Hidden Gem: Hanriot HD.1

Rise of Flight is still new to me and so I’m still enjoying jumping back 25 years in technology (from IL-2) and taking to the skies in aircraft made of canvas, fabric, and wood. Today I wanted to talk a little about the Hanriot HD.1.

hd-scenic
A Belgian HD.1 flies over the countryside dotted by rivers, farm land and bridges.

Designed by the by Pierre Dupont in the summer of 1916 by the Hanriot company, the fighter was initially meant to replace Nieuports in the French Air Force, however, they were already being replaced by the SPAD 7. It found a second life flying with the Belgian and Italian airforces with manufacture by Macchi in Italy.

I picked up the Hanriot HD.1 (and HD.2) in a Rise of Flight sale back in the fall and I haven’t really had a ton of time with it yet but I’m slowly beginning to enjoy the quirks of this fighter.

Decent performance

With a maximum top speed of 184km/h at sea level dropping to 178km/h at 2000 meters, the HD.1 is fast enough to keep up with the Fokker Dr.I and the Albatross D.III. It’s actually faster than both of them by a little bit. The HD.1 is also a reasonably good climber climbing to 2000 meters in 6 minutes and 3 seconds (versus the Dr. I at 5 minutes and 58 seconds).

Handling wise, the HD.1 doesn’t seem to have too many vices in my experience. It turns tightly and with confidence right up to the stall which is fairly easy to correct for with some rudder.

The single Vickers 7.69mm is adequate but I prefer aircraft that have the twin gun solutions like the Sopwith Camel and the Albatross D series.

That view…

hd1-inmysights.jpg
You can barely make out that Albatross ahead of me.

The forward view is atrocious. You can hardly make out the enemy with the ironsights, the structure, and the glass windscreen cuts down the visibility. The pilot is surely better protected than the other types which may be of benefit but it makes zeroing in on an enemy fighter difficult.

Unique fun

With a server full of Camels, Fokkers and Albatrosses, I tend to get interested in flying something more unique and the Hanriot HD.1 is that plane. Good enough to compete against some excellent opponents in the 1917 timeframe but not iconic enough to attract too much attention.

I haven’t flown it yet, but the Hanriot HD.2 is a float equipped fighter plane which adds to the uniqueness as there are very few float equipped aircraft in the game and even fewer that are outright fighters. I’ll be checking it out soon!

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