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Schatzberg, Eric, 1956- / Wings of wood, wings of metal : culture and technical choice in American airplane materials, 1914-1945

2. Engineering enthusiasm: World War I and the origins of the metal airplane,   pp. [22]-43

Page 36

Figure 2.6. Junkers F13 all-metal passenger monoplane, marketed in the U.S. as the
JL-6. National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution (SI neg. no. 96-
cruising speed of about 87 mph. This airplane retained the corrugated du-
ralumin wing and fuselage covering used in Junkers' wartime designs, as
well as the duralumin-tube framework. Only a few were built in 1919, but
in 1920 production of the F13 increased to seventy-three aircraft.33
Meanwhile, Dornier applied his experience at Seemoos to the design of
commercial flying boats based on scaled-down versions of the navy R-
planes. His first model, the GSI, was an eight-passenger monoplane flying
boat, powered by two 260-horsepower engines, giving it a top speed of
112 mph. The plane had originally been ordered by the German navy, but
its design was modified for civil use after the Armistice. Like Junkers,
Dornier closely followed his wartime design practice, using steel for highly
stressed parts, duralumin for the hull and other lightly stressed compo-
nents, and fabric for the wing covering. In 1921 Dornier built the Delphin
(Dolphin), his first single-engine boat designed purely for civil aviation, and
two land planes. On May 5, 1921, the Allied powers issued the London
Ultimatum to force the Germans to comply with the aeronautical provisions
of the Versailles treaty The ultimatum halted production of the Dornier
airplanes, although Dornier did continue some production abroad.34
The most widely noted addition to the ranks of German metal aircraft
designers was Adolf Rohrbach (1889-1939), a Zeppelin engineer who had
worked with Dornier at Seemoos during the war. Shortly before the Armi-
stice, Rohrbach was sent to the Zeppelin R-plane plant at Staaken to begin
building all-metal R-planes. The end of the war halted this work. Rohrbach

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