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C.IV, C.V, C.VI, and F 37
DFW (Aviatik) C.V (s/n 5845/16) banking in early morning sunlight. Note the Aviatik trademark on strut; flares in holder behind observer's cockpit; and fully-loaded LMG 14 Parabellum machine gun. Pilot and squadron unknown.
Role Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Aviatik
Designed by Deutsche Flugzeugwerke
First flight 1916
Introduced 1916
Primary users Germany
Produced 1916-1918
Number built 3250

The DFW C.IV, C.V, C.VI, and F 37 were a family of German reconnaissance aircraft first used in 1916 in World War I. They were conventionally configured biplanes with unequal-span unstaggered wings and seating for the pilot and observer in tandem, open cockpits. Like the DFW C.II before them, these aircraft seated the gunner to the rear and armed him with a machine gun on a ring mount. Compared to preceding B- and C-class designs by DFW, however, the aerodynamics of the fuselage were more refined, and when coupled with more powerful engines, resulted in a machine with excellent performance.

Design and development

The C.IV had a single-bay wing cellule and was powered by a 112 kW (150 hp) Benz Bz.III. It was soon replaced in production by the definitive C.V with a two-bay wing cellule and either a 112 kW (150 hp) Conrad C.III or 149 kW (200 hp) Benz Bz.IV. Predictably, the more powerful Benz engine gave significantly better performance.

The C.V's main designer was Heinrich Oelerich, and it was produced in larger numbers than any other German aircraft during World War I. About 2000 were manufactured in DFW and about 1250 licence maufactured by the Aviatik (DFW C.V (Av), designated also as Aviatik C.VI), Halberstadt, LVG, and Schütte-Lanz.

A further development was C.VI, a sturdier aircraft with balances added to the ailerons. Only a single example of this was built, but it was followed by three aircraft designated F 37 in the closing stages of the war, which may have received the Idflieg designation C.VII, though this is not certain. Following the war, the F 37 was fitted with the 220 kW (300 hp) BMW IV engine, and in this configuration broke the world altitude record in 1919, reaching a height of 7,700 m (25,250 ft). However, since this flight was in breach of the Armistice, it was not recognised by the FAI. After this exploit, this F 37 had its original Benz engine restored, and was converted into a passenger "limousine" by the addition of a richly-upholstered interior and a canopy to enclose it. Now designated the P 1, it could carry three passengers. It was demonstrated by DFW at the ELTA exhibition in Amsterdam in 1919, and was used to give joyrides there.

Operational history

The D.V and its related designs were used as a multirole combat aircraft, for reconnaissance, observation, bombing by Germany and Austro-Hungary during World War I. They were also used by the Ottoman Empire in Palestine. In the hands of a skilled pilot it could outmaneuver most allied fighters of the period. It remained in service until early 1918 though 600 were still in use by the Armistice of 11 November 1918. Most were thereafter scrapped according to Versailles Treaty in 1919.

Poland seized 11 aircraft in 1919 and manufactured further 13 in 1920 from seized parts. Several other D.Vs were bought in 1920. They were used by the Polish Air Force in Polish-Soviet war.

Two were used post-war in Finland, four in the Netherlands, two in Switzerland and a number in Estonia. Eight aircraft were converted to civilian ones and used by Deutsche Luft Rederei. Seven copies were built by the Bulgarian state aircraft workshops in 1925 as the Uzunov-1 (U-1) and used as a trainer for Bulgaria's secret air force.

Only one fuselage of DFW C.V(Av) survived in the Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków.


 German Empire


It was a biplane of mixed, mostly wooden construction. A fuselage of a wooden frame, covered with plywood. Two-spar rectangular wooden wings, canvas covered. Upper wing of slighlty greater span, with extended ends with ailerons. Tail of metal frame, covered with canvas. Straight engine in a fuselage nose, with a chimney-like exhaust pipe (LVG-produced planes had horizontal exhaust pipe). Engine was initially covered with an aerodynamic cover, but it was often abandoned. Two-blade wooden propeller, 2.8 m diameter. Water radiators on both fuselage sides, later water radiator before upper wing. Fixed conventional landing gear, with a straight common axle and a rear skid.

Specifications (DFW CV)

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two: pilot and observer
  • Length: 7.8 m (25.58 ft)
  • Wingspan: 13.27 m (43.54 ft)
  • Height: 3.25 m (10.67 ft)
  • Wing area: 42.5 m² (457 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 970 kg (2140 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,430 kg (3,146 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1× 185 hp N.A.G. (National Automobil-Gesellschaft AG, Berlin) C.III or Benz Bz.IV 6 cylinder, water cooled, straight engine, 138 kW or 149 kW (185 hp or 200 hp)



  • 1 × 7.92 mm MG-08/15 (Spandau) fixed machine gun with a synchronizing gear
  • 1 × 7.92 mm Parabellum MG14 machine gun on a ring mounting
  • 100 kg of bombs

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Published - July 2009

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