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Replica Aircraft Topics related to the construction of WWI replica aircraft

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Old 12 February 2015, 01:34 PM   #1
redbaron1917
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Pfalz DIIIa

Just kicking tires for interest in the Pfalz DIIa. I've been gathering info for a few years now and chipping at it as I can. Since it uses Spandaus and a few other bits in common with the DVII, I have plenty of time to decide which to build. First things first, have to finish the Spandaus!

Tony
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Old 12 February 2015, 11:57 PM   #2
Bauernopfer
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Dear Tony

There are several good replicas of the Fokker D.VII already.
Some even in flying condition.
But there is NO good replica and no original of the Pfalz D.III(a)
For me the "Blue Max Pfalz" is far away of beeing a Pfalz (sorry, but my personal opinion).
The closest thing ist the Pfalz D.III replica of the Technik Museum of Speyer.
But this is a static model and the fuselage for example is to my knowlage made by modern technics (resin...)

So please chose the Pfalz D.IIIa (and not another Fokker D.VII)

Regards
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Old 13 February 2015, 02:34 AM   #3
'14-'18aviationcollector
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Hi Tony,

My vote is for the Pfalz D.IIIa! I am also very interested in it, but I have found, as everyone else probably has that there is simply not very much information available for it. Even the great Fokker D.VII, of which there are quite a few extant examples - 6 I think form memory has many more unknown and debatable structural details than should be the case. The Fokker D.VII is certainly a classic, is relatively (certainly compared to the Pfalz D.IIIa) easily to document, flies well, is relatively simple to build, but the Pfalz D.IIIa is a very nice looking aeroplane! I have read here on The Aerodrome that it's performance was not as brilliant as might be expected, but it was a reasonable performer and it is a very aesthetically appealing. I really like the typical Pfalz moulded fuselage, but the sub frame and the shape of the fuselage itself are not particularly easy to document. As you probably know, there is a reasonably well known photograph of a captured example, with much of the fuselage skin removed, and at least one General Arrangement drawing still in existence. I have seen other researchers make the comment that the D.III is not particularly easy to research, but I do not know if this is a genuine comment or not. Based on the assumption that it is a genuine comment, and presumably it is, I certainly agree. I think the key to unlocking some of the unknown data relating to the Pfalz D.IIIa is scaling from photographs, which is not easy to do. I have tried this on many occasions, with some promising results, but it is not straight forward by any means, and is a very poor substitute for measuring an original or referring to the original construction drawings, but it is probably all we have.

When you refer to parts which are common to the Fokker D.VII and the Pfalz D.IIIa, are you referring to the engine, wheels and machine guns? These items were standard items fitted to many designs built by many different companies. Are there any other common items you are aware of?

Regards,

David.
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Old 13 February 2015, 06:48 AM   #4
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Tony,

There is a very nice replica of a Pfalz DIII (or possibly DIIIa) at the Cavanaugh Museum at Addison Airport (near Dallas). It's been on display for several years. The same owner is also displaying a Halberstadt 2-seater at the museum. They also have a replica Dr.1, DVII and a Sopwith Camel. There are a few photos on their website. I believe both the Pfalz and Halberstadt are using Ranger engines. So somebody in the USA has already figured out how to build one.

pfalz-diii-at-cfm.png
dr1.jpg
dvii.jpg
halberstadt-cl_ii-at-cfm.png
sopwith_camel.jpg

Best regards,

Randy
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Old 13 February 2015, 07:43 AM   #5
wingandprop
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The Pfalz looks like the ex Blue Max aircraft formerly owned by the Fighting Air Command (FAC) which operated at Hartlee Field in McKinney, Texas (just north of Dallas: it's not so surprising, then, that it may have re-appeared at the Cavenaugh Museum in Dallas), but I thought both the Blue Max Pfalz were in New Zealand now, no? Hartlee Field was the stand in for Santa Monica Airport in the TV movie Pancho Barnes from many years ago. They built a special temporary hangar for one of the pilots to fly through, along with a WW1 battlefield composed mostly of dead and splintered trees. (I can hear and feel Space X doing a rocket run about 15 miles from here.)


Matt
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Old 13 February 2015, 09:20 AM   #6
John McKenzie
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Both Pfalz (DIII) & Halberstadt Cl II were built many years ago by Ron Kitchen of Carson City , Nevada ...He also built (first) a Nieuport 17 from Redfern drawings......Pfalz to plans by (? late)Fred Hennel with info from relatives who worked at Speyer with info from Roy Riem , Stateline , Nevada ?( or vice/versa)..who was building a Pfalz DrI & maybe sold it part complete , and who now (or did) runs an aero shop with his son ,..Boeing F.. repros at one time back when ! ...Plans were not original nor quite completed & I believe they also required some redrawing ref body contours to lay fair ,... as told to me by Ron years ago .
Both for a Ranger ,..they were up for sale with 1 moter a while back ,...No idea what happened to them after .
I made all the LMG's for Ron for both the Pfalz & Nieuport , at that time .

Structural note ...The body was not like the original & was covered in short , scarf jointed ply panels .

With the original , there is a slight problem with the torsional stiffness of the rear body , due to the shape & Cross section area & the insufficient amount of double curvature in this rear area due to the fine-ness of the body in Plan view respect to this area .....There are some differences in the body structure * DIII to IIIa ,...not here meaning at the front part due to re position of MG's etc.


One Blue max was a modified steel tube Tigermoth fuselage ( See the depth of the body at sternpost ....Personnel Plane Services built , Dough Bianchi .( probably aeromodeler 1/48 drgs also used I suspect ! )

The other was built from scratch at Hampshire Aero Club ,( Eastleigh Airport) under contract Late Viv Bellamy ( design by Late Ray Hillbourne , Winchester Hants )...Aeromodeler 1/48 plans also used due to no research time given by film schedule ....Uprighted Gypsy 4 pouered for the film ...Reportedly a bit too flexeble in the flight ....There ware also added some short struts from body to lower wing to try to strengthen it .

Don't know which one is where today .


Tony , as we talked about before , there is probably enough information etc. to build a reasonably accurate machine with some drawing and Stress work to do first .

Last edited by John McKenzie; 13 February 2015 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 13 February 2015, 09:30 AM   #7
randyz
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Matt,

While the Blue Max aircraft once did reside at Hartlee Field (outside Denton, TX), they were sold long ago. One Pfalz is in New Zealand and the other is with Javiar Arango in Paso Robles, CA. The one at the Cavanaugh was a total surprise for me. For years they only had the beautiful Sopwith Camel (original guns, engine, instruments) and the DVII. I went to their website one day and saw that they had added the Dr.1, the Halberstadt and the Pfalz. While the Dr.1 was obviously built for the airshow circuit, the other two are very nice replicas.

Randy
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Old 13 February 2015, 04:24 PM   #8
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Hi John,

Absolutely fascinating information! I did not know that there were so many replicas of not so often built types such as the D.III / D.IIIa, Pfalz triplane, Halberstadt Cl II etc, and that you were involved in the construction of components for them! Now that you mention it, I have previously seen reference to the drawings made by relatives of former factory workers. Are these drawings, sketches, notes, or which ever form the research took available, and if so, how good are they? You mentioned that the plans were not original and that they needed some redrawing. This does not surprise me, since the recollections of a relative of a former factory worker are no substitute for a copy of original factory drawings, which unfortunately obviously do not exist any more. As with other forms of structural analysis I mentioned earlier, it is the only information the researchers you mentioned, Fred and Roy had access to, and they should be commended for making the effort to consult the most direct sources available.

When you mentioned the lack of double curvature in the rear fuselage, presumably you are referring to the compound curves. I had not thought about it, but when compared to an Albatros D.I, D.II, D.III, D.V or D.Va the Pfalz D.III certainly has a very narrow fuselage in plan view. If the fuselage was wider it would have been stronger. Was the D.IIIa rear fuselage widened? I know that the D.IIIa stabiliser has a significantly increased chord, which surely would have helped with stiffening, since it's leading edge is situated further forward, and therefore deeper into a wider portion of the fuselage, which alone would have helped with torsional stiffness.

I have seen an example of the stress work you mentioned on Sopwith drawings, for example. Who would a prospective builder approach to have this stress work done? I imagine that interpreting this data, and creating new data for an aeroplane type such as the Pfalz D.III would require a qualification in aeronautical engineering. I can assure you that the stress drawings don't make any sense at all to me!

Regards,

David.
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Old 13 February 2015, 08:03 PM   #9
redbaron1917
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Common Parts

I tried to thank Bauernopfer and David for their comments this am. My reply was too windy and I timed out

Thanks John for filling in the holes many people don't know. I believe Fred died around 1983 or 1984. Unfortunately, Ron Kitchen passed away in the last 2 or 3 years also. So no one to talk to about his final methods in construction.

You are correct John on the ply of Ron's DIIIa. He did scarf it similar to an Albatros vs the bidiectional diagonal wrap. The Cavanaugh aircraft is the one the Ron built. I believe Javier sold his Blue Max to Peter Jackson as both appear to be down under now.

Between a PSRU, Spandaus, wheels and a few other bits common to Mercedes powered birds, I have a while to research before committing to major airframe parts. I am placing a higher priority on the engine than the airframe. Too many build and then have fewer choices or have to compromise on engine selection. I intend to make the airframe backward compatible to a Mercedes shoud I win a lottery I never play.

I also have 1 more race season to retirement of the driver. After October, I have my nights and weekends back! Full steam ahead at that point. Have to finish the Spandaus. I already have several hundred CAD/CAM and machining hours in them.

Fred Hennel's drawings appear to heavily use the Flight article. Supplemental infor from a number of sources will allow an acceptable replica to be drawn up and built.

More on that later. Need to sign off and grab some supper.

Tony
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Old 13 February 2015, 09:42 PM   #10
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Hi Tony,

I know what you mean! I have typed a lengthy reply on quite a few occasions, and when I wanted to post it, there was a message saying I had to refresh the page. When you do that you lose hours of work of course! Occasionally I have been able to salvage some or all of the text, but usually it is lost.

It's a real shame to hear about Fred and Ron. Too often great research is lost when the person who carried it out passes away. I hope there are some drawings, or any other form of the results of their research out there somewhere. Of course, whoever owns the replica built as a result of their work has the best source of information, but it does not seem to be known where it currently is.

In some respects it is fortunate that Fred's drawings are substantially based on the Flight article. Copies of Flight are relatively easily obtained, so finding the article would not be too difficult. I know what you mean about engines Tony! I started as a radio controlled model builder, and when I became interested in the idea of building a full sized replica, I thought it would be relatively easy to use a substitute engine, build a replica engine or possibly even find an original to use. As it turns out, none of these options are particularly easy, and finding an original engine to use, whilst not an impossible task is extremely difficult. I recently purchased a rural property, and one of my neighbours assures me that he does come across them from time to time, so it will be interesting to see what happens. He told me that he sold a rotary about a year ago for $800! I wish I knew him a year ago! Just over a week ago I was in a larger rural town not too far from my property, where, as it turns out quite a lot of manufacturing takes place. There is a foundry there, and they assure me that they could probably cast an engine block for me. The difficulty is that to do so would require patterns to be made, a job on its' own I have been told, I am still not sure if there is anyone here in Australia who could forge a crankshaft for me, and then there are other issues such as the unusual construction methods used in manufacturing the pistons, and the probable need for a licence to have replica BMW and Mercedes engines made. I do not have any BMW drawings but I probably have enough drawings to build a reasonable replica of a Mercedes engine. All up, the probable cost of a replica Mercedes would have to be close to about half a million dollars or so, so I am starting to understand why people use original engines! If my neighbour really can source one for me, it would be absolutely fantastic, although I won't be holding my breath waiting for it to happen!

Regards,

David.

Last edited by '14-'18aviationcollector; 13 February 2015 at 09:45 PM. Reason: spelling mistake
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