Aeroplane: Albatros C.I
One of the first series-built German armed aeroplanes of World War I.
The Albatros C.I was a two seat, all-wood German reconnaissance biplane. It was developed by Robert Thelen based on the earlier Albatros DD, a two seat biplane conception, designed by Ernst Heinkel just before the outbreak of the war.
According to the German designation system introduced in the spring of 1915, the "C" category comprised two-seat armed aircraft used mainly for reconnaissance, artillery spotting as well as for attacking targets on the ground. With time, the "C" aircraft would be equipped with radio equipment.
The Albatros C.I was produced in the years 1915–1918 at the Albatros Flugzeug Werke, the BFW (Bay) works, the LFG works, the MFW works and the Merkur Flugzeugbau works. A single aircraft was built at the Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke in Schneidemühl (today's Piła in Poland). The production was ceased in favour of the more modern C.III variant.
The Polish Air Force utilised 49 Albatros C.I airframes. The majority of these were taken over by the Poles on ex-Prussian territory included in the Polish state reconstituted in 1918, and a few were captured on the ex-Austrian and ex-Russian territories. Because of their low performance, the C.Is were qualified as aircraft for aeronautical schools. During the Polish-Bolshevik War in 1919–1920, they were flown in combat. After the war had ended, the aircraft were in service with the aeronautical schools in Warsaw, Poznań, Krakow, Bydgoszcz, Toruń and Grudziądz, where the last Albatros C.I was flown as late as 1922 in the Military Flying School.
The Albatros C.I on display, serial number 197/15 comes from the third production batch delivered in 1915. As the research of the camouflage of the restored fuselage revealed, this aircraft served with the Officers School Detachment of the Radio Operators in Warsaw (occupied by the Germans in 1915–1918) and later in aeronautical school in Neuruppin. In the Museum's restoration workshop, the destroyed fuselage, powerplant and the undercarriage were restored. Additionally, the replicas of the so called "workshop" wooden wheels (used for ground manoeuvres instead of regular undercarriage in order to save the rubber, which was scarce due to allied blockade of Germany in the years 1914–1918) were fitted. The restoration of the empennage and the fuselage engine fairing is envisaged to commence in future.