В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны
Последним самолетом класса "R" был четырехмоторный R-XVI. Эта машина, построенная фирмой Авиатик, внешне почти не отличалась от R-VI. Новизна заключалась в силовой установке. Помимо двух обычных моторов "Бенц" Bz.IV по 220 л.с, в его гондолах стояли два новейших экспериментальных двигателя "Бенц" Bz.VI по 530 л.с. Такой прирост мощности позволял резко улучшить летные данные. Но в одном из испытательных полетов аэроплан потерпел аварию, а второй экземпляр был закончен только в 1919 году и некоторое время использовался в качестве пассажирской машины.
После войны немецкие тяжелые бомбардировщики еще некоторое время использовались для почтовых и пассажирских перевозок. Известно, что по крайней мере один из "Цеппелинов" в 1919 году совершал полеты в город Каменец-Подольск для связи с руководством Украинской Народной Республики. Затем все они были уничтожены по требованию стран-победительниц.
O.Thetford, P.Gray German Aircraft of the First World War (Putnam)
Zeppelin-Staaken R XVI (Av)
Early in 1918 the new Benz Bz VI developing 530 h.p. became available, and Aviatik were chosen to fit these engines to the basic Staaken R VI airframe. This was due partly to the parent firm being otherwise fully committed and partly to Aviatik's experience in the building of six R VI machines under licence.
Three aircraft with the Benz engines were ordered, R 49 to R 51, designated Staaken R XVI (Av) and were the ultimate Staaken development. R 49 was completed in October 1918 but smashed its landing gear on a test flight and rebuilding cannot be confirmed. R 50 was finished after the war as a civil machine, but was soon dismantled. Although R 51 was well advanced in construction, it was never completed.
Engines, two 220 h.p. Benz IVa and two 530 h.p. Benz VI driving tractor and pusher airscrews in two nacelles. Spinners were fitted, a refinement not seen on "Giants" built by the parent firm. Span, 42.2 m. (138 ft. 5 1/2 in.). Length, 22.5 m. (73 ft. 10 in.). Height, 6.5 m. (21 ft. 4 1/4 in.). Speed, 130 km.hr. (80.8 m.p.h.). Ceiling, 3,710 m. (12,172 ft.) in 76.5 min.
G.Haddow, P.Grosz The German Giants (Putnam)
In its quest for ever greater R-plane performance and load-carrying ability, Idflieg placed an order for twenty 530 h.p. Benz Bz.VI twelve cylinder V-block engines in May 1917. Early in 1918 Benz & Co. A.G. in Mannheim had brought the development of their powerful engine to a point where limited quantities were available. The Aviatik concern was given the task of fitting these engines into the basic Staaken R.VI airframe. Aviatik, rather than Staaken, was selected because the Staaken firm was already fully committed to the development of all-metal aircraft. Aviatik possessed ample experience for the job, having already built the R.33 to R.35 and R.52 to R.54 under licence.
Three machines powered by the Bz.VI engine were ordered under the designation Staaken R.XVI (Av) R.49 to R.51. With the exception of the wing and nacelles, the airframe was outwardly identical to the R.52 series.
The chief characteristic of the R.XVI was the finely streamlined nacelle, the diameter of which was enlarged to accommodate the Bz.VI engine. The engine was mounted in the rear of the nacelle and drove a two-bladed pusher propeller through reduction gears. Initially the BuS.IVa engine was installed in the front of the nacelle behind a massive spinner. Recurrent problems made it necessary to replace it by a smaller 220 h.p. Benz Bz.IV engine. Judging from the size of the tractor propellers, it seems the Bz.IV engine was not equipped with reduction gears.
The nacelles were mounted in the wing gap by fore-and-aft splayed struts similar to those on the Staaken R.XIV. As usual, the radiators were mounted on struts above the engines. The Bz.VI engines each had two radiators, one for each bank of six cylinders. Large conspicuous oil coolers were located under the belly of each nacelle.
The wing area of the R.XVI was increased slightly, the trailing edge propeller clearance indentations were eliminated and the wing was strengthened, but in all other respects the wing structure remained similar to the R.XIV.
By May 1918 the Bz.VI engine and reduction gear bench tests were well under way, and delivery of the R.49 was expected at the end of June. The military acceptance tests for the engine and gearing called for 10 hours running at an output of 500 h.p. at 1400 r.p.m. The status report for September 1918 states that the initial flights of the R.49 were most satisfactory. With a useful load of 4250 kg., an altitude of 4300 metres had been reached in 53 minutes, and no trouble was experienced with the engines. The following month the R.49 underwent its acceptance flights, during which one engine-out trials were conducted. During one of its flight tests it landed heavily, and the resultant shock collapsed the landing gear, which tore through the lower wing as the aircraft came to rest on its belly. The lower wing suffered severe damage, and it is doubtful if the R.49 was rebuilt.
The R.50 was three-quarters complete on 12 January 1919, and was expected to be ready for night on 15 February 1919. It was not completed as a bomber but modified into a civil machine and consequently differed in several respect from the R.49. The blade of the tractor propellers were increased in size, an indication that the engines were fitted with reduction gears. To save weight, the upper-wing gun mounts, ladders and bomb-bay fairing were removed.
The R.50 was proudly displayed by the Aviatik concern with the name "Aviatik" emblazoned in massive white letters across the underside of the lower wing and fuselage. Owing to conditions existing at the time, flight testing was inconclusive and the R.50 made its last flight in November 1919 when it was flown to Doberitz for storage. The third R.XVI, the R.51, also three-quarters completed in January 1919 was never finished, according to Aviatik chief engineer Ludwig Maurer, who wrote that only two R.XVI machines were constructed.
The R.XVI represented the ultimate development of the standard Staaken R-plane airframe. With its 1500 horse-power, the R.XVI was the most powerful aircraft built and flown by the Germans during the war. It is unfortunate that treaty limitations prevented a full investigation of the machine's potential civil capabilities.
Colour Scheme and Markings
The R.49 was finished overall in printed camouflage fabric; the polygons were rather small and the repeat pattern readily discernible. The standard Latin cross was carried on wings, fuselage and tail. The R.50 had chord-high letters "Aviatik" painted across the underside of the lower wing and fuselage. The aircraft carried no national markings.
Type: Staaken R.XVI
Manufacturer: Automobil & Aviatik A.G., Leipzig-Heiterblick
Two 530 h.p. Benz Bz.VI pusher engines
Two 220 h.p. Benz Bz.IV tractor engines
Span, 42•2 m. (138 ft. 5 1/2 in.)
Length, 22•5 m. (73 ft. 10 in.)
Height, 6•5 m. (21 ft. 4 in.)
Areas: Wing, 340 sq. m. (3658 sq. ft.)
Empty, 10,400 kg. (22,932 lb.)
Loaded, 14,650 kg. (32,303 lb.)
Maximum speed, 130 km.h. (80,8 m.p.h.)
Ceiling, 3710 m. (12,172 ft.) in 76•5 mins.
Armament: Provision for nose, dorsal, ventral and two upper-wing machine-gun positions
Service Use: None
Cost: 530,000 marks