World War I: aircraft

Picture yourself marching into battle with only a 10% chance of survival.  Where you'll probably get burned to death as your plane spirals toward the earth or shot or just get some deadly disease.  World War I was an awesome, gruesom, horrible war with more casualties than could be imagined.  The purpose of our group speech is to get a good grade and inform you, D-block J.R.O.T.C. students about what happened in World War I.

(Then other's do thier speeches about battle ship, casualties, US involvement...)

Your flying in an open cockpit praying you'll last a few more days when suddenly out of the blue you hear a machine gun rattle not 20 feet behind you!  You imediately dive and turn to the left.  Your mind goes through all your friends that have already been killed when your gas tank explodes throwing you out of you plane without a parachute because your stupid commander dosen't want you to soon.  You die.  

That's what happend to way to many people in World War I.  Today I will show you the planes  pilots flew back then (I showed them a computer simulation of the diffrent planes during this) and some real-life stories that actually happened.  

First I'll give you some facts about WWI aircraft.  I don't want to boreyou so I tried to make it intresting even for all you anti-aviators out there.  I've brought a computer game about WWI and it has detailed descriptions of each major fighter plane used in WWI and I'm going to show you pictures.  Starting with the German side the very first plane classified as a "fighter" was theFokker Eindecker as you can see here (I'll try and get you pictures eventually).  This single wing aircraft was lucky to stay in the air.  You could equate it with the modle T-Ford in the automobile area.  It used the old method of turning, warping the wings, invented by the Wrights.  So basically it wouldn't turn for you life, and through the course of the war many lives depended on it, it is what you would call a life support system, quite litteraly.  It was slow, had an open cockpit and a rotery engine.  It didn't take the Germans long to add another set of wings, another machine gun, and an in-line engine.  An in-line engine in basically what's under the hood of you Mom or Dad's car, except it probably was only a 4 cylider.  The rotory engine actually spins with the propeller and it creats a tremendus gyroscopic effect.  Gyroscopic effects are felt when large masses turn rapidly, like the earth, it is a huge gyroscope.  Have you ever noticed which way a toilet flushes?  Well in the southern hemisphere it flushes the other way!  So planes with a rotory engine tended to rise in a left turn and fall in a right turn.  This fact caused many deaths.  That's the greatest improvement of the Albatross D II.  

The next plane has a real inventive name; it's the Albatross D III.  It was very similar to it's predicessor but it's toughness, rughness, and egin effeciency was greatly improved makeing it an all together better craft.

So now we go to the next invetively named German plane; the Albatross D V.  It basically turned out to be a flop because it had no real improvements over the Albatross D III and is just another name I have to remember.  

So then they tried a new name series, the Pfals D III.  I don't know if it was the new name or the technology advancement but it was welcomed with great enthusiam.  It could go much faster (a whole 100mph) and was slightly more rugged, it's main problem is it couldn't turn well.

Then the Germans got a mind boggling idea: "If a Bi-wing was such a great improvement over the single wing, what is wrong with three wings?"  So they came up with the Fokker Dr I.  It was stubby and slow but could turn on a dime, this fact made it a favorite among Aces such as Manfred Von Rikthofen (the Red Baron).  

So moving along the Germans came up with another very hard-to-guess name name for thier next craft, the Fokker D II.  It was the equivalent of the Allied S.E.5.a and had the speed of a jackrabbit, in fact it could actually climb virtecally for short periods!  It was the best German plane of the war and worked so well that after the war thier destruction was called for by the allies!

Switching over to Allied planes we begin with the Morane Bullet wich never dreamed of living up to it's name.  This French plane was similar to the Fokker Eidendeker except it came before the German imitation!  

The allied forces wanted to build something better and their end product that they called Airco D.H. II was really just a dump.It had the propeller behind the cokpit for better viewing and gun mounting, but it didn't work well.  

Then they did get smart and build the Nieuport 17 which kicked the Fokkers light out.  By most specialist today it is concidered better than the first Albatross which didn't come untill much later chronologically.  It's lower wing really needed a hand however.

At that same time the Sopwith Pup's came out in force and that really gave the Allieds the upper hand in the air... for a while.  This new plane was just all around much better; it could go faster, fly higher, dive steeper, and accept more bullets than the Nieuport.

*****...More to come...*****