Last week, Kermit Weeks’ new Fokker D.VII reproduction performed its first engine and taxi tests at his Fantasy of Flight attraction in Polk City, Florida.
According to Weeks, the tests were held up by project distractions, waiting for scales to be re-calibrated, performing weight and balance checks, and addressing an unforeseen fuel leak that required removal of one of the aircraft’s Spandau machine guns.
The Mercedes engine started after a few swings and Weeks reported that, although the idle needs to be adjusted a bit, it “really runs great and sounds just like a John Deere tractor!”
Short bursts of power were used to taxi the D.VII and the tailskid was found to dig in well and slow the aircraft effectively. The downside is that it does not allow for tight turns on the ground, which could be an issue on a runway with a maximum width of 125 feet. To see if the problem can be corrected, Weeks made the decision to fashion a new tailskid shoe with a much smaller skeg.
As previously reported, Weeks’ D.VII replica was built by Fred Murrin and is powered by an original Mercedes engine overhauled by The Vintage Aviator, Ltd. of New Zealand. The markings represent the D.VII flown by Ernst Udet of Jasta 4 in mid-1918, but dispenses with the well-known alternating red and white stripes on the upper wing in favor of black and white, which is a more recently accepted depiction of the aircraft.
(via Kermit Weeks)