Re: How many Dr.I's went down?

Douglas R. Jones (
Thu, 4 Aug 1994 11:01:29 -0600

I don't remember anything about Dr1's being grounded du to structural
failures. I have some pretty good documentation at the house and I will
check it. The early prototypes did not have the interplane struts. Fokker
felt they were unnecessary. The test pilots who first flew them were mad
somewhat nervous about the wings wagging! So Fokker added the interplane
struts essentially to keep the pilots happy. Being notorious ground loopers
and easy to tip on landings and takeoffs the lower wing tip skids were
added to prevent damage when flying from rough fields.

The D-VIII did suffer from structural failures of the wing. The fault was
traced to sloppy workmanship. The insides of the ply and spars were not
being varnished. Moisture was building up inside weakening the joints. This
is probably the main reason the D-VIII didn't have a large effect on the
outcome of the air war. They arrived too late.

Brian Coughlin remarked in his pilot log (pulished in WWI Aero) that his
D-VIII runs circles around Cole's D-VII. These aircraft are equiped with
original engines. I must admit seeing these planes flying together at
Rhinebeck last year was quite a thrill. Brian has since sold his D-VIII and
is building another. The D-VII is flying this year. If you have never heard
the sound of a rotary engine blipping along it is amazing. The inline
Mercedes is no dud either. Brian also commented that he doesn't know the
takeoff speed of his old D-VIII as he was/is too scared to check. The tail
comes up quickly and she climbs out quite smartly.

If you are using the Drews drawings for reference they are reputed to be
wrong. The were apparently 22 spars in the wing tapering towards the tips.
Each spar was apparently one piece.

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