Not so Bygone days @ Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
The 1917 Albatros D.Va
October 16, 1999
The Albatros D series fighter was a formidable adversary to the Allies
in WWI. The D.Va was the last of the series that started with the
D.1 in 1914. The aircraft evolved in subsequent years as the D.II, D.III,
D.IV, D.V and finally in October of 1917, the D.Va was introduced. The
D.V series featured a rounded fuselage of wooden construction, and a more
powerful 180hp Mercedes water cooled engine. The top speed was 106mph,
which was not as fast as some of the Allied aircraft, but in the hands
of a skilled aviator it could hold it's own. Baron von Richthofen was famous
for his red triplane, but he actually scored more victories with Albatros
aircraft. In the Spring of 1917, Britain lost 151 aircraft to the D.III
version. Fortunately you will have the pleasure of seeing this treasure
fly at Old Rhinebeck again. After 6 years of being relegated to one of
the hangars near the museum, it is airborne again. When the Albatros takes
to the air, a certain presence of power and agility is thrust upon you.
It is one of the aircraft I can not wait to see and hear again. I took
the upper picture in September or October of 1989, and the original is a Kodachrome
64 slide. I generally shot Kodachrome 64 at ISO 90 to get better saturation.
Notice how the prop is completely blurred; the result of the slow shutter
speed incurred by the use the slow slide film and relatively slow (f5.6)
tele lens with a polarizing filter. The polarizing filter gave the deep
blue sky and lessens the reflections off the shiny surfaces resulting in
a sharper looking image.
***New news: According to the Summer 1999 issue of "Rotary Ramblings"
(the newsletter of Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum), the old Albatros is
flying again this season after a six year rest. It has been outfitted with
an overhauled Ranger engine, and has had work done on the fuselage and
I had to see the old treasure
fly again. The result is the photo above. Ten years between the photos, and not a whole lot has changed. It was great to see it fly again.***
The 1918 Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin
The Sopwith Dolphin was a mainstay at Old Rhinebeck for many years. Apparently it is being restored to flying condition. (Source: "Rotary Ramblings"). The photo above was taken on Ektachrome 200 slide film in October of 1977. What is interesting is that the pilot's head protrudes above the wing. The aircraft was known as the "Block Buster" because so many heads were damaged if the plane nosed over. The Dolphin's strange design gave the pilot the best possible view of the enemy. In addition to the two machine guns that are mounted over the prop, it had two sychronized 7.7 mm forward firing guns. The plane was also outfitted to carry 4 bombs. This was the first water cooled V8 engine in a Sopwith fighter plane. The engine in the Mk I version was a gear driven 200 hp Hispano-Suiza engine. Maximum speed was 112 mph. A Mk II was produced, to rectify some gear drive problems, as well as a Mk III providing 300 hp. In total, 1532 Dolphins were produced.
I know it was a great plane, but somehow it seems less streamlined and more ungainly than the earlier Camel.