FOKKER E.III Eindecker GALLERY

The E.III Eindecker is the aircraft that has generated the most interest amongst those who have seen the TAVAS collection, due to its sophisticated (for the time) construction and unique appearance. It has surprised me just how few people (including aviation enthusiasts) know of that aircraft, yet alone the fact that it is recognised as the worlds first true fighter aircraft. It was the first to use a synchronized gear allowing the gun to be fired through the propeller. It entered service in 1915 and was highly successful, dominating the skies for a period of months referred to as ‘The Fokker Scourge’.

Max Immelmann - Germany's first fighter Ace, perfected the well known 'Immelmann Turn' in this aircraft. All the more impressive as it does not have elevator or ailerons – instead it uses wing warping for roll control and a full flying stab for pitch.  
As a result the aircraft is very sensitive in pitch, but the effective rudder means turning is not a problem. It is a lively and enjoyable aircraft to fly.

This reproduction is quite authentic. It is built as it would have been coming out of the factory in late 1915 or early 1916, in its clear doped, unbleached, linen finish. The airframe was made in Germany as per the original. The engine is a reverse engineered copy of the unique rotary engine that powered this aircraft. It was produced by Classic Aero Machining Services in Blenheim, New Zealand. The linen to cover it has come from Belgium, from the same family run business that was making the same fabric for these aircraft 100 years ago!

Apart from German operations of these aircraft in Europe, there were Turkish Eindeckers based at Beersheba in Palestine, some at Gallipoli and others operating in Mesopotamia during the Siege of Kut-al-Amara.

This aircraft is finished as one that was known to have been operated by the Turks at Gallipoli and possibly against Australian troops. It was flown by (amongst others) Hans Joachim Buddecke who is credited with thirteen victories. He was the third ace, after Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke, to earn the Blue Max (Pour le Mérite).  The last Australian to die from the Gallipoli campaign, was shot by Buddeke who was flying an E3 Eindecker at the time.

Initially this aircraft operated in German markings. It wasn’t until around April 1916 at Smyrna Airfield in Turkey, that the aircrafts crosses were then overpainted to form the black square with a white border that became the Ottoman Turks insignia.

General characteristics 

Length: 7.2 m (23 ft 7 in) 
Wingspan: 9.52 m (31 ft 3 in) 
Height: 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in) 
Wing area: 16 m2 (170 sq ft) 
Empty weight: 400 kg (880 lb) 
Gross weight: 610 kg (1,345 lb) 

Powerplant: 100 hp Oberursel U.I 9-cyl. rotary engine

Performance 

Maximum speed: 140 km/h (87 mph; 76 kn) 
Endurance: 1.5 hours 
Service ceiling: 3,600 m (11,810 ft) 
Rate of climb: 3.333 m/s (656 ft/min) 

Armament: 1 × 7.92 mm (0.312 in) LMG 08/15 machine gun offset to starboard, synchronised to fire through the propeller