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Like the Phoenix—RIMOWA returns the Junkers F.13 aircraft to the skies

9 October 2016

Dieter Morszach (President & CEO/RIMOWA GmbH) and engineer Dominik Kaelin (kealin aero technologies GmbH) combined their passions and resources to create a faithful reproduction flying Junkers F.13 aircraft. Junkers and RIMOWA are a natural wedding since RIMOWA is the renowned luggage company specializing in corrugated aircraft aluminum luggage and Hugo Junkers produced post modern aircraft designs using corrugated duralumin (also known as grooved alumin) stressed skin construction. The Hugo Junkers F.13 is more paradigm setting than one might first observe today with its first use of all metal stressed skin structure as well as the heated, as well as enclosed, 4 to 6 passenger cabin (with seat belts no less!)—thus setting the bar for future commercial airline aircraft designs—though the cockpit was open (some say semi enclosed). It was 1919 and Hugo Junkers had shown commercial passenger aviation the way to its future with RIMOWA cases closely behind him. Both Junkers and RIMOWA used corrugated aluminum alloys since they are light in weight yet strong with the corrugations resistant to bending stresses—as we well know, both aircraft and luggage cases experience bending stresses.

The Association of Friends of Historical Aircraft (Vereinigung der Freunde von Historische Flugzeuge in German and VFL as their acronym) instigated the idea which was quickly taken up by Ju-Air and RIMOWA. Seven years of research in the Deutsches Museum archives, including a 3-D laser scan of the Junkers F.13 at the Musée de l’Air et de l’space, and the team was ready to bring the faithful reproduction F.13 to the skies. Additional companies came on board for the manufacturing and the building of the F.13: kealin aero technologies GmbH, MSW Aviation, Naef Flugmotoren AG and AeroFEM GmbH. Original parts were made, people fabricated and fitted, systems were tested—all taking two years on the calendar, 12,000 man-hours in effort, as well as 35,000 rivets.

Dieter Morszach and Dominik Kaelin, together, reached a major goal with the first test flight of the reborn Junkers just last month. What a dedicated effort with original plans studied, parts made, original and modern manufacturing techniques utilized and modern safety  improvements made (though one needs to look hard to see them)! The first test flight was made at the home airport for the aircraft within the Black Forest of Germany at Oberndorf, last month. Nicknamed “Annelise 2” she first flew on 15 September 2016 with Oliver Bachmann as pilot and RIMOWA’s Dieter Morszech as copilot. Happily, a handful of additional aircraft are to be built—and one can have a copy for ˜$2.5 million (USD).

What a stylish way to travel that would be!


The Beginning



An original Junkers F.13 on exhibit in the Deutches Museum/Munich (this model with an in-line liquid cooled reciprocating engine)—image provided by RIMOWA


Original artifacts from the Deutches Museum archives provided original details from plans and specification sheets—image provided by RIMOWA


Engineering plans from Junkers (note that F.13 is G.13 when expressed in German)—image provided by RIMOWA


Studying original plans with the Deutches Museum archives in the background—image provided by RIMOWA


The Build



The 450 hp Pratt and Whitney Wasp Jr R985 which will power the F.13—image provided by RIMOWA


The fuselage and wings in their jigs—image provided by RIMOWA


Rear aspect of the faithful Junkers F.13 reproduction—image provided by RIMOWA


Mating the engine to the fuselage—image provided by RIMOWA


Attaching the wings to the fuselage.—image provided by RIMOWA


The livery has been applied over the green primer—image provided by RIMOWA


The final assembly of “Annelise 2″—image provided by RIMOWA


Nearly complete, the reproduction Junkers F.13 funded by RIMOWA—image provided by RIMOWA


First Flight



Vintage luxury cars and the Ju-Air Junkers Ju 52 were part of the Junkers F.13 inaugural flight at Dübendorf Airfield—image provided by RIMOWA


The Wasp Jr. comes to life in prep for flight—image provided by RIMOWA


Annalise 2 on her first take off roll—image provided by RIMOWA


RIMOWA’s Junkers F.13 reproduction in flight—image provided by RIMOWA


RIMOWA’s Junkers F.13 faithful reproduction flying past—image provided by RIMOWA


RIMOWA’s Junkers F.13 faithful reproduction flying past—image provided by RIMOWA


RIMOWA’s Junkers F.13 faithful reproduction enclosed passenger cabin and open cockpit in full view—image provided by RIMOWA


Introduction at Oshkosh



Oshkosh April 2016 with the RIMOWA tent and the Junkers F.13 at the left wingtip of the B-52 Stratofortress—image provided by RIMOWA


The Oshkosh unveiling of the new Junkers F.13 known as “Annelise 2″—image provided by RIMOWA


A period re-eenactor for RIMOWA’s founder Paul Morszeck—image provided by RIMOWA


A 1920s period re-enactor—image provided by RIMOWA


The 1920s period re-enactor in flight gear of the day standing beside an F.13 structural cross-section—image provided by RIMOWA


The Paul Morszech re-enactor showing the similarities of the RIMOWA case and the Junkers ribbed duralumin stressed skin construction—image provided by RIMOWA


1920s period re-enactors and the F.13—image provided by RIMOWA


A dancing interval using RIMOWA cases added energy to the unveiling ceremony—image provided by RIMOWA


The F.13 and invited guests—image provided by RIMOWA


The RIMOWA Junkers F.13 on the flight line—image provided by RIMOWA


Pilot Oliver Bachmann ensconced in the cockpit of Annelise 2—image provided by RIMOWA


RIMOWA President and CEO Dieter Morszech (L) and F.13 pilot Oliver Bachmann (R) stand with the RIMOWA Junkers F.13—image provided by RIMOWA


Though not yet commercially available, wouldn’t this luggage case make a statement on your travels?—image provided by RIMOWA


Many thanks to RIMOWA for providing much of the material as well as the images used in this post.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bruce Kay permalink
    9 October 2016 20:08

    Excellent display of Junkers F13!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      10 October 2016 07:53

      Yes, RIMOWA gave us plenty of nice images to work with 🙂

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