The WWI Airplane

The airplane came into use in the early 1900’s. The early airplanes were very fragile and were limited in their speed, range and maneuverability. So, there is no history of aircraft used in war prior to WWI.

By the time WW2 arrived, the airplanes had advanced by leaps and bounds from 1918 to 1938. The airplanes of WW1 were generally bi-planes (2 wings) that were made of wood trusses with fabric laid over this and glued in position. By the time of WW2, there were very few bi-planes and most were made of all aluminum with aluminum skin. If there were any fabric covered parts, it would be the flying controls surfaces.

The aircraft of WW1 were powered by engines that had very poor thrust capacity and the ratio of thrust to its weight was about 1 to 0. Most propellers were made of laminated wood. The limited thrust meant that the aircraft was not capable of performing some of the simplest of aerodynamic maneuvers. It was not uncommon for a plane to stall and spin out of control and not recover.

The armament in WW1 was limited to 1 or 2 machine guns that fired at 150 to 250 rounds per minute. During the peak of WW2, the fighters were armed with 6 to 8 machine guns that were larger caliber and fired much faster.


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