things never change.
It was 1929 when the giant
Dornier DO-X landed in New York to be re-engined at
North Beach Airport (today’s LaGuardia) before
continuing on its a worldwide flight.
The DO-X utilized a dozen
Liberty engines in a “push-pull” configuration.
Folks who know about Liberty
engines (of WWI fame) might also recall that those pioneering
(and reliable for their time) power plants ran at one
speed: “on.” Based on the technology of
the day, each push-pull pair required a mechanic that
shinnied inside the wing and up between the engines
whilst en-route to service.
DO-X trip to North Beach was for replacement engines
in the form of Wright Whirlwinds, which supplied a more
up-to-date power source and allowed the pilot to feather
the engines during flight—a big improvement, although
the mechanic’s rather harrowing configuration
The DO-X was a giant airplane
with lovely and ornate furniture and even oriental rugs
on the cabin floor.
A later aircraft, the
elegant, four-engine (also push-pull) gullwing DO-26,
was utilized to establish airmail service from Europe
to South America during the early 1930s (it was serviced
and launched from picket ships stationed in the South
The header photo of the
DO-26 floating on the water underscores why the DO-26
is considered the most beautiful flying boat ever built.
Fast-forward to today,
as the scene shifts attention to the successor company
in all of this. Dornier Seawings (still led by a Dornier)
has announced the production launch of the Dornier Seastar,
the result of a German-Chinese joint venture.
The formal debut of the
new venture will be held this Wednesday, February 17,
2016, at The Singapore Airshow at Changi.
carries seven people in comfort (or six with a lav)
with sumptuous leather seating and is engineered to
operate from runway and water surfaces,” said
Conrado Dornier, Chairman of Dornier Seawings GmbH.
Interestingly, the power-plant
configuration for yet another generation of Dornier
flying boats is still arranged with the spinners in
a “push-pull” mode, although one 2016 engine
surely has the power of several of the older generation
engines that hoisted the DO-X aloft a long time ago.
Seastar advances Dornier’s
hopes for a new century in which the world will embrace
push-pull Dornier aircraft serving China and other global