Sometime after my grandfather passed away I ran across a curious photo of him in an airplane. Turns out he was one of the first aviators in the newly formed aviation division of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s military. No one in the family ever told me about it, not even he. The airplane turned out to be a 1912 Taube, designed by Igo Etrich and built by Lohner in Vienna.
Fourteen were made in a matter of a couple months and names starting with “A” were painted on them: his was the ASRA. No prototype was built or tested, they went right into production. The massive landing gear was a result of the military’s requirement that the airplane was supposed to be able to land and take off again with two aboard in a freshly plowed field! Being born in Vienna myself it was natural to build one, of course a full scale flying replica with a 47-foot wingspan. I was able to get partial plans from Heinz Linner in Vienna, who had previously built two versions of the Taube. It took five years of research and eleven years of building, and the successful maiden flight was accomplished on July 8, 2018.
It flies as expected, a bit twitchy, but controllable. It employs wing warping, actually aileron warping controls: control surfaces are all attached to bamboo.
I’ve employed a DH Gipsy Major 1 C engine at 130HP, the original was a problematic water-cooled Daimler 90, designed by Porsche. Wing folding hinges make it possible to store it in the hangar, originals were just steel straps. Covering is Ceconite instead of linen, which would only last two years. Paint is Behr Premium outdoor latex; holds up great. The airplane is located at 2NK9 in NY.
More photos and builder’s blog: taubebuilder.blogspot.com
Photos courtesy of Michel Eyb.