Aviatik D.I: First World War Aircraft
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The squat, blunt 1917 Aviatik D.I (nicknamed the ‘Berg’ after its Austrian designer) would win few nominations as the best looking aircraft of this era, but I must admit to being drawn to its quirky, angular charm. Another reason I wanted to include it in this series is that it would make a worthy adversary for the Italian Ansaldo S.V.A.5. The original D.I design included a fully enclosed engine but most combat pilots preferred to leave several engine panels off to prevent over-heating: hence the exposed engine block shown here. My model is an early version with its gun mounted to fire over the wing and angled above the propeller arc. This was later replaced by a more conventional fuselage-mounted machine gun.