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Albatross D-III ~ Free Shipping

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Print Size 8½” x 11” ----- Unlimited print edition
The D.III entered squadron service in December 1916. British aircrews commonly referred to the D.III as the "V-strutter." Two faults with the new aircraft were soon identified. Early D.IIIs featured a Teeves and Braun radiator in the center of the upper wing, where it tended to scald the pilot if punctured. From the 290th aircraft onward, the radiator was offset to the right. More seriously, the new aircraft immediately began experiencing lower wing failures. On 24 January 1917, Manfred von Richthofen suffered a crack in the lower wing of his new D.III. While he landed safely, Richthofen switched back to the Albatros D.II for the next five weeks. The D.III was temporarily grounded in March 1917, forcing Jastas to use the Albatros D.II and Halberstadt D.II during the interim. The D.III returned to service with wing modifications in April, but these failed to resolve the structural problems. At the time, the continued wing failures were attributed to poor workmanship and materials at the Johannisthal factory. The cause of the wing failures lay in the sesquiplane arrangement taken from the Nieuport. While the lower wing had sufficient strength in static tests, it was subsequently determined that the main spar was located too far aft, causing the wing to twist under aerodynamic loads. Pilots were therefore advised not to perform steep or prolonged dives in the D.III. This design flaw persisted despite attempts to rectify the problem in the D.III and succeeding D.V. Apart from its structural deficiencies, the D.III was considered pleasant and easy to fly, if somewhat heavy on the controls. The sesquiplane arrangement offered improved climb, maneuverablity, and downward visibility compared to the preceding D.II. Like most contemporary aircraft, the D.III was prone to spinning, but recovery was straightforward. Albatros built approximately 500 D.III aircraft at its Johannisthal factory before production shifted to the D.V in the summer of 1917. Albatros' subsidiary, Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW) received five separate orders for 840 aircraft between April and August 1917. They were produced at the Schneidemühl factory between June and December 1917. The OAW variants could be distinguished from the Johannisthal aircraft by their larger, rounded rudders. Peak service was in November 1917, with 446 aircraft on the Western Front. The D.III did not disappear with the end of production, however. It remained in frontline service well into 1918. As of August 31, 1918, 54 D.III aircraft remained on the Western Front.

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