Tuesday, 28 July 2015
Udet U 11
The sole Udet U 11 Kondor [condor] Grossverkehrsflugzeug [large airliner], Werknummer 243, photographed in January 1926 at Oberschleissheim airfield north of Munich, with test pilot Harry Rother. The aircraft is still in pristine condition and devoid of any markings; it would later be assigned the fuselage code D-828. First flown by Rother on January 19, 1926, the U 11 was powered by four Siemens & Halske Sh 12 air-cooled radial engines with aerodynamic fairings, extended driveshafts (necessitated due to the pusher configuration), and two-blade propellers.
The U 11 was the largest aircraft produced by Udet Flugzeugbau, München-Ramersdorf, following an order by Deutscher Aero Loyd. As is beautifully illustrated by the photos, it was an open-cockpit design with side-by-side seating for the two pilots. The navigator's station was located in the very front of the aircraft, ahead of the pilots. The fuselage was constructed from Duralumin profiles and covered by Duralumin sheets. It could seat eight passengers and also contained a toilet and a luggage compartment.
The wings, featuring two main spars, were manufactured from wood, with fabric covering and a plywood-reinforced leading edge. The empennage consisted of Duralumin tubing and profiles, also covered with fabric. The landing gear was fitted with a then rather common rubber suspension system and 1100 by 220mm main wheels.
Rother's test flights revealed significant design shortcomings, and the aircraft's service career with Deutsche Lufthansa (successor to Deutscher Aero Loyd) was correspondingly brief. The U 11 subsequently crashed during the delivery flight to Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule [German air transport school]. The failure of the U 11 was among the reasons for the financial failure of Udet Flugzeugbau and its eventual acquisition by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (BFW). At least one of the above photos appears to have been an official release by BFW, as it bears a company stamp on the rear.
Enlargements of sections of the second photo posted above reveal a number of interesting details (below).