На основе конструкции D I был создан поплавковый истребитель Альбатрос W 4. Он отличался увеличенными размерами планера, несколько другим по форме фюзеляжем и хвостовым оперением. Самолет был оснащен двигателем Мерседес D.III. Поплавки были недостаточно прочными и часто ломались, возникали проблемы с охлаждением двигателя. Было произведено 118 машин.
А.Александров, Г.Петров Крылатые пленники России
Редкой "птицей" в наших краях был поплавковый аэроплан "Альбатрос В. 4". Кроме аппаратов, брошенных в Крыму, русские пилоты встречались с такими машинами на Балтике, но в плен они не попадали. В отличие от всех ранее упоминавшихся разведчиков, "четверка" являлась настоящим истребителем, создававшимся в 1916 г. для защиты воздушных баз на побережье Северного моря от налетов британских морских самолетов. Модель В. 4 (W 4) была оригинальной разработкой, но все-таки имела сухопутного предшественника, "Альбатрос Д. 1", хотя по сравнению с ним обладала увеличенными размерами, большим весом и, конечно же, поплавковым шасси. Последнее оказалось в буквальном смысле слабым местом конструкции, так как недостаточная прочность понтонов вела к их частой замене. Вдобавок несущие поверхности нередко страдали от воздействия сырости, а в жаркую летнюю погоду боковые фюзеляжные радиаторы "кипятили" воду. Фирма постоянно работала над устранением этих и других недостатков, но в конечном счете пилоты предпочитали "Румплеры 6Б" "Альбатросам В. 4", чье применение, в результате, не отличалось интенсивностью: в период с февраля 1917 г. по август 1918 г. флот списал только 21 аэроплан из примерно 100 принятых - довольно низкий показатель для германского морского истребителя. В августе 1918 г. 4 аппарата находились в боевых отрядах Северного моря, 5 - в Турции, 56 - в резерве, а остальные, из общего числа в 86 единиц, служили в учебных подразделениях на Балтике или ремонтировались. Остается добавить, что всего компания "Альбатрос" построила 118 "четверок" с двигателями "Мерседес" 160 л. с. Большинство из этих самолетов вооружали двумя синхронизированными пулеметами "Шпандау", хотя ранние машины несли только один. На снимке 71 изображен "Альбатрос В. 4", парящий где-то в районе Севастополя, вероятно, в 1919 г. (из коллекции Т. Дарси).
O.Thetford, P.Gray German Aircraft of the First World War (Putnam)
Albatros W 4
During 1916, as a result of the depredations of British flying-boats and seaplanes upon the North Sea Air Stations of Zeebrugge, Borkum, etc., the German Naval authorities ordered the production of single-seat seaplane fighting scouts (Jagdetnsitzer Wasser) for local station defence duties. To ensure the speedy appearance of a suitable aircraft, modification of land machines was put in hand, resulting in the appearance of the Brandenburg KDW (a seaplane version of the D I "Star Strutter" scout supplied to the Austrian air forces), the Rumpler 6BI and 6BII (a single-seat seaplane variant of the C I) and the Albatros W 4, which used many components of the Albatros D I.
These Albatros W 4s were able to remain on patrol in the vicinity of their home station for about three hours, attacking any enemy aircraft that should put in an appearance. Enemy patrol seaplanes were not too difficult to deal with, as the W 4 usually had the edge in speed and manoeuvrability, and was certainly superior in armament. The powerful and well-armed flying-boats of the R.N.A.S. Yarmouth and Felixstowe stations were, however, a much stiffer proposition, and pilots had to be possessed of a considerable degree of dash and resolution to close with these redoubtable opponents and achieve any decisive effect.
The Albatros W 4 has often been described as an "Albatros D I (or D II) on floats", whereas, in fact, it was considerably larger in overall dimensions. Certainly the D I fuselage was used as a basis, although this was modified to a degree, especially in the tail section. The same basic formula of longerons and formers with ply covering was used; the upper fin was still built integral with the fuselage and ply-covered, but it was increased in area to compensate for the under-fin, which was deleted. The tailplane was also increased in area, ply-covered and braced to the vertical fin with light-gauge steel struts. As on the D I, the one-piece balanced elevator and the rudder were of welded steel-tube framing and covered with fabric. On the earlier W 4s the box-like Windholf radiators were positioned on the fuselage sides as on the D I but later the more efficient Teeves and Braun aerofoil-shaped radiators were installed in the centre-section in an endeavour to reduce drag.
It was in the wing structure the W 4 differed from the D types, the span being increased by exactly 1 m. (3 ft. 3 3/16 in.), although the profile remained much the same, as was the constructional method of ply ribs mounted on two box-spars. The gap was much increased, and much longer and stronger centre-section struts were required. These were of streamlined section steel tube, of inverted U-shape with strengthening webs at the corners, and splayed outwards from the fuselage. Initially, ailerons of inverse taper were fitted to the upper wingtips only, but with this arrangement lateral control was on the sluggish side, so subsequent aircraft were fitted with ailerons at all four wingtips, linked with a steel-tube strut.
A variety of floats was fitted to Albatros W 4s in an endeavour to discover optimum take-off performance. Operating from their own - presumably sheltered - waters, no great degree of seaworthiness, in the accepted sense, was required. Single-stepped floats of plain rectangular cross-section, and with little fore-and-aft taper at either bows or stern, were fitted; floats with flat tops, curved top decking and twin steps were also tried. A robust steel-tube chassis supported the floats, and the spreader struts were of the same medium; all bracing wires were of stranded cable.
Increased fuel tankage (two separate tanks each of 73 litres capacity, together with 13 litres of oil) provided the considerable endurance already mentioned.
Albatros W 4s remained in service until replaced by the faster and more effective Brandenburg two-seaters. They were supplied to the German Navy in small batches over the period September 1916 to December 1917, by which time some 118 of the type had been delivered.
Description: Single-seat station defence seaplane.
Manufacturers: Albatros Werke G.m.b.H. Friedrichschagen.
Power Plant: One 160 h.p. Mercedes D III 6 cylinder in-line water-cooled engine.
Dimensions: Span, 9.5 m. (31 ft. 2 in.). Length, 8.5 m. (27 ft. 10 3/4 in.). Height, 3.65 m. (11 ft. 11 3/4 in.). Wing area, 31.6 sq.m. (341 sq.ft.).
Weights: Empty, 790 kg. (1,738 lb.). Loaded, 1,070 kg. (2,354 lb.).
Performance: Maximum speed, 158-160 km.hr. (100 m.p.h.). Initial climb, 1,000 m. (3,280 ft.) in 5 min. Ceiling, 9,840 ft. Duration, 3 hr.
Armament: Two fixed Spandau machine-guns synchronised to fire through airscrew. (Sometimes only one gun fitted.)
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
ALBATROS W 4
Ordered as a prototype in June 1916 and tested at Warnemunde in the following September, the W 4 single-seat fighter floatplane mated a D II fuselage with new wings and tail surfaces, the 160 hp Daimler D III engine being retained. The twin floats had to be redesigned and reinforced, and the transparent Cellon wing centre section panel featured by early production W 4s became brittle and tore in flight, necessitating replacement by fabric. From June 1917, the side radiators - which tended to boil over in hot weather - were replaced, and, with the sixth production batch commencing with the 68th series aircraft, ailerons were introduced also in the lower wing. With an armament of either one or two 7,92-mm guns, the W 4 operated over both the North Sea and the Baltic, and 128 (including the prototype) were built, the last of eight batches being ordered in August 1917 with deliveries being completed in the following December. As late as June 1918, 65 W 4s were still listed as active (24 more being with various seaplane stations as practice machines).
Max speed, 99 mph (160 km/h).
Time to 3,280 ft (1000 m), 6.5 min.
Empty weight, 1,742 lb (790 kg).
Loaded weight, 2,359 lb (1070 kg).
Span, 31ft 2 in (9,50m).
Length, 27ft 1 1/4 in (8,26m).
Height, 11 ft 11 3/4 in (3,65 m).
Wing area, 340.15 sq ft (31,60 m2).