The German built Junkers F 13 has the distinction of being the first passenger airliner made out of metal. Two pilots operated the aircraft and there were seats for four passengers, each with seatbelts, something usual for the time.
Entirely made from duralumin and covered with the trademark Junkers corrugated skin, it was powered by a single Mercedes D.IIIa 6-cylinder water-cooled in-line piston engine. First flight took place over 100 years ago, on 25 June 1919.
Junkers F 13 Video
Following on from the last video about the Boeing 767, we head over to Germany and step back in time to look at the Junkers F 13. This is a really interesting silent presentation hailing from 1924 and it runs for around five minutes.
Titled “F 13 in Moscow”, it seems to be a documentary film made by the manufacturer. All of the original intertitles are in the Cyrillic script used in Russia. I’d love to know what they say!
You see the Junkers F 13 landing, then some maintenance work and passengers boarding for a scenic flight. There are some cool closeup shots of the plane and its corrugated skin, which is interesting to see.
The aircraft was operated by Luft Hansa as well as other airlines around the world such as Ad Astra Aero in Switzerland, Deruluft of the Soviet Union, LOT of Poland, Air Iceland, SCADTA of Colombia and more. It even flew for the United States Post Office Service as the JL-6, built under license by John Larsen Aircraft.
The Junkers F 13 Rides Again!
Reproduction of the Junkers F 13 took place, with the first one flying in September 2016. While it is using a 1930s Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engine, it is otherwise as close to faithful as possible, allowing for improvements required by modern aviation.
Very cool to see one flying around in 2019 and I’m sure it’s something the original manufacturers would not have expected. I would quite love to fly in it!
There were 322 examples of the Junkers F 13 produced between 1919 and 1932, which is an astonishing number for the time. The final example was retired from flying in 1951, meaning they were in service for over 30 years. Not bad going at all! For those interested, a production list is here.
Not many aircraft get resurrected to be reproduced and fly again. My wish is to see one of the Short Empire Flying Boats in the sky again, or a de Havilland Comet 1, but that is a very remote possibility. In fact, the only other reproduction of note that I can recall are the new Messerschmitt Me-262 jet fighters that were made a while back.
Did you know about the Junkers F 13 and what do you think of the videos? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Featured image of a replica by Alan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons.