The Rohrbach Roland was a German airliner which first flew on 5 September 1926. It was powered by a trio of BMW IV and later BMW V water cooled piston engines and featured a range of up to 900 kilometres (560 miles). Cruising speed was a pleasant 175km/h (109mph).
With seating for 10 passengers, Lufthansa put the aircraft into service on the Berlin to London route, with en route stops at Hanover and Amsterdam. Passengers could enjoy heating, a toilet and even sound insulation had been provided for comfort.
Rohrbach Roland Video
Following on from the last video about the French Sud-Est SE 2010 Armagnac, this time we stay in Europe with a look at the Rohrbach Roland. The first film runs for 30 seconds and shows a Lufthansa example on the ground. Note the open cockpit, which was changed after the first six were built due to pilot complaints.
The next piece is a newsreel from 1934, which shows a plane operated by Deruluft during the first 10 seconds. You can see the enclosed cockpit in this one, with a very interesting window configuration.
Various world records were held by the Roland (standing for Rohrbach Land), such as the endurance record with a 1,000kg payload of 14 hours and 23 minutes. At various times, the aircraft held 22 different world records, which is quite an achievement.
The Roland’s Passenger Cabin
Flying in the 1920s was a similar affair to today, just without many of the modern conveniences we are now used to. The passenger cabin of the Roland has some interesting features, such as the hanging straps in the roof.
Luggage racks over the seats are rudimentary at best and what I particularly like is the shape of the seats. They are definitely interesting to the eye – hopefully they had comfort to match!
There were 18 Rohrbach Rolands produced in three different versions. Six were Roland I, followed by three Roland II which featured a 30cm (1ft) stretch and upgraded engines. Finally, there were nine Roland III aircraft, which featured a revised cockpit and redesigned wing.
Lufthansa was the primary operator, taking every aircraft produced. Three of their Roland Is were sold to Spain’s Iberia for use on their route between Barcelona and Madrid. Three also went to Deruluft, a German-Soviet airline, and others to RLM and DVS. They were in passenger service from 1926 to 1935 and you can see the fleet list here.
Have you ever heard of this aircraft before? What did 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 via Airhistory.net.
Cabin photo via Wikimedia Commons.