The German company RIMOWA presented an airworthy replica of the classic Junkers F13 at this year’s Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture in July. The classic aircraft will begin flight testing by the end of the year, according to company officials.
The original Junkers F13 is considered the first world’s first commercial airliner. It was commissioned by the German entrepreneur and aviation pioneer Hugo Junkers in 1919 as an all-metal, low-wing cantilever monoplane.
There are only few F13s left today, none of them airworthy. That’s why the German Association of Friends of Historical Aircraft set out six years ago to build an airworthy replica.
The Cologne-based entrepreneur Dieter Morszeck, whose father started to make suitcases using the same material more than 60 years ago, has always felt an allegiance to Hugo Junker and is a supporter of the project to rebuild an airworthy F13.
“The entrepreneur Hugo Junkers was a pioneer and visionary. He was the first to build planes made of Duralumin,“ Morszeck, RIMOWA’s CEO, said at Oshkosh. “The grooved aluminium design soon became the trademark of Junker’s airplanes around the world, and the same is true for RIMOWA suitcases.”
“This is why I was so keen to support the rebuiling of an airworthy Junkers F13,” he continued. “By rebuilding this classic Duralumin aircraft we’re reviving a part of our cultural heritage. And what’s best, this F13 will soon take to the air again — a world premiere.”
It took some 9,000 hours to build the aircraft in the Black Forest town of Oberndorf. It consists of 2,600 parts. More than 35,000 rivets hold the low-wing aircraft with the open two-seat cockpit together. The plane is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engine with 450 horsepower. It was assembled in the Swiss town of Dübendorf, where the leather interior was fitted.
The actual assembly of the F13 was carried out by several German and Swiss companies. The plane is designed to fly only at daytime using visual flight rules. It was commissioned by RIMOWA and took 15 months to build.