The Return of Junkers F 13

The A 380, the Boeing Dreamliner and the Space ShipTwo are at the pinnacle of modern aerospace technology. Yet almost 110 years after the Wright Brothers' first flight, aerospace engineers are still faced with new challenges. There are still many risks involved in air travel with regards to organisation, technology and finance. People are still fascinated by flight. Yet the spectacular pioneers and the history are often forgotten.

A good reason then for the Verein der Freunde historischer Luftfahrzeuge (Friends of Historical Aircraft Association) - who own a CASA 352 that is still airworthy-, RIMOWA GmbH - leading manufacturer of aluminium and polycarbonate luggage - and the Swiss JU-AIR aerospace company who have 3 of their own JU 52 aeroplanes, to give the world a chance to see a unique piece of technological heritage. Together, they have initiated the rebuilding of the 'mother of all commercial aircraft': an airworthy Junkers F 13! They are working in cooperation with the Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin that is currently restoring a historic Junkers F 13 for exhibition purposes.

The F 13, unveiled in 1919, was the first aircraft constructed completely of metal and with a closed passenger cabin. Between 1919 and 1932, over 330 were built, with both standard undercarriages as well as with floats or skis, and were exported worldwide where they revolutionised aircraft construction. Along with the world record for flight altitude at 6,250 metres with 8 people on board in June 1919, in 1922 the F 13 was also the first commercial aircraft to cross the Alps.

Although the pilots sat 'outside' and were open to the elements, for the first time in aerospace history safety, efficiency and comfort defined the design of an aeroplane. Along with the sparsely equipped cockpit, the F 13 also had a closed four-seater cabin with upholstered seats and heating. Its inventor, Prof. Hugo Junkers, was the first aircraft manufacturer to use the modular system which went on to standardise aircraft construction and reduced purchasing and maintenance costs. Junkers aircraft were considerably more efficient flyers than other models. Numerous features of the F 13 still form part of the basic concept of modern commercial aircraft.

The first steps have been taken and the foundations have been laid to restore an aeroplane from an era when pilots were still looked upon as heroes.

Give us your support too and visit us at our ILA press conference on June 10th 2010 at 12 p.m. or at our trade fair stand, number 357 in Hall 8.


Birgit Wenners, Tel.: +49 (0)221 95641718

Bernd Huckenbeck, Tel.: +49 (0)0160 90391910

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