The LVG D.III was the third in a series of experimental biplane fighters produced by LVG and the first to have a gap between the fuselage and the upper wings.
In 1916 LVG developed two experimental biplane fighters. The LVG D 10 had an unusual tall but narrow fuselage that filled the gaps between the wings, and had poor flight characteristics. The LVG D 12/ D.II was a more conventional aircraft. The fuselage still filled the entire gap between the wings, but the gap was much smaller and the fuselage far more standard in appearance. It was a wooden semi-monocoque design, with unequal span wings using 'V' braces.
The D.III retained the wooden semi-monocoque construction of the D.II, using plywood to cover the fuselage. The undercarriage was similar to that of the D.II, with a cross axle. The fuselage was aerodynamically clean, although its lines were somewhat spoilt by the radiator of the NAG C III six-cylinder inline engine, which were carried above the nose.
The wings were the most experimental feature of the aircraft. The D.III was a unequal span single bay biplane, with N struts between the wings and two sets of 'V' struts holding the centre section of the upper wing above the fuselage. LVG used semi-rigid bracing, with diagonal struts replacing the landing wires (running from the N struts on the lower wing to the central struts on the upper wing), but kept flying wires (running from the N struts on the upper wing to the wing roots on the lower wing). The lower wing had rounded tips, the upper wings straight tips with a slight angle.
The D.III began type testing in May 1917, and the tests were completed on 2 June. The Idflieg decided that the D.III was too large and too heavy and it wasn't accepted for production. LVG moved onto the LVG D.IV, which used a similar fuselage but with wings similar to the earlier D.II, a 206lb reduction in loaded weight and just over 5ft smaller wingspan.
Engine: N.A.G. III inline engine
Span: 32ft 9.75in
Length: 24ft 8.5in
Height: 9ft 7in
Empty Weight: 1,704lb
Loaded Weight: 2,266lb
Maximum Speed: 109mph
Climb rate: 3mins to 3,280ft
Guns: Two LMG 08/15 machine guns