Pfalz D.III


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Pfalz D.III

The Pfalz Flugzeug-Werke GmbH was established at Speyer-am-Rhein, Germany, in 1913 by the Everbusch brothers. The company initially licence built aircraft, such as the Morane-Saulnier Type H and Type L. During the early part of World War I Pfalz Flugzueg-Werke was involved in manufacturing the Moranes (under the A.I and E.I designations) and later L.F.G. Roland designs.

The D.III, which appeared in the spring of 1917, was the first biplane fighter produced entirely by the Pfalz Flugzeug-Werke. Its design, by Rudolfo Gehringer, owed much to the Roland fighters that Pfalz had been building under licence, but it was slimmer and generally neater. The Pfalz D.III was robust and well built, with a semi-monocoque ply fuselage, and the wings were of unequal chord to give the pilot a better downward view. Other aircraft using this design technique almost always suffered a structural penalty, which Pfalz avoided by incorporating two spars in the lower wing. As a result, the Pfalz could be dived at higher speeds than contemporary German fighter types without the risk of structural failure, an attribute its pilots found very useful when making high-speed diving attacks on enemy observation balloons. The gap between the upper wing and the fuselage was kept to a minimum, giving the pilot a good all-round field of view.

The prototype D.III was evaluated in June 1917. Very few modifications were found necessary, and the type was quickly cleared for production. To reduce drag, its twin Spandau machine guns were completely buried in the forward fuselage, with only the muzzles protruding. The D.III was followed into production by the D.IIIa, which had an uprated Mercedes engine and guns mounted on top of the fuselage, where they were easier to aim and service. The D.IlIa's wingtips were also more rounded.

The D.III/IIIa was initially issued to home defence units in Bavaria in August 1917. By the end of the year 276 D.IIIs and 114 D.IIIas were in service, and from then on the former was gradually replaced by the latter, of which 433 were with frontline units in April 1918. Forty-six Jagdstaffeln (Jastas) received some D.III/IIIas, but only about a dozen were fully equipped with the type.

Despite its robustness, the Pfalz does not seem to have been popular with many pilots, although some of Germany's leading air aces flew it. Part of the problem probably lay with its rate of climb, which was poor when compared with that of other German types such as the Fokker D.VII, with which the Pfalz was progressively replaced in the summer of 1918.

 ENGINE1 x 180hp Mercedes D.IIIa in-line engine
  Take-off weight935 kg2061 lb
  Wingspan9.40 m31 ft 10 in
  Length6.95 m23 ft 10 in
  Height2.67 m9 ft 9 in
  Max. speed165 km/h103 mph
  Ceiling5180 m17000 ft
  Range350 km217 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 7.92mm machine-guns

Pepe, e-mail, 22.03.2018 11:55

@Rachel Maddow MSNBC NEWS, That's rich coming from someone who spews propaganda from behind a desk constantly. Projection at it's finest. Fake news is fake. BTW, your segment on the F-22's alleged "vulnerabilities" was the pinnacle of Piere Sprey /Sputnik parroting bullshit. Do some research next time you wanna talk smack about the worlds most powerful military.


Rachel Maddow MSNBC NEWS, e-mail, 15.05.2017 07:58

Dear Sean Hannity,
You should come to Porterville Airport! This Mother's Day Anna Kreisling rolled out of her hangar here a two seater Fokker D-7 in Dutch Markings from 1920. Also a beautiful White and Red Pfalz D-3, a very sleek shark like fighter from World War I. Sean you need to get out more instead of sitting at your desk spewing propaganda!


Robert Preston, Las Vegas, 08.11.2013 06:45

This afternoon a very beautiful blonde flying a Pfalz D-3 flew into Las Vegas airport and was met by seven security guards. She left the airport in a Black Hummer, but the Pfalz D-3 is still here. I asked who the lady was and the guy at the fuel pump said she was Anna Kreisling, the famous German Lady Pilot from World War II. So I asked where she kept her airplanes and he just pointed north and said,"AREA 51!!"


Barry, 05.02.2013 18:34

The DIIIa was replaced by the superior DXII which had the radiator removed from the upper wing to the front of the cylinder block. It was somewhat stronger and more robust than it's predecessors but suffered from production and propoganda priority being given to the more famous Fokker D.VII, which by some accounts was an inferior machine.


juankuan, 18.06.2011 07:40

very good - just what i needed


Larry Greenly, e-mail, 24.07.2009 19:57

I'm looking for a public domain hi-res image (attribution will be given) of a D.III. Do you have one or can you give me a lead?


Rachel, 05.11.2008 23:00

very good - just what i needed


Eli Eyal, e-mail, 17.10.2007 20:31

Loking for Pfalz E

Loking for Pfalz !!



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