Oberleutnant Franz Rudorfer was a World War I flying ace credited with eleven confirmed and two unconfirmed aerial victories.
World War I
Rudorfer had volunteered for service before World War I began. He was posted to Infanterieregiment No. 59 as a new leutnant in August 1916. In May 1917, he requested transfer to aviation. His first posting after observer training at Wiener-Neustadt was Flik 19J on the Italian front, under the command of Adolf Heyrowsky. Here he scored his first victory, becoming a balloon buster on 15 November 1917. It was also during his Flik 19J assignment that Rudorfer began to teach himself to fly.
In April 1918, he was posted to Flik 51J to fly Albatros D.III fighters. Between 17 April and 27 October 1918, he reeled off confirmed victories over eight enemy airplanes and two more observation balloons, along with two unconfirmed. During the crucial Battle of Vittorio Veneto, Rudorfer was one of the few Austro-Hungarians flying, bringing down a balloon on 24 October, and a couple of Sopwith Camels on the 27th.
Franz Rudorfer was killed over the Italian line during the armistice taking recon photos. He managed to land the aircraft before perishingand his body along with his belongings were sent across the line. His body is still located in Italy.