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SPAD S.VII

The in-line engine winner was the Fokker D. This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage. Fokker received an order for aircraft. To meet the demand for the new fighter, Albatros, Fokker's chief competitor, also built the D. VII under license. Ironically, Albatros built more D. VIIs than the primary contractor and the Albatros product was of higher quality. The Fokker D. The German Fokker D. The well-known requirement articulated in the Armistice agreement ending the war, that specifically demanded that all Fokker D.

VII aircraft should immediately be surrendered, succinctly attests to the general high regard for the airplane.

Aviation Innovator - Fokker's 4 Leading Warplanes

During the latter half of , the Allies had regained air superiority over the Western Front with the S. To counter this, the German government invited aircraft manufacturers to submit prototype single-seat fighter designs for evaluation at a competition to be held at Adlershof airfield in Berlin in January The aircraft would be demonstrated by the manufacturers, and would be tested by front-line combat pilots. The design with the best overall performance would be awarded a production contract.

Thirty-one airplanes from ten manufacturers were evaluated for such qualities as speed, maneuverability, diving ability, pilot's view, climbing rate, performance at high altitude, etc. One rotary-engined and one in-line-engined design were selected. The winner in each category was a biplane offered by the Dutch-born aircraft manufacturer, Anthony Fokker. The rotary-engined design was the Fokker V. Because the hoped-for higher horsepower rotary engines intended for use in the Fokker D.

Fokker Eindecker fighters

VI were not available soon enough, the airplane had to be fitted with an older, lower-horsepower engine, which rendered performance below combat standards. VI saw little operational service and was relegated to home defense and training roles. Far more successful was the in-line-engined winner of the Adlershof competition, the Fokker V. VII as a production airplane.


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The V. Platz was the true creative force behind the famous Fokker fighters of the second half of the war. He did most of the fundamental design work on the firm's aircraft after Anthony Fokker's talents were greater as a test pilot than as a designer. He had an innate ability to fly an experimental aircraft and know just what improvements needed to be made to turn it into a successful performer.

This intuitive sense on the part of Fokker, combined with Platz's innovative preliminary designs, made them a formidable team. Fokker's ego and dominating personality frequently led him to understate Platz's role as the genuine innovator of the designs that bore the Fokker name, and he took undue credit for himself. Nevertheless, there is no denying the important contributions Fokker made to bringing Platz's designs to final form.

Four Noisy WW1 Fighter Aircraft

This was especially true in the case of the Fokker D. VII prototype, the V. Richthofen thought the airplane was maneuverable and had generally good performance, but that it was tricky to handle and directionally unstable, especially in a dive.


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  • Ritchhofen's assessment confirmed Fokker's own impression of the V. To remedy these problems, Fokker lengthened the fuselage 40 cm 16 in , added a fixed vertical fin and a new rudder shape, and altered the aileron balances, among other small changes. With these modifications, the V. The Red Baron flew the improved V. He urged other pilots at the competition to try it, and they also thought the design was very promising.

    Given his stature, the endorsement of von Richthofen went far towards the selection of the V. The trials of the V. His instinctive sense of precisely how to quickly modify the V. Moreover, Fokker understood better than any of his competitors that overall performance was more important in a fighter aircraft than exceptional performance in one or two areas, such as speed or climb rate.

    Other aircraft at Adlershof were better than the V. But none surpassed it as a fighter design in the complete sense, regarding not only overall performance but also structural and production concerns. Upon winning the Adlershof competition, Fokker received a production order for Fokker D. Concerned that the Fokker factory would be unable to meet the demand for the new fighter, IdFlieg Inspektion der fliegertruppen , directed Albatros, Fokker's great rival to produce D.

    VIIs under license. Albatros built the Fokker D. The Johannisthal-built aircraft carried the designation Fokker D. VII O. Because the Fokker factory produced no construction drawings, working only from jigs and assembly sketches, Albatros had to make its own drawings, based on a completed airframe obtained from Fokker. This, in addition to each firm applying its own construction techniques and standards, resulted in Fokker D. VIIs that looked alike, but differed in detail. Thus, not all components were interchangeable on airplanes built at the three factories.

    Moreover, the aircraft built by Albatros were generally considered to be of higher quality than those produced by the primary contractor, Fokker. The importance of the information gathered by this new technological innovation was made evident to all the belligerents in the opening days of the conflict.

    Anthony Fokker

    The equal importance of preventing the enemy from accomplishing this mission was also apparent. On April 1, French pilot Roland Garros took to the air in an airplane armed with a machine gun that fired through its propeller. This feat was accomplished by protecting the lower section of the propeller blades with steel armor plates that deflected any bullets that might strike the spinning blades. It was a crude solution but it worked, on his first flight Garros downed a German observation plane. Within two weeks Garros added four more planes to his list of kills.

    British B.E.2

    Garros became a national hero and his total of five enemy kills became the benchmark for an air "Ace. Dutch aircraft manufacturer Anthony Fokker, whose factory was nearby, was immediately summoned to inspect the plane. The Germans ordered Fokker to return to his factory, duplicate the French machinegun and demonstrate it to them within 48 hours. Fokker did what he was told and then some.