Visit to Germany Aviation Museum: My experience

They had the Junker F13 and it is considered the very first real commercial transport aircraft.

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As some of you will know Mrs. D is into costuming. She makes her own and loves showing them off with her friends. The other day she and her friends got invited by an event organisation in Bad Nenndorf, Germany. They were hosting a Napoleon-type of event and they needed extras.

All meals and hotel would be provided free of charge! They only needed to travel to and from Bad Nenndorf, which is about 450 kilometers from where we live in the Netherlands. No problem, Mrs. D told her friends. Jeroen loves to drive, he will take us. So me and my Jaguar got roped in. The free meals and hotel only applied to the extras in period costumes. So I dropped Mrs D and party at the hotel on Friday afternoon and drove on for another 25 minutes or so to Hannover. Had not been to Hannover for decades. But I figured it would be a better place to amuse myself for two days than picturesque, but tiny Bad Nenndorf.

I had booked a small hotel near the Central Station, right smack in the centre and adjacent to the old city. I wandered around the old town in the evening and had a nice dinner. In all honesty, Hannover is not that great a town. There is not an awful lot to see and do, but I found two interesting museums. There is a general aviation museum and not too far away from Hannover is also a Helicopter museum. I managed to visit both. The helicopter thread will follow shortly.

The Hannover Aviation Museum is on the outskirts of town. Too far to walk from the city centre.

It is not particularly big, but it has an interesting collection spread over two halls.

Here goes:

This is an overview of the first hall as you enter.

Mostly WW1 and the very early days of military aviation here. Most of these aircraft are replicas.

Here is a favourite of me and Snoopy, the Sopwith Camel. From 2017 onwards this British fighter dominated the skies above Europe. It was superior to what the Germans had, e.g. the Albatros. Only the Fokker DI and subsequent models had similar agility.

The Fokker Triplane was designed to match the Sopwith Camel with agility and climbing speed. It’s one downside was its lower air speed. The Fokker D1 is made famous by Snoopy’s adversary the Red Baron. It was actually a guy called Manfred from Richthofen. He managed 80 air victories, before he got hit by ground fire and crashed.

There are no original Fokker DRI anymore. But there are plenty of airworthy replicas about. I have seen the odd one at some airshow a long time ago. The museum had an interesting video playing where 7 of these Fokker replicas fly in formation!

Of course, Anthony Fokker was a brilliant (Dutch) airplane designer and accomplished pilot. However, he was also very much a ruthless businessman who sold his planes to anybody that came up with the goodies.

After a British and a Dutch design time for a French WW1 Fighter. the Nieuport 17. A relatively small, but very agile. It was flown by many, obviously, French squadrons, but also by some British and American squadrons.

Initially, its machine gun was mounted over and above the propellor arc, so did not need to be synchronised with the propellor. Unfortunately, the early Lewis machine guns came with only 47 rounds, so the pilot had to replace the magazine in the air!

The museum has hundreds and hundreds of models as well. Pretty good quality in terms of build and painting overall. I have taken quite a few snaps of various models that for some reason or the other caught my eye.

Not only did they have this Junker model, they also had a very nice real one! This is the Junker F13 and it is considered the very first real commercial transport aircraft. It was one of the earliest aircraft designed specifically for civil purposes in 1919 (end of WW1). It was even exported to the USA as well. The Lufthansa used the F13 as the backbone of its fleet up to WW2.

Huge Graf Zeppelin model hanging from the ceiling. The model is huge, but this thing was huge in real life too. You get a feeling for the size, when you start looking at some of the details. Eg. laddersleading to each engine/propellor. They would actually, in flight, go down those ladders to check and even fix an engine!

Most people, even if they don’t know anything about airplanes, will recognise this particular one; The Spirit of St Louis. Although that is not its type or Manufacturer. Lindbergh named it in honour of the St. Louis Raquettes club who supported him.

It was purpose build by Ryan Airlines at the time. It had a for those days phenomenal range of 4000 nautical miles.

Charles Lindbergh crossed, single-handed the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Paris in 33,5 hours. An absolute first!

The original Spirit of St. Louis is hanging from the ceiling in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Here a German design, the Focke Wulf Fw44. It was used as an initial and aerobatic trainer aircraft. It proved to be an extremely successful design. It was built under license in several countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, Finland, Sweden and Turkey.

The museum has quite a number of gliders as well. Here is an unusual powered glider that is being restored. It was designed and built in the 50s. The engine is located in the middle of the fuselage. The propellor sits in the middle of the rudder!

A few other things on display. Airplane toys! Boy would I have liked to have this model kit. Eat your heart out Airfix!

Finally, for this hall at least, another Fokker, the EIII. These were the first fighter that could fire a machine gun through the propellor arc, due to a clever synchronisation mechanism. (Initially, they just put little armour plates on the inside of the propellor where the bullets might hit, did not last very long!)

Continue reading Jeroen’s experience for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

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