Thursday, July 13, 2017

Zeppelin-Staaken R.XIV bomber


In September 1914, at the start of World War I, Ferdinand von Zeppelin visualised the concept of a Riesenflugzeug ("giant aircraft") bomber, to be larger than the present twin-engined military aircraft. The feeling was that a Riesenflugzeug, would be less vulnerable than the dirigibles in use at the time.

R.XIV


Zeppelin’s vision would eventually evolve into the Zeppelin-Staaken R.XIV and R.XIVa. The original version of the Staaken R.XIV had two engine nacelles, each housing a pair of engines in a push-pull configuration. The nacelles were large enough to house a mechanic for some inflight maintenance.


Engine selection went from Austro-Daimler V-12 engines to 300 hp Basse und Selve engines both which proved to be unreliable. At this point Zeppelin turned to the less powerful but reliable 245 hp high-compression Maybach Mb.IVa inline 6 cylinder engine. To maintain the performance of the R.XIV, a fifth Maybach engine was installed in the nose, designated the Staaken R.XIVa.
Four of the improved model R.XIVa were ordered by Idflieg late in the war and built between 1918 and 1919 by the Flugzeugwerft at Staaken west of Berlin. The XIVa had some weight reduction improvements and geared engines to increase the rate of climb, service ceiling and bomb load.


The craft had a 138 inch wingspan and a gross weight of 14,250 kg (31,416 lb). Maximum speed of 135 km/h (84 mph), Cruise speed: 120 km/h (75 mph) and a Range of 1,300 km (808 miles). Carried a crew of eight and armed with six 7.92-mm machine guns.





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