A project to bring back the Junkers F13 took off Sept. 15 with the official first flight of the replica in Dübendorf, Switzerland.
The first flight of the replica was almost 100 years after the launch of the “mother of all aircraft,” according to officials with luxury luggage company RIMOWA.
Named ‘Annelise 2’ as a nod to one of the first Junkers F13 planes, the open cockpit airplane was flown by test pilot Oliver Bachmann, along with RIMOWA President and CEO Dieter Morszeck, who has been a private pilot for 34 years.
According to RIMOWA officials, there were seven years of research, planning and approvals between the initial idea and the aircraft’s maiden flight. Three strong partners joined forces to manage a project of this scale: JU-AIR, the Association of Friends of Historical Aircraft (VFL) and RIMOWA.
The original aircraft, commissioned by the German entrepreneur Hugo Junkers in 1919, was the first cantilever all-metal aircraft made of duralumin. It was manufactured at the Junkers plants in Dessau until 1933.
Cologne-based businessman Dieter Morszeck, whose father developed suitcases using the same material more than 60 years ago, sponsored the construction of the first airworthy F13 replica.
“Hugo Junkers was the first person to use duralumin in aircraft construction. Around the world, grooved sheet metal became the hallmark of Junkers aircraft and RIMOWA suitcases,” commented Dieter Morszeck. “This is why I followed and supported the construction of an airworthy Junkers F13. I wanted to give back to the world an important cultural asset – not in a museum, but where it belongs: in the skies.”
A team made up of representatives from the companies Kälin Aero Technologies, MSW Aviation, Naef Flugmotoren AG, AeroFEM GmbH and JU-AIR spent 24 months building the Junkers F13. The F13 team performed research in numerous archives spread across multiple countries to develop the construction plans. A Junkers JL6 at the Museum of Air and Space at Le Bourget in Paris proved to be especially valuable, officials noted. It was measured using lasers and the data was then fed into 3D construction software.
BY THE NUMBERS
It took 12,000 hours to build the Junkers F13 replica. The low-wing plane, with an open two-pilot cockpit, comprises 2,600 parts held together by more than 35,000 rivets. 60 kilograms of paint were used for the finish. The historical replica is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior R985 9-cylinder radial engine with 450 hp.
Approval is anticipated by the end of 2016, with deliveries expected to follow soon after.