The history of Bucker aircraft
Written by Steve
Friday, 08 June 2007
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandru_Papan%C4%83 ) 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.