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Zeppelin-Lindau CS.I

The Zeppelin-Lindau CS.I was a German reconnaissance seaplane distinguished by its unique single-engine, low-wing monoplane configuration.

It was primarily utilised for reconnaissance tasks and was notable for its design, which differed from other aircraft of the era.

The Zeppelin-Lindau CS.I’s innovative design was specifically tailored to excel in reconnaissance missions, reflecting a significant advancement in aerial technology of its time.

In 1918, Claude Dornier, an employee at the Zeppelin factory in Lindau, proposed the creation of a new seaplane for reconnaissance to supersede the Hansa-Brandenburg W.29.

During flight trials, the engine’s power proved inadequate.

Consequently, it was substituted with a stronger 195 hp (145 kW) Benz Bz.IIIbo water-cooled V-8 engine.

Nonetheless, the test flights ceased following the armistice of World War I.

The seaplane, intended for reconnaissance, would have been beneficial during the conflict.

However, the war’s end reduced the demand for such a seaplane, leading to the project’s cancellation.

Claude Dornier’s design for a reconnaissance seaplane marked a notable moment in aviation history.

Despite its lack of success, it laid the groundwork for future enhancements in seaplane technology.

The adoption of more potent engines and new design elements would ultimately result in the development of more capable and efficient seaplanes.

The CS.I was a seaplane that featured a dual-float configuration and an all-metal construction.

Its fuselage, designed as a monocoque, offered a sleek and robust structure.

The initial configuration included a Mercedes D.IIIa six-cylinder inline water-cooled engine, delivering 170 horsepower (130 kW).

For armament, the CS.I was outfitted with a fixed, forward-firing LMG 08/15 Spandau machine gun of 7.92 mm (0.312 in) calibre, synchronized to the propeller’s rotation.

It also featured a rear-mounted, flexible Parabellum MG 14 machine gun of the same calibre.

The CS.I’s twin-float design, comprising two separate floats affixed to the aircraft, facilitated water landings and take-offs.

Constructed entirely from metal, the aircraft boasted durability and strength.

Notably, the fuselage was designed as a monocoque, relying on the outer skin for structural integrity.

The design led to a streamlined and lightweight fuselage, enhancing the CS.I’s overall performance.

The CS.I was powered by a Mercedes D.IIIa engine, which had six cylinders in a straight configuration.

This water-cooled engine produced 170 horsepower (130 kW), supplying the necessary thrust for the seaplane’s functions.

The water-cooling system maintained the engine’s temperature, preventing overheating during extended flights.

Thanks to its dependable power source, the CS.I achieved satisfactory speed and manoeuvrability.

It was equipped with various machine guns for offensive capabilities.

A fixed LMG 08/15 Spandau machine gun, synchronised with the propeller to avoid blade damage, was mounted in the front cockpit.

The rear cockpit housed a flexible Parabellum MG 14 machine gun, which could be aimed and fired in multiple directions, offering defence against threats from behind.

Both machine guns had a 7.92 mm (0.312 in) calibre, allowing the CS.I to effectively engage with enemy forces.





13.18 m (43 ft 3 in)

Wing area

29.8 m2 (321 sq ft)

Empty weight

960 kg (2,116 lb)

Gross weight

1,479 kg (3,261 lb)


1 × Benz Bz.IIIbo V-8

Water-cooled piston engine,

145 kW (195 hp)


2-bladed wooden fixed-pitch propeller


Maximum speed

150 km/h (93 mph, 81 kn)



1x fixed forward-firing, synchronised 7.92 mm (0.312 in) LMG 08/15 Spandau machine gun


1x flexibly mounted 7.92 mm (0.312 in) Parabellum MG 14 machine-gun in the rear cockpit.


German Aircraft of the First World War-Peter Gray & Owen Thetford.

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