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The DFW T 28 Floh (Flea)

From The Complete Book Of Fighters by W. Green and G. Swanborough

"Designed in late 1915 by Dipl Ing Hermann Dorner, newly appointed as chief engineer of the Deutsche Flugzeugwerke GmbH (DFW) of Leipzig-Lindenthal, the T 28 Floh (Flea) was, in appearance, one of the most extraordinary single-seat biplane fighter prototypes tested during World War I. Built under the supervision of Ing Theo Rockenfeller at DFW's Lubeck-Travemunde subsidiary, the T 28 featured an inordinately deep fuselage in which the 100 hp Mercedes D I six-cylinder water-cooled engine was completely buried. Of wooden construction with fabric-covered wings and wood veneer skinning for the fuselage, the T 28 carried a single machine gun in the forward fuselage above the engine. During the maiden flight a speed of 112 mph (180 km/h) was attained a noteworthy accomplishment at the time but minor damage resulted during the landing. Some modifications were made, including the introduction of aerodynamically-balanced elevators, but the authorities evinced no interest in the aircraft and further development of the T 28 was abandoned in consequence. Max speed, (approx) 112 mph (180 km/h). Empty weight, 926 lb (420 kg). Loaded weight,1,433 lb (650 kg). Span, 20 ft 4 in (6,20 m). Length l4 ft 9 in (4,50 m). Height, 7ft 6 in (2,30 m). Wing area, 16146 sq-ft (15,00 sq-meters)."

The Temple Air Floh

First I would like to thank Mark Fisher (visit his website) who designed a superb Fokker DR-1 which inspired me to try a World War One aircraft for X-Plane. The prop and tire graphics on the Floh are taken from the DR-1, which is of course why they are probably the only graphic elements worth mentioning! Also after struggling with the airfoil selection on the Floh I finally just used the same airfoil as the DR-1 which turned out to work like a charm.

The Floh also includes my first custom panel, but don't get too excited. I found that the default X-Plane panel used up more screen space than I needed, so I simply trimmed down the height of the panel and mushed the instruments together. It gives a much better forward view, which ironically was one of the worst features of the Floh. I tried using the X-Plane setting that showed the aircraft geometry from the cockpit but, as in the original aircraft, the forward view was so poor I turned off that option. Feel free to give it a try if you want to really give yourself a challenge!

Flying the Floh

Like most WW1 tail draggers the Floh requires some special handling. For your first flights you might want to change your view to behind the aircraft. Takeoffs should be directly into the wind. Release the parking brake and ease on the throttle. Keep the stick neutral in pitch, and use the rudder to keep it straight. The (non-historic) stall horn will sound (if you are in cockpit view) and then go silent when you have enough lift to get airborne. Don't pull back on the stick, instead let the Floh gain a few feet then gently push the nose down till you are level. Build up some airspeed and then you can climb.

The Floh will require some triming in flight. I know that historically there were no trim controls, but you can get a cramp trying to keep it straight and level! Once she has some speed, the Floh flies pretty well. The 3-view below may appear to indicate that the plane had full span ailerons, but a photo in another book I have shows that they were only on the outer sections of the wing. Even so, the Floh rolls very fast.

Landing the Floh is an adventure. She had no flaps and no brakes, so it's important to plan your landing well in advance. Use a slip to lose altitude without gaining speed, and cut the mixture to kill the engine. If you use the (non-historic) brakes, she may go over on her nose, so take care!

Download the DFW T 28 Floh (Flea) version 1.1 (X-Plane version 5.62)

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