Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

The Formidable Fokker Aircraft @ Rhinebeck
It is  very interesting  to see the evolution of Tony Fokker's fighter aircraft. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome has beautiful replicas of three famous WWI German aircraft. Below you will see the famous Fokker Triplane of 1917, officially named the Dr.I; the 1918 D.VII biplane; and the last plane Fokker designed for Germany, the 1918 D.VIII monoplane.  The  D.VIII  was produced too late to really help Germany in WWI. 
Fokker Triplane

1917 Fokker Dr.I Triplane with the dastardly Black Baron at the controls.

Fokker Triplane in the Fall of 2000

Fokker Triplane in the Fall of 99

This little beauty is my favorite. This tiny aircraft can turn on a dime. It seems to be flying faster than it is because of its maneuverability and diminutive size. This was not Tony Fokker's first plane, but it is the earliest plane of Fokker's I have seen fly at Rhinebeck. It is very apparent in this shot that this plane has three wings. The three short wings give this plane the lift and the  maneuverability to enable the German aces to shoot down allied planes that were faster. Richthofen was quoted as saying that the triplane "climbed like a monkey and maneuvered like the devil". The  yellow wooden fixtures under the  lowest wing was there to protect the wing from damage, since this aircraft had a tendency to tilt on take off and landing. It also gives a place to hang on to when the crew is walking with the plane as it taxies down the runway. The venetian blind effect of the three  wings can also be seen by the shadows they cast.(Top image.)

I have the photograph directly above available as a beautiful 16X20 inch print.

E-Mail Me For Details--- fjsgrosso@aol.com

Some Specifications for the 1917 Fokker Dr.I Triplane

  • Wingspan: Top: 23'7" middle: 20' 5" bottom: 18' 9.5"
  • Length: 18'11"
  • Height: 9'8"
  • Weight(empty): 894#
  • Max Weight: 1291#
  • Engine: One 110hp Le Rhône or Oberursel Ur.II- 9 cylinder air cooled rotary
  • Armament: Two 7.92mm air cooled LMG machine guns
  • Max Speed: 103-115mph
  • Service ceiling: 20000'
  • Range: 185 miles or 1 hour 30min
  • Crew: One
Note: The aircraft featured above at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome has a modern 220 hp radial Continental engine--Cole's Dr.I had an original Le Rhône engine, if I remember correctly.

The next plane in the chronological order is the Fokker Biplane featured next.

1918 Fokker DVII Biplane
The magnificent  1918 Fokker D.VII Biplane

This aircraft was landing and had just completed a duel with the Fokker Triplane. This can only happen at Old Rhinebeck. (Germans fighting Germans.) The Black Baron was too stupid to shoot himself down, so the D.VII tried to do it. The Sopwith Camel barely made it into the air that day when the flight was aborted. Otherwise, we would have had the pleasure of seeing the Camel shoot the Black Baron down. The radiator on this plane is something to behold. I hope to get a close-up next time. As you can see, this later model of Fokker fighter was water cooled and had two wings. Pilots back then liked the sturdy construction of biplanes and really resisted the single winged monoplane. The D.VII was bigger and faster than its little triplane forerunner. This plane is pretty as a picture, and sounds as smooth as silk. The technology of making better fighting planes was moving along at a furious pace. Many people have said this was the finest fighter of WWI . 

Some Specifications for the 1918 Fokker D.VII Biplane

  • Wingspan: 29'-2.5"
  • Length: 22'-9.5"
  • Height: 9'
  • Weight(empty): 1620#
  • Max Weight: 1940#
  • Engine: One 185hp BMW III 6-cylinder in line water cooled--early production used the Mercedes 160hp
  • Armament: Two 7.92mm air cooled LMG machine guns
  • Max Speed: 124mph
  • Service ceiling: 22965'
  • Air time: 1 hour 30min
  • Crew: One

The next and last plane in this series is the Fokker D.VIII, featured below.

Fokker DVIII Monoplane
The zebra like aircraft above is the Fokker D.VIII Monoplane of 1918.

This  monoplane was not readily accepted by the German pilots, because they thought the single wing would fail. The plane was introduced too late in the war to be of any consequence. This aircraft had everything; high speed and good maneuverability. If you look closely, you can see the trailing white scarf all the pilots of this era wore.  The scarves were not originally for looks, but  were used to wipe their face when the castor oil  came out of the engines. Jim Hare, the Rhinebeck announcer, said the Germans did a lot of research on camouflage. I know that my camera's autofocus system sure had a problem focussing on this guy.  This aircraft was shot on Saturday, when the light was better, hence the shutter speed was adequate to almost freeze the prop. The D.VIII was featured on both the Saturday and the Sunday shows.

Some Specifications for the 1918 Fokker D.VIII Monoplane

  • Wingspan: 27'-4.75"
  • Length: 19'-2.25"
  • Height: 9'-2.25"
  • Weight(empty): 893#
  • Max Weight: 1334#
  • Engine: One 110hp Oberursel Ur.II- 9 cylinder air cooled rotary
  • Armament: Two Spandau machine guns
  • Max Speed: 127mph
  • Service ceiling: 19685'
  • Air time: 1 hour 30min
  • Crew: One
All photos ©Fred Sgrosso 2000 and were taken in October 98, 99 and 2000.

Page updated: 15 June 2001

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