May 24 saw the return of a colorful crowd pleaser—freshly repainted—to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, as its Albatros D.Va took to the sky in a pre-airshow flight display for students of the Saxe Middle School of New Canaan, Connecticut, who had raised funds for its restoration to flying status. Cole Palen and his crew of volunteers built Rhinebeck’s reproduction Albatros in the mid-1970s based on measurements and details from an original D.Va undergoing restoration at the National Air and Space Museum. Pleasant to fly by WWI standards, the Rhinebeck D.Va was also popular for its striking markings, representing Bavarian ace Eduard Ritter von Schleich (though they actually appeared on a D.V).
When the decision was made last summer to restore the aging repro, labor was divided between Rhinebeck and volunteers in Danville, Ky. A new color scheme, this time correct for a D.Va, was selected with some considerations in mind. The older 1917 wing colors of dark green and mauve were chosen over a preprinted lozenge pattern be-cause they offered better protection for the fabric. And once again they wanted only a partial overpainting of the fuselage, in order to display some of its varnished plywood finish. The aft section was painted in another Bavarian motif: blue and white diamonds, with the tailplane in blue and white stripes, as flown by ace Lieutenant Walter Böning in February 1918.
The Albatros will be appearing in Rhinebeck’s airshows through fall. For further information, see oldrhinebeck.org.
This feature originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Aviation History. Subscribe here!