Phonix D.I-II (Windsock Datafile 31)
By Peter M. Grosz
Publisher: Albatros Productions Ltd 1992 40 Pages
PDF 21 MB
Founded in April 1914 under the aegis of the parent company in Berlin, the Oesterreichisch-ungarische Albatros-Flugzeugwerke GmbH established an aircraft factory in Wien-Stadlau that would become, after UFAG, the second largest producer of aircraft for the Austro-Hungarian Army and Navy during World War One. Between 1914 and the war's end, 25 prototypes were built and 1078 production aircraft were accepted. On January 27 1917 the oest-ung. Albatros company was purchased by the Castiglioni group and the name was changed to the Phonix Flugzeugwerke AG. Phonix's strength lay in the skill of its aeronautical engineers. The most influential was Diplom-Ingenieur Leo Kirste, who after working in London and Berlin, came to Albatros-Stadlau in October 1914. In 1917, at the age of 25, Kirste was made head of the Phonix design department. The Phonix fighters and C.I reconnaissance biplane were his projects. After the war, Kirste joined Bleriot in Paris-Suresnes for whom he designed many aircraft until forced to leave in 1937 owing to the deteriorating political climate. Kirste's contribution to French aviation was honoured in 1948, when he was elected a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur.
Phonix was also fortunate to have the services of Diplom-Ingenieur Edmund Sparmann, a pre-war pilot and designer who won the Austrian national speed prize piloting a Lohner biplane in 1914. As a reserve officer, Sparmann gained practical experience on the Russian Front before being transferred to the test pilot pool at Aspern in January 1916. Assigned to Albatros in mid-May 1916, Sparmann soon became involved in designing aircraft structures, especially the 'Sparmann' wing. In June 1919, he demonstrated Phonix aircraft in Sweden and settled there as an engineer with AB Enoch Thulins Aeroplanfabrik.
After the war Phonix achieved some success in selling surplus aircraft to Sweden; however, the peace treaty restrictions effectively shut down Austrian aircraft production which, in effect forced Phonix to sell its assets to a woodworking firm in 1921.