TAVAS Collection

Fokker E.III Eindecker

The 1915 Fokker E.III Eindecker generates huge interest among visitors to the TAVAS Museum, thanks to its sophisticated (for the time) construction and unique appearance. It is surprising how few people know of the aircraft at all, given the fact that it represented a quantum leap in the development of air warfare. The Eindecker is recognised as the world's first true fighter aircraft. 

It was the first aircraft to use Anthony Fokker's ingenious interruptor mechanism, allowing the gun to be fired through the propeller, so all the pilot had to do was ‘aim the plane’.

The Eindecker dominated the skies over France when it entered service, introducing several bloody months that RFC pilots called ‘The Fokker Scourge’. 

Max Immelmann, Germany's first fighter Ace, perfected his well known 'Immelmann Turn' in this aircraft… all the more impressive considering it does not have an elevator or ailerons, using wing warping for roll control and a full-flying stab for pitch.  As a result the aircraft is very sensitive in pitch, but the effective rudder means turning is not a problem. It is a lively and enjoyable aircraft to fly.

Our reproduction is highly authentic, having been finished exactly as it would have left the Fokker factory in late 1915 or early 1916, in its clear doped, unbleached, linen finish. 

The airframe was made in Germany to exacting standards. The engine is a reverse-engineered copy of the unique rotary engine that powered this aircraft, produced by Classic Aero Machining Services in Blenheim, New Zealand. Even the Belgian linen covering was supplied by the same family-run business that produced fabric for the originals more than 100 years ago!

Apart from German operations in Europe, there were Turkish Eindeckers based at Beersheba in Palestine, at Gallipoli and operating in Mesopotamia during the Siege of Kut-al-Amara.

Our aircraft is finished as one that was known to have been operated by the Turks at Gallipoli and possibly against Australian troops. It was flown by (amongst others) Hans Joachim Buddecke who is credited with thirteen victories. He was the third ace, after Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke, to earn the Blue Max (Pour le Mérite).  The last Australian to die in the Gallipoli campaign, was shot by Buddeke in an E.III Eindecker.

The aircraft was operating with German markings at the time. It wasn’t until around April 1916, at Smyrna Airfield in Turkey, that the Maltese crosses were overpainted with the black square and white border that became the Ottoman Turks’ insignia.

General Characteristics

Length: 7.20 m (23 ft 7 in)

Wingspan: 9.52 m (31 ft 3 in)

Height: 2.40 m (7 ft 10 in)

Wing Area: 16.0 m2 (170 ft2)

Empty Weight: 400 kg (880 lb)

Gross Weight: 610 kg (1,345 lb)

Powerplant: 1 x 100 hp (75 kW) Oberursel U.I 9-cylinder rotary engine


Maximum speed: 140 km/h (87 mph, 79 kn)

Endurance: 1.5 hours

Service ceiling: 3,600 m (11,810 ft)

Rate of climb: 3.33 m/s (656 ft/min


1 x 7.92 mm (.312 in) Spandau LMG 08/15 machine gun

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