War becomes a field of proof for the countries involved to produce the best weapons. One of the guns that are relied upon is a fighter plane.
During World War I, the development of aircraft was not as sophisticated as it is now. The aircraft is identical to the monoplane or biplane wing and the propeller in front of it.
However, in the early eras, this aircraft could not be underestimated. Therefore, the aircraft can be relied upon by the country of manufacture. Here are nine of the best aircraft during World War I:
1. Sopwith Camel
Sopwith Camel is arguably the most iconic aircraft during the war. Its uniqueness is on the front of the aircraft which has metal fairing to cover the weapons and keep them from freezing at altitude. The metal is the main characteristic of this aircraft. Supported by the Clerget 9B rotary engine, Camel’s design drives its twin Vickers machine guns to shoot and unobstructed propellers.
Besides, Camel is also produced to be able to do close combat, night battle, and can stop in the aircraft carrier. Thanks to its sophistication, this aircraft is still used after the war ended.
2. SPAD S.VII
British and French troops also needed reliable aircraft in World War I. One of them was the SPAD S.VII fighter aircraft produced by Societe Pour L’Aviation et ses Derives. This aircraft uses the Hispano-Suiza 8A engine and is operated exclusively for one person.
When in the air, the aircraft is capable of flying at speeds of 191 kilometers per hour and is a competitor of aircraft made in Germany. SPAD is also able to attack enemies at a distance of about hundreds of kilometers. In terms of weaponry, this aircraft uses a Vickers 303 machine gun known as the most capable weapon in World War I.
3. Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 has differences with other aircraft. In some flight experiments, this aircraft passed the speed limit of up to 482 kilometers per hour. It is not surprising that this bird is often described as “World War I Fire.”
This aircraft uses the Hispano-Suiza 8 engine. In its flight experiments, the pilot driving it died in an air crash. However, after being repaired and providing security to the pilots, S.E.S was recorded to be able to surpass all aircraft in the European sky at that time.
In terms of weaponry, this aircraft uses Vickers machine guns, Lewis guns in the upper wing, and also cooper bombs.
4. Fokker D VII
The Fokker D VII aircraft might have been a bit late in entering the war, namely in January 1918. However, this does not mean that this “iron bird” was not successful in carrying out its mission in the field. Reinhold Platz designed Fokker D VII from Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. The aircraft quickly proved to the world that it was able to fly in the European sky well until the end of the war. Equipped with a Mercedes D.IIIa engine, Fokker’s performance defeated most of the other World War I aircraft. Its maximum speed is 188 kilometers per hour, and it is asked to be faster than similar aircraft.
This German flagship aircraft is capable of flying as high as 6,096 meters and can operate freely in the air. For weaponry, this aircraft is equipped with two 7.92 mm LMG 08/15 Spandau machine guns. No wonder this plane gave fear to Allied forces.
5. Bristol M.1. Monoplane Scout
This aircraft was developed in the Bristol aircraft company by legendary designer Frank Barnwell. Bristol M.1 is one of the unique monoplanes in World War I. This aircraft appeared in the mid-war, namely July 1916. Bristol M.1 uses the construction of the wood, fabric, and reinforced with cables capable of binding aircraft construction. M.1 spent most of the war in the Balkans, where British troops used it well and became a phenomenon due to its distinctive design.
The unique design of Bristol M.1 is increasingly popular as a personal mount for high ranking military officers. The speed of this aircraft reaches 209 kilometers per hour. Only a handful of planes remain to this day.
6. Ansaldo A.1 Balilla
Ansaldo A.1 Balilla aircraft designed in Italy became the country’s national pride. “Balilla” is the name of the hero of the Genoese people, and the aircraft played an important role in the rebellion against Hapsburg in 1746. The need for war and a suitable aircraft caused Ansaldo’s company to design this aircraft with their 6A SPA 6A piston engine capable of producing 220 horsepower.
The aircraft was able to fly with a top speed of 225 kilometers per hour and reach more than 650 kilometers. Weapons using two Vickers machine guns are almost the same as similar aircraft. Balilla also served in Greek and Polish forces and was used by the newly formed Soviet military.
7. Pfalz D.III
Pfalz D.III appeared late in the war, but the delay became more advantage in aircraft development over the following years. Inspired by the Morane-Saulnier monoplane, D.III is an attempt to produce fighter designs from previous versions.
This aircraft uses a six-cylinder Mercedes D.IIIa that was explicitly made to produce 160 horsepower. The aircraft is capable of flying at speeds of more than 160 kilometers per hour. In just seven minutes, the aircraft was able to fly to an altitude of 1,524 meters. Although widely used by the German and Ottoman armed forces, no D.III aircraft survives to this day. However, many replicas have been built for film production.