O.Thetford, P.Gray German Aircraft of the First World War (Putnam)
Pfalz Dr I
This stocky triplane fighter stemmed from the D VII and in fact was virtually a D VII fitted with triplane wings. Official type test was in October 1917. Reports on the number of these triplanes built vary, but the most reliable figure seems to indicate that no more than ten were constructed. The performance did not offer sufficient improvement over that of the Fokker triplane. Engine, 160 h.p. Siemens-Halske Sh III. Span, 8.55 m. (28 ft. 0 5/8 in.). Length, 5.5 m. (18 ft. 0 5/8 in.). Height, 2.76 m. (9 ft. 0 5/8 in.). Area, 17.2 sq.m. (186 sq.ft.). Weights: Empty, 510 kg. (1,122 lb.). Loaded, 705 kg. (1,551 lb.). Climb, 1,000 m. (3,280 ft.) in 1.7 min., 3,000 m. (9,840 ft.) in 6.2 min. Armament, twin Spandau machine-guns.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
PFALZ DR I Germany
Official interest in the potential of the triplane configuration for single-seat fighters prompted Pfalz to develop the Dr I. Powered by a 160 hp Siemens Halske Sh III 11-cylinder geared rotary engine, this underwent Typen-Prufung in October 1917. Armed with twin synchronised LMG 08/15 guns, the Dr I was of sufficient promise to warrant a pre-series evaluation batch of 10 aircraft, all of which arrived at the Front by the end of April 1918. Service pilots considered the Dr I too slow and its Sh III engine insufficiently reliable for frontline use, and no further examples were produced.
Max speed, 118 mph (190 km/h) at 13,125 ft (4 000 m).
Time to 16,405 ft (5 000 m), 13.5 min.
Endurance, 1.5 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,124 lb (510 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,554 lb (705 kg).
Span, 28 ft 0 2/3 in (8,55 m).
Length, 18 ft 0 1/2 in (5,50 m).
Height, 9 ft 0 2/3 in (2,76 m).
Wing area, 185.14 sqft (17,20 m2).
PFALZ DR II Germany
Developed in parallel with the Dr I, the Dr II was a smaller and lighter single-seat fighter triplane utilising the well-proven Oberursel Ur II rotary of 110 hp. A second prototype, the Dr IId, differed in having a 110 hp Siemens Halske Sh I rotary, but neither offered sufficient promise to warrant further development. The following data relate to the Ur II-powered aircraft.
Time to 9,840 ft (3 000 m), 10.2 min.
Endurance, 1.5 hrs.
Empty weight, 882 lb (400 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,314 lb (596 kg).
Span, 23 ft 7 1/2 in (7,20 m).
Length, 19 ft 6 1/4 in (5,95 m).
Height, 9 ft 6 1/8 in (2,90 m).
The best-known of German triplanes after the Fokker Dr.I emerged from the Pfalz factory at Speyer on the Rhine. The design was of typical Pfalz construction; the Wickelrumpf or wrapped-skin fuselage structure was built up on a light framework of stringers by a series of thin three-ply strips and cloth tape. The result, as evidenced in the D.III, was strength but increased weight. The Dr.I was based on the Pfalz D.VII, a relatively unsuccessful product, and was compact and well-proportioned. Powered by a 160 hp Siemens Sh III engine, it began flight tests in August 1917 and recorded the best rate of climb of any German aircraft up to that time, superior to the Fokker Dr.I. Probably three prototypes were built, 3050 and 3051/17 with 3052/17 as a static test.
On 12 December 1917 Manfred von Richthofen left his Geschwader to visit the Pfalz works, accompanied by his technical officer Lt Krefft. Such well-known pilots as Hpt Willy Meyer, von Tutschek and Ernst Schlegel also arrived to evaluate the new types. Von Richthofen was very impressed with the capabilities of the Dr I, and it is probable that as a result of his recommendations the Pfalz was ordered into small-scale production for front-line evaluation. It was further planned to build 100 Dr.I's, and to expose them all along the front simultaneously in January 1918, presumably with the purpose of demoralizing the enemy. This scheme was evidently dropped, for only ten were constructed. Nine went to the front, so presumably one Dr.I was retained at Speyer. Photographs exist of 221 and 222/17, but beyond that there is no record of other production examples or any service details of the nine that reached the front.
The Pfalz Dr.I arrived too late to compete seriously with the Fokker Dr.I and its quicker production techniques. The official reason for its rejection was its slow speed, and indeed this would seem to have been its main disadvantage.
Description: Single seat fighter
Manufacturer: Pfalz Flugzeug-Werke, G.m.b.H. Speyer am Rhein (Pfal.)
Engine: 160 hp Siemens-Halske Sh. III
Span 8.6 m (28 ft. 1 in.)
Length 5.6 m. (18 ft. 1 in.)
Height 2.9 m. (9 ft. 1 in.)
Area 17.2 sq m. (186 sq. ft.)
Empty 498 kg (1,122 lbs)
Loaded 704 kg (1,551 lbs)
1,000 m 1 min 12 secs
2,000 m 3 mins 12 secs
3,000 m 5 mins 24 secs
4,000 m 7 mins 48 secs
5,000 m 10 mins 48 secs
6,000 m 14 mins
Ceiling 6,500 m ( 21,325 ft)
Endurance 1 1/2 hrs
Armament: Twin Spandau machine-guns
Serials Prototypes: Dr 13050/17, 3051/17
Production: Dr 1221/17, 222/17. Five more examples built