Re: Fokker D VI & D-V

Erik Pilawskii (
Thu, 9 Feb 1995 17:41:50 -0800 (PST)

> The D-V was a nice looking machine too, especially with that big spinner.
> Its more rounded body section seemed less stark than the Es, D-I thru D-IIIs
> and the Dr. 1s square section form. The slightly swept back wings had a
> graceful feel too, though the conventional bracing cluttered up its lines.
> I have read the D-V was well-liked by pilots, but it didn't make the grade
> as a combat machine. Any sources describe why? Too stable? Underpowered?
Well, the way I understand it, the D.V was actually rather competent.
The 'problem' was comparative: against the Camel, its rate-of-climb was
probably adequate, but it would be at marked disadvantage in
maneuverability-- both in roll-rate and turning circle [albeit, the
Albatross didn't fall into a vicious spin if the pilot sneezed incorrectly!];
against the SE5, its climb would probably lag somewhat behind and it was
very much slower, though its maneuverability was about equal; against the
various Nieuports I understand it was quite formidable, all of them
having the advantage in maneuver, but inferior otherwise; the SPAD XIII
would present similar problems as the SE5, including the fact that it was
next to indestructible (which the D.V was far from); and, so on.
All of the pilots I know that have flown Cole Palen's machine (OK, it's
NOT original!) give it rather high marks. In fact, they compare it
surprisingly well with the D.VII, which can be considered the WWI
pinnacle in this field. Thus, I think if I were a neophyte pilot, I'd
very much prefer to get an Albatross than a Camel!! Among experienced
pilots, however, the D.V/Va can probably be regarded as somewhat
outclassed, though I think "obsolete" (or some such) is way too strong.

BTW, you might solicit an opinion from Alan on the matter-- he's a WWI
"The Heavens were the grandstands, and only the Gods were spectators. The
stake was the World. The forfeit was the Player's place at the table; and
the Game had no recess. It was the most dangerous of all sports-- and the
most fascinating. It got in the blood like wine. It aged men 40 years in
40 days; it ruined nervous systems in an hour. It was a fast game-- the
average life of a pilot at the Front was 48 hours. And, to many, it
seemed an Age....
Elliot White Springs, WWI ace