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BFW 17 / CL.I


In late 1917, the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFW) of Munich was awarded a contract to build two prototypes of the CL.I two-seat reconnaissance fighter of original design. At the time, BFW was negotiating a contract to build 100 Halberstadt CL.II reconnaissance fighters and the company's CL.I was specifically designed to require 20% less manufacturing manhours than the Halberstadt aircraft. The first prototype, known by BFW as the Type 17, was completed in April 1918 with a 160hp Mercedes D III engine. A single-bay unequal span biplane with an intended armament of one fixed LMG 08/15 machine gun and an LMG 14 on a ring mounting, the CL.I was sent to the Adlershof test centre for Typprüfung in July 1918, but the Idflieg reported that it was "in no way equal'' to the Hannover CL.V, requesting that improvements be made and the aircraft resubmitted for further evaluation. Accordingly, a lighter fuselage was fitted and, as the, the aircraft underwent static load testing between 30 August and 14 September 1918. Results were unsatisfactory and BFW agreed to redesign the CL.Ia in accordance with "new design principles".

Engine: 160hp Mercedes D III
Take-off weight: 1060 kg / 2337 lb
Empty weight: 720 kg / 1587 lb
Wingspan: 10.62 m / 35 ft 10 in
Length: 7.81 m / 26 ft 7 in



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