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Pioneer German Aircraft Designer
Early Advocate of
Civil Airline Service
Born Rheydt, Germany
February 3, 1859-February 3, 1935
Hugo Junkers established his first factory in 1889. He was credited with inventions in heating systems as well as engine designs for ships, industry, and aircraft.
Convinced of the merit of internally-braced, cantilever aircraft design, he had his first such plane in the air by 1915 and several successful all-metal models were produced during World War I. Postwar, he established an aircraft factory at Dessau in 1919 and devoted his efforts to commercial aircraft design and production.
In the early 1920's, he further developed the corrugated Duralumin covered aircraft, producing the J-13, an all metal 8 passenger transport, the first aircraft of this type specifically designed as a civil air carrier. It is apparent that this design was fundamentally sound for the original J-13 was still in service more than twenty years later.
In 1928, the Bremen, a Junkers produced aircraft, became the first nonstop East-West Transatlantic air crossing success. During the same year, he built the J-38, a 41 passenger plane, the largest capacity production commercial airliner to date. These successes played a major role in establishing confidence in transoceanic air commerce. Such flights have become a vital element in world aviation.
Remote areas of the world are familiar with the famed J-52, which was first built as a single-engine, freight plane. In 1921 it was equipped with three engines and became the standard aircraft for Lufthansa, the German airline. This rugged JU-52 was the standard German Air Force transport and troop carrier aircraft of World War II. Fifty years later, these planes may still be found flying freight and passengers throughout the remote areas of the world.
A man of great ability and vision, he advanced the science of flight through his innovative designs. He is honored for his contributions to aviation and the communication of man through air commerce.
Invested 1976 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame
From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984
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Updated: October 30, 2006