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V.G.O. I / V.G.O. II / V.G.O. III

V.G.O. I

The V.G.O. I was a biplane with four legs and a wingspan of 42 metres, constructed primarily of wood.

Its empennage was designed as a biplane with double rudder, and it was powered by three Maybach Mb IV engines from the Maybach engine construction company, co-founded by Zeppelin, each with 240 hp.

One engine was located in the tip of the fuselage, while the other two were situated in nacelles between the wings, driving pneumatic propellers.

The aircraft was commissioned by the Navy and registered as R.M.L.1.

Its maiden flight occurred on April 11, 1915, and initial operational tests on the Eastern Front yielded reasonably satisfactory results.

However, it was soon discovered that the engine was significantly underpowered, prompting the machine to be returned to Staaken for conversion.

Two additional engines were installed, but during flight testing in March 1917, the aircraft collided with an airship hangar, resulting in the tragic loss of the crew.


The V.G.O.II was initially constructed for military purposes and bore a striking resemblance to its predecessor, the V.G.O.I.

It was officially registered as R.9/15 and took its maiden flight on October 26, 1915.

Subsequently, the aircraft underwent testing on the Eastern Front and later served as a training aircraft.

Despite being underpowered, the V.G.O.II exhibited commendable flight characteristics, and its fundamental airframe design persisted across all Zeppelin-Staaken models until the conclusion of the war.

Notably, the gondolas of this aircraft featured machine gun stands positioned at their forefront.


The most prominent alteration in comparison to the previous models was the modification of the tail unit.

In this regard, the lower deck was directly linked to the hull.

Additionally, to enhance the machine’s power, the three Maybach engines were substituted with six Mercedes D IIIs, each generating 160 horsepower.

Notably, two of these engines were coupled together to drive a single propeller.

The aircraft was subsequently designated as R.III and assigned the registration R.10/15.

The inaugural flight of this aircraft occurred during the spring of 1916.


Zeppelin-Staaken Aircraft of WWI, Vol 1, VGO.I – R.VI R.29/16-Jack Herris.

Zeppelin-Staaken Aircraft of WWI, Vol 2, R.VI R.30/16 – E.4/20-Jack Herris.

Staaken at War, Winsock 123-Ray Rimell.

German Bombers of WW1-Alex Imrie.
German Bombers of WW1, In Action-Squadron Signal 173.
German Aircraft of the First World War-Peter Gray & Owen Thetford.
The German Giants, The German R-Planes,1914-1918-G W Haddow & Peter M Grosz.


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