The Fokker E.I was the first fighter aircraft to enter service with the Fliegertruppe of the Deutsches Heer in World War I. Its arrival at the front in mid-1915 marked the start of a period known as the “Fokker Scourge” during which the E.I and its successors achieved a measure of air superiority over the Western Front.
The E.I was essentially an armed version of the Fokker M.5K single-seat reconnaissance aircraft (military designation A.III), which was in turn very closely based on the design of the 1913 French Morane-Saulnier Type H.
It was an externally braced mid-winged monoplane with a vertically tapered box section fuselage, with fully movable horizontal and vertical stabilizing surfaces, also known as “flying” surfaces, giving the pilot the usual tail control functions; roll control was achieved through controlled wing warping, as was conventional in contemporary monoplanes. Wing warping was achieved through external cables attached to the wing’s rear spar, and running through a king post located in the front of the cockpit. The fuselage structure was fabric covered welded chromium-molybdenum steel tubing, the biggest difference between the Fokker and the Morane, which had an entirely wooden framework.
This unremarkable and derivative design was, however, transformed into a formidable fighter when it was fitted with the newly developed synchronizer gear, the Fokker Stangensteuerung system, firing a single 7.92 mm Parabellum LMG 14 or Spandau lMG 08 machine gun through the spinning propeller.
Introduction: June 1915
Primary user: German Luftstreitkräfte
Number built: 54
Length: 7.22 m
Wingspan: 8.85 m
Engine: 1 × Motorenfabrik Oberursel U.0 7-cylinder air-cooled rotary engine, 80 hp
Maximum speed: 130 km/h