Fokker D-7 Fighter Plane

Fokker D-7 Fighter Plane


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History of the Fokker D.VII

During the First World War, the Dutchman Anthony Fokker was building aeroplanes in Germany. First, his factory was located at the Johannisthal airfield, near Berlin. In 1913 he moved to Schwerin. A lot of different types were designed and build there, among which were the famous ‘Eindecker’ series, and the Dr.I triplane. At the end of 1917, Fokker was out of the picture as supplier for fighter aircraft. This is the time where the story of the D.VII starts.

Building of the prototype of what was to become the Fokker D.VII started in December, 1917 in the Fokker factory at Schwerin. At that time, Reinhold Platz was working as designer. The designation for this type was V.11, which stands for Versuchsmachine no. 11 (Experimental aircraft No. 11). This V.11 had a number of novelties that included a car-type radiator in front of the engine and cantilever wings with no external bracing wires, which made for a very clean appearance. A list of the other V-types can be found here.

At the end of January, 1918, the first competition for D class machines was held at Adlershof. In this competition, German pilots from the front flew in new types, to test them, and choose which one would be produced for the front. In this first competition the V.11 came out as the ultimate winner, and was designated D.VII. A list of the other aircraft that were flown at the competition can be found here.

Anthony Fokker tells in his autobiography “The Flying Dutchman” that he flew the V.11 before the contest started. He noticed that it wasn’t flying too well, and it needed to be changed. So, working all weekend day and night, Fokker and some mechanics lengthened the fuselage and enlarged the vertical fin. Flying it again, Fokker noticed that it was very sensitive on the controls, but further it was flying wonderful.


Fokker G.I (Reaper)

Authored By: Dan Alex | Last Edited: 02/21/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Fokker G.I "Reaper" began as a private venture in 1936 under the leadership of Dr. Erich Schatzki, head engineer at Fokker. Founded in 1912, Fokker began as a major fighter producer for the German Empire during World War 1. In 1919, the firm relocated to the Netherlands and turned into a dominant player of the civilian airliner market throughout the 1920s and 1930s - this period also known as the "Golden Age of Flight", a time when the public could not get enough of airplanes and powered flight. Fokker contributed both the G.I and the D.XXI to the Dutch Air Force in the build up to World War 2, but both accomplished little to thwart the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940.

The Heavy Fighter
The G.I was developed as a dedicated "heavy fighter" with military potential from the start - the G.I was an airframe that could match performance against fighters while also being able to deliver a formidable firepower load against enemy bombers. The G.I was part of a select class of heavy fighters - such as the twin-seat, twin-engine Messerschmitt BF 110 of the German Luftwaffe - these machines playing key roles in the early stages of World War 2. By the end of the conflict, however, heavy fighters had given way to dedicated fighter and bomber platforms.

The Fokker X-2 Prototype
With the Fokker design in place, construction on the X-2 prototype commenced and involved meshing a welded frame with an aluminum skin. Wood was used along the wings, skinned over in triplex. Powered was supplied by a pair of Hispano-Suiza 14AB-02/03 series engines delivering 650 horsepower each. First flight was on March 16th, 1937 and the results proved promising. Trouble eventually found the X-2 program in a later test flight in the month of September when a supercharger exploded in mid-flight. The pilot was, however, able to bring his bird down in one piece. After review of the incident, the Hispano-Suiza powerplants were replaced in favor of the American Pratt & Whitney SB4-G Twin Wasp Junior radial piston engines. Evaluation ensued with more test flights.

Spain Places an Order
Satisfied with the current results of Fokker's program, Spain placed an order for a dozen examples of the G.I export model, these models known under the simple designation of "G.Ib" (initial Dutch production models would carry the designation of G.Ia). However, a Dutch political embargo against the warring nation meant that Fokker could not deliver their aircraft, even after the Spanish government had paid the procurement bill in full. These aircraft were still constructed and would later serve the Dutch Air Force during the German invasion.

The Fokker G.I as a Dive-Bomber
After interest in the G.I as a potential dive-bomber rose, the G.I was slightly modified to include dive brakes on the wing undersides. Testing revealed excellent diving characteristics from the strong airframe and several nations placed meaningful orders - including the Dutch air force with an order for 36 examples. Quantitative production soon began and two- and three-seat G.Ia models were leaving Fokker factories. Upon reception, the Dutch air force quickly put their new G.Ia to work, particularly along the fronts of a destabilizing situation in Europe.

Fokker G.I Walk-Around
The crew compartment (room for two or three personnel depending on the production airframe) was held in a centralized nacelle. The nacelle was streamlined from nose to tip, featuring a smooth-rounded nose cone and a pointed, glazed rear window cone. The pilot maintained a dominant position at the front, overlooking the nose and both engines, with a relatively clear view of the oncoming action. The rear gunner (also doubling as the radio operator and navigator) sat directly aft of the pilot and both shared a heavily-glazed canopy view of the outside world. The third crew member (if any) was usually the designated bombardier. The G.I design was, of course, characterized by her twin-boom appearance. Each engine was held well-forward in each boom, these boom structures extending both ahead and aft of the wing leading and trailing edges respectively. The radial engines were set off from the wing roots and managed three-blade propeller systems. The boom structures tapered off into rounded vertical tail fins at the rear. Between the two tail fins was affixed a single horizontal stabilizer.

Fokker G.I Power
The Fokker G.Ia production model fitted a pair of Bristol Mercury VIII radial piston engines, each delivering up to 830 horsepower. This allowed for a maximum speed of up to 295 miles per hour with a range equal to 938 miles. Her service ceiling was listed at 32,808 feet. Empty weight was reported at 7,330lbs with a maximum take-off weight limit of 10,582lbs. She maintained a wingspan of just over 56 feet, a running length of 35 feet, 8 inches and a height of approximately 12 feet when at rest.

Fokker G.I Armament
Obviously, armament was the key factor in developing a competent heavy fighter. The G.I made use of a battery of machine guns as well as maintaining provision for external bomb ordnance. There were up to 8 x 7.9mm FN-Browning machine guns - all fitted in the nose - in a fixed, forward-firing arrangement and controlled by the pilot. In its original form, the G.I was fielded with 2 x 23mm Madsen cannons and 2 x 7.9mm machine guns in the nose - this perhaps the more formidable armament in retrospect. Bomb loads topped off at roughly 880lbs and were usually made up of a pair of conventional drop bombs held under each wing root.


Fokker D-7 Fighter Plane - HISTORY

    The fuselage was constructed of wire-braced welded steel tubing with a three-ply top decking behind the cockpit the whole being fabric-covered, except for the engine cowlings. Fin, balanced rudder, tailplane and balanced elevators were also of fabric-covered steel tube. Two struts braced the tailplane from below. The undercarriage was of streamlined steel tube and its axle was enclosed in a large fairing which gave some extra lift.

Twin Spandau guns were synchronized to fire through the revolving propeller.

    Following its success at Johannisthal, the type was ordered in large quantities not only was it built by the Fokker concern (Fok. D.VII F), but also by its rivals, the Albatros Werke (Fok. D.VII (Alb.)) and the Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (Fok. D.VII (OAW)). Mercedes and BMW engines appear to have been distributed impartially to all three companies.

    While not especially fast, the D.VII's strong point was its great maneuverability at high altitudes. It was extremely easy to fly and had no terrors for the beginner. Jagdgeschwader Nr. 1, the Richthofen 'Circus', received the first D.VIIs in time for the Second Battle of the Aisne in May 1918, and soon found that the new type gave them a good margin of advantage over their opponents. By the autumn the majority of the Jastas had been reequipped with D.VIIs. So highly did the Allies esteem the machine that their Armistice terms specifically ordered the surrender of all Fokker D.VIIs.

    As a safeguard against a possible shortage of steel tubing and competent welders, the Albatros company built a D.VII with a plywood fuselage, but it was not found necessary to produce this variant. When the war ended, production of the type for Austro-Hungary had begun at the Hungarian Engineering Factory, Budapest (MAG). Total production was approximately 3,300 aircraft.

Specifications:
Fokker D.VII
Dimensions:
Top Wing span: 29 ft 3.2 in (8.93 m)
Bottom Wing Span: 23 ft 0 in (7.01 m)
Top Chord: 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)
Bottom Chord: 4 ft 0 in (1.21 m)
Gap Between Wings: 4 ft 2 in (1.28 m)
Length: 22 ft 9 in (6.93 m)
Height: 9 ft 2 in (2.80 m)
Weights:
Empty: 1,540 lbs (698 kgs)
Gross: 1,936 lbs (878 kgs)
Performance:
Maximum Speed: 116 mph (186 km/h)
Service Ceiling: 19,600 ft (5,974 m)
Fuel Capacity: 20 gal (75.70 lt)
Powerplant:
One Mercedes 180 hp (134 kw) 6-cylinder Inline type, Watercooled.
or
One BMW 185 hp (137 kw) 12-cylinder Vee type, Watercooled.
or
One Austro-Daimler 210 hp (156 kw).
Armament:
Twin Spandau synchronized guns fired through the revolving propeller.

© The Aviation History On-Line Museum. All rights reserved.
Created November 28, 2001. Updated October 18, 2013.


Fokker D.VII Reproduction

Most experts agree that the Fokker D.VII was the finest all-around fighter plane of World War I. Designed by Reinhold Platz, the prototype was test-flown in a January 1918 design competition by a number of notable German airmen, including Manfred von Richthofen. The D.VII was the clear winner, and was ordered into immediate production at Fokker, as well as under license at two Albatros factories. The different production lines worked from separate drawings, and their respective D.VII output and parts were not completely standardized. Regardless, by late April 1918, the first D.VIIs arrived to waiting combat units. By the end of the war in November, 775 were in service.

Pilots found that the Fokker had good visibility and was a maneuverable but relatively easy ship to fly. The D.VII remained very controllable even at its altitude ceiling, and pilots were able to make it "hang on its prop" to fire upward at higher-flying Allied machines. Famous German aces such as Ernst Udet, Erich Löwenhardt, and Hermann Göring achieved great success in the D.VII. Allied aviators began to dread the appearance of the "straight wings" with their "coffin noses." Although it couldn’t reverse the declining fortunes of the German Army on the ground in late 1918, the feared Fokker D.VII was the only airplane mentioned specifically by name to be handed over to the Allies under the Armistice terms.

Fokker D.VII armament consisted of two 7.92mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 08/15 machine guns, with interrupter gear to fire through the propeller arc. These guns were sometimes referred to as "Spandau," in reference to the arsenal where much of the German small arms development and production occurred.

The Museum's reproduction aircraft was started by the noted aircraft replica builder Joe DeFiore. After buying the basic steel-tube fuselage from DeFiore, Doug Champlin shipped it to Jim and Zona Appleby, who later completed the aircraft for museum display. Equipped with an original Mercedes water-cooled engine and two Spandau machine guns, it is authentically painted in the unique lozenge-pattern camouflage of the period and carries the winged-sword emblem of German ace Rudolf Berthold.

Most experts agree that the Fokker D.VII was the finest all-around fighter plane of World War I. Designed by Reinhold Platz, the prototype was test-flown in a January 1918 design competition by a number of notable German airmen, including Manfred von Richthofen. The D.VII was the clear winner, and was ordered into immediate production at Fokker, as well as under license at two Albatros factories. The different production lines worked from separate drawings, and their respective D.VII output and parts were not completely standardized. Regardless, by late April 1918, the first D.VIIs arrived to waiting combat units. By the end of the war in November, 775 were in service.

Pilots found that the Fokker had good visibility and was a maneuverable but relatively easy ship to fly. The D.VII remained very controllable even at its altitude ceiling, and pilots were able to make it "hang on its prop" to fire upward at higher-flying Allied machines. Famous German aces such as Ernst Udet, Erich Löwenhardt, and Hermann Göring achieved great success in the D.VII. Allied aviators began to dread the appearance of the "straight wings" with their "coffin noses." Although it couldn’t reverse the declining fortunes of the German Army on the ground in late 1918, the feared Fokker D.VII was the only airplane mentioned specifically by name to be handed over to the Allies under the Armistice terms.

Fokker D.VII armament consisted of two 7.92mm Maschinengewehr (MG) 08/15 machine guns, with interrupter gear to fire through the propeller arc. These guns were sometimes referred to as "Spandau," in reference to the arsenal where much of the German small arms development and production occurred.

The Museum's reproduction aircraft was started by the noted aircraft replica builder Joe DeFiore. After buying the basic steel-tube fuselage from DeFiore, Doug Champlin shipped it to Jim and Zona Appleby, who later completed the aircraft for museum display. Equipped with an original Mercedes water-cooled engine and two Spandau machine guns, it is authentically painted in the unique lozenge-pattern camouflage of the period and carries the winged-sword emblem of German ace Rudolf Berthold.


Fokker D.VII – Specifications, Facts, Drawings, Blueprints

The legendary Fokker D VII was one of history’s greatest fighter aircraft. Its reputation was so formidable that the 1918 Armistice terms specifically authorized confiscation of all D VIIs by Allied forces.

By December 1917 the German High Command witnessed control of the air slipping irrevocably back into Allied hands. The following January they announced competition for a new fighter craft to employ the excellent Mercedes D III engine.

The Fokker D.VII carried the standard armament of the period, two synchronised 7.92 mm Spandau machine-guns, with 500 rpg, fixed over the top-decking in front of the pilot and firing between the propeller blades.

No less than 60 prototypes appeared at Aldershof as planned, but events were dominated by a machine entered by Anthony Fokker. His D VII model, designed by Reinhold Platz, was a conventional biplane of exceptionally graceful lines. Its wings were constructed from wood, and the fuselage consisted of a tube steel structure covered by fabric. But first and foremost, the Fokker D VII was extremely maneuverable, especially at high altitudes. With such striking performance, it was decided to rush Fokker’s invention immediately into production without further delay. An estimated 1,000 were constructed by Fokker, in concert with Albatros and AEG.


Fokker D.VII

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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Fokker D.VII

Single-engine, single-seat, German World War I biplane fighter 160-horsepower Mercedes D.IIIa water-cooled engine. Lozenge camouflage on wings. Fuselage gray and olive drab.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Fokker D.VII

Single-engine, single-seat, German World War I biplane fighter 160-horsepower Mercedes D.IIIa water-cooled engine. Lozenge camouflage on wings. Fuselage gray and olive drab.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Fokker D.VII

In response to the loss of air superiority in late 1917, the Germans organized a competition for new fighter designs held in January 1918. The in-line engine winner was the Fokker D.VII. The D.VII's unique ability to seemingly "hang on its propeller," and fire into the unprotected underside of enemy aircraft made it a highly feared combat opponent. Highlighted in this image is a pressure gauge of the Fokker D.VII.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Fokker D.VII

In response to the loss of air superiority in late 1917, the Germans organized a competition for new fighter designs held in January 1918. The in-line engine winner was the Fokker D.VII. The D.VII's unique ability to seemingly "hang on its propeller," and fire into the unprotected underside of enemy aircraft made it a highly feared combat opponent. Highlighted in this image is the machine gun of the Fokker D.VII.

Fokker D.VII

A Fokker D.VII on display in the Legend, Memory and the Great War In The Air gallery at the National Mall building.

Fokker D.VII Cockpit

When the Fokker D.VII appeared on the Western Front in April 1918, Allied pilots at first underestimated the new fighter because of its squarish, ungainly appearance, but quickly revised their view. The D.VII's unique ability to seemingly "hang on its propeller," and fire into the unprotected underside of enemy aircraft made it a highly feared combat opponent. The Armistice agreement requirement specifically demanding that all Fokker D.VIIs be immediately surrendered attested to the general high regard for the airplane.

Fokker D.VII Tire

In response to the loss of air superiority in late 1917, the Germans organized a competition for new fighter designs held in January 1918. The in-line engine winner was the Fokker D.VII. The D.VII's unique ability to seemingly "hang on its propeller," and fire into the unprotected underside of enemy aircraft made it a highly feared combat opponent. Highlighted in this image is a tire of the Fokker D.VII.

Fokker D.VII

In response to the loss of air superiority in late 1917, the Germans organized a competition for new fighter designs held in January 1918. The in-line engine winner was the Fokker D.VII.

Fokker D.VII Panorama

Panoramic view inside the cockpit of the Fokker D.VII.

In response to the loss of air superiority in late 1917, the Germans organized a competition for new fighter designs held in January 1918. The in-line engine winner was the Fokker D.VII. Fokker received an order for 400 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.VII in the NASM collection was built by Albatros.

When the Fokker D.VII appeared on the Western Front in April 1918, Allied pilots at first underestimated the new fighter because of its squarish, ungainly appearance, but quickly revised their view. The D.VII's unique ability to seemingly "hang on its propeller," and fire into the unprotected underside of enemy aircraft made it a highly feared combat opponent. The Armistice agreement requirement specifically demanding that all Fokker D.VIIs be immediately surrendered attested to the general high regard for the airplane.

The German Fokker D.VII is frequently cited as one of the best fighter aircraft of the First World War. 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.

During the latter half of 1917, the Allies had regained air superiority over the Western Front with the S.E. 5 and the Spad fighters. 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 1918. 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.13, which was produced in small numbers under the military designation Fokker D.VI. Because the hoped-for higher horsepower rotary engines intended for use in the Fokker D.VI were not available soon enough, the airplane had to be fitted with an older, lower-horsepower engine, which rendered performance below combat standards. The Fokker D.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.11, which became the Fokker D.VII as a production airplane. The V.11 was largely the creation of Fokker's chief designer, Reinhold Platz. 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 1916. 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. This was especially true in the case of the Fokker D.VII.

The Fokker D.VII prototype, the V.11, was completed just before the Adlershof competition began on January 21, 1918, so Fokker had little time to test it beforehand. On January 23, famed German ace, Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, flew the V.11 at Fokker's request. 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. Ritchhofen's assessment confirmed Fokker's own impression of the V.11 from his brief testing of the airplane before the competition began. 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.11 was safe and pleasant to fly, and had lost little of the maneuverability that had initially impressed von Richthofen. The Red Baron flew the improved V.11 and now found the airplane delightful to handle. 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.11 as the winner of the competition.

The trials of the V.11 at Adlershof showed Anthony Fokker at his best. His instinctive sense of precisely how to quickly modify the V.11 to transform it from a merely acceptable airplane into a winning design illustrated his genius for incorporating flight test results into design. 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.11 in individual performance parameters. But none surpassed it as a fighter design in the complete sense, regarding not only overall performance but also structural and production concerns.


Fokker’s Fabulous Flying Coffin

Captured in November 1918, this Fokker D.VII was given to the Smithsonian Institution by the War Department in 1920. The airplane was fully restored by the National Air and Space Museum in 1961.

The D.VII’s introduction on the Western Front shocked the Allies and boosted German morale.

Germany’s Fokker D.VII embodied all the characteristics considered most important for a successful fighter aircraft during World War I, and many aviation historians regard it as the finest all-around fighter of its day. Its appearance in the spring of 1918, coinciding with the last great German offensive of the war, represented the final and most formidable challenge to Allied aerial supremacy over the Western Front.

There is no question that German aviators regarded the D.VII as far superior to the Albatros, Pfalz and Fokker triplane fighters it replaced. So impressive was its reputation, in fact, that when the war finally ended in November 1918, the D.VII enjoyed the dubious distinction of being the only aircraft type specifically mentioned in the armistice agreement (a fact that the plane’s producer, Anthony Fokker, never ceased to remind his prospective customers of in future years).

The German air service might never have had the D.VII were it not for the persistence of a foreign airplane builder. A Dutchman born in the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia), Anthony Fokker was a far cry from the popular image of the stodgy, meticulous, science-minded German engineer. Fokker, an inattentive student who preferred sports and tinkering with mechanical devices to schoolroom studies, had a natural flair for both flying and business, and he became a flamboyant entrepreneur. Although he was always an outsider among the German high command, Fokker’s flying expertise enabled him to achieve a rapport with many of Germany’s frontline combat aviators, and he wasn’t above using those relationships to his advantage in securing military contracts. When it came to engineering, his aircraft designs were created more by a process of empirical trial and error than through scientific or technical knowledge. But Fokker was shrewd enough to recognize the value of other engineers’ good ideas when he saw them, and knew how to capitalize on them.


Jasta 5’s Josef Mai painted his D.VII black and white to throw off the enemy’s aim. Mai, who racked up 30 victories, survived the war. (Courtesy of Jon Guttman)

After Anthony dropped out of high school, his father sent him to Germany to study mechanics. Bitten by the aviation bug in 1908, he dropped out again and constructed his own airplane in 1910. By the time WWI began Fokker had established his own aircraft manufacturing company in Germany, where he produced a series modeled after the highly successful French Morane-Saulnier monoplanes. Fokker’s products, which featured stronger wooden wings and an innovative lightweight steel-tube framework for the fuselage and tail surfaces, were actually considered superior to the Morane-Saulnier originals.

As a non-German, Fokker lacked access to the best German aero engines of the day. Instead he had to make do with license-built copies of the French Le Rhône rotary power plant, manufactured by the Oberursel factory, which Fokker owned. While lighter than the water-cooled German engines, the rotaries were less powerful and not as reliable. They also had the disadvantage of requiring lubrication with castor oil, which was in short supply in wartime Germany.

Fokker applied for German citizenship in December 1914 (he would later claim that he was coerced into it so that his company could continue to get orders from the German military). But his firm was still denied access to the more advanced aero engines, and his rotary-engine products were regarded as second-rate. That situation changed in the summer of 1915, when Fokker developed the first successful system for synchronizing a machine gun to fire through the whirling blades of an airplane’s propeller. By installing a machine gun fitted with his new interrupter gear into his M-5 monoplane in May 1915, he produced the first truly effective fighter in history, the Fokker E.I. Although his plane’s airframe may have been based on the Morane-Saulnier, with a less-than-ideal rotary engine, the German air service couldn’t ignore the fact that Fokker’s new machine outclassed everything else in the air at that time. Introduced into combat in July 1915, the “Fokker Scourge” dominated the skies over the Western Front for the next year, and Allied airplanes and their hapless crews became known as “Fokker Fodder.”

By the summer of 1916, however, the Fokker Eindeckers were fast becoming obsolete. Fitted with only one machine gun and using the same rotary engines, Fokker’s D.II and D.III biplane fighters were being outclassed by efficient new Mercedes-powered Halberstadt fighters and even deadlier twin-gun Albatros D.I and D.II biplanes. In fact, the Fokker D.III was then seen as so mediocre that the Germans offered to sell some to the neutral Netherlands. Fokker’s Mercedes-powered D.I and D.IV biplane fighters were also outperformed by their contemporaries, and suffered from so many structural and quality-control problems that they were relegated to training duties.

Technology had moved on, and Fokker had been left behind. His aircraft were held in such low regard that the Inspektion der Fliegertruppen, or Idflieg, actually ordered him to undertake license manufacture of another company’s design, the AEG C.IV.


Wilhelm Scheutzel of Jasta 65 leans against his D.VII, which is decorated with figures from the Grimms' Fairy Tale "The Seven Swabians." (Courtesy of Jon Guttman)

During mid-1916, when Fokker’s aircraft manufacturing career was at its lowest point, several events occurred to reverse his fortunes. In June his chief designer, Martin Kreuzer, died in a plane crash. He was replaced by Franz Möser, who would subsequently be responsible for designing the highly successful Dr.I triplane, D.VII biplane and D.VIII monoplane fighters. During that same period, the German air ministry encouraged the merger of Fokker’s company with that of Hugo Junkers, in an effort to utilize Fokker’s facilities for the production of Junkers’ revolutionary new all-metal monoplanes. Fokker never actually built any Junkers planes. Much to Junkers’ annoyance, however, he did adapt Junkers’ design for a thick-section cantilever wing to wooden construction, by means of a box-spar structure pioneered by Swedishborn engineer Villehad Forssman, and applied it to his own succeeding airplane designs.

At Fokker’s direction, Möser initiated the development of a series of prototypes utilizing the new wooden cantilever wing. So radically different were these new airplanes that, in place of the “M” numbers assigned to previous Fokker prototypes, they were designated with numbers prefaced by “V” for Verspannungslos, or cantilever. The first of them, the V-1, flown in December 1916, was a sesquiplane with no external bracing wires. Neither it nor the succeeding V-2 was considered suitable for operational service, but when Idflieg, perhaps overly impressed with Britain’s Sopwith Triplane, ordered all German manufacturers to produce triplanes of their own, Fokker adapted the new wing to his offering. The V-3 triplane prototype, introduced in the summer of 1917 and further refined as the V-4, was ordered into pre-production as the F.I. After a short but spectacular career in the hands of Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen and Werner Voss, the type was approved for mass production as the Dr.I (for Dreidecker, or “tri-wing”).

Fokker’s first successful fighter since the E.III monoplane of early 1916, the Dr.I seemed likely to redress the balance of air power over the Western Front as effectively as Fokker’s monoplanes had two years earlier. The new triplane had barely arrived at frontline squadrons in late October, however, when quality-control issues arose with it, costing the lives of several pilots. All Dr.Is were grounded until modifications could be made, and Idflieg came close to canceling its order for the new fighters. Fokker always insisted that the quality issues were largely the result of the poor raw materials made available to his company by the German government. Whatever the root cause, the damage was done. Only 320 Dr.Is were ever built.

The Dr.I featured excellent climb capability and maneuverability, but it was still powered by the same 110-hp Oberursel rotary engine that had propelled the E.III. That factor, along with the aerodynamic drag generated by the three wings, kept the Dr.I’s level speed markedly slower than those of the new S.E.5as and Spad XIIIs then being introduced by the Allies.

Concerned about the Dr.I’s shortcomings as well as those of its stablemates, the structurally weak Albatros D.V and the sluggish Pfalz D.III, Idflieg arranged a competition for a new fighter to replace them all, to be held in January 1918. One of the stipulations was that all entrants would be powered by the 160-hp Mercedes D.III liquid-cooled, 6-cylinder inline engine. Anthony Fokker was thus finally allowed access to the more sophisticated and higher-powered aero engines that had been largely denied him up to that time.


An inside look at the clean cockpit of the Fokker D.VII preserved at the National Air and Space Museum. (NASM)

The competition included no fewer than 31 different planes from 10 different manufacturers, eight of which were submitted by Fokker. All the planes were to be evaluated both by test pilots and by experienced combat aviators. Fokker’s main hopes were pinned on his V-11, a biplane design that was based upon the fuselage of the Dr.I, fitted with the Mercedes D.III engine and a set of wooden cantilever wings. The “Red Baron” Richthofen, Germany’s leading ace, flew the V-11 and liked it a great deal, though he told Fokker he thought its coffin-shaped fuselage was a bit too short, rendering it directionally unstable under certain circumstances. Fokker added several inches to the rear fuselage, as well as a small triangular fin, and the V-11 became the unquestioned winner of the competition.

After further refinement, the new fighter was ordered into production as the Fokker D.VII. Much to Fokker’s satisfaction, Idflieg ordered his archrival, Albatros, and its subsidiary, the Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW), to manufacture the D.VII under license as well—paying Fokker a royalty for each one they built.

In an interesting example of the way Anthony Fokker operated, he did not prepare any production drawings of the D.VII. Instead he simply sent a complete airplane to Albatros to dismantle and analyze—from which it produced its own production drawings. As a result, parts from Albatros-built D.VIIs were not interchangeable with those of Fokker-built aircraft. Ironically, but perhaps not too surprisingly, the Albatros- and OAW-built copies were considered better made than the Fokker originals.

Unlike most wooden-framed aircraft of the era, the Fokker D.VII’s fabric-covered fuselage and tail surfaces were built on a strong but lightweight framework of welded steel tubes. All the external wing and landing gear struts were also fabricated from streamlined steel tubes. The wings, however, consisted of a plywood box structure with the leading edges clad in plywood veneer and the remainder covered with fabric. The lift, compression and torsion loads were handled by thick box spars within the airfoil section rather than by drag-producing external bracing wires. In addition, the D.VII’s wings required no adjustments by ground crew riggers, as did most other aircraft in those days. The design was essentially a wooden adaptation of Junkers’ all-metal cantilever wing, which was too heavy to achieve widespread use until more powerful engines became available.

Like the Dr.I, the D.VII included another unique Fokker feature: an airfoil built onto the axle between the landing wheels. That airfoil allegedly provided enough aerodynamic lift to support the weight of the landing gear in flight.

Fokker D.VIIs began arriving at frontline squadrons in April 1918, just in time to participate in Germany’s last spring offensive of the war. The Red Baron, who had championed the new fighter at the January competition, was among the pilots eagerly awaiting its arrival, but he never had the opportunity to find out what he could do with it. The victor of 80 aerial combats and indisputably the most successful fighter pilot of World War I, Richthofen was killed on April 21 while flying his by-then-obsolete Dr.I triplane.

The D.VII’s introduction to combat provided both a qualitative and morale boost to the German air service, and a shock to its Allied counterparts. Although its coffinlike fuselage looked less streamlined than those of its elegant-looking Albatros and Pfalz predecessors, the boxy Fokker performed better because it was lighter, stronger and possessed more efficient wings, which gave it superior lift characteristics compared to its thin-winged contemporaries. In fact, the D.VII’s thick-sectioned wings were so efficient that at low speeds the fighter could virtually hang on its prop, a trick often witnessed by Allied pilots during dogfights.

Not only did the Fokker’s wing design endow it with a superior rate of climb and maneuverability, it also enabled the fighter to maintain those advantages at higher altitudes than its chief Allied opponents, the Spad XIII and S.E.5a. Although the supremely nimble Sopwith Camel could still outmaneuver the Fokker at lower altitudes, the power of its rotary engines began to fall off above 12,000 feet, while the D.VII could still function effectively at 20,000. Furthermore, the D.VII’s strong cantilever wing structure bestowed a higher diving speed than was possible in the preceding Albatros D.V and D.Va sesquiplanes, whose wings had a tendency to break when overstressed.


On November 9, 1918, this D.VII was "captured" by the 95th Aero Squadron, near Verdun, when Lieutenant Heinz Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay landed by accident (or deliberately) at an allied airfield. The aircraft is now on display at the National Air and Space museum in Washington, DC. (NASM)

While early D.VIIs were powered by the 160-hp Mercedes IIIa, that engine was eventually superseded on the production line by an improved higher-compression 180-hp version, the IIIaü, and the 200-hp IIIaüv. Better yet, during the summer of 1918 the new D.VIIF appeared, powered by a 185-hp BMW IIIa engine. It became the most coveted version of the fighter among knowledgeable German aces. The BMW engine raised the maximum speed from 116 to 124 mph, and climb to 2,000 meters was reduced from eight minutes to six. Just as important, the engine maintained its power output at higher altitudes better than the Mercedes.

The Fokker D.VII was 23 feet long and had a wingspan of 29 feet 3½ inches. In an effort to improve the pilot’s downward visibility, the lower wing was somewhat smaller than the upper. Wing area was 219 square feet, and armament was two synchronized 7.92mm Maxim 08/15 machine guns with 500 rounds per gun. Gross weights varied with the engine used the 160-hp Mercedes version weighed 1,936 pounds, while the 185-hp BMW version weighed 1,993 pounds.

Besides possessing the best fighter, German pilots enjoyed other advantages over their Allied counterparts in 1918. For one thing, they began to be issued parachutes, which while not as reliable as modern chutes, at least gave them a fighting chance of escaping alive in an emergency. Another innovation introduced on the D.VII was a rudimentary high-altitude breathing system. It may only have been a compressed air tank with a valve and a tube, terminating in a mouthpiece like the stem of a tobacco pipe, but it was better than struggling for breath at 20,000 feet, as Allied pilots did.

About the only significant design flaw the D.VII exhibited pertained to its armament. The two machine guns were well placed and accessible to pilots, but the ammunition supply, forward of the cockpit, proved to be too close to the engine bay. There were instances of ammunition “cooking off” in D.VIIs while airborne, setting the planes on fire. Several pilots lost their lives as a result, including 21-victory ace Fritz Friedrichs, killed when his D.VII caught fire on July 15, 1918. The problem was eventually alleviated with better ammunition and by cutting additional cooling louvers in the metal cowling.

By the end of the war some 70 German fighter squadrons had been equipped, either wholly or in part, with D.VIIs. German pilots regarded it as by far their best fighter, and widely believed that it could transform a mediocre pilot into a good one, and a good one into an outstanding one. There never seemed to be enough D.VIIs to go around. Units that were issued improved versions of older designs, such as the Albatros D.Va or Pfalz D.IIIa, or supplementary new types such as the Roland D.VI or Pfalz D.XII, were apt to think they’d had to settle for an inferior second best, even if that wasn’t true.

Approximately 3,300 D.VIIs were manufactured by Fokker, Albatros and OAW. In spite of their qualitative superiority, however, there weren’t a sufficient number of them to stave off Germany’s inevitable defeat. Although Fokker considered the specific mention of the surrender of all D.VII fighters in the terms of the armistice extremely flattering, and it made great advertising, the seizure of all his assets at war’s end left him in a difficult position.

Fokker wanted to continue building civil aircraft after the war, but that was clearly impossible in Germany. Ever the slick entrepreneur, he managed to hide from the Allies 220 aircraft, mostly D.VIIs, along with 400 engines and manufacturing equipment. Social unrest was so rampant in postwar Germany that he also secretly modified a D.VII into a two-seater, with an extra fuel tank in the airfoil fairing between the wheels, in case he and his wife needed to make a quick getaway. In the end the two-seater D.VII was unnecessary. By means of bribery and other subterfuges Fokker smuggled six trainloads of planes, engines, spare parts and machinery into the Netherlands, along with himself and his wife.

Fokker landed on his feet. Largely through the sale of his smuggled planes, particularly the D.VIIs, he soon established himself as an aircraft manufacturer and celebrity in his native Netherlands. Some of the D.VIIs were sold to the Dutch air service and others were sold abroad, often clandestinely, to various foreign powers. At least 50 are known to have been exported to the Soviet Union. By the early 1920s Fokker was back in business, operating highly successful aircraft manufacturing enterprises in the Netherlands and the United States. Although he died in 1939, his aircraft company continued to operate in the Netherlands until 1996.

Frequent contributor Robert Guttman recommends for further reading: Fokker: A Transatlantic Biography, by Marc Dierikx Fokkers of World War I, by Peter M. Bowers and The Fokker D.VII, by Profile Publications.

Originally published in the May 2012 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.


Fokker D VII, German biplane

By Stephen Sherman, Aug. 2003. Updated April 15, 2012.

"N ow I've found it out, men!" shouted Franz Büchner as he jumped out of his Fokker D VII, after shooting down his fifth enemy airplane. By that date, June 28, 1918, the nineteen year old from Leipzig had discovered how to succeed in the deadly business of aerial combat. Ltn. Werner Niethammer described Büchner:

"In flying, Büchner wasn't that much superior to us as it looked from the difference in the number of victories, We also knew fighting turns and maneuvers. He only surpassed us in deciding the moment --- the moment when you smelled the enemy's castor oil and pushed the button. And that moment he'd found out."

Credited with 40 Allied warplanes, all in the waning months of the war, Büchner flew a machine that matched his talents: Anthony Fokker's D.VII biplane.

By January 1918 the DR.I triplane was becoming dated. In aviation's rapidly evolving early days of WWI, advances in fighter plane design and powerplant came so rapidly that an aircraft's period of air supremacy was measured in months, not years. (From the perspective of the 21st Century, when everything technological changes so rapidly, it's counter-intuitive to think that anything, especially something high tech, like military aircraft, changed more rapidly then than now. But it's so. The airframes of modern airplanes have essentially been optimized and the avionics and weapons are so complex that they require years of development and testing.)

The 160 horsepower Mercedes D.III in-line engine powered several new models tested at Adlershof that January, among them the Fokker D.VII prototype. Reinhold Platz, Fokker's chief designer, largely created the D.VII, while Anthony Fokker tested the aircraft, guided critical improvements, and marketed the airplane to Germany's military. Fokker's egotistical personality led him to minimize Platz' important contributions in his autobiography, he did not even mention Platz by name.

During the January tests, Manfred von Richthofen tested the new airplane. While delighted with its maneuverability, he found it a little unstable, especially in a dive. To improve stability, Fokker lengthened the fuselage and added a vertical rudder fin, among other changes. The result was easy to fly, maneuverable, and safe. The Red Baron endorsed it wholeheartedly. The Adlershof trials showed Fokker at his best, quickly modifying the plane to meet requirements, charming the German aces, and (most importantly) delivering a fighter that offered good, all-around performance.

So taken were the pilots with the new Fokker biplane that the Kogenluft (Kommandierenden General der Luftstreitkräfte) ordered 900, with 300 to be built at Fokker's Schwerin factory and 600 under license at Albatros factories in Johannisthal (Albatros-Werke G.m.b.H.) and Schneidemühl (Osdeutsche Albatros Werke). Fokker had not prepared any construction blueprints the aircraft had been built from jigs and assembly sketches. So Albatros had to make its own drawings based on a finished airplane. The resulting airplanes inevitably differed in small ways. Surprisingly, the Albatros machines, designated Fokker (Alb) and Fokker (OAW), were felt to be of higher quality than those made by Fokker itself..

Manfred von Richthofen, a great influence on German fighter plane development, looked forward anxiously to the D VII, writing Kogenluft on April 2, 1918:

"When can I expect to receive the [new] Fokker biplanes with the high compression engines? The superiority of British single-seat and reconnaissance aircraft makes it even more perceptibly unpleasant here. Their single-seaters fight by coming over at high altitudes and staying there. We cannot even shoot at them. Speed is the most important factor. We could shoot down five to ten times as many if we were faster. . Please give me news soon about when we can count on the new machines."

Of course, Richthofen never flew the new machine, as he was killed on April 21st.

The Fokker D VII, arguably the best fighter of World War One, weighed just under 2,000 pounds, measured 23 feet in length, with a wingspan of 29 feet 4 inches. Later models, powered by a 185 hp BMW IIIa engine could make a top speed of 125 MPH. (Due to engine shortages, there were never enough BMW-powered Fokkers.) It could climb to 5000 meters in 18 minutes and to 6000 meters (its operational ceiling) in 28 minutes. Its twin, synchronized 7.92mm Spandau machine guns were standard firepower for the era.

When it first arrived, Allied pilots didn't know what to make of it, at first underestimating the boxy, ungraceful fighter. It seemed to be able to "hang on its prop" and fire directly upwards into the vulnerable bellies of Allied two-seaters. With its thick wing section, it had excellent stall characteristics it could get behind and below an enemy airplane, pitch up its nose under full throttle and fire away.

Like almost all other WWI airplanes, the Fokker D VII was of fabric-covered, wood-frame construction, with sheet metal nose and cowling. The factory finish (frequently painted over in the field) was either a streaky olive-brown fuselage with four-color lozenge wing surfaces, or the four-color lozenge fabric applied overall. In the field units marked their machines with distinctive color schemes:
- yellow noses for Jasta 10
- red noses for Jasta 11
- black noses for Jasta 4
- black-and-white striped noses, tailplanes, and wheel covers for Jasta 6
- red noses and blue fuselages for Jasta 15
- green noses and blue fuselages for Jasta 13

Typically the tail fins were painted white, with a black cross.

Over 1000 D.VII's were built, with 775 surviving at the end of the war. So highly regarded was this fighter that the Treaty of Versailles specifically mentioned that these aircraft were to be turned over to the Allies. Canada, Britain, and Australia received some a few were preserved in museums, the remainder scrapped. European countries like Hungary, Netherlands, Lithuania, and Latvia used them for their air forces through the 1920s. Anthony Fokker himself smuggled 220 of them to his native Netherlands.

Surviving, original Fokker D VIIs can be found at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, in the Royal Air Force Museum in London, in the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa Canada, and several others.


Fokker DVII Specifications:

Length: 22 feet 3 inches
Wingspan:
29 feet, 3.5 inches
Height:
9 feet, 3 inches
Crew:
1
Weight:
1,540 lbs Empty 2,036 Max
Max Speed: 124 mph
Stall Speed: 55 mph
Cruise Speed: 110
Fuel Capacity: 20 gallons
Range: 1.5 hours endurance
Service Ceiling: 16,000 feet
Powerplant: Mercedes D III a Water Cooled Inline 6 - 180 hp
Armament: 2 7.92mm air cooled Spandau machine guns
First Flight : January, 1918

The Brome County Historical Society Museum is located less than an hour north from Richford, VT at 130 Lakeside in Knowlton Quebec.

As an aviation buff my main reason for making this trip was to see the museum's original Fokker D VII German Biplane from World War I. I had heard that this Fokker DVII was completely original, with its original fabric unrestored. According to the staff, after the war 22 examples of the Fokker D VII were brought to Canada in 1919 for study. The museum wrote to Ottawa asking for one example for their museum and after erecting a building for it one was sent out, the components said to be new in box. The shipping cost at the time was $112.50 Canadian dollars. Much of the Fokker D VII does look like new. Aside from some light surface rust on the propeller flange & nuts I can't see any corrosion on the airframe. From the looks of the engine block and inside of the exhaust pipe it doesn't appear the engine has ever been started. It really is remarkable and I was really excited to have the opportunity to see it up close (but most other aviation enthusiasts would feel the same). I spent a good amount of time looking it over and had the following observations:

The fabric is a puzzle. The common fabric seen on German WWI day fighters is a pre printed 4 color lozenge pattern, which you can see beneath the cockpit. However, this aircraft has at least 4 different patterns of fabric, and possibly a fifth.

The first is the standard 4 color green, blue, purple, and brown lozenge, seen under the cockpit, in on the inboard side of the lower LH wing's upper surface, and in patches under the tail.

The second is a lighter pattern on the undersides. It's a combination of light green, and other light earth tones. If I could take away all the yellowing of age there might be some cream or ivory colors. The lozenges are wider on this pattern and not quite as regular.

The third is a regular gray, green, earth, light green pattern that is more subdued than the first but darker than the undersides. I see this on the top of the fuselage, blending down the sides somewhat diagonally towards the tail.

The fourth is a medium green, light brown, tan and mustard pattern which is larger than the first and quite irregular. It includes smaller random shapes, some of a lighter blue. It's not clear if these were a part of the original fabric pattern or are patches applied afterwards. You can see this pattern most clearly on the top of the lower LH wing.

I'm not clear on the pattern on the Fokker D VII's top wing. It seems darker than the standard 4 color, and tighter than the fabric on the top of the fuselage. It appears to be mildewed (the building is neither heated nor air conditioned - if you've stored anything in a damp basement you can spot it right away) and possibly dusty/dirty on top of it. The lighting could be better. With those fluorescent tubes placed vertically alongside the fuselage it's difficult to make out with the naked eye, and with a camera with a good flash & lens hood you still can't throw enough light on it to bring out the pattern.

Looking at the engine, cowl, prop, and struts of the Fokker D VII I'd agree that this airframe is as new from factory. But the linen is a hodgepodge of different patterns of fabric. The upper side of the lower wing has 2 different fabric patterns with random patches here and there. On the fuselage sides is the standard darker pattern from the cockpit diagonally down and a light pattern above. Normally with aircraft camouflage the darker pattern is uppermost getting lighter towards the undersides. There is more patchwork on the fuselage beneath the tail. My guess is that the aircraft has either been repaired with large patches early in it's life, or it was quickly sewn together with whatever fabric was handiest from the factory. At some point the fabric has been varnished or shellacked. When these aircraft are covered with linen the fabric is sewn on and then dope is brushed on to shrink, tighten, and stiffen the fabric, then markings are painted on top of that. On the fuselage and lower wings I see a yellow sheen that reflects evenly even over the painted markings, so I believe it was applied later over everything, probably a well meaning attempt to preserve or improve its appearance.

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1/27/2008 - Bill Glasgow from Scotland wrote with some more insight regarding the varying fabric patterns. Bill said he gleaned this info from Albatros Publications 'Fokker DV11 Anthologies:

"The mix of fabric is interesting. Apparently in 1963 the aircraft was moved from Knowlton to RCAF base Trenton where parts of the damaged fabric were patched with 'recreated' fabric supplied by the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. This recreated 4 color fabric is known as the 'Knowlton pattern'. After the 1963 Ottawa RCAF Show the aircraft was moved back to Knowlton. Although completely original, the aircraft has components from several other aircraft fitted e.g. cowl, ailerons, tailplane and elevator which can be determined from the different aircraft identification numbers 6810, 8504, 8502, 6506 and 8318. This was common practice for these aircraft in service. "
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There are a number of tears and holes in the linen covering. In my mind they make it more interesting as they show this has not been cosmetically restored. The mannequin has been placed in an attempt to hide a tear in the LH side of the fuselage. What would be even more interesting is if the tear were in plain view, and an explanation elsewhere of how each tear occurred. Even if it was due to janitor Elmer DePue slipping while mopping the floor in 1923. The tears are a part of the plane's history and each have a small story to tell.

I noticed the Fokker D VII's propeller was rather large and at such an angle that if one tried to hand prop it to start the engine there was no safe way to get out of the path of the descending blade in time. Initially I thought the hole in the upper RH side of the cowling was for an inertial starting handle. After doing some more research I've found that is not the case, and the starting procedure for these engines is really quite interesting. Each cylinder has a priming cup at the top. Before starting a mechanic squirts a mixture of gasoline and benzene into each cup. With the magneto switched off the mechanic rotates the prop by hand for 6 complete revolutions in order to draw the priming mixture into each cylinder. The pilot then switches on fuel and magnetos and proceeds to rapidly crank a handle in the lower right of the cockpit turning a starter magneto which I was not able to photograph. This sends a shower of sparks to the plug on the cylinder just past Top Dead Center and hopefully pushes the piston down and starts the engine turning. The next should fire after it passes TDC and if all is well it should continue firing till all cylinders are firing evenly.

The experience of seeing an original Fokker D VII for me personally was fantastic. I did feel though that there were a few things that could have been improved on. The lighting could have been better, there's not a lot of room around the aircraft, and some of the objects and exhibits next to to it obstruct the view of some details. There is also some glare to deal with. There could be soft floods high and in the corners which should not cast shadows as visitors view the aircraft. The room is not much larger than the aircraft itself, so getting a wide view is a challenge. A mannequin blocks the left side of the fuselage, a TV blocked the best vantage point of a wide view of the RH side, and two large signs completely obscure the undercarriage. Since I'd traveled almost 400 miles to get there I asked the staff if I could help move the signs, mannequin on its dolly, and TV for a few minutes for photographs before replacing them. Since the TV was not being used the staff did agree to move it, but they did not want to disturb the signs or mannequin. I'm sorry for the clutter in the photographs, but I did the best I could.

Here is a link to a page on the Canada Aviation and Space Museum's website with period photos of the Knowlton Fokker D.VII. I'm not sure what year they were taken, but I suspect it was sometime in the early 1920s.

The Brome County Historical Society Museum is small and the tours are unguided but the staff is friendly and eager to field your questions. There is no food on site but there are a number of restaurants just a short walk away. The museum has a fair amount of other artifacts, mainly early Canadian household, store, post office, and factory items, horse saddles & riding gear, and a good deal more that escapes me. The museum does not have it's own website but the Townships Heritage Webmagazine does have a page with hours and entry fee details. If you're interested in WWI military aircraft, make it a point to pay them a visit if you're in the area. Having an opportunity to see a real Fokker D VII was a big thrill.


Watch the video: IL-2 Flying Circus Fokker German WW1 Fighter