Mystery Airplane Contest


August 1, 2022

Tom Lymburn

Hanriot HD-1

During WWI, artillery spotting was of prime importance. Both sides used tethered observation balloons. Stopping your opponent's ability to chart your positions was one of the most dangerous jobs for fighter pilots. The German drachens were not armed, but the hydrogen filled gas bags were surrounded by anti-aircraft guns (which the British called "Archie") and protected by fighters.

The most successful ace against the drachens was Belgian pilot Willy Coppens (1892-1986), who shot down 35 balloons and two aircraft, most while flying the French Hanriot HD-1. His autobiography, Flying in Fland...

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