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Albatros Scout from the Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C., shot from below.

Albatros Scout from the Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. © 2012 John M. Shea

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An airplane for an individual flier who acts as pilot, reconnaissance person, and gunner. Single-seat fighters include the most famous of World War One aircraft. The Fokker D-3 triplane of the Red Baron and the Sopwith Camel are two examples.

Originally flown on individual reconnaissance missions, pilots armed themselves, and fired upon enemy planes, and dropped small bombs. Fighter planes were quickly equipped with fixed machine guns, initially firing forward and over the propeller, then, with the introduction of a machine gun synchronized with the plane's engine on the Fokker E-1, through the propeller.

Aircraft improved rapidly throughout the war, as designs improved. At the beginning of the war, all ??????? planes were cloth over a wooden frame. By the war's end, plywood and metal enhanced or replaced cloth.