By Olivia Cuccaro
On September 15, the Junkers F13 by Rimowa embarked on its official first flight in the Swiss Alps. The historical replica was crafted after the original six-seater aircraft, commissioned in 1919, which at the time achieved an altitude record of 6,750 meters on its maiden flight.
Initially used in the military, the F13 was updated by engineer Hugo Junkers for usage as a commercial aircraft after World War I. The F13 was used worldwide in commercial aviation and its popularity brought the Junkers aircraft construction company international acclaim. Until 1933, the first cantilever all-metal aircraft made of duralumin was manufactured at the Junkers plants in Dessau, Germany.
Almost a century later, Dieter Morszeck, chief executive of luxury luggage company Rimowa, spearheaded a project to bring back the influential aircraft. Morszeck’s father, the second-generation chief executive of the brand, developed Rimowa suitcases using the same corrugated-aluminum material more than 60 years ago. From this, Morszeck felt a connection to Hugo Junkers’ project which led him to sponsor the construction of the first airworthy F13 replica.
“Hugo Junkers was the first person to use duralumin in aircraft construction. Around the world, grooved sheet metal became the hallmark of Junkers aircraft and Rimowa suitcases,” said Morszeck. “This is why I followed and supported the construction of an airworthy Junkers F13. I wanted to give back the world an important cultural asset – not in a museum, but where it belongs: in the skies.”
After seven years of research, planning and approvals, the aircraft, named Annelise 2, took off on Dübendorf airfield near Zurich. The low-wing plane has an open two-man cockpit and is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior R985 9-cylinder radial engine with 450 hp. The interior is luxuriously finished with fine leather.
The price to purchase a custom F13 aircraft is $2.5 million. For more information, visit www.junkersf13.de