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WOW269 - Dornier Do.18 Flying Boat


First flown in March 1935 with two Jumo 5 diesel engines, the Do 18 was one of a kind for of its era. Its wide hull and sponsons made it extremely stable on the water, whilst internal watertight compartments meant that it was extremely seaworthy and unlikely to sink should it be forced to land on the water due to engine failure, a major concern for pilots in these early days of aviation history.

As well as operating its four DO 18Es on the southern Atlantic mail route, Lufthansa used the single DO 18F to set a new distance record for seaplanes in March 1938. The aircraft flew 8,390 km (5,213 miles) after being catapulted from the tender Westfalen.

The Luftwaffe’s DO 18D entered service in 1936 and served with maritime reconnaissance units during the Polish and Norwegian campaigns before being used as an air-sea rescue aircraft during the Battle of Britain in 1940. With just two 7.9 mm (0.31 inch) machine guns, it proved to be too poorly armed for military service against the RAF. New engines and heavier armament were installed to produce the DO 18G.

During 1941 many DO 18Gs were converted to DO 18Ns for the air-sea rescue role. This was the DO 18’s main task for the remainder of its career.

The DO 18 was developed to provide both a replacement for the DO 15 and a transatlantic mail carrier for the German airline Lufthansa. Using the new fuel efficient Junkers Jumo 205 diesel engine, the Do 18 proved to have superb range capability, but its main military use was for air-sea rescue. Although an outstanding design for its time it was superseded by more advanced enemy fighter designs that negated its full military potential.

WOW269 - Dornier Do.18 Flying Boat

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