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Typenumber Dr.1.Dreidecker
Type of aircraft
Country Germany
crew 1
Wingspan 7.190
Lenght 5.770
Enginetype Oberursel Ur.II 9-Zylinder Umlaufmotor
110 HP
Date first flight august 1917
max speed 185 km/h
climb rate 5.7 m/s
ceiling 5000 m
armament 2x7.9 mm Spandau 08/15 machine guns, 500 rounds of ammo each

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In 1917 bouwde Anthony Fokker de DR.1 driedekker.

Dit moest het antwoord zijn op de de door Sopwith aan Britse zijde gebouwde driedekker.

Er was een demonstratievliegtuig in aanbouw voor Oostenrijk-Hongarije, de tweedekkerjager D.6, en deze werd voltooid als driedekker.

Aanvankelijk had deze D.VI geen vleugelstijlen. De motor was de 110 pk Oberursel-rotatiemotor. Het werd gevlogen door Lt. Werner Voss en hij was enthousiast over het type. Op 14 juli 1917 werd de eerste bestelling van 20 stuks voor het leger besteld. Het type werd aangeduid als Dr. 1

In juni 1917 overtuigde Manfred von Richthoven, de 'Rode baron', de Duitse luchtmachtstaf dit toestel aan te schaffen. Ondanks het feit dat de snelheid van de DR.1 10 mph leger was dan de Albatross jager van de geallieerden was het toch een gevreesde tegenstander.

Het wendbare toestel dat de mogelijkheid had om met een door Fokker gepatenteerde methode door het schroefveld te schieten zonder de schroef te raken kon 1.5 uur in de lucht blijven. Op Deze kist waren 2 Spandau-machinegeweren aangebracht.

Door de stevige constructie en de afwezigheid van spandraden die kapotgeschoten konden worden, was het moeilijk deze driedekker neer te halen.

Het vliegtuig was snel verouderd omdat het langzaam was. Vanaf april 1918 werden de Dr. 1 vliegtuigen vervangen. Het belangrijkste onderdeel dat met
De Dr.1 vloog, was Jagdgeschwarder 1, het z.g. "Richthofen Circus"

De maximum snelheid was 155km/h en het plafond 650 m.

In luchtgevechten werden alleen al door Manfred von Richthoven 80 geallieerde toestellen neergeschoten.

De bouw van deze succesvolle jager werd in 1918 gestopt, er werden 322 stuks gebouwd. Nu is het toestel alleen nog in musea te zien en zijn er nog enkele vliegende replica's.

Fokker Dr.1

The Red Dr.1 from Van Richthofen in a dogfight with a SE.5A. C Thijs Postma

Richthofen Circus, Fokker Dr1 at the front

Fokker Dr.1 at the front

Fokker Dr.1, red painted and used by von Richthofen

Fokker Dr.1

Fokker Dr.1

Fokker Dr.1 Dreideckers at the front. At the background "tent"hangars

Fokker Dr1 replica

Fokker Dr1 replica

Most famous planes of WO I

The Fokker Dr.1. (Dr standing for Dreidecker or 3 wings) was one of the most famous planes of World War One. This is probably because it was associated with the Red Baron.

The Fokker Dr.1.'s airframe was made out of steel tubing that was covered in aircraft doped canvas. When it was empty, it weighed 405kg. It had one 80kw engine and could fly a maximum speed of 185Km/H and fly a maximum time of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It could fly at a maximum altitude of 14,000ft.

The Dr.1. prototypes first flew with cantilever wings, but after some accidents a single strut was added. Structural problems continued, and the wing construction had to be improved after production began. The Dr.1. was not very fast, and thus more useful in a defensive role; but it was highly manoeuvrable.

Only 320 were built. Manfred Von Richthofen made the Dr. 1.far more famous than the aircraft deserved. Like most planes in World War One, the Fokker Dr.1. had a rotary engine.

The propeller was bolted directly onto the engine and the engine and the propeller would rotate together.

The Fokker Dr.1. had one open cockpit, which could hold one pilot.

Fokker Dr.1, C Arvo Karin

The plane had two machine guns with an intercepting gear that was designed to fire bullets through the propeller arc without hitting the blades.

Replica of the Fokker Dr.1 at the Aviodome in Lelystad

The Fokker Dr.1. was a smaller plane compared to other planes of World War One. Also it was not as fast as most planes.

When the plane first came into service, the enemy thought the Fokker Dr.1. was just a huge joke until pilots like Werner Voss, showed what it could do in combat.

Flying a prototype, Voss shot down 10 British aircraft in six days of aerial combat in September 1917.

Only 320 Fokker Dr.1's were made in World War One, so no Fokker Dr 1 is still around today, there are only replicas.

Design from Reinhold Platz

Reinhold Platz was the chief designer of the Fokker Dr.1.

Reinhold designed many planes in World War One and he offered his designs to both sides, but the Allies turned him down. Some people thought that Reinhold had copied the design of the Sopwith Triplane but Reinhold hadn't seen the Sopwith Triplane before he started to design the Fokker Dr.1.


During the designing he made a prototype called Fokker V.3. which suffered from severe wing vibration. So the next prototype (Fokker V.4.) was fitted with hollow struts to minimize the vibration. The final design had redesigned ailerons and elevators.

The Fokker Dr.1 was Germany's response to the success of the Sopwith Triplane.

Best dogfighter

Germany mainly ordered the Fokker Dr.1 into production by tactics. After Germany saw what the Sopwith Triplane could do on the Western Front, they thought they needed a plane similar to the Sopwith Triplane for themselves for defence and attack purposes.

The Fokker Dr.1 was known as one of the best dogfighters of the war. The Fokker Dr.1 was a terrible plane in the hand of an inexperienced pilot but with an experienced pilot it was an almost unstoppable dogfighter.

One pilot that made the Fokker Dr.1 very successful was Von Richthofen or commonly known as the 'Red Baron'.He had 80 confirmed victories, which made him the most successful pilot in World War 1.

He was also the leader of the Flying Circus or Jasta 11, (a squadron during World War One that shot down more than 300 allied planes).

He was killed in his Fokker Dr.1 whilst chasing a novice pilot fairly low to the ground


by a single shot in the heart by either a Canadian Pilot, Australian machine gunners or by ground troops.

The Red Baron said the Fokker Dr 1 "Climbed like a monkey and manoeuvred like the devil.
The Red Baron was awarded the Blue Max, which is the common name for Prussia's highest military honour. Some people today believe that the Red Baron made the Fokker Dr. 1 more famous than it deserved.


The Fokker Dr.1 was a successful plane because it was small and had 3 wings and a supplementary airfoil on the undercarriage.

With its size, weight and three wings, it was able to climb rapidly and easily outclimb almost any opponent. It could turn very quickly as well. The Fokker Dr. 1 was a highly manoeuvrable and very agile plane. It offered good upward visibility and lacked the traditional bracing wires, which was a vulnerable point of many planes in World War One.

The bracing wires could easily be shot away in combat. All these characteristics of the Fokker Dr.1 meant that it was a deadly opponent in close air-to-air combat.

However, the Fokker Dr.1 was not without problems,


some reasons why it did not succeed was because of the poor wing design which led to the temporary withdrawal from service by the end of October 1917.

Several pilots were killed because of this wing problem. Among them was Staffelfuhrer Henrich Gontermann who was an ace that had scored 39 victories. He took off in his newly delivered Fokker Dr 1 for the first time to perform aerobatics over his home aerodrome. As he pulled out of a steep dive, witnesses saw pieces fly from the Fokker Dr.1's wings. The plane crashed and killed Gontermann.

By the time this wing structural problem was fixed, the Fokker Dr.1 had already been replaced with the newer, faster Fokker D.7.


How did the Dr.1 fly?

When Anthony Fokker asked his chief designer, Reinhold Platz, to come up with something better than the British Sopwith Triplane, he wanted "only the absolute essentials of a fighting ship," sacrificing speed for climb and maneuverability.

As a result, of all the fighters in World War I, the Fokker Dr.I Triplane, unveiled in late 1917, was the most controversial.

In the right hands it sparkled during a dogfight, but it had poor top speed and miserable handling characteristics. Unstable in all axes, it required constant control input and skill to avoid hideous consequences.

Though terrifying to an inexperienced pilot, this very trait made it sing in the hands of the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, who fashioned the airplane's legend and kept flying it even after newer aircraft had surpassed the Tripe's performance.

The Dr.I is very small, befitting a pure dogfighter.
A flight in the "Tripe" was a mixture of raw fear and overpowering exhilaration. No sooner was the throttle forward than the tail popped up and the aircraft leapt off the ground. Visibility was excellent, in spite of three wings, which may produce abominable drag, but wow, do they lift! The climb rate was astonishing in spite of an almost flat, nose-level attitude.

After levelingoff, the nose, which blocked all forward vision on the ground, was unnoticeable. Perched high in your seat, you could easily scan the sky for aircraft. The two Spandau machine guns sat directly in front of you, easy to aim and accessible when jammed. With more speed, you would discovered the rudder had almost no feel to it. When pushed the rudder bar, you got none of the expected feedback pressure in you're feet.


The first turn was an education. The wings generate so much lift that just a touch of aileron produces an immediate change in heading. Not only was normal coordinated use of the rudder in the turn unnecessary, but the pilot actually had to hold some opposite rudder to keep the airplane from rolling over on its back.
The ailerons were extremely stiff, giving a very poor roll rate, but that was not much of a liability because rudder and lift made up for it.

Working up some courage, the pilot could rack the Fokker over onto its side, pulled back on the stick and whipped around immediately, feeding in large doses of "top" rudder to keep the nose up.

All Great War pilots agreed nothing could out-turn the Dr.I. In a loop the fighter goes around so fast it seems to be trying to bite its own tail and it can be done so tight one might end up back in front of his opponent. One of the more effective maneuvers in combat was a wings-level flat turn using rudder alone. Allied fighters fell out of the air trying to follow it.

The Triplane is also the most terrifying World War I type to land since rudder effectiveness disappears the second the tail drops...that's why ax handle skids were bolted under the bottom wings, saving many a pilot from an otherwise disastrous ground loop.

Complete loss of control on landing was not unusual...heaven help anyone who bounced on touchdown since all controls are ineffective at low speed and the fighter will surely roll itself up into a ball. In a sideslip close to the ground, you can actually stall the rudder out and end up descending into the ground out of control at full power.

The Fokker Triplane was not an inexperienced pilot's machine.