No. 12031. Blohm & Voss Bv 144 French Air Force
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Blohm & Voss Bv 144

07/31/2013. At the request of Lufthansa, Blohm & Voss designed in 1940 a new short- and medium-haul airliner which received the designation Bv 144. In view of the favorable course the war was taking for Germany at that time, it was quite realistic for Lufthansa to plan its post-war commercial services, when it was hoped that an advanced airliner, such as the Bv 144 with spacious accommodation for 18 passengers, would supplement and eventually replace the Ju 52/3m.

The Bv 144 was an all-metal high-wing monoplane designed to use two 1,600 hp BMW 801MA radial engines. The generally advanced nature of the aircraft centered largely around the wing which was designed to have variable incidence, electro-mechanical equipment rotating the wing by its tubular main spar by up to 9. Thus, the angle of attack of the wings could be altered at low speeds and during landing without altering the level attitude of the fuselage. This ensured full maintenance of the airflow over the twin fin tail unit and avoided any blanketing of the control surfaces.

It also maintained good pilot visibility during landings. Further landing aid was provided by long slotted flaps which were supplemented by the ailerons drooping when required. Another novel feature was the deicing system for the leading edges of the wing and tail unit using air heated by an oil burner. The aircraft sat very low on its retractable nose wheel undercarriage, the main units of which retracted inwards into the wing.

The pilot and co-pilot were accommodated in a stepped cabin, with a radio-operator's compartment behind. Aft of this section was the forward freight hold, the passenger section, toilet and aft freight hold. A less spacious seating arrangement could increase the passenger accommodation from 18 to 23.

Since the Bv 144 design offered excellent performance with ample attention to safety, Lufthansa ordered two prototypes. With the fall of France and the availability of that country's industry to the Germans, it was decided to put the development and prototype construction into the hands of the Breguet factory near Bayonne. Here, the first prototype, the Bv 144 V1, was completed and made its maiden flight by August 1944.

By then, however, the Germans were in the process of retreating from France in the face of the advancing Allies and Bv 144 development was abandoned to the French. Although the French apparently carried on development for a while, they too abandoned it in due course. Additional photo (site files).

Created July 31, 2013