This speech is about a particular type of aircraft made famous for its use by the Red Baron of Germany in World War One. Many people know that the Red Baron was a real person from history. Others may only know him as an adversary of Snoopy from the comic strip Peanuts, or as a ghost-like magic man dreamed up by lonely housewives hungry for a particular brand of frozen pizza. Well, his real name was Manfred von Richthofen. He was the greatest ace of World War One, and towards the end of his career he flew a bright red aircraft with three wings.
The Fokker Triplane was one of the most controversial aircraft of World War One. Best known as the aircraft of aces such as the Red Baron, it was not as well-liked as many suppose. I have been studying Fokker triplanes since I was a young boy; they have always fascinated me for some reason I cannot explain. I am going to tell you about the development of the Fokker Triplane, its operational history, and its strengths and weaknesses.
A. Its designer, Anthony Fokker, was a Dutchman who built airplanes for the Germans after being turned down by the Allies
1. In addition to being a designer, Fokker was a gifted pilot and a shrewd businessman.
2. Fokker built the first fighter airplane to have a machine gun synchronized to fire through the propeller.
B. His German rival Albatros came up with a single seat fighter powered by the excellent Mercedes D-III six-cylinder inline engine and armed with twin Spandau machine guns.
1. Fokker's planes fell into disfavor. Weakly built and underpowered, they could not compete with t...
... middle of paper ...
...to fly, that nobody wanted them. Some feared them, but for the most part they were prized for their outstanding climb and maneuverability, qualities that keep you alive in aerial combat. They were much preferred to the lackluster Albatros and Pfalz fighters which they supplanted but never entirely replaced, and Fokker Triplanes were the best German fighters in the spring of 1918 during Germany's last great offensive of the war. To sum up the triplane in the words of the Red Baron, they “climb like monkeys and are maneuverable as the devil.”
In the past thirty years I have drawn upon dozens of sources as I have researched this topic. However, for the purposes of this speech, I specifically quote:
The Fokker Triplane;
Arms and Armour Press, London 1992.
The Day the Red Baron Died;
Bonanza Books, New York 1970.
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