The Museum's Fokker D.VIII is a full-scale reproduction of one of the rarest Fokker fighters of World War I. The aircraft's unusual parasol-monoplane configuration was perhaps the most advanced of the war. Designed by Fokker's great engineering genius, Reinhold Platz, the D.VIII was a highly maneuverable aircraft with great pilot visibility and pleasing flight characteristics and would have been a formidable opponent had it not been so late in entering the war.
Arriving to combat in August 1918, the swift and nimble fighter's meaningful service time at the front was delayed while a wing structure problem, which caused three planes to crash, was rectified. By the time the D.VIII was again placed in service, it had very little time to prove itself in combat before the war ended. If the war has continued into the winter of 1918-19, the "Flying Razor," as the D.VIII was called by British airmen, would have replaced the Fokker D.VII as the preeminent German fighter.
After the war, D.VIII fighters obtained by Italy as part of reparations where still being flown as late as 1925. Today, only a single authentic D.VIII exists (in the Museo Dell'Aeronautica Gianni Caproni in Trento, Italy).
This reproduction aircraft was built during the 1960s by E. O. Swearingen of Worth, Illinois. Swearingen reviewed the surviving aircraft in Italy and later corresponded with Platz in order to authenticate the accuracy of his work. Following the aircraft's completion by Swearingen, it was flown for sport. During 1980, Doug Champlin purchased the aircraft. It is still equipped with the Warner radial engine that Swearingen used. Plans exist to someday re-equip the D.VIII with an authentic Oberursel rotary engine.