The Brits introduced the Sopwith Triplane and immediately had air superiority over the trenches in WW1. This was the era of glory or a horrible death. Parachutes had not been invented so the chances of burning in your shot up plane were very high. The planes were an engine and gas tank with a wooden skeleton covered in linen that was soaked in dope to tighten the fabric. They were high powered kites.
The Red Baron's Scarlet painted plane second in line.The Red Baron, Rightofen led his group in the Albatros fighter which was the plane to have until this weird Sopwith showed up and absolutely mauled the Germans. The "Black Flight" was a group of all Canadians flying the Sopwith Triplane. They were all painted gloss black and with Black Death ,Black Maria, Black Mamba etc painted on them for effect and recognition. Led by Maj. Collison , they chewed up their adversarys so badly that Richthofen gathered up the shot down, behind German lines wrecks and studied them and made their own version, the Fokker Triplane Dr 1. The Sopwith Camel, a Bi-plane was then introduced and it proved to be the best fighter of the war. It's major advantage was it could turn twice as tight as it's rivals. They made 5,500 Camels and in 1918 the air was full of Camels and Fokkers battling it out. A newly trained British combat pilot arriving at the front, had a live expectancy of twelve weeks. The Red Baron was finally shot down by the Enfield .303 rifles of the Australian ground troops he was straffing.
Shot up and shot down. This one did not burn and it looks like the pilot could have survived.
The Red Baron had 80 kills, 56 of which went down in flames. The gas tank was always right above the engine , right in front of the Pilot.