Dornier whale

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Dornier Do J Wal
DPAG 2008 Wohlfahrt Do J Wal.jpg
The Dornier Wal on special postage stamp series 2008
Type: Flying boat
Design country:

German EmpireGerman Empire German Empire


Dornier-Werke GmbH

First flight:

November 6, 1922 (Thu J)

Number of pieces:

over 250

Dornier "Wal" is the name of Dornier's most successful flying boat series . The history of the Dornier-Wal series begins with the only Dornier Do Gs I , whose short career highlights the problems of German aircraft construction through the Treaty of Versailles .

The actual whale series Dornier Do J was built because of the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty at CMASA - Costruzioni Meccaniche Aeronautiche S.A. in Marina di Pisa , which was specially founded by Dornier in 1921 . At first, a fifth of the staff there were Germans. Mainly military and civilian versions were built there, some of which had inconsistent type designations.

The first client was Spain in 1922, which used military whales until around 1950 and where whales were also produced under license at CASA . Most of the military whales (46) deployed the Netherlands in their former colonial empire, the Dutch East Indies ( Indonesia ). 38 of these machines were built under license by Aviolanda . The last were destroyed in the Japanese attack in 1942. Whales as passenger aircraft were mainly used in Germany and Italy, but also in South America by the airlines Syndicato Condor , SCADTA and Varig , which are under German influence .

In addition, the Dornier Wal was characterized by many exploratory flights, which were carried out by Locatelli, Amundsen , R. Franco , Beires, von Gronau and others.

It was not until 1931 that Dornier-Metallbauten GmbH also built whales of the new J II variant in Germany, initially with a take-off weight of eight, then ten tons and mostly with BMW VI engines. The majority of the whales built in Germany were used to build the Air Force, some were exported. The most famous, however, were the Lufthansa post whales , which regularly crossed the South Atlantic from 1934 to 1938 before they were replaced by more modern machines. There was only one loss out of 328 flights. A total of over 250 Dornier Do J "Wal" were built.

Dornier Do Gs I

Thu Gs I

The Dornier Do Gs I was the starting model of the well-known "whale" family.

It was a braced high- wing aircraft , the two engines of which were arranged in a tandem gondola above the wings. The wings were a metal structure covered with fabric. This flying boat already showed the fin stubs on the hull made of duraluminium, which were also typical for the later Dornier flying boats, and the high-mounted tail unit. The engines and the tail unit, which were located high above the splash area, proved themselves so well that this arrangement was retained in all other Dornier flying boats.

The machine was built at the Seemoos plant near Rorschach in Switzerland , as the construction of aircraft was still prohibited in Germany.

After the first flight on July 31, 1919, the only machine built was demonstrated in Switzerland and Holland . In Switzerland it was tested by the airline Ad Astra Aero . Since the seats in the cabin were partially arranged backwards (the passengers sat opposite each other), the aircraft was not accepted into scheduled service.

The Inter-Allied Military Control Commission (IMKK), which was supposed to monitor compliance with the Versailles Treaty from February 22, 1920, researched the Gs I immediately after its establishment, since the victorious powers were interested in the German construction. On the way to Stockholm it was sunk on the night of April 25, 1920 at Kiel-Holtenau airfield in the Baltic Sea to forestall its extradition to the victorious powers.

Technical specifications

Parameter Data from Dornier Do Gs I
Passengers 6th
length 15.3 m
span 21.00 m
Empty mass 3115 kg
payload 1200 kg
Takeoff mass 4315 kg
drive 2 × six-cylinder
Maybach Mb IVa with 260 hp (191 kW) each
propeller Two-blade (3 m diameter)
Top speed 170 km / h
Service ceiling 4250 m
Range 600 km
Fuel supply 900 l

Dornier Do J.

The Dornier Wal was the further development of the Do Gs I.

Single-stage hull divided by bulkheads. Open pilot seats with double controls. Wing struts towards the fin stumps. Rectangular wing plan with a wing profile of constant thickness over the span without a sweep or V-shape. Wing spars made of steel, predominantly fabric-covered. A fixed ladder led to the tandem motor gondola.

Due to the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty, the aircraft were built by CMASA - Costruzioni Meccaniche Aeronautiche S.A. in Marina di Pisa , which was specially founded by Dornier in 1921 .

First flight: November 6, 1922.

Military flying boat

A whale of the Dutch naval aviation MLD in the Dutch East Indies in 1929

As a military whale with machine gun stands in the bow and on the back of the fuselage, the Do J was delivered to Spain , Argentina , Chile , the Dutch East Indies , Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union since 1923 . Individual machines were also sent to Norway , Portugal , Uruguay and Italy for long-distance flights , which also ordered machines for military use very late. Mostly with Rolls-Royce “Eagle” engines, but also with Hispano-Suiza , Liberty , Napier-Lion , Lorraine-Dietrich and BMW engines. After delivery of 14 whales from Pisa in 1928, Spain began the license production of a further 27 military and two post whales at CASA . The Netherlands wanted to produce under license from the start. They received five completed machines and three more in parts for final assembly. The remaining 38 were manufactured under license by Aviolanda . Improvements to all machines were designed and approved at the main Manzell plant. The last six whales F built at Aviolanda were very similar in the hull to the whales built at the same time as J II in Manzell and were the first to have a considerably larger wingspan.

World records

The pilots Richard Wagner , later chief pilot at Dornier, and Guido Guidi set 20 class records for seaplanes with the whale in February 1925 . They use the  16th whale built in Pisa, equipped with 360 HP Rolls-Royce Eagle IX engines, before its delivery to Spain. In a flight over 500 km with 1500 kg payload 168.525 km / h were achieved, which was at the same time records over 100 km and 200 km and also meant records with a payload of 1000, 500 and 250 kg, so twelve records in total; In addition, there were distance records of 507.38 km with 1500 and 1000 kg payloads as well as an altitude record of 3682 m and a continuous record of 6 h 33 min 35 s with 1500 kg payload. Four further records were set with a payload of 2000 kg: over 100 km was reached 133.781 km / h, over 200 km 134.514 km / h, a distance of 253.69 km and an altitude of 3005 m could be reached.


The Luftfahrtgesellschaft Deutscher Aero-Lloyd supported the deployment of the first passenger whales Atlantico and Pacifico in Colombia in 1925 . From there, under Fritz W. Hammer and Friedrich Freiherr von Buddenbrock, they made a trip through Central American states and the Caribbean to Florida.

The I-DIAR on the Sliteufer on Gotland in the summer of 1925.
The Dornier J D-861 in 1926

The same company acquired in 1925 four more passenger whales that they by a Swedish subsidiary still under Italian Approvals (I-DAAR, I-DAIR, I-DIAR I-DIIR) on the route Gdansk - Stockholm and the North Sea brought for use . In the same year they were re-registered for German approvals (D-861 Hai , D-862 Sägefisch , D-863 Tunfisch , D-864 Hecht ) and came to the newly founded Lufthansa in 1926 with the operating company . Initially also supplied with Rolls-Royce “Eagle” engines, the passenger whales were mainly fitted with Gnome-et-Rhône-Jupiter star engines without and later also with gearboxes. Since there were concerns that the rear of the two engines would not receive enough cooling air and could overheat, detailed tests were carried out with a planing boat on Lake Constance . This variant, known as Do J Gas , was partly created through retrofitting, such as the Lufthansa whales D-862 Sägefisch and D-864 Hecht . The distinguishing feature of the first traffic whales was the passenger cabin with large angular windows in the bow and the open pilot cockpit behind. They were not only used by Lufthansa, but also in Brazil and especially in Italy.

In Italy, SA Navigazione Aerea SANA opened a line service Genoa - Rome - Naples with Dornier-Wal flying boats on April 7, 1926 , five of which were delivered by the end of the year. By 1933, after the first delivery, the company received a total of eighteen passenger whales, mostly equipped with Piaggio - Jupiter star engines, of which six were lost. In 1928/29 six four-engine Dornier super whales were added . With the Dornier machines the SANA served its lines to Palermo ( Freccia Verde ), Tripoli ( Freccia Rosso ) and Barcelona ( Freccia Azzura ) and in 1929 even at times in association with the British Imperial Airways their post line to Alexandria , before the cooperation from political Reasons was given up again. In 1930, the line to Barcelona was even extended regularly to Gibraltar in order to fly mail and passengers to the Italian Atlantic express steamers. In addition to SANA, Aero Espresso Italiana also used Wale on its regular route from Brindisi to Istanbul , but mainly on the line via Athens to the then Italian Rhodes . In total, by 1932, this society received eleven whales, probably all equipped with Isotta Fraschini -Asso, of which four were lost. Both companies went into the newly founded Ala Littoria in August 1934 , which gave the acquired whales (16?) And a super whale to the Italian Air Force in October. By early 1940 at the latest, all machines were out of service.

A variant that received BMW engines and had large round windows in the fuselage bow was called Do J Bas . (e.g. D-1397 Lübeck , D-1443 Kiel , D-1488 Hamburg , D-1625 Flensburg , D-1647 Bremerhaven , D-1648 Helgoland ). These partly replaced the machines of the first delivery on the Lufthansa lines across the Baltic Sea from Lübeck via Copenhagen and Gothenburg to Oslo and from Stettin via Kalmar to Stockholm . Almost all of them were also deployed for a period of time with the Syndicato Condor on the coastline from Natal (Brazil) to the south, where Hamburg as P-BALA Olinda and Bremerhaven as P-BAIA Guanabara in 1931 and 1935 were also lost.

The “Amundsen” whale N25

Amundsen's Dornier Do J over the Oslofjord.

On May 21, 1925, the polar explorer Roald Amundsen started with two whale machines from Spitzbergen , which they had reached by ship, to the North Pole. The two whale flying boats with the Norwegian registration numbers N24 and N25 were among the first military whales (19th / 20th machine), had 360 hp Rolls-Royce-Eagle -IX engines and were specially designed for the Arctic by Amundsen -Flight has been prepared. The N25 had to make an emergency landing 250 km from the North Pole due to an engine problem. N24 landed nearby and was so badly damaged that it had to be abandoned. The team needed three weeks to prepare a runway for the other machine on the ice rink. Captain Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen managed to launch the N25, overloaded with both crews (six men, including sponsor Lincoln Ellsworth ), on the short runway and to land on the north coast of northeastern Germany (Spitzbergen). A sealer, who happened to be passing by, dragged the machine to Ny-Ålesund , where the planes returned on June 18.

After the unsuccessful attempt to build a beeline between Oslo and Harwich with the machine , it was equipped with British Napier Lion engines for Frank Courtney's first attempt to cross the North Atlantic in 1927 , which however also failed.

The machine then came to the German Aviation School (DVS) on Sylt , was equipped with BMW VI engines, received the registration number D-1422 and was prepared for Wolfgang von Gronau's first Atlantic flight : installation of a radio telegraphy system , a sun compass in addition to the usual magnetic compasses and an earth induction compass to enable navigation near the magnetic pole . After a reconnaissance flight to Iceland in 1929, he succeeded in August 1930 on the north route to New York. The risk of a return trip across the Atlantic with the old whale was not taken; he came back to Germany by ship.

In 1932, the former N25 landed on the snow-covered Oberwiesenfeld airfield in Munich and came to the Deutsches Museum . There it was destroyed by air raids in 1944/45.

A replica of the Amundsen whale can be seen in the Dornier Museum in Friedrichshafen. The replica was built in Hungary from July 2010 according to the original plans and included in the exhibition on July 25, 2012 in a ceremony.

The replica of the Dornier Wal N25 in the Dornier Museum Friedrichshafen

Transatlantic flights and attempts with the whale

On July 25, 1924 Antonio Locatelli tried to reach North America with the Italian whale I-DEOR with Rolls-Royce Eagle engines and a crew of four from the shipyard in Pisa . Via Marseille, Lake Geneva, Strasbourg, Rotterdam, Hull, the Orkneys and the Faroe Islands, he reached Reykjavík on August 17th , where he joined the US Douglas World Cruisers under Arnold and Nelson on their first circumnavigation of the world. On the 21st, he took off in the direction of Greenland and was the first to reach it by plane because he could not fly the low speed of the Americans. In the fog, however, he could not find the planned landing site and eventually had to go down on the sea. It was not until August 24 that the Italians were found in the drifting whale near Cape Farvel by the US cruiser Richmond , which picked up the crew and sank the whale.

On January 22, 1926, Ramón Franco began his flight to Buenos Aires in the Wal Plus Ultra from Palos de la Frontera, which was equipped with 450 hp Napier Lion V engines . In seven stages (Gran Canaria, Cape Verde, Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo) he crossed the South Atlantic between Porto Praia , Cape Verde, and with his crew of two Julio Ruiz de Alda Miqueleiz and Pablo Rada on January 30th Fernando de Noronha and reached his destination on February 10th after 10,270 km and 59 hours 39 minutes of flight. The fourth member of the crew, Lt. Duran, had to give way for additional fuel for the Atlantic crossing. Plus Ultra was given as a gift to Argentina and is now the only whale to be preserved in a museum in the city of Luján in the province of Buenos Aires.

Dornier whale "Plus Ultra"

This flight was one of twelve transatlantic flights before Charles Lindbergh's well-known west-east transatlantic single flight in 1927. Four years after the first flight over the South Atlantic , the Spaniards covered the entire route in one plane without a long break. Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral had their first flight in 1922 from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro in three different single-engine Fairey III float planes (the "Transatlantic" Lusitania , a mod. IIID and another Mk.III), some of which were specially designed for the Trip were made, carried out.

The fourth crossing of the South Atlantic was again achieved by a Portuguese crew under Sarmento de Beires with the Argos whale equipped with 450-hp Lorraine-Dietrich- W12EB on 16./17. March 1927 for the first time at night. The 2595 km covered in 18 hours 11 minutes between Bubaque, Bissagos Archipelago and Fernando de Noronha were also the longest Atlantic flight to date. After failed attempts to start, only the navigator Jorge de Castilho was on board besides the pilot . The two Portuguese were the 86th and 87th fliers on the eleventh flight to cross the Atlantic before Charles Lindbergh . The copilot and mechanic had to follow by ship.

On June 6th, the Portuguese started a connecting flight from Rio de Janeiro to the USA, which ended on June 7th with a crash landing in Georgetown (Guyana) (?).

In 1927 Tydeo Larre Borges tried unsuccessfully to cross the South Atlantic with his Uruguay whale with 500 HP Farman engines. The plane, which was launched in Pisa on February 20, had to make an emergency landing due to an oil pipeline breaking north of Cape Juby , where it was destroyed by the surf. The crew temporarily came under the control of African nomads before they were freed by airmen on the French postal line.

Frank Courtney (GB) made three unsuccessful attempts to cross the North Atlantic. The first in 1927 with the old Amundsen whale (G-EBQO) , which already failed in La Coruña , and in 1928 two (?) More with a newer whale G-CAJI with Napier engines. On August 5, 1928 he had to make an emergency landing on the leg from the Azores to Newfoundland because of an engine fire in the Atlantic. The crew was picked up after 24 hours by a ship, the drifting whale a week later by a freighter that brought the machine to Canada, where it was then scrapped.

Ramón Franco failed on June 22, 1929 when the attempt to cross the North Atlantic in the whale Numancia, which was equipped with 640 hp Hispano-Suiza engines , because the Spaniards missed the Azores. The British aircraft carrier Eagle found the machine, which had been floating in the sea east of the Azores for seven days, and brought the aircraft and crew to Gibraltar. Franco's attempt was preceded by another one with the only Spanish super whale , which already ended on the Portuguese coast.

The German Wolfgang von Gronau made his first Atlantic flight in 1930 with the old Amundsen Whale D-1422 , now with 600 HP BMW VI engines from List on Sylt via the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland to New York from August 18th to August 26th after exploring the route to Iceland the previous year.

From August 8 to September 7, 1931, he repeated this flight with the new 8-ton whale J II D-2053 built in Germany, this time flying over the Greenland ice sheet and visiting Chicago. The new machine was then named Greenland Whale . As in the previous year, a HAPAG steamer brought the whale back to Germany.

On July 21, 1932, Wolfgang von Gronau began his third Atlantic flight - again with the Greenland whale . On the north route he flew to Chicago again (August 2nd) and this time continued the journey via Canada, Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, Japan, China, Manila, Indonesia, India, Iraq, Cyprus, Greece and Italy, finally Altenrhein to the shipyard in Friedrichshafen (October 10). On November 23, the flying boat that was the first to fly around the world reached its location in List on Sylt after 44,400 kilometers and 270 flight hours.

Technical specifications

Parameter Dates of the Dornier Do J Wal
crew 3
Passengers 8-10
length 17.25 m
span 22.50 m
height 5.20 m
Wing area 96.00 m²
Empty mass 3630 kg
Takeoff mass 5500-7000 kg
Top speed 170-185 km / h
Service ceiling 3500 m

Dornier Do J II

The designation J II was partly used for the whale flying boats, which were also built in the Dornier main plant in Manzell from 1930. Larger and stronger than its predecessor, the Do J II flew as an 8-ton whale and in 1933 as a further developed 10-ton whale . The Lufthansa continued the pattern in their South Atlantic air mail service with catapult ships one.

8 ton whale

The first test model of the Do J II had two BMW VI engines on its maiden flight on January 27, 1931 . Compared to the Do J, the hull was provided with a sharper bow, but initially had no large windows. There was also a keel on the bottom of the boat and the horizontal stabilizer was set higher. The disadvantage of the new keel was that it was no longer possible to take off in curves or in circles, but this improved directional stability during take-off and landing. These machines also had a slightly larger wingspan, as the ends of the wings were now rounded.

The commercial flying boat version J II Bas had 2 × BMW VI engines and a cabin with large round windows in the bow that offered space for 14 passengers (e.g. D-2112 , 1931).

The Do J II a Bos was developed exclusively for postal services . In the windowless bow was the open pilot's cabin; the two BMW VI engines had VDM three-bladed controllable pitch propellers ; the rear radiator could be drawn in under the wing (e.g. D-2068 "Passat", D-2069 "Monsun", 1931).

For the transatlantic postal service, the D-2068 “Passat” and D-2069 “Monsun” were converted to catapult and the fuel supply was increased to 3150 l. The two machines carried out as Do J II aK Bos between May 19 and June 28, 1933 together with the catapult ship Westfalen, the first tests on the planned South America postal route. Finally, the D-2068 “Passat” flew , as planned in the planned service, on June 23rd in the morning under Joachim Blankenburg in Natal in 7:40 hours to Westphalia located in the middle of the Atlantic , which continued towards Africa and on the next morning the refueled “Passat” catapulted to Bathurst . On the 28th, Westphalia then took the “Passat” on board in Bathurst in addition to the “Monsun” that was already on board and ran back to Germany to make improvements and repairs.

On October 31, the Westphalia was again in Bathurst, this time the whales, which had been transported by air, did not meet until November 3 ( D-2069 "Monsun" under Rudolf Cramer von Clausbruch ) and 12 November ( D-2068 "Passat "Under Blankenburg) and November 17th (the new 10-ton whale D-2389 " Taifun "under Jobst von Studnitz ). A wide variety of tests were carried out again, and finally the D-2068 “Passat” under Blankenburg carried out the longest test flight by Lufthansa from Westphalia to Bathurst in the Atlantic (1333 km in 9:20 hours). The Westphalia returned to Germany with the “Passat” and “Taifun” on board. The “Monsun” that remained in Brazil was overhauled in the Syndicato Condor workshops and then carried out tests in front of Brazil. The test flights had raised doubts about the landing in the middle of the ocean. That is why Lufthansa had acquired a second freighter to be converted into a catapult ship.

On January 20, 1934, the Westphalia arrived again at Bathurst to carry out a final series of tests, in which the "Taifun" under Blankenburg and the "Monsun" under Cramer von Clausbruch were used. On February 5th, the Westphalian took over mail for the first time in Bathurst, which was catapulted to South America on the 7th on board the “Taifun”. The "Typhoon" reached Natal after 13 hours and overcoming 2,400 km. The “Passat” was also used on the post line from February 24th.

D-2069 “Monsun” was last used there on January 29th, D-2068 “Passat” on May 6th.

Wolfgang von Gronau flew with a Dornier Do J II b Bos "Grönland-Wal" ( 8-tonne whale, D-2053 ) to the USA from August 8th to September 7th, 1931 and this time flew over the Greenland ice sheet. His new machine was equipped with two BMW VIIa engines and had one for the world tour from 21 July to 23 November 1932 Sperry - gyro horizon , a FT-conditioning with Peilrahmen receive and be dismantled antenna mast.

In 1931 the Do J c Ses was built to test a motorization with two Siemens Halske Sh 20 in a round tandem gondola . It remained a unique piece ( D-2159 ).

Some machines built in 1932 are designated as Do J II d Bis . Usually the same BMW VI engines were used. Well-known machines of this series were D-2294 , D-2474 and D-2489 . A copy with American Curtiss "Conqueror" engines was delivered to Colombia .

The last version of the 8 t whales Do J II e 16 Bos with a covered cockpit were test flying boats for civil use. Two in-line six-cylinder BMW VI engines gave the machines a top speed of 225 km / h (e.g. D-2488 , 1933).

In 1933 six whales followed, which were to serve as pilot training for the planned air force . These training flying boats with two BMW VI engines are sometimes referred to as Do J II d 16 a Bis . Well-known marks were among others D-3018 , D-3019 , D-3020 , D-ABAS , D-ADEN , D-AFIS , built in 1933/34.

10 ton whale Atlantic mail flying boat

On May 3, 1933, the first Do J II f Bos took off from Lake Constance. This catapult-capable variant made the non-stop transatlantic service available to Deutsche Lufthansa (DLH). The enlarged wingspan ensured a single-engine flight, and the 4700 liter fuel reserve enabled the enormous range of 3600 kilometers. Equipped with the Siemens K 4 g course control, six boats served the scheduled mail route to South America from 1934 to 1938 before they were replaced by more modern machines. There was only one loss out of 328 flights. The DLH received the following machines:

D-2399, D-AKER "Taifun" 1st mail flight February 7, 1934 until February 19, 1937
D-AFAR "Samum" 1st mail flight July 9, 1934 until March 4, 1938
D-AGAT "Boreas" 1st mail flight September 26, 1934 until October 21, 1938
D-ADYS "Tornado" 1st mail flight November 14, 1934 only loss of the DLH, on 14./15. Lost in February 1936.
D-ALOX "Passat" 1st mail flight July 19, 1935 until October 28, 1938, not the converted D-2068, as is often claimed
D-AKYM "Mistral" 1st mail flight October 2, 1936 until May 6, 1938
South Atlantic Air
Mail Service: Thu J II f Bos D-AFAR "Samum" in Bathhurst

Lufthansa’s regular postal service to South America began in February 1934. The flying boats were catapulted from the deck and landed on the water. After their use, they were hoisted back on board. After the Westphalia initially picked up the flying boats in the middle of the South Atlantic and usually catapulted one already on board to the onward flight, after the arrival of the second ship she moved to a position near Fernando de Noronha , while the Schwabenland remained off Bathurst ( Gambia ) . Now the ships usually drove into the Atlantic for a few hours in order to then start the flying boats. On the way south, they usually landed at the station ship near Fernando de Noronha to refuel and then flew on to Natal (Brazil) . The return flight took place by water start in Natal to Westphalia , which usually catapulted another whale to Bathurst. The mail was delivered to and from Bathurst using agricultural machinery, with the exception of the rainy seasons of 1934 and 1935, when whales were used to transport them to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria . In 1936 the fortified place in Jeshwang (near Bathurst) was available all year round.

In 1936 Lufthansa put the Ostmark into service as the third catapult ship, which took the place of the Schwabenland off Bathurst . D-AGAT Boreas made the first scheduled take-off from Ostmark on July 3rd .

On April 11, 1937, the Dornier Do 18 V-5 D-ARUN Zephir , the successor model, was used for the first time. However, the four flying boats of this type never completely replaced the old whales, especially since two machines were lost. In addition, on May 13, 1938, a four-engine floatplane Blohm & Voss Ha 139 was used for the first time. Since these machines, which were actually intended for the North Atlantic, could not be used there, they finally replaced the 10-ton whales. The whales had made a total of 328 Atlantic flights, including 72 flights in 1937 and 54 flights by October 28, 1938, alongside their much more modern successors.

Polar expeditions

D-AFAR Samum was sold to Denmark after the last mail flight and used as N ° 50 PERSSUAK by the Greenland explorer Lauge Koch in May 1938 to explore North Greenland. Under the Lufthansa pilot Rudolf Mayr , the Kronprinz-Christian-Land and Pearyland were explored from the Kongsfjord in Spitzbergen . After the expedition, the flying boat remained in service with the Danish Navy and was destroyed in 1943 by Danish resistance fighters with other aircraft and weapons in the naval arsenal in Copenhagen.

In autumn 1938, the Schwabenland with the two whales D-AGAT Boreas and D-ALOX Passat was chartered to the German Antarctic Expedition 1938/39 , which left Hamburg on December 17, 1938. The expedition reached the work area on the Princess Martha Coast on January 19, 1939 and discovered previously completely unknown, ice-free mountain regions in their hinterland. In seven survey flights between January 20 and February 5, 1939, an area of ​​around 350,000 km² was photogrammetrically recorded with serial cameras. At the turning points of the flight polygons, metal arrows with national emblems were dropped in order to establish sovereign rights of ownership. During an additional eight special flights, in which the expedition leader Alfred Ritscher also took part, particularly interesting regions were filmed and taken with color photos. The captain of the Boreas , Richard Heinrich Schirmacher , discovered the Schirmacher Oasis and the Wohlthat Massif named after him from an airplane on February 3, 1939 . The area between 10 ° W and 15 ° E, which was not claimed by any state at the time of the departure of the Schwabenland , was called Neuschwabenland and was to be taken over by the German Empire. However, Norway had declared the area between 20 ° W and 45 ° E as Dronning Maud Land to Norwegian territory when the expedition arrived . Ship and flying boats returned to Hamburg on April 11, 1939. The flying boats provided thousands of aerial photos of Antarctica, most of which were lost in the war. The evaluation of the remaining images, films, measurement results, etc. lasted until the 1950s.

Military whale Dornier Do 16

For military use, the Do J II d got BMW VI engines and a total of three machine gun positions in the bow and on the fuselage. As with the Do J II a Bos , the take-off weight increased to 8500 kg, the maximum speed of the machine was 230 km / h. One of the prototypes for this military variant was the D-AKEK .

The machines were stationed with the 2nd (F) / Coastal Aviation Group (KüFlGr) 106 in List on Sylt . The second (F) / KüFlGr 206 in Kiel-Holtenau was added later. A total of 46 military whales were sent to the coastal aviation associations as long-range reconnaissance and training aircraft. After the introduction of the new designations for aircraft by the Reich Ministry of Aviation (RLM) in 1934, the military version of the Do J II was renamed the Dornier Do 16 . From 1938 the machines in the emergency units were replaced by the successor model Dornier Do 18 and only used for school purposes.

On October 24, 1942, two military whales collided head-on during training flights over the Baltic Sea. The crew members of both aircraft were killed. It took several days before the bodies could be recovered.

Note: In many representations, v. a. on the Internet, the name Dornier Do 15 is given for the military whale. This is not correct.

Technical specifications

Data Dornier Do J II - 8 t whale Dornier Do J II - 10 ton whale Dornier Do J II - military whale
crew 4th 4-5 4th
length 18.20 m 18.30 m
height 5.80 m 5.40 m
span 23.20 m 27.20 m 23.20 m
Wing area 96.00 m² 112.00 m² 96.00 m²
Preparation mass 5,050 kg 6,215 kg 5,500 kg
Takeoff mass 8,000 kg 10,000 kg at catapult launch 8,500 kg
drive 2 × BMW VI with 690 hp (507 kW) each 2 × BMW VIU with 690 hp (507 kW) each 2 × BMW VI V-12 with 700 PS (515 kW) each
Top speed 225 km / h 220 km / h 230 km / h
Cruising speed k. A. 190 km / h k. A.
Landing speed k. A. 110 km / h k. A.
Service ceiling 3000 m 3500 m 3000 m
Max. Range k. A. 3600 km 1900 km
Armament - 3 MG 15


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  • Bruno Lange: Type manual of German aviation technology . In: German aviation . tape 9 . Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz 1986, ISBN 3-7637-5284-6 .
  • Dornier Foundation for Aviation and Space Travel (ed.): Dornier: Factory history and aircraft types . Delius Klasing, Bielefeld 2009, ISBN 978-3-7688-2610-5 .
  • M. Michiel van der Mey: The use of the Heinkel catapults . Dornier Wal Documentation Cente, 2002.
  • James W. Graue, John Duggan: Deutsche Lufthansa. South Atlantic Airmail Service 1934-1939 . Zeppelin Study Group, Ickenham 2000, ISBN 978-0-9514114-5-2 .
  • M. Michiel van der Mey: Dornier Wal a Light coming over the Sea . 4th, revised edition. LoGisma editore, 2016, ISBN 978-88-97530-81-7 (English).
  • M. Michiel van der Mey: Dornier Wal Vliegboot . 1986, ISBN 90-90-01445-4 (Dutch).

Web links

Commons : Dornier Do J Wal  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Hartwig: The Dornier whale: the flying boat that "Dornier made." State education server Baden-Württemberg.
  2. ^ Ceremonial unveiling in the Dornier Museum Friedrichshafen - The Amundsen whale has landed. In: Aviation Classics. No. 7/2012, p. 4
  3. a b Wal Plus Ultra , Museum in Luján (Spanish, accessed April 13, 2010) ( Memento from June 2, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Photos of the G-CAJI (span.)
  5. Summerhayes, CP: The Third Reich in Antarctica: the German antarctic expedition, 1938–39 . Erskine Books, Norwich 2012, ISBN 978-1-85297-103-8 .
  6. Schön, Heinz, 1926: Myth of New Swabia. For Hitler at the South Pole. The German Antarctic Expedition 1938–39 . Bonus-Verlag, Selent 2004, ISBN 3-935962-05-3 .