The newfangled device known as the aeroplane came into its own during the First World War.
Early designs were slow and unarmed but their potential as an airborne platform for observation was quickly recognized. To counter these activities, military planners undertook to develop armed aircraft which could shoot down enemy reconnaissance aircraft.
Anthony Fokker, a Dutch airplane designer, produced a series of aircraft for the German armed forces during the First World War.
Fokker’s final aircraft of the war was a parasol-winged monoplane with the single wing mounted on struts above the fuselage similar to the upper wings of biplanes. The airplane evolved into the D-VIII.
Nicknamed the “Flying Razor” by Allied pilots because of its single wing and sleek shape, its light weight helped it be a nimble, capable, easy-to-fly fighter.
In the space of four short years, the stability and safety of flying improved tremendously along with the power, speed, and maneuverability of the airplane. Aviation had caught the public’s eye and a new generation of aircraft designers would demonstrate the commercial viability of this new mode of transportation.
The Alberta Aviation Museum’s Fokker replica was built by Everett Bunnell from 2004-2011. Highlights of Mr. Bunnell’s lifetime in aviation include: building Hawker Hurricanes, flying as a flight instructor during the Second World War, flying for 418 (City of Edmonton) Reserve Squadron, and serving as chief test pilot for Bristol Aircraft.
Bunnell began building his D.VIII in the basement of his home and upon completing it at the age of 91, he donated it to the Alberta Aviation Museum.
To see and experience a flight in another replica Fokker D.VIII in flight, please see this interactive 360-degree video from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: