Albatros D.Va Replica
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With its distinctive plywood-skinned oval section streamlined fuselage, the Albatros D.V entered service in May 1917, but from October 1917 was supplemented in large-scale production by the strengthened Albatros D.Va with different upper wing and aileron control system. One D.V, D2859, was flown by ‘The Red Baron’, Manfred von Richthofen.
At its operational peak in May 1918, over 1,000 often brightly-coloured Albatross D.V/D.Va fighter aircraft were serving on the Western Front as well as in Italy and Palestine. This was an attempt to overcome the Allies by quantity rather than capability, since the outclassed Albatross Jagdstaffel units suffered heavy losses in combat in the German’s Spring offensive of 1918 and as a result of structural failure of the lower wing, leading in 1918 to a prohibition of prolonged diving in the type. Despite this, the type remained in production until the November 1918 Armistice, with over 3,000 produced, of which only two survive, in the U.S.A and Australia.
Actually painted as a D.V aircraft from a batch of 400 ordered in May 1917, this flying replica was built by New Zealand Company The Vintage Aviator Ltd (TVAL) in 2011, and uses an original contemporary Mercedes D.III engine from RAF Museum stocks. It represents an aircraft flown on the Western Front by Jasta 61in 1918. Flown a number of times in New Zealand and the UK in 2012, it arrived at Hendon in October 2012.