Pfalz D.III

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Pfalz D.III

Pfalz D.III Biplane History
The Pfalz D.III biplane was built by the German aircraft manufacturer Pfalz Flugzeugwerke and used by the Luftstreitkrafte as a fighter aircraft during WW1. This aircraft was Pfalz’s first major original design and was the result of the efforts of their Chief Engineer Rudolph Gehringer. The monocoque fuselage was constructed from plywood covered with fabric, the wings were wood covered with fabric and the ailerons were also made of wood. The Pfalz D.III prototype first flew in April 1917, and after testing in May 2017 an order was placed by the Idfleig, Germany’s Inspectorate of Flying Troops, for a modified version which included a larger rudder.

The Pfalz D.III Biplane Operational History
Jasta 10 became the first to receive the Pfalz D.III which started arriving in August 1917. It was a strong and sturdy aircraft making it good for diving, however several flaws in it's performance left the pilots considering it to be inferior to the Albatros D.III and D.V. These flaws included lack of power, lack of speed, heavy controls, slipping in turns, and sharp stalling.

The Pfalz D.III Biplane Problem Solving
An additional problem encountered by the pilots was the inability to clear jammed guns, as they were housed in the fuselage. A modification, resulting in the D.IIIa, solved this issue by relocating the guns on the upper fuselage decking. A more powerful engine was also fitted. Of the 260 D.III and 750 D.IIIa aircraft produced, 100 remained in frontline service at the end of WW1 while others were being used in training schools. Some D.IIIa biplanes were supplied to Turkey for the Ottoman Air Force.

There are no known originals of this biplane surviving today, however there are two flying replicas in New Zealand which were built for the 1966 war film The Blue Max.

Various scale models, model kits and plans of this aircraft have been available in the market place.

Pfalz D.III Biplane Specifications:

Pfalz D.III Crew:
Pfalz D.III Length:
22ft 10in (6.95m)
Pfalz D.III Wingspan:
30ft 10in (9.4m)
Pfalz D.III Height:
8ft 9in (2.67m)
Pfalz D.III Wing area:
238.6ft² (22.17 m²)
Pfalz D.III Empty weight:
1,532lb (695kg)
Pfalz D.III Gross weight:
2,056lb (933kg)
Pfalz D.III Engine:
Single Mercedes D.IIIa 6-cyl. water-cooled in-line piston engine, 130 kW (180 hp)
Pfalz D.III Maximum speed:
102.5mph (165 km/h)
Pfalz D.III Endurance:
2½ hours
Pfalz D.III Service Ceiling:
17,001ft (5,182m)

Pfalz D.III Biplane Armament

2 × 7.92 mm LMG 08/15 Spandau machine guns
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