The design for this World War I bi-plane began in 1916 and was the handiwork of Reinhold Platz, who worked at the time for Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. A unique characteristic for this particular V-series was the fighter’s cantilever wings. Pilots selected to fly the prototypes reported several issues with the ease of the plane, but corrections were made and soon this Fokker design built quite the reputation. So much so, that at the end of World War I, the Armistice mandated the German’s relinquish all their D.VIIs into the hands of the Allies.
Additional Information on the Fokker D.VII Bi-Plane
Once this bi-plane went into production, a total of close to 3,300 were manufactured in three different plants. One problem that surfaced as a result was that a part from one factory would not necessarily fit a plane produced at another factory. Markings on the bi-planes also differed among the manufacturers and once a pilot was assigned to a plane, it would often receive an additional coat of colorful paint of the pilot’s choosing.
Even with the large number planes produced towards the end of World War I, close to 50 planes continued in production post war. Those planes that were turned over after the war were not only used by the US Army and US Navy but Canada, Poland, France, Great Britain and several other European countries. The popularity of this bi-plane continued post-war, so much so that once the Armistice was signed, Fokker himself was still able to complete and sell a number of the airframes he managed to smuggle into the Netherlands.
Several of these World War I Fokker D.VII Bi-Planes can be found in museums in the United States and around the world.