Thursday, March 30, 2017

The AGO C.l Doppeldekker

Late in 1914 the German aircraft company, Ago, was asked to develop an armed observation aircraft with a good field of fire. Ago responded with a Gustav Otto designed twin-boom pusher aircraft, which allowed the gun to be carried in the nose.

Twin boom pushers were a common sight during the First World War, but the French Farman pushers and British F.E. types were flimsy looking models, with open lattice works on their booms.

In contrast the Ago C.I was a more robust looking aircraft. The crew of two sat in a short central nacelle, with the pilot in the rear cockpit (mounted in the middle of the nacelle) and the observer in the nose. The engine was mounted at the rear of the nacelle, with a large part of it exposed above the structure. The nacelle was mounted on the lower wing, and was connected to the upper wing by vertical struts. The prototype had a rounded front on the nacelle, production aircraft had a pointed tip with four sides. A hot water heating system was installed, feeding hot water from the engine to the front of the nacelle.

The two tail booms were long and thin, with a streamlined shape. They were made of two moulded plywood halves joined at the centre line. They were carried between the wings, close to the bottom wing than the top, and connected to the wings by four long spars above and four shorter spars below. The wings had a wooden framework and fabric covering.

This aircraft became the first machine to receive the C designation, meaning that it was the first armed two-seater, being equipped with a Parabellum machine gun on a ring mounting in the front cockpit. This left the observer had a good field of fire, although to fire downwards he had to stand up in his cockpit. The aircraft could also carry a small number of bombs.

Both the army and the navy ordered land planes in early 1915, and the first CI airframe was delivered to the Army in April of that year. 
Production machines, were powered by a single 220 hp Benz Bz.IV 6-cylinder inline engine.
Ago was a relatively small company and the total number of CI machines produced was probably only around 64. Nevertheless it was a type that proved to be robust and had a long active service on both the western and eastern fronts, the last machines being recorded in service with front line units in April in 1917 thereafter they were used by training units.

The craft was popular with crews as it was relatively easy to fly and could withstand damage and still return to an airfield. 

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