Re: QUERY: von Raben's Dr.1 (...

Bill Shatzer (
Thu, 22 Jun 1995 22:53:51 -0700

>> THe famous captured Von Stapenhorst machine shows BOTH styles on the
>> same plane. This occured on other planes as well. One reason being
>> Fokkers using up of existing stocks, and the possibilty of puting
>> a larger aileron on the right side to increase even furhter the
>> triplanes right turn speed............
> Sorry to ask a smart-alek sounding question, but what if they got
>the negative reversed and it was on the left hand side? How do they
>(oh the imfamous THEY people), determine if the photo is correctly

The rather ancient book "Fighting Triplanes" has a re-print of the
March, 1918 Flight magazine article on Stapenhorst's Dr.I. Apparently
the editors and writers for the magazine were allowed complete access
to the airplane (or had real good contacts with someone else who was)
because the article has all sorts of detailed drawings of various details
of the triplane. Anyway, the article specifically mentions that the
starboard aileron is smaller than the port one so we can be pretty
sure the negative has not been reversed.

I remain convinced that the best (and probably only) explanation of
the asymetrical ailerons on Stapenhorst's triplane is a field
expedient replacement of a damaged aileron. I can't buy the argument
that Fokker was 'using up' old ailerons at all. I mean, they can't
have had one factory producing right ailerons and a separate one
building the left-hand ones. Certainly the asymetrical aileron's
can't have been an intentional design or there'd be more triplanes
than just Stapenhorst's Dr.I 144/17 exhibiting this characteristic.

But, the best argument that the starboard aileron was a recent
replacement is the unfinished iron cross on the starboard wing
of Dr.I 144/17 - the cross is complete across the entire wing
surface but the tip portion that should be on the aileron is
totally absent. The most reasonable explanation is that they
ground crew had no yet had the opportunity to repaint the cross
tip on the replacement aileron before Stapenhorst was forced down.

And, I've just finished looking through my library of various Dr.I
photos - in those photos where the shape of the ailerons is clear,
*none*, except Stapenhorst's seems to have asymetrical ailerons.

(He quietly climbs down off his soap box and attempts to blend
in with the crowd!)

Cheers, Bill