Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Roland D.VI

The Roland D.VI was designed by the Luft-Fahrzeug-Gesellschaft (L.F.G.) and built at the end of the Great War. It first flew in November 1917.

Constructed as a single bay biplane which discarded the L.F.G.-Roland patented Wickelrumpf (literally "wrapped body"), used in previous L.F.G aircraft such as the Roland C.II, D.I and D.II in favour of the equally unusual (for aircraft use) Klinkerrumpf (or clinker-built) construction where the fuselage was built of overlapping thin strips of spruce over a light wooden framework. Visibility for the pilot was good, while the aircraft had above average manoeuvrability.

In January 1918, two D.VIs were entered into the first fighter competition held by Idflieg at Adlershof, one powered by a 160 hp (119 kW) Mercedes D.III engine and the other by a Benz Bz.IIIa which was of similar power and, like the Mercedes, an upright, inline, six cylinder engine . Although the winner of the competition was the cheaper Fokker D.VII, orders were placed for the Roland as insurance against production problems with the Fokker.

A total of 350 were built, 150 D.VIas powered by the Mercedes, while the remaining 200 were powered by the Benz and were called D.VIb.

Delivery started in May 1918, a month after the 'balkenkreuz' (straight-armed cross) had been adopted by the Luftwaffe in place of the earlier Imperial German cross. A total of 350 were built, with 70 in service on the front by August 1918. 

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