Hansa-Brandenburg D.1 - "The Proud Star"

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Working for Hansa und Brandenburgische Flugzeug-Werke, chief designer Ernst Heinkel developed the D.1 in 1916 to meet a requirement for the Austro-Hungarian Air Force. The biplane featured a plywood covered fuselage as well as fabric covering the wings. Bracing between the upper and lower wings featured an unusual configuration of the inter-plane struts. Four V shaped steel tube struts were joined in the center of the wing bay resulting in a star arrangement. Due to this arrangement the aircraft became known as the “Spider” or "Star-Strutter".

The airplane had a relatively deep fuselage and small rudder causing poor lateral stability. It was armed with a single Schwarzlose machine gun. There were difficulties in synchronizing the gun to fire through the propeller arc so the gun was mounted in a fairing on the upper wing so it could be fired outside the propeller arc.

Despite the shortcomings of the aircraft, it was ordered and placed into service by Austro-Hungary. A total of 122 D.Is were built (50 by Hansa-Brandenburg in Germany - powered by 150 HP Austro-Daimler engines and 72 built under license by Phönix in Vienna, powered by 185 HP Austro-Daimler engines).

The D.1 entered service in the autumn of 1916 and was the standard fighter aircraft of the Luftfahrtruppen until mid 1917. Even with its handling issues, the D.1 was used to good effect. Several Austro-Hungarian air aces achieved success with the type including such as Frank Linke-Crawford and Godwin Brumowski; the latter achieving at least 23 kills with the D.1.

This artwork depicts the favored D.1 machine which Brumowski flew most often. He called it “The Proud Star”.