The Circus comes to Town!! - WW1 Series (5)
For some time in 1917 the Fokker Triplane was the scourge of the Flanders’ skies. Much more manoeuvrable than the current RFC aircraft the ‘Tripe’ was instrumental in the near total failure of the Allied air arm in that year. Front-line aircrew service life averaged less than three weeks and new pilots were pitched into the fray with about 10-12 hrs total flying experience - see the Derek Robinson trilogy for the background, most readable.
The Dr1 served with the famous Richthofen Circus which was instantly recognisable by the varied colour schemes adopted for individual aircraft. Effective for only a few months - very effective as the ‘Red Baron’ gained 20 of his victories flying the type - the Dr1 was withdrawn from service by mid 1918 after a rash of wing failures laid at the door of shoddy construction. Hermann Goering, the Luftwaffe leader in WW2, served with this elite group.
The fascination for the type remains strong and I have photographs of six different (and most colourful) examples of Dr1 rebuilds in the archives, culled from Canadian and UK airshows.
Image is a composite showing a section of Dr1 triplanes about to fall on a pair of unsuspecting French Nieuports - photographs from a variety of airshows and background from the archives. Complementary image to the previous post - offering a balanced viewpoint!!