Albatros D.I

The Albatros D.I was a German fighter aircraft used during World War I. Although its operational career was short, it was the first of the Albatros D types which formed the bulk of the German and Austrian fighter squadrons for the last two years of the war. 

Albatros D.I
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Albatros Flugzeugwerke
Production Period 1916 - 1917
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1916
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
India View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Albatros Flugzeugwerke 1916 1917 50 View

The D.I was designed by Robert Thelen, R. Schubert and Gnädig, as an answer to the latest Allied fighters, such as the Nieuport 11 Bébé and the Airco D.H.2, which had proved superior to the Fokker Eindecker and other early German fighters, and established a general Allied air superiority. It was ordered in June 1916 and introduced into squadron service that August.

The D.I had a semi-monocoque plywood fuselage, consisting of a single-layered outer shell, supported by a minimal internal structure. This was lighter and stronger than the fabric-skinned box-type fuselage then in common use, as well being easier to give an aerodynamically clean shape. At the same time its panelled-plywood skinning, done with mostly four-sided panels of thin plywood over the entire minimal fuselage structure, was less labour-intensive (and therefore less costly to manufacture) than a "true" monocoque structure. The Albatros D.I was powered by either a 110 kW (150 hp) Benz Bz.III or a 120 kW (160 hp) Mercedes D.III six-cylinder water cooled inline engine. The additional power of the Mercedes (Daimler) engine enabled twin fixed Spandau machine-guns to be fitted without any loss in performance.

The D.I had a relatively high wing loading for its time, and was not particularly manoeuvrable. This was compensated by its superior speed and firepower and it quickly proved the best all-round fighter available.

A total of 50 pre-series and series D.I aircraft were in service by November 1916, replacing the early Fokker and Halberstadt D types, giving real "teeth" to the Luftstreitkräfte's new Jagdstaffeln (fighter squadrons). Further production of D.Is was not undertaken, however; instead, a reduction in the gap between the upper and lower wing in order to improve the pilot's forward and upward vision resulted in the otherwise identical Albatros D.II,which became Albatros' first major production fighter.

Role Fighter
Manufacturer Albatros Flugzeugwerke
Designer Robert Thelen
Introduction 1916
Primary user Germany
Number built 50

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Length: 7.40 m (23 ft 3.5 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.50 m (27 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 22.9 m (247 ft)
  • Empty weight: 645 kg (1,422 lb)
  • Gross weight: 898 kg (1,809 lb)


  • Maximum speed: 175 km/h (110 mph)
  • Endurance: 1.5 hours
  • Service ceiling: 3,000 m (9,840 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 2.8 m/s (547 ft/min)


  • 2 x forward-firing 7.92 mm LMG 08/15 machine guns

End notes