Late War Control Column 'Grip'

Front Elevation Rear Elevation

Bowden Rotator Side Elevation


This grip was used in such aircraft as the Fokker D.VII, Roland D.VIa and D.VIb and the Junkers Ju.D.I.  

The key technological feature of this type of grip for the German as well as British air services was a proprietary component manufactured by the Bowden Wire Company Ltd. of London, England, shown to the left, above. The German air service copied Bowden’s work almost exactly, with the same type of steel casing, lever, retaining screw, washer and plate, with tension supplied by their own version of a Thackray double coil spring washer; see World War One Aero issue 133 page 55.    The manufacturer of the Conservancy grip has not yet been determined, but the stamp on the left below is from the steel rotator casing and it provides an important clue.  

It sounds very similar to a 6mm high stamp on a plate in the cockpit of the RAF Museum’s Fokker D.VII discussed in Douglas T. Pardee’s article “Notes on Some Misreported And Historic Fokker D.VII’s” in Cross & Cockade (USA) Volume 18, issue No. 3, page 206. Pardee says that “the intertwined letters ‘S’ and ‘W’ could be either an abbreviation for ‘Schweriner Werke’ or, as has also been suggested, ‘Albatros Werke Schneidemuhl.’ In his article, Pardee illustrated the stamp in the sketch on the left, above. It would be very helpful to see an actual image of the plate that Pardee is talking about – if anyone has such an image, would you please let me know.  The number “42” is also stamped on the rotator casing of the Conservancy grip and the retaining screw appears to have a partial stamp of some kind, as seen here.



 The Conservancy grip is noticeably wider by 23% than the grip found on Rudolf Stark’s Fokker D.VII (OAW) 4523/18, as discussed by Achim Engels in World War One Aero issue 175 page 43 and wider than that on Fokker factory drawing 51093a “Steuergriff-Gerippe” which Achim includes in his article, along with a re-drawn version of 51093a, a copy of which is shown below overlaid with the Conservancy grip.   The Fokker drawing gives the width from the middle of the right and left tubes as 65mm, whereas the Conservancy grip width is 80mm. The height is to within 2mm. The rotator support arm on the left side is noticeably lower in the Fokker drawing.

 The width of the Conservancy grip is very similar to the grip seen in this cockpit of a Fokker D.VII from Cross & Cockade International Vol. 22, issue 2, page 69.  The lower left image is a blow-up of the handle in the cockpit.  The image on the right is The Aero Conservancy grip.

And The Conservancy grip is also very similar to the OAW-built Fokker D.VII 4635/18 currently held by the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC, and as photographed here on page 17 of Fokker D.VII Anthology 1.

 And identical to the D.VII grip shown here from World War One Aero issue 102 page 32:

The Conservancy grip is also very similar to this grip drawn from a technical report on a captured Fokker D.VII and reprinted in Windsock Datafile 9 Fokker D.VII page 23.

 And The Conservancy grip is also very similar to the grip of Fokker D.VII (OAW) 2009/18 as shown in the L’Aerophile report on this captured aircraft, as reprinted in Fokker D.VII Anthology 2 page 11.

 Furthermore, it is very similar to the proportions of this grip from a ‘Flight’ article on the Junkers D.I, as also printed in World War One Aeroplanes issue 118 page 56. Note that the Junkers D.I. at the Musee De L’air has a completely different grip. The Aero Conservancy grip is shown in the lower right for comparison purposes.

And The Conservancy grip is also very similar to this grip in photograph of a Roland D.VIa as printed in Windsock Datafile 37 Roland D.VI page 29.

The photos below show a similar grip in a cockpit of an aircraft in the Muzeum Lotnictwa Polskiego at  Krakow.

 Further research into The Conservancy grip hopefully will identify the manufacturer, whether Albatros or otherwise, as well as the precise type of aircraft that the grip was used in. Oliver Wulff has already done some of our work for us.  Oliver met with Alex Imrie and shared our draft report with him.  Imrie gave his opinion as follows:

 1. The possibility that this is a Fokker grip can not be excluded despite the size difference unless original Fokker Werke drawings surface.

 2. The WS stamping is doubtful and could have been added later.  (In the earlier draft which went to Imrie via Wulff the contrast in the photo of the stamp was increased so the stamp could be more easily discerned.  We do not know whether this caused Imrie to think the stamp was not original).

 3. The wooden parts are dead on for German grips

 4. As there were numerous manufacturers or aircraft that would have interpreted any Idflieg directive it is very probable that sizes would have differed.  My opinion is that any pilot could have had their grip customized.

Levrau Geert got in touch in early 2006 about this grip which he had recently acquired.  It's missing its throttle and appears to have a field-modified attachment which brackets together the two individual machine gun triggers.