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Dornier Do 18

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The Dornier Do 18 was a development of the Do 15 flying boat. It was developed for the Luftwaffe , but Lufthansa got 5 aircraft and used these for tests between the Azores and the North American continent in 1936 and on their mail route over the South Atlantic from 1937 to 1939.
27-29 March 1938 a "Do 18 W" established a seaplane record flying non-stop a straight distance of 8,391 km (5,214 mi) from Start Point, Devon to Caravelas in Brazil.

Design and development

The Do 18 retained the basic metal hull and stabilising sponsons that had characterized the Do 15, but was aerodynamically more efficient. Powered by two 403 kW (540 hp) Junkers Jumo 205 diesel engines, the Do 18a prototype D-AHIS Monsun first flew on 15 March 1935 (lost 1 October 1935 over Baltics during high-speed tests) and was followed by
three of the Do 18E variant with improved 447 kW (600 hp) Jumo 205C engines: V3 D-ABYM Aeolus and V5 D-ARUN Zephir made two returnflights each between the Azores and New York in 1936.
First on 10-11 September D-ARUN Zephir was flown by Blankenburg and Lufthansa Director Freiherr von Gablenz in 22:18 h to New York after catapultstart fom the seaplane tender Schwabenland at Horta, Azores.
On 11 September followed D-ABYM Aeolus, piloted by von Engel and Freiherr von Buddenbrock, on a more southern route to Hamilton, Bermuda , (3320 km / 18:15h). With normal start from the water surface Aeolus continued in 7h hours to New York the next day. For the main leg of the North Atlantic the aircraft needed the help of the catapult on Schwabenland. On 22 September Aeolus returned to Horta in 17:50 h (3850 km). Zephir was catapulted on 28 September at Hamilton. The second Flights to New York followed on 5-6 and 6-7 October and the returnflights this time 17 and 18 October from Sydney, Nova Scotia. The flying boats did not wait for their tender and went on to Lisbon and Travemünde.
In April 1937 D-ARUN Zephir and D-ABYM Aeolus started their service on the mail route crossing the South Atlantic fom Bathurst, now Banjul ,Gambia to Natal, Brazil (3040 km). They used catapult ships in Bathurst and Fernando de Noronha, to croos the Atlantic with their full postload.
In June they were joined by V6 D-AROZ Pampero. Aeolus was lost on 30 July 1937, when it had to make an ocean landing due to motor problems and was heavily damaged when Ostmark tried to retrieve the plane. Pampero (20 August) an Zephir (29 January 1938) too had to make ocean landings. Pampero was lost at sea nearly without trace on 1 October 1938 with a crew of five.
LufthansaTemplate:'s fifth aircraft was the only Do 18F V7 D-ANNE Zyklon, that first took to the skies on 11 June 1937. This was the only Do 18 with a wider span which enable it to stay in the air with one engine out. This was a special demand of Lufthansa Zyklon was used over the South Atlantic September 1937 an March 1939. The Do 18´s crossed the South Atlantik 73 times.
Zyklon is not the aircraft, that established the England to Brazil distance record from 27-29 March 1938 as often stated.
The record-aircraft D-ANHR was taken from the military production line and was specially prepared. It was flown as as a builder´s machine with a Lufthansa crew augmented by the works pilot Gundermann. On the way back to the South American station the seaplane tender Westfalen took the plane in the English Channel where it was catapulted to Brazil. On the record flight the conditions were not optimal and the plane did not reached Rio de Janeiro as planned.
Later the record plane was designated the Do 18L when modified by the use of the more powerful 656 kW (880 hp) BMW 132N radial engines; it made its first flight with this engine on 21 November 1939.

Military Variants

  • The Do 18D 79 built, was the first military version, powered by two 450 kW (600 hp) Jumo 205C engines, armed with one 7.92 mm (0.312 in) MG 15 machine gun in the bow and dorsal positions.
  • The Do 18G 62 built, was an improved version, powered by two 656 kW (880 hp) Jumo 205D engines, armed with a 13 mm (0.51 in) MG 131 machine gun in the bow, and a 20 mm MG 151 cannon in a power-operated dorsal turret. This version had an altered bow contour and broader sponsons
  • The Do 18H 22 built (+ conversions ?) was an unarmed dual-control training version.
  • The Do 18N was a designation for unarmed air-sea search and rescue conversions.

Including the civilian flying boats 170 Dornier Do 18 were built by Dornier in Manzell (48 until March 1939) and Weser-Flugzeugbau in Einswarden and Nordenham (122 until August 1940).

Operational history

In Luftwaffe service, it was obsolete by the outbreak of World War II, but - as the only military flying boat - 62 (58 serviceable) in 6 squadrons were in use mainly on North Sea reconnaissance missions. In 1940 some squadrons changed their base to Norway. The vulnerable and underpowered flying boat was soon relegated to training and the air/sea rescue role. In the middle of 1941 only one Squadron was still operational on Do 18. The Blohm & Voss BV 138 had superseeded the Dornier.
A Do 18 was the first German aircraft to be shot down by British aircraft during the war, when one of a formation of three was caught over the North Sea by three Fleet Air Arm Blackburn Skua fighter-bombers of 803 Naval Air Squadron flying from Template:HMS on September 26, 1939. The flying boat was able to make an emergency landing but was sunk by the destroyer HMS Somali.


Specifications (Do 18D-1)

General characteristics

  • Length: 19.23 m (63 ft)
  • Wingspan: 23.7 m (77 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 5.4 m (17 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 98 m² (1,055 ft²)
  • Loaded weight: 8,500 kg, catapultstart 10,000 kg (18,739 lb /22,046 lb,)
  • Powerplant:Junkers 205C diesel, later Junkers 205D , 450 kW (C-engine), 648 kW (D-engine) (600 hp (C), 880 hp (D)) each




  • ´Dichtung und Wahrheit - diesmal die Do 18´ in Jet & Prop Hefte 4, 5 und 6/94 sowie 1/95
  • ´Do 18, DORNIER´S WHALE CALF´ in AIR Entusiast, Vol.18 N°4, April 1980

See also

Related development

Related lists

Template:Dornier aircraft Template:RLM aircraft designations

cs:Dornier Do 18 de:Dornier Do 18 fr:Dornier Do 18 it:Dornier Do 18 ja:Do 18 (航空機) pl:Dornier Do 18 pt:Dornier Do 18 fi:Dornier Do 18 sv:Dornier Do 18

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dornier Do 18".