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Pips

Albatross D.VII

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Following the introduction of the less than successful Albatross D.V in May 1917, Albatross continued to develop prototypes for consideration. One that seemed worthy of further development was the D.VII.

 

It flew for the first time in August 1917 and, on paper, appears to offer a substantial inprovement over both the D.V and the D.Va. It was fitted with wings of parallel chord (similar to the original D.I and D.II), but with ailerons at all four tips linked with a strut. Although I cannot find any information on flight performance it's reasonable to assume that this wing configuration would have proved far more durable than the relatively weak sesquiplane layout used in the D.III, D.V and D.Va. With the wing design reverting back to a more standard parallel chord shape, (both wings having two spars) the added strength inherent in that design would have solved the problem of wing failure. Couple that with ailerons fitted to both top and bottom planes, and the D.VII should have been lighter on the controls and have been able to dive without fear. A major consideration.

Fuselage followed standard Albatross practice of moulded plywood, but rudder and elevators were of a new design. Overall dimensions were similar to the D.V, but all up weight was significantly reduced from the D.V (937kg) to that of 885 kg - 1 kg lighter than the D.III.

 

Powerplant was the 195hp Benz BZ IIB, which gave the D.VII an outstanding top speed of 204 km/h (127.5mph), and a climb to 2000m in just 7 min. That's equal to the Se.5a and SPAD XIII, and runs rings around the Camel.

 

So here is an aeroplane that can (based on a prototype version) match the very best the Allies have in speed, climbs better than even the D.III (possibly manoeuvers better too) and can be dived as well as any aeroplane in the sky. The D.VII offers exactly the fighting characteristics that von Richthofen and others were lamenting in the D.Va.

 

Given such significant performance advantages over the D.V/a, at a time when all and sundry were crying out for a more effective fighter to combat the superior Se.5a, SPAD and Camel ........ why wasn't the D.VII put into production? It would have made a wonderful stopgap fighter until the Fokker D.VII became available in mid 1918.

 

Anyone know the reason?

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I don't know the answer, Pips, but I found at least one picture of the prototype.

I guess other craft with the same good qualities were easier or cheaper to produce.

 

 

 

The sesquiplane wing on the Albatros is much criticised, but I must say, that from my sim experience

with flying without Labels and TAC, the overall view is a decisive factor, and the excellent view you have

in the Albatros is a great advantage.

If dreaming is allowed: I wished there was a sesquiplane lower wing with two spars, stable enough

for steeper dives - and the D.V would be a very dangerous opponent. Still was in the hands of good

pilots, as the history of the "Golden Triumvirat" in Jasta 5 shows.

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This was answered over in the Aerodrome. "Severe resonance vibrations...particularly when pulling out of a shallow dive, to such a degree that the wing spars, fuselage frames and plywood skin were damaged."

 

In the book Albatros Experimentals, Forgotten Fighters 1, page 6, it also states that after the "fuselage frame was replaced, the weight was redistributed, the center-section struts were relocated and a different airscrew was installed," the vibration was eliminated but during trials of November 1917 the machine "failed to demonstrate noteworthy performance." A second Alb D.VII was made but it experienced "severe nose-heaviness."

 

Eventually it was cleared for "flight by military pilots," but by summer 1918 acceptance flights had not taken place. This is speculated to be the result of the Alb D.VII's Benz Bz.IIIBo ("o" because it wasn't geared) engines being used by the Aviatik D.III, although I believe only two of those were built. However, from what I've read the V-8 Bz.BIIIBo was an "oddity" and not mass produced, and as such its availability was limited.

Edited by JFM

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Albatros seems to have been unable to develop any new decent fighters after the D.V / D.Va. However, they continued to design and manufacture excellent two-seater until the end of the war. Maybe we'll see some of these in OFF2?

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Thank you Jim for that informative answer. Nearly every time you post here I learn something.

 

No one's observed yet that it's damn ugly too.

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Thank you Jim for that informative answer. Nearly every time you post here I learn something.

Ditto to that! :drinks:

 

No one's observed yet that it's damn ugly too.

Indeed - nothing of the beautiful lines of the D.V.

The next wooden aircraft design that succeeded the Albatros in a "beauty contest" was the Roland D.VI -

a design like an Italian speed boat.

From all I read it was somewhere between the late Albatros and the Fokker D.VII in performance;

closer even to the Fokker, and more agile than the Albatros.

The Roland climbed very well (to 4500 meters in 25 minutes), and she was at this altitude still 160 km/h fast.

She could take off after only a very short runway, but was more tricky to land.

Total production number is said to have been 353.

 

 

But Fokker could build his new craft much faster and in larger amounts, and the pilots preferred the Fokker D.VII

and the Pfalz D.XII.

 

 

 

Thanks to Thomas Genth for the picture.

Edited by Olham

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Naw, I know you love the Pfalz, Hasse Wind, but she's not as beautiful IMHO - but nevertheless: a good fighter with a sturdy dive.

 

But: chacun à son goût - there's no accounting for taste.Otherwise we'd all fight for the same woman. :grin:

Edited by Olham

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Naw, I know you love the Pfalz, Hasse Wind, but she's not as beautiful IMHO - but nevertheless: a good fighter with a sturdy dive.

 

But: chacun à son goût - there's no accounting for taste.Otherwise we'd all fight for the same woman. :grin:

 

 

Not me Olham;

 

I prefer function over appearance any time. That being said if it looks good....it's a bonus!

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