The history of Bücker Aircraft is presented here as collected from a number of sources.

The first, most comprehensive section comes from the May-June 1983 edition of "Air Britain Digest" and was written by K. Plamer and L. F. Sarjeant, edited by M. J. Hooks.
Stephen Craig copied it and provided it for inclusion here. Optical Character Recognition was used to transcribe it.

The second section, "The Bird that taught the Luftwaffe to fly" came originally from Bücker Prado, was translated by V-Aviation in Spain, and edited by Steve Beaver

Bücker Flugzeugbau GmbH

Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 and appointed the famous First World War fighter pilot. Hermann Göring, to head the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (Aviation Ministry). Expansion plans for civil and military aviation were drawn up though it was to be two more years before the existence of the Luftwaffe was officially announced. The need for large numbers of training aircraft was realised and in the early stages nearly half of the orders for new aircraft were allocated to them.

It was against this background that Carl Clemens Bücker returned to Germany from Sweden bringing with him a brilliant young engineer. Anders J Andersson. They formed a new company. Bucker Flugzeugbau GmbH in October 1933 with the backing of Ambi-Budd Presswerke GmbH in whose premises at Berlin-Johannistlial the new firm was housed. Within six months the young company had produced its first aircraft. the (Buüker Bü 131 Jungmann. a small biplane trainer described in detail later.

The success of the Jungmann was such that the company moved to new, larger premises at Berlin-Rangsdorf in 1935. It was from this airfi eld, south of the city, that the company's most famous product, the Bücker BU 133 Jungmeister made its first flight later the same year. In 1936 a more powerful version of the Jungmann entered production and the Jungmeister began to make a name for itself in aerobatic competition starting with the Olympic Flying Day contest on July 30. That year also saw the appearance of a small high-wing monoplane intended for touring. the Bücker Bu 134 but it did not enter production.

The company's next design the Bücker Bu 180 Student first flew in November 1937. It was a light two-seat low-wing training and sports aircraft, cheap to build and cperate. However, it was only produced in small numbers. This was followed by two more monoplanes developed in parallel as sucessors to the biplanes, namely the two-seat Bucker Bu 181 Bestmann and single-seat Bu 182 Kornett The latter flew first in November 1938 and the Bestmann followed in February 1939. The Bestmann was ordered into production in 1940 and eventually supplanted the biplanes on the production lines at Rangsdorf, by which time deliveries had been made to some twenty-one countries.

Andersson returned to Sweden on the outbreak of the Second World War where he joined Svenska Aeroplan AB. better known as SAAB, which had been formed in April 1937 at Trollhattan and which merged with ASJA in 1939. Andersson designed the SAAB Safir which made its first flight in November 1945 and was a three/four seat primary trainer very similar in size and layout to the Bestmann except that it was made of metal and had a retractable undercarriage. It served with the air forces of Austria Ethiopia. Finland. Sweden and Tunisia as well as civil operators such as the Air France and Lufthansa flying schools.

As detailed later the Bucker company's designs were also produced in Holland, Czechoslovakia, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and even in Egypt. where manufacture of the Bestmann has only recently ceased. Bucker aircraft influenced other designers and, in particular, displays of the Jungmerster in the USA inspired Curtiss Pitts to produce the legendary Pitts Special. Similarly the Zlin factory in Czechoslovakia after producing the Bestmann went on to produce a long line of Treners and Akrobats.

Few details of design studies by the Bucker company have survived but one alternative layout for the Bestmann investigated was for a more radical design. This consisted of a low-wing monoplane with a tricycle undercarriage. The engine was placed behind the cockpit driving a pusher propeller and the tail unit was supported on twin booms. The company also developed its own engine, the 80 hp Bu M700. which was intended to power the Komett and later versions of the Student.

In addition to production of its own designs the company carried out major overhauls on other types, such as the Heinkel He 46 reconnaissance aircraft, and produced other aircraft or parts under licence. In 1938 a batch of Focke- Wulf Fw 44J Stieglitz (Goldfinch) trainers were produced and by 1940 examples of the DFS 230 assault glider were coming off the production line. Wing parts for the Junkers Ju 87 •Stuka• were also produced and in a particularly secret Operation some 4.000 Henschel Hs 293 radio-controlled winged bombs were built. During the winter of 1941/2 a number of motorised sledges were assembled for use on snow-bound air fields on the Russian front, powered by surplus engines from the Jungmeister production line.

During the war a branch factory was established at Wemingrode in the Harz district. some 200 km south-west of Berlin. where components for fighter aircraft were made.

Although situated close to Bedin. which was one of the main targets of the Allied-bombing offensive the factory at Rangsdorf was not damaged. At the end of the war both factories were over-run by Russian troops and today are situated in East Germany.

Carl Clemens Bücker
Carl Bucker was born on February 11. 1895 at Ehrenbreitstein near Koblenz in Germany and in 1912 joined the Imperial German Navy as a cadet. In March 1915 he transferred to the Naval Air Service and within two months had passed his pilots qualifying examinations and was promoted to Lieutenant. For the rest of the First World War he flew seaplanes from various bases on the North Sea coast The Treaty of Versailles. signed by  Germany on June 28. 1919. ordered a drastic reduction in the size of both the Army and Navy and the complete abolition of military aviation, so in 1920 Bücker moved to Sweden where he was employed by the Swedish Navy as a technical adviser and test pilot.

Svenska Aero AB
Bücker formed his own company in Sweden on September 10. 1921 and named it Svenska Aero AB. His first task was to erect and test a Caspar S I ordered by the Swedish Navy. When the Hansa und Brandenburgische Hugzeugwerke AG went into liquidation in 1919 its chief designer Ernst Heinkel joined Caspar-Werke taking with him the design for the Hansa-Br andenbur g W37. This was a monoplane seaplane powered by a 260 hp Maybach engine and a development of Heinkel's highly successful Hansa-Brandenburg W29. This was then built by Caspar as the S I.

After erection by Svenska Aero the aircraft was delivered to the Swedish Navy on November 11. 1921 who gave it the serial number 31 and by whom it was known as the Hansa-Brandenburg 31. Ten production aircraft followed in 1922 and 1923. powered by the 240 hp Armstrong-Siddeley Puma.  They were known by the Swedish Navy as the Hansa-Brandenburg 32 after the serial number of the first aircraft. These were followed starling in 1924 by five examples of an enlarged and improved aircraft, the Caspar S II. powered by the 360 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle though the Swedish Navy designation was Hansa-Brand-enburg 42 or Rolls-Hansa.

However , Heinkel had left the Caspar-Werke in order to set up his own company Ernst Heinkel Flugzeugwerke at Warnemunde on the Baltic coast of Germany on December 1, 1922. He reached an agreement with Bücker whereby Svenska Aero AB would produce those Heinkel designs which could not be built in Germany because of the restrictions imposed by the Inter-Allied Control Commission. In fact many aircraft were secretly built in Germany and the parts shipped across the Baltic to Sweden for erection and testing. However, as time passed these restrictions were relaxed and this subtefuge became less necessary.

Examples of the S I and S II produced by Heinkels s new company were designated the Heinkel HE 1 and HE 2. and the German Navy secretly placed an order for ten HE 1 seaplanes at hte time of the ruhr crisis in 1923 when France and Belgium annexed parts of German territory. It is believed they were built by Heinkel and the parts shipped to Sweden for erection and testing by Svenska Aero AB amid stories that they were for a South American country. In fact they were crated and stored until 1926 when they returned to Germany. Also in 1923 Heinkel produced a smaller training and touring aircraft, designated HE 3, which could be quickly changed from a landplane to a seaplane. It was demonstrated by Bücker in the aeronautical section of the Swedish Tercentenary Exhibition (ILUG) held at Gothenburg between July 20 and August 12, 1923 where it received first prize in its class. In 1924 Heinkel delivered an example of his HD 14 torpedo bomber biplane to the Swedish Navy through Svenska Aero but after testing it was not accepted. In 1925 the prototype HD 17 two-seat reconnaissance and gener al purpose biplane was shipped to Svenska Aero for testing. It was then shipped to the USA where licence-built examples were to be produced by the Cox-Klemin Aircraft Corporation. The type was also used at the secret German Air Force training base at Lipezk in Russia.

A single example of the Heinkel HE 4 was delivered in 1926 via Svenska Aero to the Swedish Navy by whom it was known as the Hansa-Br andenbur  47. It was an improved version of the HE 2 and Svenska Aero also built ten for export to Latvia. On July 1. 1926 the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) was formed and the HE 1. HE 2 and HE 4 received the designations S2. S3 and S4 (S=Spanings/Reconnaissance).

Also in 1926 Hainkel travelled to Japan and showed the HD 25 and HD 26 aircraft to the Japanese Navy with Bucker as his demonstration pilot. Both aircraft were catapulted from the battleship Nagato and agreement was reached with the Aichi company to produce the designs under licence. The following year saw series construction commence of the Heinkel HE 5 by Svenska Aero. A development of the HE 4. it was powered by a Bristol Jupiter and designated S5 by the Swedish Air Force. Series construction also began of the Heinkel HD 24 two-seat biplane trainer designated Sk 4 by the Air Force (Sk—Skolischool). Two Heinkel HD 19 two-seat reconnaissance float biplanes were delivered from Germany and Svenska Aero  subsequently built four more in 1929. Powered by the Bristol Jupiter VI performance was so high that they were given the fighter designati on J4 (J—Jaktifighter) by the Swedish Air For ce. In 1934 they were converted to land planes and operated for a further three years. During this period Heinkel also delivered two examples of his HD 35 and 36 primary trainers (designated Sk5 and Sk6).

In 1928 Svenska Aero AB produced the first aircraft of its own design. the SA-10 Pirat (Pirate). It was a two-seat convertible land or seaplane, designed as an interchangeable training or fighting aircraft. For the former role it was to be fitted with a 200 hp Armstrong-Siddeley Lynx engine and for the latter with a 425 hp Armstrong-Siddeley Jaguar. The fuselage and tail unit were of steel tube construction with fabric covering, while the biplane wings were wooden and covered in fabric. The prototype was the float training version equipped with dual controls and a Lynx engine. It was accepted by the Swedish Air Force with the designation 07 (0—Ovning/training) and operated by F2 at Hagernas —Flygliottilt/-wing) between 1929 and 1937. One additional aircraft was built and delivered to Latvia in 1929.

1929 saw the appearance of the Falk (Falcon) trainer. It was designed to be either a primary trainer with dual controls and a 135 hp Armstrong-Siddeley Mongoose engine or an advanced trainer with flexible gun mounting in the rear cockpit and powered by a 200 hp Armstrong-Siddeley Lynx. The structure was entirely of steel with fabric covering and again iit was a biplane. One example with the Mongoose engine was built as the SA-12 Skolfalk. It was delivered to the Swedish Air Force as the Sk8 and served at the flying training school at F5 at Ljungbyhed until 1938. The following year an example powered by the Lynx engine was produced as the SA-13 Ovningsfalk. It was briefly used by the airforce with the designation 08 and served with the Flygstaben (Air Force staff unit).

Also appearing in 1929 was the prototype the SA-11 Jaktfalk. a neat compact biplane fighter with an armament of two machine guns and  contemporary with the Bristol Bulldog. The fuselage and tail unit were of steel tube construction faired to an oval section with the forward fuselage covered in  duralumin sheet and the rest fabric covered. The wings had two rectangular steel tube spars with either wood or steel ribs, the whole being covered with fabric. The prototype had a 500 hp Armstrong-Siddeleyh Jaguar engine and was delivered to the Swedish Air Force with the designation J5. It was followed in 1930 by the improved SA-14 Jaktfalk II with a Bristol Jupiter engine. Seven of these aircraft were delivered in 1930-31 with the designation J6 and in 1932 three improved aircraft were delivered under the designation J6A. A single example was produced in 1932 with an Armstrong-Siddeley Panther engine and delivered to the Norwegian Air Force. A further batch of seven, designated J66, were produced later after the design had been taken over by ASJA.

Up till 1932 the J5 and J6 served with F5 at Liungbyhed following which they were transferred to F3 at Malmslatt. Here the single J5 was placed in store but the J6s were supplemented by the J6A. In 1933 they were again transferred this time to Fl at Vasteras where they were joined in 1935 by the J6Bs. The survivors were transferred in 1938 to F8 at Barkarby where they joined the Gloster Gladiator (J8) in the defence of Stockholm until replaced by the Seversky EP-1 (J9) in 1940-41_ However, in December 1939 three aircraft (one J6A and two J6B) were presented to the Finish Air Force where they served as fighter-trainers until 1945.

The last design by Svenska Aero was the SA-1 5 . which was intended as a replacement for the Heinkel HE 5 with the designation S8. and the SA-15S ambulance version. However due to the few orders received the company was in financial difficulties and this design was not produced. On January 1, 1933 it was announced that the aviation division of Aktiebolaget Svenska Jarnvagsverkstadernas ASJA) of Linkoping had taken over the entire aircraft manufacturing business and goodwill of Svenska Aero AB and Bucker was then able to return to Germany

Post War
In 1945 Carl Bücker returned to Stockholm. However. in 1956 he took over as representative of the Swedish firm SAAB in West Germany and took up residence in Beuel/-Kudinghove n near Bonn. He gave much encouragement to owners of Bücker aircraft Including Frank Price who produced plans of the Jungmeister suitable for home-builders. He was also involved in the efforts by Jack Canary to put the Jungmeister back into production in  Germany in the mid-sixties. Also in this period Rim Kaminskas in the USA produced plans for a three-quarter scale Jungmeister which he called the Jungster I.

Bücker died on March 3. 1976 at the age of 81, but his superb aircraft live on as a fitting memorial. According to one of the world's leading aerobatic pilots, the late Neil Williams. Nothing flies better than a Bucker Bucker Bü 131 Jungmann

Bücker Bü 131 Jungmann
The achievement of designing, building and flying the prototype Bu 131 Jungmann in less than six months by a newly-established company seems almost an impossibility today. but following its establishment at Berlin-Johannisthal in October 1933 the DVL iDeutsche Versuchanstalt fur Lultfahrt) test pilot Joachim von Kopoen flew the young company's Jungmann two-seat primary trainer on April 27. 1934 and it achieved immediate success.
Production orders were placed for the DLV Deutscher Luftsport-Verband) flying Schools and the Bücker company soon found that demand for the new aircraft was such that the Johannisthal premises were insufficient to cope. necessitating a move to a larger factory at Be rlin-Rangsdorf.

In 1936. following the Luftwaffe s selection of the Jungmann as its primary trainer, the 105 hp Hirth 504 engine became standard for the Bu 1318 series, the prototype D-3150. designated Bu 131A. had an 80 hp Hirth HM 60R The new engine offered an increase of eight mph in maximum speed and a much improved rate of climb enabling the Bu 131B to reach, for instance. 1.000 m in 5.2 minutes against 7 minutes for the Bu 131A.

Export orders began to roll in. mostly in small quantities, and there were customers as far away as South Africa. together with Hungary,  Czechoslovakia and Switzerland. The last named evaluated the Bu 131B and decided to buy it for the Swiss Air Force and Aero Club. a manufacturing license was granted to the Swiss Dornier-Werke AG at Altenrhein and by the end of 1936 ten Swiss-built aircraft had flown, seven going to the Aero Club and three to the Air Force.

With production steadily increasing in Germany. Bucker was fully occupied with meeting many orders and one of the biggest customers was Spain whose Nationalist forces received more than 100 from the German factory before applying for and being granted license-production by CASA in Cadiz. The first Spanish-built examples, designated CASA 1 131 by the manufacturer and E.3B by the Air Force, appeared in 1938 and were equipped with German built Hirth HM504 engines.

 The obvious advantages of using a Spanish engine resulted in installation of the 125 hp ENMA Tigre G.IVA from the 201st aircraft onwards: these were CASA 1.131Es. Production by CASA continued until 1960 when some 500 had been built. Some of these had 150 hp ENMA Tigre G.IVB engines and were designated CASA 1.131L.

A plan for license-production in Czechoslovakia by the Tatra Wagon Factory as a private venture proved abortive since the Czech Air Force did not select the BU 1318, but Tatra built a small number (some sources quote 10. others 35) with the designation T-131 and these were eventually supplied to Czech State aero clubs. A post-war Aero-built Jungmann (OK-AXM) has been repainted to repres ent the first Tatra-built exmaple OK-TAB and is preserved at the Tatra factory. Several hundred Jungmann were ordered by east European countries, comparatively small numbers going to Bulgaria (15) and Romania (40). but Hungarian orders reached 119 of which 42 went to the military, 75 to the National Aviation Fund, one to a flying club and one to the Count of Festetich, this being a Bü 131A.

Yugoslavia was by far the biggest export customer with orders thought to have reached around 400.

Fur ther afield, deliveries continued to South African private owners and totalled 16: in 1938 a demonstration tour of South America by a Jungmann and Jungmeister netted orders for Bü 131s in Brazil (19). Uruguay (2) and Chile (2). Other civil deliveries were made to Sweden (4). Austria (1). and two each to Finland. France. The Netherlands. Poland and Portugal. Six went to the Netherlands East Indies in June 1939 for flying clubs and further north the Japanese Navy followed up an evaluation of a single Bü 1318 in 1938 with an order for 20 the following year. Manufacturing rights were secured and Watanabe (later renamed Kyushu) built 278 for the Japanese Navy with the desi gnati on K9W1 Navy Type 2 Primary Trainer Model II: a further 61 were sub-contracted to Hitachi.

The Japanese Army also adopted the Bü 131 as its primary trainer and 1.037 were built by Kokusai as the Ki-86a. Both Army and Navy models were powered by 110 hp Hitachi GK4A engines which differed only in detail.

Bücker built one BU 131C with a 90 hp Cirrus minor engine, and the final German production version was the Bu 131D, intorduced in 1938 with minor improvements.

By the outbreak of war. Bucker production had topped 1.000 Jungmann and although total figures have been impossible to obtain it is thought that between 3.000 and 4.000 were built in Germany. another 300 were manufactured al the Aero factory in Prague. Hungary received 151 Bu 131Ds from 1939 onwards, but most Hungarian aircraft were destroyed when the Germans retreated. However, by salvaging bits and pieces and building new  wings the Hungarians rebuilt 42 jungrnan by 1947 but lack of spares grounded the last one in 1953.

In Czechoslovakia. where 12 Jungmann built as Aero C.4s were salvaged in 1946. it was decided to reopen the production line and 260 more were built as Aero C 104s between 1946 and 1949 with 105 hp Walter Minor 4-Ill engines. A number of these were sold in 1959-60 to customers in Switzerland. Austria and West Germany.

Dormer-Werke in Switzerland built 84 Jungmann for the Swiss Air Force with 105 hp Hirth engines and when these aircraft began to be replaced by Pilatus P-2s in the late 1950s and early 1960s they were eagerly sought by flying clubs and individuals. In a bid to improve the aerobatic performance, various conversions to higher power were carried out The first of these was in 1962 when FFW (successor to Dornier-Werke) fitted a 170 hp Lycoming into HB-UTH which was subsequently flown into second place at that year's British Lockheed International Trophy Contest by Albert Ruesch.

Other Jungmann were modified by FFW and Pilatus to take a 180 hp Lycoming and a new wing with improved section. designed by Swiss engineer Fritz Dubs. was fitted to the Pilatus modified Jungmann HB-URN by Max Datwyler & Co. This variant became the Lerche (lark).

When the Swiss Air Force later released its final batch of 25 aircraft they were donated to the Swiss Aero Club who arranged with Ateliers de Precision Morand (APM) to replace I0-320-E2As using Hoffman propellers. A condition was imposed that they were only to be sold to Swiss customers.

Swiss. Czech and Spanish-built Junamann have been converted in the USA to a variety of powerpiants from a 150 hp Lycoming to a 225 hp  fuel-injection Lycaming and are much prized by their owners It seems likely that about 120 Jungmann of all variants are still extant, including several preserved in museums.

Bücker Bü 133 Jungmeister
Following the success of the Jungmann, Bücker's design team led by Andersson conceive d the idea of a single-seat trainer for advanced aerobatics. It would use a number of components common to those of the Jungmann and the availability of the 135 hp Hirth HM 6 in-line engine promised a superior performance.

The undercarriage and tail unit of the Jungmann were used in the prototype Jungmeister. D-EVEO. which made its first flight from Berlin-Rangsdorf late in 1935. piloted by Fr Luise Hoffman. who was in charge of production test flying. Shortly afterwards. Fr Hoffman died in an air crash and the post was taken over by Arthur Benitz who became chief test pilot in 1936.

The Jungmeister completed its test programme in a very short time and was granted a Certificate of Airworthiness at the beginning of 1936. Several minor changes were made the elevator balance was adjusted and the fin re-set to counteract torque from the bigger engine. A streamlined headrest fairing helped improve the airflow but the only major change was the engine, as the HM 6 carburettor would not perform satisfactorily in the transition from normal to inverted flight The 160 hp Siemens-Bramo Sh 14A4 radial was installed in the second prototype D-EAKE while Benitz carried out a series of demonstration flights.

In May 1936 Benitz took the prototype took the prototype to Switzerland where the Jungmann had already been chosen as the Air Force's standard primary trainer and was in license-production by Dornier-Werke at Altenrhein. Such was the interest in the Jungmeister that teh Swiss took the first three production aircraft for evaluation and 47 were subsequently builtl by Dornier-Werke between 1937 and 1940. A further two were assembled from spares in 1943.

Spain purchased several  early production Jungmeisters and CASA  license-built 25 designated  C 1133 with the 160 hp Hirth HM506 engine.

Meanwhile, testing of the second prototype confirmed its excellent performance and and one of the pre-production aircraft was supplied to Romanian aerobatic pilot Captain Alexis Papana. Registered YR-PAX. it rapidly became famous with Papana's brilliant demonstrations and after having it taken to the USA in the airship Hindenburg he gained second place in a contest at Los Angeles in 1936. going on to win an international contest at Miami the same year.

The pre-production Jungmeisters were known as Bü 133Bs. the designation Bü 133A being reserved for production models with the Hirth HM 6 engine which did not materialise once the Siemens engine had been chosen. Production aircraft with the latter engine became Bü 133Cs and differed from the Bü1338 in having a marginally shorter fuselage whic h was built up to eliminate the headrest fairing and gave extra lift in knife-edge flight. The cowling was also modified.

The NSFK (National-Sozialistiche Fliegerkorps), a German State Flying Association whic h replaced the DLV in 1937. received regular deliveries of Jungmeisters and established an aerobatic team. The Luftwaffe followed suit in 1936. and its team first appeared in public at an International Flying Meeting in Belgium on May 10. 1938. with conspicuous Success.

Jungmeisters in civilian hands were sweeping the board at aerobatic meetings. In July 1937, the type took the first nine places at an International  Meeting in Zurich. with German pilot Graf von Hagenburg becoming the new international aerobatic champion. Swiss pilots filled the next five places. The following month Jungmeisters secured the first six places in the German Aerobatic Championships at Dortmund. the winner being Rudolf Lochner fresh from his winning of the Dutch Champions hips at Eelde.

Graf von Hagenburg and Papana gave displays at the 1937 National Air Races in Cleveland, the former's being even more spectacular than usual when his Jungmeister D-EEHO touched the ground in an inverted pass and rolled itself into a ball. The embarrassed pilot received only minor cuts.

As previously mentioned. a Jungmann and Jungmeister were crated to Rio de Janeiro late in 1937 for a South American demonstration tour. During this. Arthur Benitz flew the Jungmeister. now registered PP-TDP from Mendoza to Santiago, crossing the Andes by way of the 14.000 ft Christo Pass.

More than 80 demonstration flights were made during the tour which covered over 15,000 miles and at the conclusion PP-TDP was sold to a rnember of the Sao Paulo Aero Club: it survived until the mid-1960s.

Several Jungmeisters were so!cl in Europe. Known deliveries included France. Poland. Yugoslavia. Lithuania. Romania. Finland and Hungary , Japan purchased at least one and Russia two following evaluation, but the Outbreak of World War 2 effectively ended foreign sales. Production continued in Germany for the Luftwaffe until 1941. but since all company records were lost at the end of the war when the factory fell into Russian hands precise figures cannot be quoted. although it is estimated that around 200 Jungmeisters were built in Germany.

By the end of the war the number of surviving Jungmeisters was small. German aircraft had all been destroyed. two South African civil examples had been impressed into the SAAF and one survived as an instructional airframe, the single Finnish aircraft. OH-SEA, surfaced again and lasted until 1953. Another, HA-NAF. appeared in Hungary and several others were found in Romania and Yugoslavia. one of the latter being preserved for the Belgrade museum. Still active was the oldest of all. Papana's YR-PAX. which had passed into American ownership as NC15696 and was used extensively for the next 25 years.mostly by Beverley Howard who was killed in the aircraft in 1971 when it crashed after running out of fuel* during an inverted pass at an air show. It was eventually rebuilt and is now in Washington's Air and Space Museum.

[* It is now believed that rather than running out of fuel, Bevo simply hit a tree obscured by the attitude of his aircraft]

In Europe, early post-war civil use of the Jungmeister was patchy. but Romanian Prince Cantacuzene managed to prise the 15th German production Bü 133C out of the Spanish Air Force. Registered EC-AEX. it soon became known on the display circuit while in France, Fred Nicole operated F-BBRI, a rebuilt example the origin of which is obscure.

When hte Swiss Air force offered nine Jungmeisters for sale in 1954 they were rapidly bought by the Aero Club, a few more followed in Spain. Among notable exponents of hte period were Francis Lairdon and Albert Ruesch of Switzerland, Jose Aresti of Spain and Gerhard Powalka of Germany.

By the early 1960s a few Jungmeisters had found their way to the USA where various alternative engine installations were carried out, including the 185 hp Warner and 200 hp and 260 hp Lycomings. American interest in the type and lack of available aircraft for the civil market led in the 1960s to an American, Jack Canary. financing the project of building new aircraft in Europe. He found a number of unused Siemens Sh 14A4 engines in Sweden and a set of plans and engineering data with CASA in Spain. The first three new production aircraft were to be built by Josef Bitz Flugzeugbau near Augsberg. but because their facilities would not be sufficient for the anticipated demand production would then be transferred to Wolf-Hirth  Flugzeugbau at Nabern/Teck.

In the summer of 1968 Canary was killed in an air crash and the venture would have folded had it not been for the intervention of an ex US Navy pilot and chain store executive. Jim Thomas . who stepped in to provide the necessary finance and handle US distribution. The first of the new Jungmeisters arrived in the USA in the autumn of 1968. while the next two were delivered from Bitz early in 1969. Fitted with hydraulic brakes,  modern instrumentation and a fibreglass ring cowling, the new aircraft were ostensibly Bü 133D-1s. A fourth, built by Wolf-Hirth. had a 220 hp Franklin engine and was designated Bü 133F. but by this time production costs had increased the price of $22000. Thomas found it difficult and costly to get the new-build aircraft licensed in the USA and the project was abandoned after only the four aircraft had been completed.

Unfortunately for the Americans, the Swiss Air Force decided in 1968 to offer its remaining 30 Jungmeisters for disposal on the civil market since they were not equipped with radio and had been largely replaced by Pilatus P-3s. The high qualities of Swiss servicing ensured that the aircraft were in very good condition and the much lower price than new-build aircraft effectively knocked the bottom out of the market for the latter. In a short time, second-hand Jungmeisters began to arrive in the USA, UK. Austria and France: they included. surprisingly, the first production Rangsdorf-built example. c/n 1001. supplied to the Swiss Air Force as U-51. It became G-AXNI but was seriously damaged in July 1970 during a low-level flick roll at an Ipswich air show when it struck Tri-Pacer G-ARAI.

A number of Jungmeisters are still flying in Europe and the USA including several home-built replicas. Others are in museums, including two military examples preserved in Switzerland, and hopefully they will still be around for many years.

Bücker Bü 134
The next design was a departure from the biplane layout used so far. It was a two-seat cabin monoplane with high-mounted strutbraced wings which could be folded for storage. It was intended as an inexpensive touring aircraft with the two seats arranged side by side rather like some contemporary American designs such as the Taylorcraft.

Construction methods were the same as for the biplanes. In fact the fuselage was a widened version of the Jungmann design and the undercarriage and engine mounting also came from that aeroplane. The engine was a Hirth HM 504 of 105 hp as used in the Bü 131B. The prototype, registered D-EOPA. was first flown in 1936 but its performance was disappointing and the visibility from the cockpit was criticised. As a result the type did not find favour with the RLM (German Air Ministry) and it did not enter production.

Backer Bü 180 Student
After the failure of the Bü 134 to enter production. Bücker and Andersson realised that trends were favouring the low-wing monoplane and they initiated a series of designs using this layout. The first to appear was a light two seat training and sports aircraft similar to its contemporary, the de Havilland DH 94 Moth Minor. Not only was it a departure from the usual layout, there were also changes made to the methods of construction; the wings were plywood covered back to the main spar and while the forward fuselage remained a fabric covered steel-tube structure, the rear fuselage was of wooden monocoque construction.

The intended engine was the 50 hp Zondapp Z9-092 but this was not ready in time, so the prototype was fitted with a 40 hp Train 4T from France. However, this proved totally unreliable and was quickly replaced by a 80 hp Walter Mikron 2 from Czechoslovakia. It made its first flight in November 1937 and showed good-natured flying qualities. With a fuel consumption of only 7.5 litres per 100 km. it had the cheapest operating costs of any aircraft in its class. It was tailor-made for converting glider pilots to powered aircraft and could be used as a glider tug. Although normally flown with open cockpits, a detachable canopy was available for operations in winter and the wheels could be replaced by skis for operations from snow.

On February 24, 1938 the prototype, registered D-ELIO. left Berlin on a tour of Africa flown by Edgar Gofthold and Willi Ruge, the latter a journalist. They flew by way of Rome, Cairo, Khartoum, Nairobi and Salisbury arriving in Johannesburg at the end of March before returning. In all they covered 25,000 km, a tremendous achievement over some very inhospit able terrain.

Production aircraft with the ZUndapo engine were designated the Bü 180A but most aircraft were fitted with the Mikron engine and called the Bü 180B. The designation Bu 180C was allocated to a version with Bucker s own engine, the 80 hp BO M700. but it did not enter production, though it is possible one acted as a flying test-bed.

On March 24. 1939 a Zondapp-engined Student. registered D-EBRO, was used by one of the Bücker factory test pilots. Werner Ahlfeld. with a passenger named Tessler. to set up a new world speed record in category C. 4 (less than 122 cu. in. displacement) over a 1.000 Km course. Flying to Schwessin in Pomerania and return in partic ularly poor weather conditions they averaged 171.95 km/hr. The aircraft, which had a canopy, was only slightly modified with an extra fuel tank and partial wheel fairings. The aircraft was publicised as the 'people's plane' but the RLM (German Air Ministry) was not particularly interested and only limited production was undertaken, probably no more than forty being produced. In addition to aircraft delivered  to German flying clubs some were exported to Sweden and Switzerland and a single example went to Egypt where it was registered SU-ACC. in 1944 it was in use at Almaza Airport, Cairo with the appropriately mnamed International Flying Club alongside a Piper Cub and Moth Minor.

The aircraft remaining in Germany would have been absorbed into the Luftwaffe on the outbreak of war and at least one survived to be brought to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough in 1945. Another turned up in Czechoslovakia where, in 1948, with the regis tration OK-SHA. it was in use as a flying test-bed for the Praga D engine of 75 hp under the designation Praga E.180. This aircraft at some stage in its life acquired a coupe top
which was properly faired into the rear fuselage.

The longest lived Students were those in Sweden and Switzerland. At least one in Sweden survived into the nineteen-fifties and two in Switzerland were active into the early seventies. One of the latter. registered HB-EH). is now the only known surviving Student and is part of Fritz Ulmer's Bücker
collection at Goppingen in West Germany.

Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann
Arthur Benitz made the first flight of the Bestmann in February 1939. The name was a naval term meaning the 'best man on deck'. It was a low-wing cabin monoplane with two seats arranged side-by-side and intended for sports flying, training and touring. Construction methods were similar to those used on the Student and the engine was a Hirth HM 504 of 105 hp as used in the BO 131B.

After exhaustive tests, in which it proved to have excellent performance and handling qualities, it was selected as the Luftwaffe's standard primary trainer in succession to the Jungmann. The Luftwaffe was one of the first air forces to adopt side-by-side seating for primary training. Production aircraft differed from the prototype in having improved visibility to the rear and a balanced rudder.

Deliveries began in 1940 from the factory at Rangsdorf and several thousand were eventually produced. Within a year it had completely supplanted the biplanes on the production line. Four versions were produced, designated Bü 181A to Bü 181D, differing only in detail. The improved 105 hp Hirth HM 500A engine was fitted to many later aircraft and the landing light on the port wing was usually deleted from the Bü 181B onwards.

Production was also undertaken at the Fokker factory in German-occupied Holland, initially the Bü 181A, and then the Bü 181D. Thirty one were produced in 1942, followed by 342 in 1943 and some 335 in 1944. However. the factory was stripped bare just before the liberation in September 1944.

Shortly befcre the German withdrawal from Czechoslovakia production of the Bestmann had started at the Zlin factory at Otrokovice together with the Hirth engine. Delivery of 10 aircraft to the Hungarian Air Force in 1942 led to plans to build 70 in Hungary , but these did not materialise. Starting in 1944. further aircraft were delivered from Germany. but only 49 had arrived by the time the war ended. A few were also supplied to the Romanian Air Force.

The type was used by the Luftwaffe at its Flugzeugfahrerschulen (flying schools) such as A/B 2 at Strasbourg in France. Al 4 at Klagenfurt in Austria, NB 23 at Kaufbeuren in Bavaria and A/B 125 at Neukuhren as well as at Luftkriegsschule 2 (Officer Candidate School) at Berlin-Gatow. It was also used for glider towing at such establishments as the Reichs segelfliegerschule at Trebbin near Berlin and for communications.

On June 29, 1942 Bestmann D-EXWB was flown by Arthur Benitz to Sweden where it was evaluated by the Flygvapen. Orders were placed for 125 aircraft and these were built under licence in Sweden by AB Hagglund & Soner between 1944 and 1946. Designated Sk 25, they served with the flying training school at F5 Ljungbyhed, at the Air Force College at F20 Uppsala and with many other units in the communications role. In 1952 they were replaced by the SAAB Safir (Sk 50) and the ninety or so remaining aircraft were sold on the civil market, most going to Germany where the flying clubs were in the process of re-establishing themselves. The original Bestmann supplied by Bücker remained with the Test Material Centre (Forsokcentralen) at Linkoping/Malmslatt and is now with the Swedish Air Force Museum at the same airfield.

It was between March and May 1945, during the last desperate days of the Third Reich that the most bizarre aspect of the Bestmann story occured. Due to the shortage of petrol the training programme had virtually ceased and many Bestmann were standing idle. As a result, schemes were devised to see if they could be used operationally. Trials were carried out at the Fiugtechnische Erprobungsstelle (Flight Test Centre) at Trebbin with four Panzerfaust 100 anti-tank projectiles mounted on the wings. two above and two below. A number of small units we formed such as 3 Panzerjagdstaffel which operated in the Tubingen area of Southern Germany and 8 Panzeriagdstaffel in the Halberstadt area. Targets were tanks and other vehicles, and even abandoned German vehicles and aircraft. Panzerjagd-Kommando Ost did not become operational but trained with the Panzerfaust and in the dive-bombing role carrying a 50 kg bomb.

During the last few months of the war a number of Bestmann were flown to neutral countries by escaping personnel. Four arrived in Sweden. three subsequently appearing on the civil register while the fourth was returned to Germany, and seven in Switzerland. One had become lost and was allowed to return the following day but the other six were used by the Swiss Air Force for communications until 1956 when they were scrapped due to
deterioration of the glue. One had also been delivered to Dornier-Werke AG of Altenrhern, registered HE-EBI. and this was tested by the Swiss Air Force between October 1944 and November 1945.

During the German retreat and following cessation of hostilities large numbers of Bestmann were found abandoned and pressed into service by the Allied and Soviet Air Forces. Two aircraft were shipped to the USA for testing and at least one arrived at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, One of the American aircraft is now stored by the National Air and Space Museum while one of the British examples, previously Air Min 122. turned up at Denharn in 1947 registered G-AKAX where it slowly decayed until broken up in 1950. Several RAF communications squadrons in
Germany used the Bestmann including one attached to 84 Group Support Unit at Celle. Of the 150 or so which had been set aside, sixty-nine had received serial numbers by April 1946. However the Air Ministry then prohibited their use as they anticipated maintenance problems caused by lack of spares. These Be st m a n n were subsequently handed over to the French where more than a hundred were put into use by flying clubs and were a common sight up to the 1960s.

After the German withdrawal the Ziin factory in Czechoslovakia continued to manufacture the Bestmann with the Hirth engine as the Zlin 181. Some 180 were produced, many of which were delivered to the Czech Air Force with the designation C.6 The engine was then replaced by the 105 hp Zlin Tome 4 and a further 100 or so were produced all for the civil market as the Zlin 281 In 1948 a further engine change was made and 184 aircraft were built as the Zlin 381 with the Walter Minor also of 105 hp. and some earlier aircraft were re-engined Many were used by the Czech Air Force as the C.106 and forty-five were passed to the Hungarian Air Force while severa l also appeared in Western Europe. In each case three variants were available. A touring aircraft with an all-up weight of 800 kg . a semi-aerobatic trainer limited to 760 kg and a special fully aerobatic version with a max-weight of only 605 kg, The Praga company used a Zlin 181 as a test-bed for its 150 HP flat-eight Praga E engine In 1950 Egypt decided to establish an aircraft industry and a factory was built at Heliopolis near Cairo by Czechoslovakian technicians for production of the Zlin 381. The Gomhouna (Republic). the initial series with the Walter Minor 4-III engine was known as the Mk.1 This was soon joined by the Mk.2 powered by the 145 hp Continental C-145. Mks 3 and 4 were similar to the Mk.2 but had detail improvements while the Mk.5 reverted to the Walter Minor engine but was a lightened fuily aerobatic version. Mks.6 to 8 used the 145 hp Continental 0-300. Production ceased in early 1979 after more than 300 had been produced. However, aircraft are now going through a refurbishing programme which includes the fitting of a clear vision windscreen and canopy.

Most aircraft were supplied to the Egyptian Air Force and are used at the EAF Academy at Bilbeis but small numbers were sold or presented to other Arab and North African Air Forces. Three were delivered to Jordan and four to Sudan in 1956 while two went to the newly formed Libyan Air Force in 1959. Deliveries were also made to Saudi Arabia and Somalia at this time. When Algeria gained its independence in 1962 it received 12 Gomhourias. One aircraft was captured at a Sinai air base during the 1967 war and was operated by the communication squadron of the Israeli Air Force based at Sde Dov near Tel Aviv into the 1970's.

The Gomhouria was also sold on the civil mark et and two Mk.6s were delivered to a Mali flying club in 1967. Thirty are still current on the Egyptian register, principal user since 1957 being the Misr Flying Institute at Embaba. near Cairo. Two Bestmann which appeared on the Moroccan civil register in the early 1960s were powered by the Walter Minor engine. They were designated Bü 181E-1 and although it is possible they came from French stocks, it is more likely they were Gomhouria MK1s. One was used by the Royal Flight of King Hassan.

Outside Egypt not many Bestmann are active today. In Germany three Swedish built aircraft are still registered plus three from French sources and two more Swedish machines are to be found in Denmark. One Zlin 381 is active in Austria and another is still registered in Belgium. The Fritz Ulmer collection in Goppingen in West Germany has a Bestmann which was flown by flying clubs in France including the Aero Club de Chalons between
1946 and 1958 as F-BBMI and before that was operated by 84 Group Communication Squadron RAF with the serial VN174. A number also survive in museums and col!ections in Belgium. Czechoslovakia. France.  Germany. Sweden and the USA.

The bird that taught the Third Reich to Fly: Bücker Bü 131 ‘Jungmann’

By the beginning of the 1930s, Germany was starting to show its discontent with the Treaty of Versailles, which did not permit either powered flight or military development.

Thousands of pilots had been trained in the Hitler Youth Gliding Clubs, those that would become the top scoring pilots of all time, such as the highest scoring fighter pilot in history, Erich ‘Bubi’ Hartman. A powered airplane was needed for them to keep progressing, however. Here is where the story of the 'Jungmann' began:

To avoid an obvious violation of the Treaty, Germany invested in over-seas companies, such as SAAB, a Swedish subsidiary of the Heinkel company then managed by Carl Clemens Bücker. Once it was obvious that this plan wasn´t working out, Germany started moving more openly and moved the manufacture of airplanes to Germany. Bücker moved back to his native country, and brought Anders Andersson, a Swedish engineer at SAAB, with him.

Rather than working again for Heinkel, and foreseeing what was about to take place in Germany, Bücker decided to start his own company, ‘Bücker Flugzeugbau GmbH’ . Within six months of the requirements for a new powered trainer being issued, Anders Andersson had the prototype Bü 131A ‘Jungmann’, registered D-3150 and powered by a 80HP Hirth HM-60R, ready for its test flight. A light aerobatic biplane, with two seats in tandem, its  construction incorporated the most innovative techniques. It was April the 27th 1934, and Joachim Von Köpen was at the stick.

The requirement was for a cheap to operate trainer airplane, hence the decision to initially install an efficient 80HP engine. Its manufacture had to be easy, simple, and cheap, the aircraft fast, light and strong... Bücker´s answer was the Bü 131 'Jungmann'.

That requirement came from the Deutscher Luftsport Verband, DLV (German Association for Aerial Sport), a civilian organization, for which Hermann Göring was ultimately responsible. Certain aspects of the program were delegated to some very capable leaders, such as Erhard Milch ( ), who established the national priorities at a time when the Luftwaffe was still existing as a clandestine organization. That “civilian” DLV was the first school for most of the early German Aces of WWII, and the Bü 131 ‘Jungmann’ was their mount! 

 A  very  advanced,  light and  completely new design, docile and easy to fly for the new pilot, the Jungmann was also sturdy enough to tolerate his mistreatment, relatively simple to mass produce, thanks to details as interchangeable upper and lower  wings  with constant  chord;  yet aerobatic and agile thanks to its four ailerons, with a 12G limit and responding to any request from the pilot smoothly and effortlessly, being able to go through all the aerobatic maneuvers of the time. By the end  of the year, the demands of the DLV  were so great that Bücker moved his factory to Rangsdorf, on the outskirts of Berlin.

Out from its “secret” existence by 1936, the Luftwaffe adopted the airplane officially as its basic primary trainer. The Bü 131B was born with a more  powerful engine, the 105 to 110HP Hirth HM-504, a decisive factor that increased its already excellent performance. That was also to be the export version. Appreciating its capabilities, orders were placed by different international governments who’s orders were initially filled. Soon the orders began to eclipse the capabilities of the factory, however, so manufacturing licenses were granted, first to Switzerland, then Czechoslovakia, Japan, Hungary and Spain.

 Among the main customers, we need to list Switzerland. They built 94 units under license in the Dornier factories at Altenheim, on the Bodensee (Lake Constance). Many of those aircraft remained in service until 1971.

  Czechoslovakia, after also manufacturing dozen airplanes (in the Tatra factory and designated Tatra T-131), reconditioned another dozen after the war, designated Aero C-4. Equipped with a 105HP Walter Minor III engine, it became the Aero C-104 and was manufactured in a quantity exceeding 250 up until 1950. During the German occupation that same factory manufactured over 300 Bu-131b. 

Japan, after evaluating the aircraft and purchasing 20 units, placed a requirement to local manufacturers: "We need an airplane as good as this one". Three projects were submitted, but none were as good as the 'Jungmann'. So Japan bought the manufacturing rights, and manufactured 339 aircraft between 1942 and 1945 for the Imperial Navy in the Kiushu factory, denominated K9W1. The same airplane, under the denomination Ki-86, was manufactured for the Army by Kokusai in the amazing quantity of 1,037 units. All of these airplanes were powered by a 110HP Hitachi engine. The allies nicknamed the model as “Cypress”.

It is interesting to note that given the lack of strategic materials in Japan during the war, the Japanese tried making an all-wood 'Jungmann'. The idea did not work very well.

None of these almost 2,000 Japanese aircraft exists today. Only one, a Ki-86a, survided the war, being sent to Britain for evaluation. It was stupidly burned during a fire suppresion exercise in R.A.F. Station Wroughton, in Wiltshire, in the mid 1950s.

Among other overseas customers for the aircraft, – 19 in total -, are listed Yugoslavia with over 300 units, Hungary with over 100, Sweden, Bulgaria, Finland, Romania, Brazil and Chile.

Spain was the country where the Bücker ‘Jungmann’ remained in service for the longest continuous time. Since 1936, when the first 100 Bü 131A arrived, until 1988, when the Ejército del Aire Español, E.A.E. (Spanish Air Force) withdrawn the last one, they were in service for over 50 years.

Initially, 100 units were purchased directly from Bücker, then after a manufacturing license was obtained, a further quantity of  around 550 were produced by the Spanish company C.A.S.A. The E.A.E. is the only Air Force that has used every single active variant of the Bü 131 series: The Bü 131A, the Bü 131B, the Bü 131D and finally, the C.A.S.A. improved version from the 1950s, the C.A.S.A. 1,131-E.

  • The C.A.S.A. 1,131-E was designed as an improved version of the Bü 131-D2,  200 units of which had been manufactured previously by C.A.S.A. under license. Those improvements included:
  • A reinforced airframe, allowing it to handle more powerful engines.
  • Stronger tail and empennage, now with seven ribs on the rudder and a redesign to allow more abrupt landings.
  • More streamlined cowling.
  • An electrical system, to accommodate a starter and other electric equipment.

These airplanes received an engine specifically designed for them: the ENMASA 'Tigre', in six different versions of 125 and 150HP, being the latest capable of inverted flight, with a starter and generator. All of the existing and older versions of the airplane were retrofitted to the C.A.S.A. 1,131-E.

Bücker himself praised the great work made by the Spanish manufactured ‘Jungmann’ and ‘Jungmeister’s. The historian John Underwood echoed his comments in the Bücker Newsletter.

One of the first 'Jungmann’ in the USA was that of Mira Slovak, purchased in Swistzerland in 1962. Mira flew Jungmann while in the Czechoslovakian Air Force in 1948. Besides flying jets for the airlines, he was also a noted aerobatic display pilot. His comments about the 'Jungmann' were: "I´ve flown quite a few airplanes (...) but there´s no better flying machine than the 'Jungmann'",  an opinion shared by most 'Jungmann' pilots.

The 'Jungmann' was still at the top in the world´s Aerobatic Championships by the sixties. In 1962, Albert Reusch of Switzerland came 2nd in Coventry flying a 'Jungmann' modified with a Lycoming engine. His son, Hansreudi Reusch, ended 1st in the Swiss Championships of 1963 flying the same airplane, HB-UTH. Another 'Jungmann' (a 'Lerche'; single seater modification by Pilatus, equipped with a 180HP Lycoming), with Arnold Wagner at the controls,  finished 8th in the World Championship in Bilbao,  in 1964,  beating the Yak-18 and Zlins also competing there. Even in 1970 yet another 'Jungmann' participated and made a good showing in the hands of Eric Muller at the 6th FAI World Aerobatic Championships. A time when newer, powerful and specifically designed aerobatic airplanes - Zlins, Pitts, Mudry or Yakovlevs - were already well known in the circuit..

Unlike some contemporary aircraft, such as the D. H. Tiger Moth, or the Stampe, the 'Jungmann' was not an evolution of an older design. It was conceived and designed from scratch. Designed from the outset to be a trainer and an aerobatic airplane, with well balanced, responsive controls, and viceless, predictable handling. It flies beautifully.

Being much lighter than most of the comparable airplanes, the 'Jungmann' is capable of much more than most of them as far as aerobatics are concerned, without losing its short field capabilities. Those aerobatic capabilities are particularly noticeable in the roll. Four ailerons make it fast, easy and precise.

A Tiger Moth only has two ailerons, on the lower wings, a greater wing area and higher weight, complicating and slowing the maneuver, which typically ends sloppily requiring much more effort on the stick. The 'Jungmann' also has exceptional inverted performance. Few other biplanes of the time fly as well upside down as a Jungmann  does, and it has been said that it only takes a sneeze to flick roll (snap roll) a 'Jungmann'.

Despite its high wing loading, stalls are incredibly docile. The aircraft stalls gently without any tendency to drop a wing.  Spins require a little work on the controls to start,  but the recovery is about as fast as you can think about it, often surprising the pilot with its fast response to the rudder. 

Biography of a mythical airplane Bücker Bü-133 "Jungmeister"

It was the 20th Century that ushered in that long-held dream of man to take-to-the-air and fly like a bird. It was only 27-years after that when the  1930s,  the“Golden Years of Aviation,” arrived. A world war had turned fledgling machines into keen birds of prey and had allowed a multitude of dreamers everywhere to turn their eyes skyward and say, “Now, I too can go there!”

The 1930s saw the development of such legendary fighter aircraft as the British Supermarine ‘Spitfire’ … the German Messerschmitt Bf 109 … and the Japanese Mitsubishi ‘Zero’ – it was in the field of the civil and sports aviation that an airplane was developed that came to be known as the “Stradivari of Aviation.”  This airplane was the Bücker Bü 133 ‘Jungemeister’, and was flown the first time in early 1935 with Louise Hoffman at the stick. It bore the registration, D-EVEO and was equipped with a 6 cylinder inline  Hirth 506-A engine.

The 'Jungemeister' was quickly ordered by the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, to be presented as a clear demonstration of the strength of the German aeronautical industry at the XIII Olympics at Berlin in 1936.

So  extraordinary were the flying qualities of this airplane that it was sent on a worldwide tour to exhibit it, starting at the Lausana, Switzerland Airshow in 1935.

The 'Jungemeister' development was based on the very successful Bücker Bü 131 Jungmann, and it shared that aircraft’s empennage, wing profile, landing gear and most of its fuselage.

Based on the model Bü 133-A, the Bü 133-B was created once the Siemens SH 14 A engine became available. This engine would power the following series:

The ‘Jungmeister' with its SH 14 engine, was shorter, more powerful, and served to enhance its extraordinary flying capabilities.
The second airplane of the –B series was the YR-PAX, which was flown by the captain Alexandru "Alex" Papană, ( ) who was considered to be the best European pilot of his day, made a series of exhibitions around the continent, advertising its planned demonstration at the Berlin Olympics of 1936.

Given its noticeable success in Europe, the airplane was transported to the US, in nothing less than the Zeppelin “Hindenburg.” The publicity tour was planned by the “Team-Papana” and would star the German champion, Count Otto Von Hagenburg.

It was during one of these demonstrations at the Cleveland National Air Races of 1937 that Hagenburg had an accident on board D-EEHO. According to the engineers, it was of little consequence for the pilot because “he was sitting in a vault". He borrowed Papana´s plane for his next day’s routine!

Once this campaign of demonstrations and promotion was finished, Papana´s airplane, YR-PAX, was left in the United States. It can be seen today at the Steven Udvar-Hzy facility of the National Air and Space Museum, near Washington DC.

Another campaign to show the 'Jungmeister' was carried out by Arthur Benith in South America with PP-TDP, another Bü 133-B. More than 80 shows, 15,000 miles flown, crossing the Andes from Mendoza (Argentina) to Santiago de Chile across Paso de Cristo (14,000Ft elevation)... an aeronautical Odyssey itself.

Once the tour was finished, the airplane remained at Sao Paulo´s Air Club. Later, it went to the US. It later went to the United Kingdom and registered as G-PTDP.  Today the aircraft is being restored at Bucker Prado SA in Albacete, Spain.
Many more exhibitions were carried out all around Europe where its successes continued. Despite all that notoriety the Bü 133-C was introduced, adding some improvements to the design, such as new elevators to improve and soften the vertical maneuvers. Shortening the fuselage reduced the loop radius and the head rest was removed. This C-model is the one mass produced in Germany.
After those improvements, the model was astonishing and its aerobatic capabilities incredible. Evidence of hte contollability of the Jungmeister is the fact that three pilots tied their planes with 5 meters of rope and then performed their aerobatic routine
There are some historical quotes that define what a Bücker 'Jungmeister' was and always would be. One such quote was published in ‘PILOT’ in 1978: “Nothing flies better than a Bücker” or “If you haven´t flown a Bücker, you haven´t flown, you have just been in the air”. 

The beginning of WWII meant a break in the schedule for worldwide distribution of the 'Jungmeister'. It was to have been produced in Russia and Poland but, obviously, those projects were canceled by the war.

Before this situation developed, Dornier purchased the rights to manufacture the Bü 133-B in Switzerland, where 50 units were produced. Previously, the Swiss Air Force had purchased 6 units made in Germany, being the first one the serial number 1001, with military register U-51 and flying since 1969 in the United Kingdom as G-AGNI.
The airplanes  that served in the Spanish Air Force between 1940 and 1969, was nicknamed “Pepino”, a word that in Spanish has come to mean: “Overpowered and Maneuverable” when applied to any machine.

The first one to arrive in Spain was serial number 1004, through the port of Cadiz, right after its manufacture in Germany on January the 26th, 1937. It made its first flight at Tablada, on February the 20th 1937, with the military registration 35-1. It remained in service until it was withdrawn on October the 28th, 1958 as E1-1.

The withdrawal of this airplane, as with the rest of the 'Jungemeister' fleet in the Spanish Air Force, was necessary because of the unavailability of parts for the Siemens engine. The engine factories had come under the control of the Soviets as they advanced westward into Germany.

Another reason for the premature withdrawn of the 'Jungmeisters' from the Spanish Air Force school, besides of the absence of Siemens spare parts, was the arrival of the new Beechcraft Mentor in 1953. It wasn’t worth the effort to keep these planes flying when there was a much newer model, with newer systems, already in service.

The problem extended to those units manufactured by C.A.S.A with a Hirth engine. It was a long 6 cylinder engine and the original design didn’t make provision for an oil cooler, so the fifth cylinder had an awful tendency to seize up. Besides, this airframe had another problem to deal with related to the long engine: the upper part of the engine mount was made of two welded 3mm plates, that weren’t strong enough for the increased arm of a much longer engine than the Siemens radial. The engine could simply fall from its mount.  It was after all, an airplane used for instruction, with countless touch & gos in the rough fields of the time.

Some users solved the problem by installing Lycoming engines, like Prince Cantacuzeno, or the famous J.L. Aresti. To fly with this modification, a special C of A was issued. These engines developed 260HP!

Some other engines can be used, such as boxer configuration Lycomings or Continentals (150, 180, 200 and 220HP), Warner radials (150 and 180HP) and even some Russian engines as the MP-14 (360HP). Whatever the option, none are as radical as the one taken by the American Sam Burguess, who equipped his with a 400SHP Allison turbine!
Sam’s aircraft was the much modified “American Jungmeister”, a version created by the late American Frank Price in Texas. Unable to obtain plans for the the original aircraft, Frank drew his own, which incorporated a small “jump” seat so that a passenger could be carried, a modified airfoil section and many other small changes to make building the aircraft less challenging. None the less, the installation of a 400 SHP engine  serves to illustrate the strength of the airframe and its ability to deal with the increased power and weights.

At a worldwide level, it was the 'Jungmeister' of Sñr. Aresti  that influenced most the standardization of international aerobatics. That was the plane he flew to develop the “Aerocryptographic” notation system in use today. Aresti’s EC-ALP sat in a hangar in Cuatro Vientos for years, but was eventually retrieved by his son so that ic ould be rebuilt. Now it can be seen flying on the first Sunday of every month with the Fundación Infante de Orleans, F.I.O. in the same airfield, Cuatro Vientos.

The Maestranza de Albacete was in charge of the maintenance of these airplanes since it was founded in 1939, and until the last one flying in the Spanish Air Force´s inventory crashed on 8 September 1964.
Those 25-years of maintenance, most of the time under difficult conditions of parts supply, made these mechanics real experts … almost artists … a quality that allows them to keep the actual 'Jungmeister' fleet in healthy flight conditions; even allowing them to build new ones!

This biography wouldn´t be complete without mentioning the efforts of a Mr. Canary and Carl Bücker himself to re-start construction of these airplanes in the sixties.
The total production of this plane was 275 units, most of which had been lost during WWII or simply requisitioned by some Eastern countries. The only units that were still flying were those of the Swiss and the Spanish Air Force.
All the documentation to produce this airplane was in Soviet territory and the Swiss model was the Bü 133-B, so he went to C.A.S.A. to get the technical documentation for the Bü 133-D1, the most recent model.
The manufacture of the prototype was at Josef Bitz´s factory in Augsburg, Germany, where they had it ready by June 28th 1968. The test pilot was none other that Count Otto Von Hagenburg himself, 67 years old by that time.
They were able to find only three Siemens engines, so the fourth unit had to be re-engined with a 220HP Franklin engine, giving birth to the Bü 133-F. These four airplanes were exported to the United States between 1968 and 1969, having a price of $22,000 per unit. One of these aircraft, now re-engined with a Warner radial engine was flown in the 2010 “Airventure” airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin by current U.S. National aerobatic team member David Martin.
In 1968 the Swiss government sold 30 of its Jungmeisters, saturating the market. Bad luck hit again when Mr. Canary died during the filming of ‘TORA-TORA-TORA’. Given these circumstances and the advanced age of Mr. Bücker, the project was canceled.

It would be a big loss to aviation not having them available today. Quintessential aerobatic aviation at its best; purest aeroplane. They are still being manufactured in Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic, restored, rebuilt, or sold as kits. Follow the links below to learn more about it.

Some of the "incorrect history" of Bucker aircraft.

As in other areas of life, there are some anecdotes about Bucker aircraft that are probably not really true.

The upper and lower wings are the same, allowing for simple field repair. - No, they aren't. The lower wings have aileron pushrod guides, aileron bell-cranks, and the reinforcements necessary to support these components. They also have hand-holds in the tips that the upper wings lack. Certainly there are enough similarities to make manufacture more economical, but they are not identical.

Jungmeister wings are the same as Jungmann wings but shortened by two rib bays. - Nope, the Jungmeister has the same number of ribs as the Jungmann, but the spacing between them is smaller, resulting in a shorter wingspan and shorter ailerons.

The Jungmeister tail surfaces are the same as those of the Jungmann. - Again, no. the Jungmeister elevator hinges are further aft that those of the Jungmann, providing more aerodynamic balance force.

The landing gear of the CASA Jungmann is different from that of the Jungmeister. The Spanish engineers learned from this and modified the Jungmann gear with a new link, making it as easy to land as it's single seat cousin. - With respect to Neil Williams, I don't think so. As far as I know, the landing gear of both aircraft is identical and interchangeable. Further, there is really no difference between the ground handling of the two aircraft. The landing gear is softly sprung and of long stroke. Certainly care is required in its maintenance and alignment, but modifying the spreader bar length, adding links or whatever seems to offer no objective benefit, but does lead to increased wear. In my opinion (for whatever that is worth) ensuring that the gear springs are of the proper spring rate (they weaken over time) and making sure they are appropriate for the weight of your aircraft, not the prototype is the best way to proceed. The tall, soft gear of the aircraft does mean that you need to be "on your game" when landing on tarmac. Many taildraggers have a tendency to dart for the weeds when you are least expecting it. The Bucker is no exception, but when it does this, coordinated stick and rudder is required. Don't just stab the rudder - that will arrest the yaw, but it will also cause a spectacular roll in the opposite direction! Move the rudder and the stick decisively, and the aircraft will calm down and roll straight.

CASA (Spanish built) Jungmeister

Thank you to Chris Trieb-Hasenberger who searched through his inbox and found some information that José Luis González Serrano had shared in 2014:

The Spanish Nationalist Air Arm purchased and received 21 Bü 133 Cs, which were completed and shipped to Spain in January (one aircraft), February (5 aircraft), July (5 aircraft), November (4 aircraft), and December (6 aircraft) 1937. Their construction numbers were within the range 1004 to 1027.
These planes were given military serials from 35-1 to 35-21 upon arrival in Spain. One additional aircraft, also Rangsdorf-built, was recovered from the Republican Air Arm when the Spanish Civil War came to an end on April 1, 1939. The plane was c/n 1007 and the military serial 35-22 was allocated to it.
Construcciones Aeronáuticas, S.A. (CASA) built under-licence 25 examples of the Bücker Bü 133 B variant from 1940 to 142. These planes differed from the Rangsdorf-built ones in being powered by the 160 hp Hirth HM 506A inline engine instead of the Siemens Sh 14A radial, and were delivered to the military in 1941/1942. They were allocated military serials from 35-23 up to 35-47, with their CASA construction numbers being 101 to 125 (sometimes appearing as just 1 to 25 in some Spanish oFficial papers).
On November 2, 1945 the military aircraft designation system was changed from just numbers to a combined alphanumerical one. This way both the Rangsdorf-built examples and the CASA-built ones were designated ES.1 within the Higher Trainer class, with individual numbers being just the same they had had previously. Thus, for example, the former 35-3 became ES.1-3 and so on.
Finally, the military aircraft designation system was modified from December 22, 1953, with the former common designation ES.1 being split into two - E.1 for the Siemens Sh 14A-powered examples, and E.1B for the Hirth HM 506A-powered aircraft. You must also know that a short number of C-1.133Ls (i.e. E.1Bs) were fitted with Siemens Sh 14 A engines n the 1950's and thus their military designation and serials were modified accordingly from E.1B to E.1. For instance, the CASA-built E.1B-36 became E.1-36 when powered by a Siemens and then returned to E.1B when fitted back with a Hirth.