Monoplane,biplane or triplane?

Discussion in 'World War I' started by Readie, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Leading on from the rotary v inline thread.

    If you were a fighter pilot in WW1 which plane design would you choose to joust with?

    A monoplane ( eindecker)

    A biplane

    A triplane

    and why?

    Cheers
    John
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Biplanes were most common during WWI so I've got to assume they worked best during that time frame.
    Albatros-DIII-jasta-26-Bruno_Lorzer-300px.png

    German Aviation: Fighters 1916
    I've always like the looks of the Albatros series as they were streamlined. So many other WWI era biplanes look like a box kite with an engine attached. The Albatros was produced in large numbers (for WWI) and was powered by a reliable Mercedes D.III inline engine.
     
  3. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    #3 tyrodtom, Nov 20, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
    The Albatros series were beautiful aircraft, but that beauty was apparently only skin deep. The pilots liked them because they were a advance on the Fokker eindeckers and Halberstadt D2's they had been flying. But lower wings soon started folding when Albatross went to the D3, ( the aircraft in davebender's picture ) When it happened to Richthofen on Jan. 17, 1917, plus he found out it had happened 3 times on the same day to Jasta Boelche pilots, who weren't quite as lucky as him. He went back to a old Halerstadt D2, and flew it for two months, until Albatros somewhat fixed the problem.
    Albatros replaced the D3 with the D5 in May of 1917, which while faster, was slower in rate of climb than the D3, and still had the lower wing flutter problem. Aerodynamic flutter wasn't well understood at the time. It wasn't that the lower wing was weak, it had a single spar that was too far back in the wing, and would begin to flutter from aerodynamic pressure at speeds usually encountered in steep dives. If the pilot noticed the buffeting from the flutter and slowed down immediately he might prevent wing failure.

    Richthofen disliked the D5 so much he wrote his friend Oblt. Falkenhayn in July, 1917, " The DV is so obsolete and rediculously inferior to the English that one can't do anything with this aircraft. But the people at home have not bought out anything new for almost a year, except for this lousy Albatros, and we have remained stuck with the DIII. "

    And of those dependable Mercedes engines Jasta 11's ace Von de Osten had this to say in a interview in 1974. " The SE-5's were our nastiest opponents due to their speed and their climbing ability. Because of their excellant British engines, they were much better that our aeroplanes. You could tell this immediately since they hummed so evenly when in flight, while our engines rattled like one of todays VW engines."

    Since i'd be on the allied side I think i'd pick the SE-5a, with the Wolseley assembled direct drive HS, since the Germans seem to think so much of it. Though I think the Fokker DVII is the better all round aircraft. Neither one beauties, but they delivered what was needed.


    My source for these views was Osprey SE5a Vs Albatros DV by Jon Guttman.
     
  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I would choose the Tri-plane. My understanding is that they were much more manuevarable than most planes of the period - something that I would think one would need to survive another day.
     
  5. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    The triplane arrangement may be compared with the biplane in a number of ways.

    A triplane arrangement has a narrower wing chord than a biplane of similar span and area. This gives each wing plane a slender appearance with higher aspect ratio, making it more efficient and giving increased lift. This potentially offers a faster rate of climb and tighter turning radius, both of which are important in a fighter. The Sopwith Triplane was a successful example, having the same wing span as the equivalent biplane, the Sopwith Pup.

    Alternatively, a triplane has reduced span compared to a biplane of given wing area and aspect ratio, leading to a more compact and lightweight structure. This potentially offers better maneuvrability for a fighter, and higher load capacity with more practical ground handling for a large aircraft type.

    The famous Fokker Dr.I triplane was a balance between the two approaches, having moderately shorter span and moderately higher aspect ratio than the equivalent biplane, the Fokker D.VI.

    Yet a third comparison may be made between a biplane and triplane having the same wing plan - the triplane's third wing provides increased wing area, giving much increased lift. The extra weight is partially offset by the increased depth of the overall structure, allowing a more efficient construction. The Caproni Ca.4 series had some success with this approach.

    These advantages are offset, to a greater or lesser extent in any given design, by the extra weight and drag of the structural bracing, and the aerodynamic inefficiency inherent in the stacked wing layout. As biplane design advanced, it became clear that the disadvantages of the triplane outweighed the advantages.

    Typically the lower set of wings are approximately level with the underside of the aircraft's fuselage, the middle set level with the top of the fuselage, and the top set supported above the fuselage on cabane struts.

    I wouldn't chose an early monoplane despite the success of of the Fokker Eindecker.
    I'm torn between the tri biplane design...
    Ummm

    John
     
  6. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    The eindecker would be the future of fighters but the German version suffered from serious handling problems. It fared very well initially due to its sycronized machine guns. The tri-wings also suffered from wing problems, some due to shoddy construction but there was an inherrent lift differential between the upper and lower wings (2.5 to 1). So it has to be the Bi-plane such as the D VII until materials technology could catch-up with stress demands
     
  7. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    #7 Readie, Nov 20, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
    Pretty convincing Mike.
    Bi Plane then ?
    Could be a toss up between the Nieuport, Spad, SE5a , Pup or Camel.

    http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/ww1-military-aircraft.asp

    This is an interesting list. Some of the planes are new to me.

    John
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Many WWI era airframes had structural flaws. Some aircraft engine models were unreliable. A cracked wing spar or malfunctioning engine will kill you just as dead as the enemy. So I would put reliability as the most important characteristic for a WWI era aircraft.
     
  9. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    At least with a blown engine you had a chance of making a landing, but most times you die when there is structural failure. No WW1 aircraft was reliable on the level that we expect of aircraft today, and some were known to be almost deathtraps.

    When you read the day to day accounts of units at the front, or preparing to go to the front, you will notice lots of instances of wings folding, or someone being forced down because of engine failure. It took brave men to go up in those machines.
     
  10. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    #10 Readie, Nov 21, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
    It did Tom. I have nothing but admiration for the early pilots.

    http://thevintageaviator.co.nz/node

    Early seamen navigators/ explorers hold the same respect. Setting sail literally into the unknown...

    John
     
  11. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #11 nuuumannn, Nov 21, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
    I'm going to throw a spanner in the works and offer this in favour of the monoplane, purely as devil's advocate, of course. During the Great War there was an official prejudice against the monoplane by the British hierarchy; this was based on a series of incidents involving Bleriot XIs in 1912, which apparently suffered structural failure. The argument in favour of biplanes stated that the Warren Truss box structure of a biplane was more rigid, therefore safer than monoplanes. The Bleriot and most monoplanes of the era were equipped with wing warping for lateral control, requiring a degree of flexibility of the wing structure. An inquest into the incidents by Louis Bleriot and officers of the RFC came to the conclusion that the monoplane design itself was not at fault, but this was ignored and the biplane became king (simply put). There was also the apocryphal tale of an RFC officer scaring the bejesus out of himself whilst flying the Bristol Bullet, a monoplane fighter.

    When Frank Barnwell's Bristol M.1C fighter first appeared in 1916 it had a top speed of over 30 to 50 mph over its German contemporaries, but it was not adopted universally by the RFC because, it was stated, that its landing speed was too high for operations in France. This has often been considered as merely an excuse for official prejudice against it for being a monoplane. nevertheless, the M.1s were sent off to places like Palestine, where they floundered about, rarely encountering any real opposition. As a fighter it was far superior to the Fokker E III (even the Airco D.H.2 was superior to the Eindekker) and was easily the equal of the Albatros scouts it might have encountered over the Western Front, had it appeared there.

    Other companies built monoplanes but got around official scepticism by building them as parasol monoplanes, such as the Morane Saulnier designs, which were also used by the RFC. Because of the perceived prejudice against monoplanes, a biplane variant of the Morane was especially built for the RFC; the woeful Morane Saulnier BB.

    The excellent little 'Bullet'

    Bristol M1.jpg

    :8
     
  12. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Additional wings can provide additional lift, however, between the wing and the structure to support it, you also have induced drag. Some of that could be overcome with more power, but engines of the time weren't advanced enough to give good power. It was always about trade-offs and from what I read, it went back and forth on who had better fighters and scouts.
     
  13. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    That would not have looked out of place in 1930. Very advanced design and a good choice.

    John
     
  14. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I dunno. How did this one fare?

    :)
     

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  15. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    That's a early 30's Dewoitine ( I think ) from the movie The Blue Max.

    The Bristol Bullet was a fast little bugger, 130mph on only 110 hp. But I wonder how manuverable it was ? Could it's structure stand the stress ?
     
  16. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Didn't he crash it? :lol:
     
  17. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  18. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    It fell apart in the air, after that he was just along for the ride.

    I read the book and saw the movie, they end completely different.
     
  19. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  20. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    It was a Morane Saulnier. If it was a Bullet, that wouldn't have happened! :)
     
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