Historic Junkers aircraft flies again
- Published: April 4, 2018
Ninety-nine years after the maiden flight of the pioneering Junkers F 13 aircraft, a complete reconstruction of the airplane has been certificated for flight, Junkers has announced.
Last month, Junkers announced that the replica was certified for flight after completing extensive flight testing.
The F 13 revolutionized aviation as the first all-metal airplane in the world. Program founder and investor Dieter Morszeck says the process of reconstruction required engineers to re-learn long forgotten construction techniques using corrugated aluminum, under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation (BAZL).
The fewest possible compromises with modern technology were made. For example, brakes and hydraulic shock absorbers were added to the landing gear. The search for a reliable powerplant resulted in the installation of a 450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 "Wasp Junior" radial engine, which is still in use worldwide.
Another challenge was the first flight: there wasn’t a pilot in the world with prior F 13 experience, so the aircraft’s flying qualities had to be determined in the air. Fortunately the process went smoothly, and Morszeck says the team was surprised at the aircraft’s benign handling characteristics.
Further plans include small-scale production in response to individual market demand, using the experience gained in the construction of the first example.
Photos: John Morris, Aviation Week