The all red Dr.I is undoubtedly the most famous aircraft in the world, known by aviation enthusiast and non aviation types alike. It is now pretty much accepted by all (except Canadians) that an Australian was responsible for shooting down the Red Baron – most likely Sergeant Cedric Popkin of the 24th machine gun company.
Australian soldiers were the first to the crash site. Australians were the first to lift souvenirs from his aircraft (many of which are now housed in the National War Memorial in Canberra). Australians were the ones who buried Von Richthofen with full military honours.
The TAVAS example was purchased from the United States. It was constructed from both the Ron Sands plans and the Walt Redfern plans and is for the most part, incredibly accurate. The main deviations from authenticity being the use of disk brakes for safety, a tail wheel instead of a skid and a modern lycoming engine. Improvements will be made on this aircraft over time to make it as it was in 1917/18.
There are no original Fokker Dr.I’s left anywhere in the world. The last one (one of Manfred Von Richthofen’s aircraft – 152/17) was hanging in a museum in Berlin and was destroyed during an allied bombing mission in WW2.
This will be the only Fokker Dr.I flying in Australia. There was one example flying in the 1990’s. It was operated by the RAAF Museum at Point Cook but it was severely overweight and overpowered by the Continental R-670 radial engine and hence was not as pleasant to handle as real Triplanes. It ended up in storage with the AWM in Canberra. It was then moved and is now on display at the Museum of Army Aviation in Oakey Queensland.
Length: 5.77 m (18 ft 11 in)
Wingspan: 7.20 m (23 ft 7 in)
Height: 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
Wing area: 18.70 m² (201 ft²)
Empty weight: 406 kg (895 lb)
Loaded weight: 586 kg (1,292 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Oberursel Ur.II 9-cylinder rotary engine, (110 hp)
Maximum speed: 185 km/h at sea level (102 knots at sea level)
Stall speed: 72 km/h (45 mph)
Range: 300 km (185 mi)
Service ceiling: 6,095 m (20,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 5.7 m/s (1,130 ft/min)
Lift-to-drag ratio: 8.0
Armament: 2 × 7.92 mm (.312 in) Spandau lMG 08 machine guns