Klemm 25 / Klemm 26

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The company Klemm Leichtflugzeugbau in Böblingen originated from Daimler Flugzeugbau in Sindelfingen, where Klemm had been chief designer for a long time. This company was a classic "child" of the World War. When the war was lost and the Treaty of Versailles came into force, the basis of business was lost, as was the case with most German aircraft construction companies. Around 1925 Daimler gave up aircraft construction and had to merge with the Benz company in Mannheim to form Daimler Benz AG, which later again supplied ultra-modern engines for the aviation industry.

Klemm did not give up and saw market opportunities for his idea of light aircraft, which had already achieved its first success in his Daimler L 20. In 1926 he had set up his own business and his first design, the Kl 25, was directly linked to the Daimler L20. It was also made of a self-supporting wood frame with fabric covering and - like the Junkers F 13 made of sheet metal - had no struts any more, so it was self-supporting. (In our museum, both types hang directly on top of each other, so that the more or less identical construction principles of that time are easily visible).

It was developed by Robert Lusser at Klemm in 1927 (who also became responsible for the Messerschmitt Bf 108 and Bf 109 a few years later). The Kl 25 was developed for significantly stronger engines and thus had to be reinforced in its structure compared to the   L 20, which led to an increase in weight. If you look at it today, it appears to us like a motorized glider due to its large aspect ratio. The supporting surface consisted of a plywood-planked torsion nose at the front, everything else was fabric-covered. The fuselage was again completely covered with plywood.

Several series were produced, the Kl 25a, l, b, b VII, d II and D VII R, a total of 30 variants were produced between 1928 and 1939, without the licence constructions abroad. Here the company British Klemm has to be mentioned, which later became the BAC (British Aircraft Co.) and produced modified versions (BK Swallow) and other Klemm aircraft.  About 600 copies were produced, ours by Josef Kurz in the 70s as an accurate replica built on the Wasserkuppe.

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Already in 1928 the Kl 26 was derived from the Kl 25, basically it hardly differed from the Klemm Kl 25 except for a stronger engine Argus As 8 with 70 kW/95 HP or an even stronger version with 120 HP. Some radial engines were also used.

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Here you see the original KL 26 with which Elly Beinhorn flew around the world: The D-2160, just returned from the trip. We have a model of this plane, scale 1:5, it hangs under our Klemm 25. The design was penned by Hannes Dabrowski.

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Schempp-Hirth Gö 1 Wolf.

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After Wolf Hirt had returned to Germany in 1931 from the USA where he had made gliding known, he became director of the gliding school in Grunau/Silesia, on the edge of the Riesengebirge (Giant Mountains). There he taught Hanna Reitsch to fly.

At the same time the company Edmund Schneider was there, which developed e.g. the „Schädelspalter“ (Skull Splitter), the Grunau ESG 9, a training single seater and soon afterwards the Grunau Baby, which became a global success.

Wolf Hirth signed with his name as developer for the Baby for advertising reasons, but this was not the case at all, Schneider had designed it. Schneider then built the Grunau ESG 8 for Hirth, the famous Moazagotl (see Gö 3 Minimoa).

When Martin Schempp also returned from the USA in the middle of the 1930s, he and Hirth founded a company for sports aircraft construction in Göppingen, which was initially run by Schempp alone. The planes of this company were called Göppingen, abbreviated Gö.  By now this world-famous company is still leading in glider construction, the abbreviation today is SH.

The Gö 1 Wolf was developed by the designers Wolf Hirth and Reinhold Seeger as a training glider, competing with  the Grunau Baby, which  was of similar construction: a strutted high wing glider in wooden construction with fabric covering. Here the landing skid already contained a fixed wheel, while even in post-war versions the Baby still needed a little dolly to be put onto the skid. There was even an aerobatic version of the Gö 1. The performance spectrum roughly corresponded to the Baby IIb. About 100 planes were sold until 1939, production was stopped at the beginning of the war.

goe1Technische Daten Gö 1 Wolf

Spannweite 14,00 m, Länge 9,30 m, Höhe 1,40 m, Flügelfläche 14,5 m², Flügelstreckung 13,5, Flächenbelastung 14,60 kg/m², Gleitzahl 17 bei 60 km/h, geringstes Sinken 0,95 m/s bei 45 km/h, Leermasse 145 kg, Besatzung 1.

Edmund Schneider, Grunau, Baby IIB

The Baby became the most popular training glider of the world. It was developed by Edmund Schneider in Grunau/Silesia, when Wolf Hirth was head of the gliding school (Hanna Reitsch learned to fly there, too). 

Schneider and Hirth were closely connected. Schneider built training gliders, e.g. the ESG Grunau 9, the “Schädelspalter” (so named because a strut ran from the front wing in front of the pilot’s head to the fuselage floor). Edmund Schneider also built the Moazagotl for Wolf Hirth, an high-performance glider with gull wings, named after a recurring cloud over the Riesengebirge mountains. 

The baby I (ESG 31) of 1931 was successful, but was soon reengineered to become Baby II (winter 1931/32). When the cockpit hood was made removable (1934), it became the Baby IIA, after enlarging the ailerons and the installation of Schempp-Hirth nose-dive brakes in 1936 it became the Baby IIB.

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The baby was built in large numbers industrially and privatly in glider clubs. There were replicas - with and without license - in large numbers: in France at Nord, in the UK at Slingsby, in Czechoslovakia at Zlin and after the war in the GDR at some VEBs. It was also rebuilt in West Germany, mostly by clubs. It was mass-produced by Schleicher/Rhön as Baby III (with a slightly higher hull). The exact number of Babies built is unknown, presumably more than 5000.  We have an Austrian version hanging in the museum (horizontal tail rounded off).The Baby IIB served as a training and fun object for all political systems. The users had one thing in common: the joy of flying. Generations of young glider fliers learned to fly in this plane right up to high performance glider flight. It became one of the most famous aircraft. Many an aviator got his glider merit badge, the silver-C, with the Baby. Some are still flying here today, even on the dune in Rossiten/East Prussia a Baby IIB recently flew again, and on the Wasserkuppe there is one, too.   Technical specifications:Wingspan 13.57 m, length 6.09 m, wing area 14.20 m², standard weight 160 kg, payload 90 kg, take-off weight 250 kg, surface load 17.60 kg/m², maximum speed 150 km/h, glide ratio 17.

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(Quelle: Lemke, Frank.Dieter; Segelflugzeugbau in der DDR)

Focke-Wulf Fw 44 Stieglitz

The Stieglitz was the first creation of the designer Kurt Tank, who came to Focke-Wulf via jobs with Rohrbach and Albatros and became technical director in 1932. With the turning of the times in 1933 - the Nazis took over - he provided the "right spirit" in the factory and banned the company founder Henrich Focke from his own factory. Focke then devoted himself to the construction of helicopters, but that's another story, but an interesting one.

The Stieglitz was a wired biplane that was fully aerobatic, intended for initial training and aerobatic training. Next to the Fw 190, the fighter with air-cooled radial engine, the Stieglitz became the most-built Focke-Wulf aircraft.   Its first flight took place in late summer of 1932. It necessitated some changes to the airframe to improve the flight characteristics. Then it became quickly well known

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 and popular, especially since the rearmament program of the Nazi regime required large quantities of such planes to built the new Luftwaffe. Due to the Versaille Treaty this was still a clandestine operation. The direct competitor to the Stieglitz was the Heinkel He 72 Cadet, but it never was produced in similar numbers.  In the civilian field of aviation this plane became famous by the aerobatic pilots Graf Hagenburg and Gerhard Achgelis. This led to export orders and licenses to Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Austria, and Sweden. Many aircraft were delivered to the Finnish Air Force. Those Finnish planes and the Swedish Fw 44s made up the basis for the Stieglitz fleet in Germany of today. Our Stieglitz here in our museum originates from Finland, too.  

Technical specifications:

Wingspan 9.00 m, length 7.30 m, height 2.70 m, wing area 20.00 m², take off weight 900 kg, Siemens engine air-cooled 7-cylinder radial engine Sh 14A with 112 kW/152 hp, V/max 184 km/h, range 675 km, service ceiling 3900 m, crew 2.

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Diorama of the German Lufthansa (DHL), Motherships for airplanes in the South Atlantic, since 1934

In the beginning, the idea was to build an air mail service from Europe to South America with the help of scheduled airliners in order to reduce the previous mail transit times from at least 3 weeks (from Berlin to Buenos Aires in 1934) to a few days. The airplane material at that time could not make such a long non-stop-flight, and so a concept was developed that worked well and worked until the outbreak of the new World War: 

The DLH Junkers Ju 52 airliners carried the mail across Spain to Bathurst in West Africa, later sometimes Heinkel He 111 airliners were deployed.  There the cargo was reloaded on flying boats such as Dornier Wal (until 1937), later Dornier Do 18 or even later on the float plane Blohm & Voss Ha 139. These planes should take over the Atlantic route from Bathurst / West Africa to Natal / Brazil.

 In Brazil, the cargo was reloaded again onto Ju 52s of national companies and then distributed to the recipient cities. Depending on the weather conditions, the ships in Brazil also met the planes halfway on their flight route. 

Since the range of the aircraft for the long flight West Africa to Brazil or vice versa was not enough, the idea of ​​an aircraft mother ship was conceived: A flying boat loaded to the limit was hoisted on board and placed on a (Heinkel) catapult. With the help of this steam catapult the heavy plane was quickly airborn, thus not wasting its fuel in the starting procedure, but put it into distance. Often the ships with the aircraft on board sailed a few hundred kilometers in direction of the destination.

The ships had another special feature: the so-called tow sail, which was laid out at the stern of the ship on the water to calm the waves before the aircraft could be hoisted on board after landing. The aircraft had to "roll"- say swim - on this tow, then the on-board crane could do its work on the calm plane. 

The first ships were converted freighters, which received a catapult and a crane system with the tow sail. These were the“Schwabenland” and the “Westfalen”. In 1936, the newly designed               “Ostmark”was built in Kiel and put into service from the end of May. About 300 flights were organized from 1936 - 1939 when the war broke out. 

The Ostmark moved to the neutral country of Portuguese Guinea for about one year, but was then supposed to join the service of the German Air Force at home. Nothing came of it, because on September 24, 1940 off the French coast it was sunk by  a British submarine.

Except for one man, the crew could be saved. The wreck was discovered in 2002 by French divers.