An Illustrated History of World War 1 Aviation
1918 Fokker D.VII
Fokker D.VII Jasta-11 Pilot: Willi Gabriel, 1918
Fokker D.VII Jasta 18, Ltn.d. R Heinz Kustner. Montingen, Sept. 1918
The Fokker D.VII is widely regarded as the best German aircraft of the war. Its development was championed by Manfred von Richthofen. In January 1918, Richthofen tested the D.VII in the trials at Adlershof but never had an opportunity to fly it in combat. He was killed just days before it entered service. When introduced, the D.VII was not without problems. On occasion its wing ribs would fracture in a dive or high temperatures would cause the gas tank to explode. Even so, the D.VII proved to be durable and easy to fly. As noted by one authority, it had “an apparant ability to to make a good pilot out of mediocre material.” When equipped with the BMW engine, the D.VII could outclimb any Allied opponent it encountered in combat. Highly maneuverable at all speeds and altitudes, it proved to be more than a match for any of the British or French fighter planes of 1918.