Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Fokker


World War I German Fighters: Fokker D.VII

Fokker D.VII

Fokker D.VII

The Fokker D. VII is considered the best fighter aircraft of World War I.

“First entering combat in May 1918, the Fokker D. VII quickly showed its superior performance over Allied fighters. With its high rate of climb, higher ceiling and excellent handling characteristics, German pilots scored a remarkable 565 victories over Allied aircraft during the month of August.”

This aircraft has the distinction of being the “only aircraft mentioned in the Armistice demands of November, 1918.” 

This aircraft can be found at


World War I Aircraft: Fokker Dr I and the Sopwith Camel

Fokker Dr.I

Fokker Dr.I

With the advent of manned powered flight the phrase one if by land, two if by sea of the Old North Church days needed the addition of three if by air.  Initially during World War I airplanes were used for spying over the enemies trenches, until someone got the idea that they could take a gun with them and shoot at the guys spying from the other side.  Eventually someone mounted a machine gun on an airplane and attempted to shoot at his foes.  The best place to mount a machine gun on early aircraft was directly in front of the pilot like in the picture of the Fokker Dr.I above.  Of course that led to the problem of destroying your own propeller with your own bullets while trying to destroy your enemy.  Anthony Fokker solved the problem by introducing an interrupter gear that interrupted the machine gun when the propeller was directly in front of the gun.

Fokker Dr Ib

Anthony Fokker also created the legendary Fokker Dr.I dreidecker.  The three winged configuration was made most famous when Manfred von Richthoven painted his Dr.I crimson red and became known as the Red Baron.  With eighty kills to his credit — the last nineteen he got in Dr.Is, the Red Baron had more kills than any other pilot of World War I.  For more information on this warplane follow this link:


Sopwith Camel

Sopwith Camel

The British proved worthy adversaries for control of the skies over the Western Front during World War I.  The British mass produced the legendary Sopwith Camel, creating an impressive 5,490 of these aircraft.  The Sopwith Camel was nimble, fast and climbed well, but was tricky to handle and more men died learning to fly it than were shot down by enemy aircraft.  In the hands of a veteran pilot this plane was a formidable weapon and could dogfight with the Dr.I.  For more information on this airplane follow this link:

To learn more about these planes and other planes like them follow this link:


94th Pursuit Squadron: Hat in the Ring


The Spad XIII was a French biplane used by the United States 94th “Hat in the Ring” Squadron during World War I.  The 94th was the first American squadron to shoot down an enemy aircraft, scored the most kills during World War I of any American squadron, and had Eddie Rickenbacker, America’s leading ace with 26 kills, as its preeminent member.  This airplane and others can be seen at the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.  For more of my photos of World War I aircraft click the link in the photos tab at the top of the page.

Like many World War I aircraft this airplane featured a pair of machine guns that shot through the propeller.  The first aircraft to try this didn’t have a way to stop the machine guns from hitting the propeller and the hapless first pilots to fly planes with machine guns firing through the propeller found they were just shooting their own propellers.  Anthony Fokker developed an interrupter gear that prevented the machine gun from firing when the propeller was directly in front of the machine gun, making machine guns mounted in front of the pilot and firing through the propeller possible.

February 2020
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