The Albatros C.I was the first of the successful C-series of two-seat general-purpose biplanes built by Albatros Flugzeugwerke during World War I. Based on the unarmed Albatros B.II, the C.I reversed the pilot and observer seating so that the observer occupied the rear cockpit which was fitted with a ring-mounted 7.92 mm (.312 in) Parabellum machine gun.
Design and development
When the C.I first appeared in early 1915, its good handling and powerful 110 kW (150 hp) Benz Bz.III engine gave it an edge over most Allied aircraft. During development of the type, successively more powerful engines were fitted, culminating in the 130 kW (180 hp) Argus As III which allowed the final version of the C.Ia to achieve 140 km/h (87 mph) at sea level with an operational ceiling of 3,000 m (9,840 ft). A dual-control variant, designated the C.Ib, was built as a trainer aircraft by Mercur Flugzeugbau. Improvements to the C.I resulted in the Albatros C.III which became the most prolific of the Albatros C-types.
While the C.I was operated mainly in a reconnaissance and observation role, it also had some success as an early fighter aircraft - Oswald Boelcke claimed his first victory while flying a C.I with Lt. von Wühlisch as the gunner. Germany's most famous World War I aviator, Manfred von Richthofen, also began his career as an observer in the C.I on the Eastern Front.
Published - July 2009
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