Few aircraft of the World War I period have received the attention given the Fokker Dr.I triplane. Often linked with the career of the highest scoring ace of that war, Germany’s Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen, the nimble Dr. I earned a reputation as one of the best “dogfighters” of the war.
The Fokker Dr. I was ordered into production on July 14, 1917, in response to the success earlier in that year of the British Sopwith Triplane. The first Dr. I’s appeared over the Western Front in August, 1917. Pilots were impressed with its maneuverability, and several, including von Richthofen, soon scored victories with the highly maneuverable triplane. Nineteen of Richthofen’s last 21 victories were achieved while he was flying the Dr. I.
Fokker built 320 Dr. Is; for a brief period production was suspended while the wings were redesigned to prevent in-flight failures. By May 1918 the Dr I was being replaced by the newer and faster Fokker D VII.