Sunday, November 22, 2015

Focke-Wulf Kiebitz

This weekend, an old friend approached me with a question regarding a biplane owned by the Gösser brewery museum in Loeben, Austria. The biplane was prominently decorated with the name of the beer - which is excellent, by the way - and after some poking around, it turned out that the aircraft was a Focke-Wulf S 24. So, what aircraft was that?

The Gösser Kiebitz.

The Focke-Wulf S 24 Kiebitz (Lapwing) was designed in Bremen as a holiday project sport plane by Focke-Wulf engineer Paul Klages and a colleague named E. A. Wohlberg with German aviator Gerd Achgelis in mind. It flew for the first time in 1928. It was light plane and featured folding wings to enable the aircraft to be towed by a car. The first 21 S 24s were delivered between December 15, 1928 and February 15, 1929. In all 31 S 24s were built, with one being sold to Brazil and one to China. The aircraft was considered easy to fly and control, and it did not readily spin if stalled.

The folding wings of the S 24.

On August 20, 1928, German pilot Cornelius "Conny" Edzard and his co-pilot Max Middendorf used a S 24 with extra fuel tanks to set a world distance record in its class for flying a distance of 1,601 kilometers. Edzard became the director of the Bremen airport in 1933 before entering the Luftwaffe as a cpommander of various training units and air bases. He finished the war with the rank of Colonel.

In 1931, Gerd Achgelis flew a S 24c (a specially strengthened S 24) when he won the German aerobatic championship. One of his more remarkable stunts included approaching an airfield in an inverted dive, and when a few feet from the ground he bunted into an upright position before performing a half-loop back to inverted flight. Achgelis was later on flew the first German helicopter and continued as a test pilot throughout the Second World War despite being offered the position as Director-General of Equipment for the Luftwaffe following Ernst Udet's suicide on November 17, 1941.

Achgelis and his aerobatics.

General characteristics
  • Crew: One pilot
  • Capacity: 1 passenger
  • Length: 6.25 m (20 ft 6 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.90 m (29 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 2.25 m (7 ft 4 in)
  • Wing area: 19.5 m2 (210 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 365 kg (800 lb)
  • Gross weight: 585 kg (1,285 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Siemens Sh 13, 62 kW (82 hp)
  • Maximum speed: 150 km/h (93 mph)
  • Service ceiling: 3,500 m (11,500 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 21.1 m/s (410 ft/min)


Ulf Kaack and Peter Kurze. Flugzeuge aus Bremen. Luftfahrtgeschichte der Hansastadt. Erfurt: Sutton Verlag 2014.

FLIGHT, April 18, 1029 <>