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Pips

Albatross D.Va D.5390/17

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Following on from the earlier topic Anemometers and Airspeed Indicators I emailed the Australian War Memorial, asking them what instruments their display Albatross was equipped with. The following was their answer:

 

Only two Albatros D.Va aircraft survive today; the Memorial’s D.5390/17, and D.7161/17 held by the National Air and Space Museum in the USA. Of the two, the Australian one is by far the most intact and original. Although some instruments and fittings were missing from the AWM aircraft when the most recent project began, the original cabin structure survived almost completely intact. This meant that we could search for screw holes, brackets or other traces when checking to see if a particular instrument was originally fitted.

Although no cockpit photos of D.5390/17 taken in 1917 are known, there is a report prepared the day after capture - on 18 December - by Captain Ross of 3 Squadron AFC (known at the time as 69 Squadron RFC). This document recorded a range of details including the engine and gun numbers, together with some major equipment fitted in the cockpit. According to the list the aircraft carried Bosch starting magneto No.48092, Revolutions Indicator (tachometer) No.84949 by Wilhelm Morill (should be Morell) of Leipzig, and finally a petrol gauge and an oil pressure gauge by Maximall of Berlin. The document also indicated that a clock had been souvenired before the aircraft was recovered. It’s also worth noting that a British airspeed indicator and strut-mounted pitot head were also fitted to the aircraft, and that these were removed some time after c.1955.

 

Determining which instruments were fitted

 

Given all this, the Memorial decided to re-fit the Albatros’ cockpit to its condition at the time of capture on 17 December 1917. By 2008 - when the most recent preservation works commenced - of the items listed in 1917 only the magneto switch, and the petrol and oil pressure gauges remained in position. The cockpit and airframe structure was very carefully checked to see if anything was missing or had been overlooked.

There was no trace of mountings for the bungees used to attach an altimeter in either of the two known possible locations.

There was no trace of any mounting for the clock mentioned by Captain Ross. This may have been a fob watch type carried by the pilot.

The bracket for the tachometer was still in position on the tubular rear gun mounting structure.

The brackets for the Bosch starting magneto were located on the left side. Although damaged, there was no doubt about their purpose.

The compass, gimbal mounting and timber attachment block were missing from the known location low down of the right side of the cockpit. On D.5390/17 numerous small steel nails used to secure the timber block were intact and still projected out from the ply. Given that this is not mentioned by Ross, most likely the compass and associated parts were removed from the aircraft before 3 Squadron collected it.

Both ‘vee’ inter-wing struts were checked for any mounting holes or marks to indicate that an anemometer-type airspeed indicator had been fitted, with no result. Photos taken on 18 December 1917 do not show a strut-mounted instrument or any trace of it.

As currently displayed, the aircraft has:

 

The correct type Bosch starting magneto, a spare item drawn from the AWM collection.

The original Bosch magneto switch assembly.

The correct type compass and mounting, spare items drawn from the AWM collection.

The correct type tachometer by Morell, a spare item drawn from the AWM collection. It is calibrated from 4-14, and has the correct ratio – 1:2 – for an in-line engine.

The original petrol gauge and an oil pressure gauge by Maximall of Berlin.

Seems that in this case the number and type of instruments fitted was sparse indeed.

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Thank you for the detail on that craft, Pips!

I went through the great collection of Greg vanWyngarden, which is shown at the "Wingnut Wings" website.

 

http://www.wingnutwi...ry?categoryid=1

 

I found, that rather the majority of Albatros D.V did not carry an anemometer, while some still did.

When I think of the fact, that Theodor Osterkamp bought the first camera for his photo recon himself,

from his own money (!), then I wonder if perhaps some German flyers just bought such instruments?

 

The lower photo shows an Albatros of Ernst Udet. While I saw many Albatros D.V without the reinforcement

rod attached to the V-strut, this D.V has one. Another tricky question - were these attached as field mods,

or in the Armee-Flugparks? And if so, did not all AFlup attach them?

 

 

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.

 

Pips, thank you very much for your time and efforts on this and for the detailed write-up supplied by the AWM. First-rate stuff, all of it! And thank you Olham for the link to Wingnut's super photo gallery. I've been there many a time doing research and it's always good to remind folks such a treasure is available.

 

.

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Thanks for the info, guys. I note that Udet's ride only has 1 hubcap. I guess he must have left it parked in a bad neighborhood one night :).

 

As to strut-mounted anemometers, the Austrians suffered from critical shortages there as they did in all other high-tech stuff, especially as the war progressed and the need for such things became more urgent. Thus, they were forced to resort to less effective devices.

 

Here we see Aviatik D.I(Th) 101.12, completed in early 1918, with the standard KuK strut-mounted anemometer. This is a TT2 (Teddybär Tachometer, Mk 2), serial number 3724, built by Hlvinka & Perelli of Cattaro. The pilot could, with experience, judge his airspeed fairly accurately by observing the positions of the bear's various limbs, which contained lead weights of different sizes. There were never enough of these instruments to satisfy demand, however, and the archives are full of heated correspondence between Flars and Hlvinka & Perelli concerning increasing production.

 

The more advanced TT4, under development in late 1918, contained an intricate clockwork mechanism. As air passed through the bear's head from ear to ear, it spun a turbine that activated the bear's mechanical arms, with which the bear signaled the airspeed to the pilot using semaphore. Test results were promising but the war ended before the TT4 could go into production.

 

The Teddybär series of instruments, like many Austro-Hungarian aviation advances, grew out of expedient tinkering by personnel in the field. In this case, Offizierstellvertreter Zoli Thoth of Flik 3/D lashed a stray cat to one of the struts of his Lohner B.VII in early 1916. The faster he flew, the louder the cat howled. While this idea worked well enough for such slow, low-powered aircraft, it was not successful on later machines. This led Flars to seek an instrument designed for the purpose. :drinks:

 

(photo from Grosz, Haddow, and Schiemer)

post-45917-0-37524500-1345480843_thumb.jpg

Edited by Bullethead

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A bit early in the day for absinthe, isn't it BH?

You took the words right out of me mouth, Lou...

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You took the words right out of me mouth, Lou...

 

Hey, I've got to do something to maintain my membership in the BOC :cool:

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Nope. It originally came from Val de Travers, Switzerland. Then the French also produced it.

The Germans must have got it from them. Etc. etc.

 

PS/Edit: From Albatros to Absinthe in 5 posts - what times are we living in...

Edited by Olham

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Don't blame me for pulling this thread off course. Not once have I mentioned absinthe. :biggrin:

 

I agree that all this absinthe talk has prevented discussion of the very important point I was trying to make in my post. Aparently nobody looked closely at the TT2 in my picture. If they had, they'd have seen that it was attached to the strut with what appear to be spare rib tapes from squadron stores. This is important in reference to the OP's quote from the AWM, who said an exhaustive search for screw holes came up empty on the struts.

 

All these strut-mounted anemometers, whether the German "propeller beanie" type or the Austrian Teddybär, were self-contained devices. They were powered by the passing wind and incorporated their own display for their data, so they needed no wiring. It was simply a matter of attaching them to the airplane somehow; thus, they could easily be swapped between aircraft. At least in the Austrian case, the primary means of attachment seems to have to lash them to the strut with fabric strips, leaving no screw holes. Thus, on surviving examples of KuK planes, an absence of screw holes does not imply that the plane never had a TT2 installed. So, I was trying to suggest that the Germans might also have used fabric lashings instead of screws and brackets.

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I don't believe that the Germans would have used fabric lashings.

That is a pretty "lose" method, and therefor very un-German. Also, these instruments were very expensive.

They would have used a screw clamp (or however you call those things).

You see on the back of this MORELL Anemometer from 1917, that it was prepared to be screwed on to a hold.

 

 

 

 

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Yes, I agree with Olham. It does sound very un-German to use such makeshift measures, especially with expensive instruments. However, I'm definitely not an expert in these things. Would be interesting to see some photos of those German anemometres attached to aircraft.

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Well, the anemometer couldn't have been mounted directly to the strut because then the gauge would have faced either straight forward or backwards instead of at the cockpit. Thus, some sort of braket had to be used. If it was a clamp around the strut as in your lower picture, then it wouldn't have left screw holes, either.

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Okay, here is another photograph from "Wingnut Wings" (vanWyngarden's) collection.

It shows a crashed Pfalz headover. The metal clasp/bracket/clamp is very well visible.

 

 

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That's an interesting pic, Olham, but I'm not sure it answers the question, for 2 reasons:

 

1. The anemometer was dislodged in the crash and is not in its original position. This is shown by the fact that the gauge is now facing forward and down, so would be unreadable from the cockpit.

 

2. It's hard to tell for sure because it's out of focus, but the clamp on the strut in the foreground appears to wrap around the strut intead of being screwed onto it. Thus, there wouldn't be screw holes in the strut.

 

I also note that the anemometer is a different model from the one shown in the close-up color pic. The shape of the housing is quite different, so there's no guarantee it had a thick, cast-on mounting flange like that. Such a flange would not bend, but something obviously bent to get the anemometer into its current position without it breaking off the plane entirely. It's a shame the strut in the foreground hides the rear of the housing and its attachment points.

post-45917-0-20601400-1345581677_thumb.jpg

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Bullet, such flanges don't need screw holes in the strut. Do you not have these in America (see my pic a bit further up)?

The screws would be left and right of the strut, and by srewing them real tight, you would fixate the two halfs to the strut.

This is quite well fixated for ordinary use. But when a plane noses hard in like this one (it went all head-over), then the

laws of mass acceleration can push the anemometer forward. The whole flange is still intact, with screws in, but it turned

round the strut like a ring on your finger.

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Bullet, such flanges don't need screw holes in the strut

 

Yes, exactly. That's what I've been trying to say. The AWM couldn't find any screw holes in the strut, but that doesn't mean there wasn't an anemometer (or even a Teddybär) there if it was mounted with one of those clamps (or strips of fabric).

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I'm afraid that image was forged. The real image is this one, and I definitely see a Teddybär: :yes:

 

LOL! What with the Pfalz being surplus to German needs, I imagine they experimented with them. Apparently this one was involved in comparative trials of the German version and the TT2.

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Well, when Kurt Wolff was wearing his night cap for good luck, I wouldn't be asthonished at all

to find a teddybear in a fighter cockpit. After all, many of them were still mere boys.

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