Pfalz Flugzeugwerke had only experience in license building of e.g. 20 Roland D.I and 200 Roland D.II fighters, when it started to develop the Pfalz D.III
November 1916 Rudolph Gehringer a designer of Flugzeugbau Friedrichshafen GmbH was hired. He designed Pfalz D.III, which was released in April 1917. The aircraft had a plywood monocoque fuselage, expensive and labour intensive to produce, but a smooth and strong construction.
IDFLieg ordered to end the production of the Roland D.II and to built the rest of the order of 70 aircraft as Pfalz D.III. After extensive tests several modifications were added, such as enlarged rudder and balanced ailerons.
A second order for 300 aircraft was received in June 1917.
The aircraft proofed to be better than the Roland D.III, but less than the Albatros D.III and D.V. Complaints were the weak engine, heavy controls, low speed and low rate of climb. Further the armament was covered in the fuselage, so the pilot was hardly able to fix problems with the guns. Advantage was the strength of the aircraft.
The Pfalz D.IIIa introduced some improvements. The armament was placed more upwards, the horizontal stabilizer was enlarged, the wings of the lower wing were clipped and it was equipped with a more powerful Mercedes D.III. Pfalz built 260 examples of the D.III and 750 examples of the Pfalz D.IIIa.
|Length:||7,1 m||Wingspan:||9,4 m|
|Height:||2,67 m||Wing area:||22,17 m2|
|Empty weight:||725 kg||Max. start weight:||905 kg|
|Max. speed:||185 km/hr||Climbing speed:||3,25 min to 1000 m|
|Cruising speed:||- km/hr|
|Range:||2,5 hour||Service ceiling:||5180 m|
|Engine type:||One Mercedes D-IIIa rated 180 hp|
|Armament:||Two fixed, forward firing 7,9 mm Spandau LMG 08/15 machine guns|