No. 11155. Braunschweig LF 1 V2 Zaunkönig (EI-AYU)
Photograph from Military Aircraft Photographs (MAP)

Braunschweig LF 1 V2 Zaunkönig

01/31/2012. Under guidance of Professor Hermann Winter (1897-1968), head of the aircraft construction institute at the aviation training center of the Technische Hochschule Braunschweig (technical high school of Brunswick), students constructed the single-seat LF 1 V1 (Langsamflugzeug 1, Versuchsflugzeug 1, slow airplane 1, test aircraft 1) at Braunschweig-Waggum airport. The aim was to produce a 'fool-proof' aircraft that could be flown by layman after only thirty minutes of ground instruction, or five minutes for persons with glider experience.

Work on the prototype began mid-1940 and powered by a 51 hp Zündapp
9-092 engine and registered D-YBAR, it was first flown by Professor Winter on December 17, 1940. The flight characteristics revealed a good-natured behavior, while the flight performance confirmed the expectations with a stall speed of 29.2 mph (47 kmh) and a maximum speed in level flight of 87.6 mph (141 kmh). But not all test flights went smoothly, on May 25, 1941, the aircraft made a forced landing in woods, due to flutter at a speed far above the maximum level speed. The aircraft was damaged, but Professor Winter escaped serious injuries.

The aircraft was repaired and flown again on July 16, 1941, however, on September 11, 1942, during a flight to determine the roll speed of the aircraft, a second serious accident occurred. During the flight tests, performed by the assistant Franz Glatz, there was an overload of the lateral control system, which then failed. This led to the flapping of the wings and subsequently the loss of the right wing. The pilot managed to parachute to safety, the plane crashed onto a truck parked on the parade ground in Brunswick, and both the aircraft and the truck were a total loss.

A second test aircraft, the LF 1 V2 was built, which completed its first flight in May 1943, once again registered D-YBAR. The type was named Zaunkönig (Wren) on February 5, 1944. The aircraft survived WW II, but shortly before the occupation of the Technische Hochschule Braunschweig by Allied troops in April 1945, all aircraft documentation was destroyed. The Zaunkönig was transferred to the RAE at Farnborough in the UK, serialed VX190, and flown by a number of test pilots, including the well-known Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown.

The aircraft came on the British civil registry as G-ALUA (site files) on June 28, 1949, it was reregistered seven times, before its registration was cancelled on April 16, 1974. It went to Ireland where it was registered EI-AYU for two years, returning to Germany in May 1976, where it was registered D-EBCQ. In 1997 the registration was cancelled and since the aircraft is preserved at the Deutsches Museum collection at Oberschleissheim.

Professor Winter started construction of a third aircraft in 1954 and the
LF 1 V3 Zaunkönig was registered D-EBAR. Flight testing was done by the Luftwaffe ace Heinrich Bär. On April 28, 1957, flat spin tests were conducted, Bär was unable to regain control and spun into the ground, sustaining fatal injuries.

A fourth LF-1 V4 Zaunkönig was already under construction and flew in the summer of 1957, registered D-ECER. The aircraft received a CofA in 1958, it expired on October 8, 1964, when the aircraft was grounded. In November 1979 it was registered again, this time as D-EBCG, twenty years later it was permanently withdrawn from use, and the registration was cancelled on October 15, 1999. Presently it is preserved at the International Luftfahrtmuseum Manfred Pflumm near Villingen-Schwenningen.

The pictured aircraft has been listed under several other manufacturer names, like Brunswick, LFG Braunschweig and Winter, and differently spelled type names, like Zaunkonig, Zaunkoenig, Zaunköenig.

Created January 31, 2012