airman? :shock:
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#80 SYN_Vander

SYN_Vander
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Posted 13 July 2014 - 09:21

At 6.45 pm on 7/4/1917, a Sopwith Triplane, working alone attacked eleven hostile machines, almost all 'Albatros' Scouts, N.E. of Arras. He completely out-classed the whole patrol of hostile machines, diving through them and climbing above them. One 'Albatros' Scout, painted red, which had been particularly noticed by this Section, dived on to him and passed him. the Sopwith dived on him and then easily climbed again above the whole patrol (…)

eye-witness, AAA Group of 3rd Amry

Naval Eight, A History of No. 8 Squadron (IWM)
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