Albatros D.III

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Albatros D-III

Albatros-Flugzeugwerke of Berlin building the Albatros later In the autumn of 1916, Oesterreichische Flugzeugfabrik AG (Oeffag) obtained a licence to build the D.III production with the rounded nose at Wiener-Neustadt with deliveries staring by May the following year in 1917.

The Oeffag aircraft would be built in three main versions; series 53.2, 153, 253 using the 138, 149, or 168 kW or the 185, 200, or 225 hp Austro-Daimler engines. The Austro-Daimlers provided the Mercedes D.IIIa engine a winter cowling which fully enclosed the cylinder heads for cold weather operations  which improved performance on the Oeffag aircraft.

Austrian pilots often removed the propeller spinner from early production aircraft, since it was prone to falling off in flight. Beginning with aircraft 112 of the series 153 production run, Oeffag introduced a new rounded nose that eliminated the spinner. Remarkably, German wind-tunnel tests showed that the simple rounded nose improved propeller efficiency and raised the top speed by 9 mph.

All Oeffag variants were armed with two 8 mm (.315 in) Schwarzlose machine guns. In most aircraft, the guns were buried in the fuselage, where they were inaccessible to the pilot. In service, the Schwarzlose proved to be somewhat less reliable than the 7.92 mm (.312 in) LMG 08/15, mainly due to problems with the synchronization gear. The Schwarzlose also had a poor rate of fire until the 1916 model was provided with a modification developed by Ludwig Kral. At the request of pilots, the guns were relocated to the upper fuselage decking late in the series 253 production run. This created a new problem; the Schwarzlose operated via blowback and the weapon contained a cartridge oiler to prevent cases from sticking in the chamber while the extractor ripped their rims off. With guns mounted directly in front of the pilot, oil released during firing interfered with aim.

Oeffag engineers noted the wing failures of the D.III and modified the lower wing to use thicker ribs and spar flanges. These changes, as well as other detail improvements, largely resolved the structural problems that had plagued German versions of the D.III. In service, the Oeffag aircraft proved to be popular, robust, and effective. Oeffag built approximately 526 D.III aircraft between May 1917 and the Armistice.

After the Armistice, Poland acquired 38 series 253 aircraft, as well as several OAW machines, and operated them in the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-20. They were primarily employed in ground attack duties. The Poles thought so highly of the D.III that they sent a letter of commendation to the Oeffag factory. The newly formed Czechoslovakian air force also obtained and operated several Oeffag machines after the war.

An Austrian aviation enthusiast, Koloman Mayrhofer, has constructed a pair of Albatros D.III (Oeffag) series 253 reproductions. Both are equipped with vintage Austro-Daimler engines. One aircraft will be flown and operated by a non-profit organization. The second aircraft is slated for static display at the Flugmuseum AVIATICUM, near Wiener-Neustadt, Austria.

Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau AG (German pronunciation: [ˌfɔkəˈvʊlf]) was a German manufacturer of civil and military aircraft before and during World War II. Many of the company’s successful fighter aircraft designs were slight modifications of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.

The company was founded in Bremen on 24 October 1923 as Bremer Flugzeugbau AG by Prof. Henrich Focke, Georg Wulf and Dr. rer. pol. Werner Naumann Almost immediately, they renamed the company Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau AG (later Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH).

Focke-Wulf merged, under government pressure, with Albatros-Flugzeugwerke of Berlin in 1931. Albatros-Flugzeugwerke engineer and test pilot Kurt Tank became head of the technical department and started work on the Fw 44 Stieglitz (Goldfinch).

Dr Ludwig Roselius became Chairman in 1925 and handed over to his brother Friedrich in early 1933. In 1938 Roselius’ HAG combine increased its shareholding to 46% and Lorenz A.G. secured 28%. The company was reconstituted as Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH and no longer had to publish its accounts. A substantial capital injection occurred at this time.

In August 1933 Hans Holle and Rudolf Schubert were given power of attorney over the Berlin branch of Focke-Wulf. Then in October 1933, Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau A.G. Albatros Berlin was officially registered with the Department of Trade.

Dr Roselius always remained the driving force of Focke-Wulf. He and his closest collaborator, Barbara Goette, often met with technical director Professor Kurt Tank. When Roselius died in May 1943, Heinrich Puvogel continued handling the financial affairs of Focke-Wulf as chief of Seehandel A.G.

Hanna Reitsch demonstrated the Focke-Wulf Fw 61, the first fully controllable helicopter (as opposed to autogyro), in Berlin in 1938. The Fw 200 flew nonstop between Berlin and New York City on August 10, 1938, making the journey in 24 hours and 56 minutes. It was the first aircraft to fly that route without stopping. The return trip on August 13, 1938 took 19 hours and 47 minutes. These flights are commemorated with a plaque in the Böttcherstraße street of Bremen.

The Fw 190 Würger (butcher-bird), designed from 1938 on, and produced in quantity from early 1941 thru 1945, was a mainstay single-seat fighter for the Luftwaffe during World War II.

Repeated bombing of Bremen in World War II resulted in the mass-production plants being moved to eastern Germany and Poland, with AGO Flugzeugwerke of Oschersleben as a major subcontractor for the Fw 190. Those plants used many foreign and forced labourers, and from 1944 also prisoners of war. Focke-Wulf’s 100-acre (0.40 km2) plant at Marienburg produced approximately half of all Fw 190s and was bombed by the Eighth Air Force on October 9, 1943.

Many Focke-Wulf workers, including Kurt Tank, worked at the Instituto Aerotécnico in Córdoba, Argentina between 1947 and 1955. Focke-Wulf began to make gliders in 1951, and in 1955, motorised planes. Focke-Wulf, Weserflug and Hamburger Flugzeugbau joined forces in 1961 to form the Entwicklungsring Nord (ERNO) to develop rockets.

ITT Corporation, which had acquired a 25% stake in the company prior to the war, won $27 million in compensation in the 1960s for the damage that was inflicted on its share of the Focke-Wulf plant by WWII Allied bombing. Focke-Wulf formally merged with Weserflug in 1964, becoming Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke (VFW), which after several further mergers it is now part of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. (EADS).

 

 

Kermit-in-Albatros Oct 2012 Over England

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