Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Albatros Oeffag D.III part 2

Oeffag D.III Gallery 2

Today I am back with more examples of the Albatros Oeffag D.III. My examples yesterday dealt with only one configuration of this excellent fighter. I wanted to give you a sample of the three main types which were produced between 1917 and 1918. As time allows I will be giving you a peak at the collection I am building. I have enough reference material for for perhaps 50 profiles. Between my other Albatros and Pfalz types I can see me hitting the 1000 profile mark before Halloween.

This is an Oeffag D.III Series 53 powered by an Austro-Daimler, 185 hp (138 kW) 6 cylinder liquid cooled inline engine. The upper wing surfaces are covered in the same camouflage as on the upper fuselage and tail section. The lower wing is varnished cloth. Superficially it is very similar to early series 153, the main difference is in the power plants.

This is an Oeffag D.III Series 153 powered by an Austro-Daimler, 200 hp (149 kW) 6 cylinder liquid cooled inline engine. The aircraft served in Flik 41J and was flown by Stfw Kaszala and Hauptman Brumowski. The paint scheme is very similar to the previous example except for the color and the nose section is a solid color. Note there is no engine cover being used at that time.

This is an Oeffag D.III Series 253 powered by an Austro-Daimler, 225 hp (168 kW) 6 cylinder liquid cooled inline engine. The rounded nose section is bare metal and the top surfaces tailplane and rudder are covered in a camouflage pattern only seen in Austrian and Polish aircraft. It consisted in two different spiral elements. Common opinion is that the pattern was printed on fabric since painting such an elaborate scheme would be so labor intensive and time consuming that if hand painted it would be impractical. The Maltese Cross would place it after May of 1918. The two tone wheel cover adds some flash to the scheme. Also of note is the large number instead of a pilot identification design. Once again this aircraft is in shown in its warm weather configuration as there is no engine cover present.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Austria - 1917 Albatros D-III Oeffag

Unforeseen Complications

Due to a series of events I have not posted or followed my blog list for a few days. Between some medical issues and new lines of research I have not been able to participate in the daily routine.

One of the new lines I have been researching is a deeper look at Austrian aircraft, and Oeffag's version of the Albatros D.III in particular. It has turned into an embarrassment of wealth on the subject. I have been setting up a series of master drawings, but there are a lot of major variations to nail down. Eventually I will have things running smoothly again. My post today is a taste of things to come.

A Taste of the Other Flavor of Albatros Goodness

The Austro-Hungarian version of the Albatros D-III was produced under license by the firm Oeffag. It had several minor external differences identifying it from the German made fighters. In the autumn of 1916, Oesterreichische Flugzeugfabrik AG (Oeffag) obtained a license to build the D.III at Wiener-Neustadt. Deliveries commenced in May 1917.

The Oeffag aircraft were built in three main versions (series 53, 153, 253) using the 185, 200, or 225 hp (138, 149, or 168 kW) Austro-Daimler engines respectively. The Austro-Daimlers provided improved performance over the Mercedes D.IIIa engine. For cold weather operations, Oeffag aircraft featured a winter cowling which fully enclosed the cylinder heads.

Austrian pilots often removed the propeller spinner from early production aircraft, since it was prone to falling off in flight. Beginning with aircraft 112 of the series 153 production run, Oeffag introduced a new rounded nose that eliminated the spinner. Remarkably, German wind-tunnel tests showed that the simple rounded nose improved propeller efficiency and raised the top speed by 14 km/h (9 mph).

All Oeffag variants were armed with two .315 in (8 mm) Schwarzlose machine guns. In most aircraft, the guns were buried in the fuselage, where they were inaccessible to the pilot. In service, the Schwarzlose proved to be somewhat less reliable than the 0.312 in (7.92 mm) LMG 08/15, mainly due to problems with the synchronization gear. The Schwarzlose also had a poor rate of fire. At the request of pilots, the guns were relocated to the upper fuselage decking late in the series 253 production run.

Oeffag engineers noted the wing failures of the D.III and modified the lower wing to use thicker ribs and spar flanges. These changes, as well as other detail improvements, largely resolved the structural problems that had plagued German versions of the D.III. In service, the Oeffag aircraft proved to be popular, robust, and effective. Oeffag built approximately 526 D.III aircraft between May 1917 and the Armistice

The type 153 from Flik 55 was flown by Oblt. Georg Kenzian and several other pilots. The plane feartures the winter engine cover and lack of a propeller spinner. The color scheme has been in dispute, several other drawings show a red and white pennant design.Consensus now favors the blue design as in this drawing.

This is another type 153 from Flik 55J The pilot was the Austrian ace Lt. Jozsef Kiss. As with the previous example it is in winter gear. The small black and white triangle near the nose is the logo for Oeffag.


  1. From Wikipedia Albatros D.III, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albatros_D.III"
  2. Grosz, Peter M., George Haddow and Peter Schiemer. "Austro-Hungarian Army Aircraft of World War I". Boulder, CO: Flying Machines Press, 2002. ISBN 1-89126-805-8.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Russia - 1916 Mosca MB 2bis

Russia's Folding Fighter

Mosca MB 2bis - 1916
Mosca MB 2bis - 1916

The Mosca MB 2bis is a smaller version of MB. It was fitted with a more powerful engine, and armed with single machine gun. One feature of the MB bis 2 was a folding wing that functioned in the same way as on its predecessor. The Mosca MB 2bis performed well in combat, despite the fact it was not equipped with synchronizer gear. On some Mosca MB-bis the gun was installed to fire above propeller arc.On other variants the propeller blades were protected by bullet-reflectors similar to the ones used on the Morane Saulnier N.

The success of MB-bis helped F.E.Mosca to obtain 50k rubles subsidy. The aircraft was in production for more than two years and 50 planes were built until 1918. A small number of Mosca MB 2bis were built after the Russian Revolution.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Germany 1916 Albatros D.III OAW

It is All in the Details

When looking at Albatros aircraft pictures you may come across what appears to be a mislabeled example. You may think you are looking at a D.V but the caption reads D.III. What you are looking at is an Albatros D.III OAW. The rudder is larger and has the rounded look of the D.V. Look closer at the fuselage and you will notice the blockier form of the D.III and the difference in access doors and louvers. The D.III OAW was a late development of the original type. The changes made for a much better aircraft.

This OAW has the typical chrome nose which is the hallmark of Jasta 10. The wings and tail plane is standard mauve and green pattern with blue under surfaces.

The colors for Jasta 32b are difficult to identify. There is a wide variation in the examples available. In some of the examples the rudder is black, some white. The reddish letters are the initials of the pilot Kurt Petzina. The wings and tail plane are five color lozenge patterns dark on the top and lighter on the lower surfaces. The wheel cover in this example is the lower surface type.

Unlike the previous example Jasta 50 used a fairly consistent unit color scheme. The red and blue striped tail plane is well documented as a unit identifier. Many examples use an upper surface lozenge camouflage pattern on the rudder. Black and white personal markings were common.

In the spring of 1917, D.III production shifted to Albatros' subsidiary, Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW), to permit Albatros to concentrate on development and production of the D.V. Between April and August 1917, Idflieg issued five separate orders for a total of 840 D.IIIs. The OAW variant underwent its Typenprüfung in June 1916. Production commenced at the Schneidemühl factory in June and continued through December 1917. OAW aircraft were distinguishable by their larger, rounded rudders.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Germany - 1916 Friedrichshafen FF.43

The Friedrichshafen FF.43 was a German single-seat floatplane fighter of the 1910s produced by Flugzeugbau Friedrichshafen.

Designed for defence of the floatplane bases, the FF.43 was a biplane powered by a Mercedes D.III inline piston engine driving a tractor propeller. It was armed with two 7.92 mm (0.312 in) LMG 08/15 forward-firing machine guns. Only one aircraft was built.


  1. Friedrichshafen FF.43. (2010, September 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:47, February 12, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Friedrichshafen_FF.43&oldid=385843959
  2. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.
  3. Borzutzki, Siegfried (1993). Flugzeugbau Friedrichshafen GmbH: Diplom-Ingenieur Theodor Kober. Berlin: KÖnigswinter.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Germany - 1917 Euler D.II

Another Rare Bird

One of the great things about researching a subject when you find something new. I had been gathering pieces of information on this rare aircraft for a while. The project has been on the back burner for a very long time. Other aircraft have had my attention, and my collection has grown fat with many examples of a few types. It was time for a refreshing change.

The Euler D.II was a German single-seat fighter, the successor to the earlier Euler D.I. The D.II was essentially a re-engined Euler D.I, the air-frame being virtually unchanged and the power plant being a 100 hp (75 kW) Oberusel U I seven cylinder air cooled rotary engine.

Thirty D.II fighters were ordered by the German air force in March 1917, however due to slow production these were not delivered until December 1917. As a result the D.II was relegated to the role of a trainer aircraft for the rest of the war.


  1. Euler D.II. (2010, September 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:17, August 19, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Euler_D.II&oldid=385551219
  2. William Green and Gordon Swanborough. The Complete Book of Fighters. Colour Library Direct, Godalming, UK: 1994. ISBN 1-85833-777-1.
  3. Gray, Peter and Owen Thetford. "German Aircraft of the First World War". London: Putnam, 1962. ISBN 0-93385-271-1

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Germany Jasta 10 Pfalz D.III

Jasta 10 and the Pfalz D.III

Pfalz Flugzeugwerke was established by the three Everbusch brothers to build French designed aircraft under license for the Bavarian government. Prior to the Great War Pfalz Flugzeugwerke acquired the rights to build to various Morane-Saulnier designs and later designs from Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft G.m.b.H. (Roland). Using the knowledge gained from building aircraft designed by other companies they began to build aircraft from their own designs in late 1916.

Pfalz was introduced to the construction of wooden fuselages building Roland D.IIs under license. This sturdy but heavy construction signature feature on all their subsequent designs. Their first attempt at building an original design resulted in the Pfalz D.III. Many people consider it to be one of the most beautiful aircraft flown during the First World War.

The presence of German states which had been independent before the empire led to competition between the states. Since Pfalz was a Bavarian enterprise most of their production output went to Jasta with a high percentage of Bavarian pilots. This is one of the reasons you see them concentrated in several Jastas. One of the most notable was Jasta 10.

The distinctive chrome yellow nose sections mark this as an aircraft from Jasta 10 before the spring of 1918. The main fuselage is painted with a varnish containing aluminum powder, giving it a silvery shine. The wing surfaces were all covered in the aluminum varnish with white bordered iron crosses on the upper wing top, and borderless iron crosses on the bottom surface of the lower wing.The wing struts landing gear struts, wheel cover and tail section are painted in chrome yellow. The yellow stripe was used by Ltn. Hans Klein.

The Pfalz D.III flown by Vzfw. Adam Barth once again has the basic theme for the Jasta combined with his distinctive "Dumbell" design he used on several aircraft. The tail section is different than the first example the aft fuselage and rudder is divided into two yellow stripes.

Unfortunately we do not know what the serial numbers or pilot were for this pre 1918 Pfalz D.III. This example shows some of the variations used in the basic paint scheme. The nose section has a larger yellow area and the tail section is done so it terminates at an angle. The struts and wheel covers are painted in the aluminum. varnish mix.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Britain - 1917 Austin-Ball A.F.B.1

The Austin-Ball A.F.B.1 was a British fighter plane of World War I built by car manufacturer Austin with input from Britain's leading fighter ace at the time, Albert Ball. Ball's father, Albert Ball Sr., was on the Board of Directors of Austin, and used his influence on behalf of his son to have the ace's sketches and specifications considered by the company. Young Albert Ball's design ideas were taken from the Nieuport that he was flying at the time. Actual design of the craft was by C. H. Brooks.

It was a biplane of largely conventional configuration with unstaggered, equal-span wings. The top wing was attached to the upper fuselage, granting the pilot excellent visibility on all sides and above. The armament was unusual: the fixed, forward-firing Lewis gun fired through the hollow propeller shaft; but its muzzle was located aft of the power plant. A second Lewis gun with an upwards firing arc was mounted on the upper wing. This weapon, combined with the excellent topside visibility was well-suited to Ball's favored method of attack, from below the enemy.

Only a single prototype was built. Although the fighter promised excellent performance, the SE.5a was already in production, and the A.F.B.1 would have competed with it for production facilities (Austin was a major SE.5a contractor) and engines (since both fighters used the Hispano-Suiza 8). Moreover, Ball had already been killed in action by the time the aircraft was ready for its first flight on 1 June 1917.


  1. From Wikipedia Austin-Ball A.F.B.1, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin-Ball_A.F.B.1"
  2. Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). "Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation". London: Studio Editions.
  3. "World Aircraft Information Files". London: Bright Star Publishing. pp. File 889 Sheet 85.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Britain - 1916 Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8

Frederick Koolhoven's Lumbering Big Ack

The day to day activities of the Great War were not always done by state of the art planes. Many mediocre aircraft served fairly well for long periods of time and locations. The weakness in an aircraft's design could become the strength of the design for a mission. Many of the larger two seat reconnaissance aircraft were considered too stable. However that stability was needed for photo-reconnaissance missions where clarity of the images were essential. Ironically some aircrews loved these lumbering planes because of their ease to fly and because they were sturdy enough to get them home safely.

Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8

The aircraft, originally designated the F.K.7, was designed by Dutch aircraft designer Frederick Koolhoven as a replacement for the Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c and the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3. It was a sturdier aircraft than the F.K.3, with a larger fuselage and wings and was powered by a 160 hp (110 kW) Beardmore water-cooled engine. The undercarriage used oleo shock absorbers. The undercarriage was unable to withstand rough use on the front line airfields. The observer was equipped with a Scarff ring mounting for a 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis machine gun. No armament was initially provided for the pilot. The rudder featured a long, pointed horn-balance.

In service the F.K.8s (nicknamed the "Big Ack") proved to be effective and dependable. It proved to be fairly successful in performing reconnaissance, artillery spotting, ground-attack, contact-patrol and day and night bombing missions. It was easier to fly than the R.E.8 and was sturdier but its performance was even more mediocre and it shared the inherent stability that plagued many Royal Aircraft Factory types.

A total of 1,650 were built and the type served alongside the R.E.8 until the end of the war, at which point 694 F.K.8s remained on duty with the RAF.

The F.K.8 served with several squadrons on operations in France, Macedonia, Palestine and for home defense, proving more popular in service than its better known contemporary the R.E.8. The first squadron was 35 Squadron. The F.K.8 was principally used for corps reconnaissance but was also used for light bombing, being capable of carrying up to six 40 lb (20 kg) phosphorus smoke bombs, up to four 65 lb (29 kg) bombs or two 112 lb (51 kg) bombs on under-wing racks.

Two Victoria Crosses were won by pilots of F.K.8s; one by Second Lieutenant Alan Arnett McLeod of No. 2 Squadron RFC, on 27 March 1918 and the second by Captain Ferdinand Maurice Felix West of No. 8 Squadron RAF on August 10, 1918.


  1. From Wikipedia Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8
  2. Bruce, J.M. "The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps" (Military Wing). London: Putnam and Company, 1982. ISBN 0-370-30084-X.
  3. Mason, Francis K. "The British Bomber Since 1914". London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1994. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.
  4. Munson, Kenneth. "Aircraft of World War I". London: Ian Allan, 1967. ISBN 0-7110-0356-4.
  5. Tapper, Oliver. "Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft since 1913". London: Putnam, 1988. ISBN 0-85177-826-7.
  6. Taylor, John W.R. "Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8." Combat Aircraft of the World from 1909 to the present. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1969. ISBN 0-425-03633-2.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Albatros Project part 8

Another Weekend Color Fest

The weekend has come and I am feeling bright and shiny, so here is a few colorful Albatros D.V aircraft to brighten the day. Slowly but surely I am working my way though my to do list of Albatros fighters. I am finally getting things organized and working my through every Jasta I can. My profile count is almost 800 at the moment I am not sure who high that number will go before I run out of examples to work from.

The Albatros D.V flown in the Prussian Jasta 3 had an atypical paint scheme for the model. The wings are mauve and green and the crosses are the old style Iron Cross type. The black M was the pilot's personal mark and not a unit designator.

This Albatros D.V served in Jasta 10 and piloted by Oblt. Ernest von Altaus. The all yellow scheme is typical for this Jasta. The wings are painted the standard scheme of mauve and green upper surfaces with pale blue underneath. It has the Iron Cross which date it to before the spring of 1918. The fuselage sports yellow circles and black bordered in white markings.

The Albatros D.Va flown by Vzfw. Kurt Jensch while serving in Jasta 61. The forward gray areas were more greenish in hue and the varnished wood fuselage markings consisted of a black and white five pointed star which works to give it a three dimensional effect, and a black stripe. The reworking of the national crosses into the Maltese cross scheme places this example to a time after April of 1918. The white rudder with the extended cross is an unusual touch. The wings and tail plane are done in mauve and green top, pale blue bottom scheme. The wing crosses would be the new type Maltese cross type too.

This Albatros D.Va served in the Bavarian Jasta 77b. The pilot was Oblt. Ernest von Altaus. The basic scheme is the standard varnished fuselage and green mauve and pale blue wing surfaces. The empanage or rear section around the tail section is the standard blue scheme used by the Jasta. The black pilot identification mark is two black weasels or ferrets pointed forward. Once again we see the old style Iron Cross markings. There is some contention whether the tail plane is a darker blue that the rest of the painted surfaces.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Germany - 1916 Siemens-Schuckert D.I

Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery

The Germans were no strangers to copying technology from their enemies in the early days of the Great War. Pfalz had copied early Morane-Saulnier aircraft, and the Oberursel rotary engines were essentially direct copies of the French-made Gnôme rotary engines. The performance of the Nieuport 17 impressed the Imperial German Army Air Service, so it comes as no surprise that The Germans would attempt to retro-engineer their own version. Unfortunately the engine used proved to be overly complicated and caused delays in delivery, so the aircraft was inferior to the aircraft in service at the time of production.

A number of captured Nieuport 17 fighters were given to German aircraft manufacturers to study, the Siemens-Schukert Werke produced the D.I based on the captured fighter. The D.I was a biplane powered by 110 hp (82 kW) Siemens-Halske Sh.I rotary engine. An order for 150 aircraft for the Imperial German Army Air Service was placed, but these were delayed by late delivery of the complicated geared engine, so that the aircraft was outclassed in combat by newer Allied aircraft when delivered. Only 95 aircraft were produced, most of which were used for training.

A single D.Ia was produced with a greater wing area and more powerful engine but was not ordered into production. The development continued through a prototype D.II to the D.III.


  1. "Siemens-Schuckert D.I", From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens-Schuckert_D.I
  2. Green, W; Swanborough, G (1994). "The Complete Book of Fighters". Smithmark. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.
  3. Grey, Peter; Thetford, Owen (1962). "German Aircraft of the First World War". London: Putnam.
  4. "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft" (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Germany - 19117 Rumpler D.I

Arriving Late for the Party

I like the funky look of this plane. All the reference art had the somewhat retro green and mauve paint scheme. If it had entered battle I suspect we would be seeing an entirely different paint job using standard Jasta marking schemes.

The Rumpler D.I (factory designation 8D1) was a fighter-reconnaissance aircraft produced in Germany at the end of World War I. It was a conventional single-bay biplane with wings of unequal span braced by I-struts. It featured an open cockpit and a fixed, tail skid undercarriage. The upper wing was fitted with aerodynamically balanced ailerons and fuselage had an oval cross-section.

The D.I had a protracted development through the course of 1917, with at least six different development prototypes built before Rumpler settled on a final design in 1918 in time for the Idflieg's D-type competition at Adlershof. Two 8D1s participated, powered by Mercedes D.III engines. Another one participated in the follow-on competition in autumn, this time with a BMW engine.

The Idflieg approved the type for production and issued the designation D.I, but only a small number were produced; the war was practically over and none saw operational service.


  1. "Rumpler D.I", From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumpler_D.I
  2. Gray, Peter and Owen Thetford. "German Aircraft of the First World War". London: Putnam, 1962.
  3. "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft". London: Aerospace Publishing.
  4. Kroschel, Günter and Helmut Stützer. "Die Deutschen Militärflugzeuge 1910-1918" (in German). Wilhelmshaven: Herford Verlag, E.S. Mittler & Sohn, 1994. ISBN 3-920602-18-8.
  5. Murphy, Justin D. "Military Aircraft: Origins to 1918: An Illustrated History of their Impact". Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2005. ISBN 1-85109-488-1.
  6. Taylor, Michael J. H. "Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation". London: Studio Editions, 1989. ISBN 0-51710-316-8.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Russia - 1913 Grigorovich M-1

From Humble Beginnings

Dmitry Pavlovich Grigorovich was a Russian pioneer in flying boat design. His designs were used sucessfully during World War One and both sides during the Russian Civil War. His designs served into the 1920's.

The Grigorovich M-1 was a single-engine flying boat, designed by Dmitry Pavlovich Grigorovich and manufactured in Russia in 1913.

After repairing a crashed Donnet-Lévêque flying boat, D.P.Grigorovich built his first original flying boat . It differed from the prototype by shorter fuselage of modified shape and wing airfoil similar to one used on Farman-16.

The Grigorovich M-1 is a copy of the French Donnet-Lévêque. The two-seater aircraft was configured so the pilots sat side by side. The M-1 was powered by a Gnome engine and a wooden pusher propeller. There were pontoons mounted at the end of the lower wing to stabilize the aircraft in the water. The M-1 could take off and land in the water. There were lashing points on the fuselage for a dolly allowing land based take-offs..

General performance was satisfactory, but it was obvious that the design needed improvement.


  1. From Wikipedia Grigorovich M-1, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigorovich_M-1"
  2. Gunston, Bill. "The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875-1995". London:Osprey, 1995. ISBN 1 85532 405 9.
  3. Shavrov, V.B. "History of aircraft construction in the USSR (Istoriya Konstruktsij Samoletov v SSSR.)" Vol 1-2. Moskva, Mashinostroenie, 1994. ISBN 5-217-02528-X

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Germany - 1918 Fokker D.VIII

Winner of the April 1918 fighter competition, the Fokker D.VIII monoplane was delayed by production problems. Only thirty six of them entered service during the last weeks of the war. Equipped with an underpowered engine, the D.VIII was nevertheless an excellent fighter eagerly received by the German air service. Dubbed the “Flying Razor” by Allied pilots, it had the distinction of scoring the last aerial victory of the war.


  1. "Fokker D.VIII", From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fokker_D.VIII
  2. Connors, John F., "Fokker's Flying Razors", Wings, Granada Hills, California, August 1974, Volume 4, Number 4, pages 45, 48.
  3. Weyl, A.R. "Fokker: The Creative Years". 1988. ISBN 0-851778-17-8.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Britain - 1918 Armstrong Whitworth Armadillo

Look! A Flying Armadillo!

Maybe it is just me, but the name Armadillo sounds like a good nickname for a tank, but for an aircraft, not so much. It was not a bad aircraft, it was just not as good as the competing models being produced. The lines are clean, although the box-like section housing the machine guns makes it look thicker than it really was.

The Armstrong Whitworth Armadillo was a British single-seat biplane fighter aircraft built by Armstrong Whitworth. The aircraft was a two-bay biplane with a square section fuselage. The engine in the nose was enclosed by a circular cowl with a deep hump above the cowl housing twin 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns.

The Armadillo was designed in early 1918 by Fred Murphy, who had succeeded F Koolhoven as chief designer to Armstrong Whitworth. The F.M.4 Armadillo was developed as a private venture single-seat fighter. The aircraft was powered by a Bentley BR2 rotary engine. The development program began construction of two prototypes.

By the time the Armadillo appeared, in summer 1918, the Sopwith Snipe had already entered large scale production. The Snipe's performance avantage won out and the Armadillo was abandoned. The project was canceled leaving the second prototype uncompleted.


  1. Armstrong Whitworth Armadillo. (2010, May 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:19, July 4, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Armstrong_Whitworth_Armadillo&oldid=360031868
  2. Bruce, J.M. (1965). War Planes of the First World War Volume One Fighters London: Macdonald9.
  3. Mason, Francis K. (1992). British Fighters since 1912 Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press,. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.
  4. Taylor, Michael J. H. (1990). Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War I London: Studio Editions.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Germany - 1914 Friedrichshafen FF.33e

The Friedrichshafen FF.33 was a German single-engined amphibious reconnaissance biplane designed by Flugzeugbau Friedrichshafen in 1914.

The initial production version was powered by a Mercedes D.II engine inline water-cooled engine, six examples of this variant were built. The basic design was refined and improved. The FF.33e main production reconnaissance variant was powered by a Benz B.III inline engine. This version had longer twin floats, and the under tail central float was eliminated. A radio transmitter replaced its armament, aproximately 180 examples of the FF.33e variant were built.

The FF.33l was the main production armed scout/fighter version. The design underwent aerodynamic improvements, including a reduction in length and wingspan, about 135 of this version built.

The FF.33 served in both the German and Austrio-Hungarian navies. Several other nations purchased the Friedrichshafen FF.33e during the first world war, including: Bulgaria, Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden. The Finnish Air Force purchased two FF.33Es from Germany in February 1918. The first one arrived on April 20, 1918 to Vaasa and the other one in the summer of 1918.


  • FF.33 Initial production version powered by a Mercedes D.II engine, six built
  • FF.33b FF.33 with pilot and observers positions reversed, additional observers-operated machine-gun and powered by 119 kW (160 hp) Maybach inline piston engine, five built.
  • FF.33e Main production reconnaissance variant powered by a Benz B.III inline engine, longer twin floats, under tail central float removed, and radio transmitter instead of armament, about 180 built.
  • FF.33f Scout/Fighter version based on FF.33e with reduced span wings and reduced length but fitted with a machine-gun on a pivoted mount, five built.
  • FF.33h FF.33f with aerodynamic refinements, and duplication of wing-bay bracing cables as a safeguard if the observer has to fire his machine-gun forward through the wings, about 50 built.
  • FF.33j FF.33e with aerodynamic refinements and the provision of a radio transmitter and receiver.
  • FF.33l Main production scout/fighter version, with further aerodynamic improvements and a fixed machine gun, about 130 built
  • FF.33s dual-control trainer version
  • FF.39 Refined version of the FF.33e with a 149 kW (200 hp) Benz Bz.IV engine, 14 built.
  • FF.49c Further improved FF.39 with strengthened structures, balanced controls, a radio receiver and transmitter, machine-gun for observer, over 200 built.
  • FF.49b Bomber variant of the FF.49c, crew positions reversed, deletion of observers machine-gun and provision to carry a light bombload, 15 built.
  • FF.59a Development aircraft based on FF.39 with different tail, one built.
  • FF.59b Development aircraft based on FF.39 with different tail, one built.
  • FF.59c FF.39 with modified tail unit, wing interplane struts moved outwards and inner-bay bracing wires removed.
  • C.I A landplane version of the FF.33l with wheeled landing gear, one built.


  1. Friedrichshafen FF.33. (2010, August 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:57, August 29, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Friedrichshafen_FF.33&oldid=379054818
  2. Timo Heinonen. Thulinista Hornetiin - 75 vuotta Suomen ilmavoimien lentokoneita. Tikkakoski: Keski-Suomen ilmailumuseo. (1992) ISBN 9519568824.