From coachbuilding to war planes and back
Founded in 1821 by German Heinrich Lohner in Vienna, this coachbuilder or wagonmaster became quite renowned in Europe and beyond, producing 500 to 900 vehicles yearly, some for the Crown heads of Norway, Sweden, and Romania in addition to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so much as to be granted the official title of k.u.k. Hofwagenlieferant ("Royal carriagemakers"). From the 1880s through Ferdinand Porsche, electric carriages were built, and from 1905, the firm joined Daimler to form the the Österreichische Daimler Motoren Commanditgesellschaft Bierenz Fischer & Co.
In 1909, the firm started manufacturing reconnaissance aircraft for the Austro-Hungarian army. They also started a series of flying-boats for the Navy, which eventually were copied on Italian Macchi planes. Lohner also produced aircraft for the Spanish Air Force, but abandoned aircraft production for good after World War I and returned to trams and coachbodies manufacturing.
Aircraft Industrial records
- Lohner Type AA (1916)
- Lohner B.I
- Lohner B.II
- Lohner B.VII
- Lohner E Floatplane (1913)
- Lohner L Floatplane (1915).
Lohner Type AA (1916)
Lohner AA 111.01
In 1916 Lohner-Werke was awarded a contract from the Luftfahrttruppen to produce a single seat fighter. It was to be designed around the 185 hp Austro-Daimler six-cylinder inline engine. The first airframe was denominated serial number 111.01, and on in September the 10.20 was showncased at Aspern. This was a single-bay model with equal-span wings, I-type struts, the empennage was a conventional horizontal stabilizer and an abbreviated all-moving rudder. The plane was rather short and stubby, but made of laminated wood. This structure was strong enough to carry two synchronized Schwarzlose machine guns.
Early ground trials shown bad yaw control and a larger rudder was installed while the fuselage was lengthened of 20 cm. The Lohner 10.20 flew on 29 December 1916 but later crashed in February 1917 because of stability problems.
Repairs and extensive modifications were made at the factory, giving the 10.20A, with the fuselage 6.35m (20ft 10in) long and "I" type struts replaced by twin struts with wire braces. Also the tail was redesigned with a fixed vertical fin and larger rudder. On 6 June 1917 however the plane was completely destroyed in another crash. The second prototype 111.02 was also called 10.20B, having the 10.20A tail surfaces but a deep dorsal fin and its I struts reinforced by inclined V-struts. Its flew at Aspern on 2 June 1917 and the Luftfahrttruppen ordered official trials until October. The third prototype (111.03) had twin struts with wire braces and the dorsal fin was enlarged to cope with the stability problems. It flew on 28 June 1917, and was tested until October but lacked performance compared to contemporary german models, so the program was terminated by the Luftfahrttruppen, Lohner-Werke being given a licence for the Aviatik (Berg) D.I. instead.
Lohner AA 111.03
> Length: 6.35 m (20 ft 10 in), Wingspan: 7.60 m (24 ft 11 in), Height: 3.00 m (9 ft 10 in), Wing area: 20.00 m² (215.28ft²)
> Empty weight: 623 kg (1,373 lb), Max. takeoff weight: 946 kg (2,085 lb)
> Engine: Austro-Daimler 6 water-cooled inline 6-cylinder 137.95 kW (185 hp)
> Performances: Top speed: 193 km/h (120 mph), Range: 386 km (240 mi), Time to 1000 m (3,280 ft): 2.66 min.
> Armament: Two synchronized Schwarzlose 0.3 in machine guns
Lohner E floaplane (1913)
Lohner E flying boat
The Lohner E (the letter stood for Igo Etrich, one of the Lohner engineers) was a reconnaissance floatplane with a conventional design, biplane wings, a slight sweepback, and an engine mounted in a pusher-fashion in the interplane gap while the crew, pilot and observer, were seated in tandem in an open cockpit. 40 were produced the introduction in 1915 of the more powerful Lohner L. There were no known variants or users outside Austria-Hungary.
> Length: 10.25 m (33 ft 8 in), wingspan: 16.20 m (53 ft 2 in), height: 3.85 m (12 ft 8 in)
> Gross weight: 1,700 kg (3,747 lb)
> Engine: Hiero 85hp, 67 kW (85 hp)
> Performance Top speed 105 km/h (65 mph), Endurance: 4 hours, Service ceiling: 4,000 m (13,120 ft)
> Armament: None (not powerful enough to carry bombs, but rifles and pisols).
Lohner L (1915)
Löhner L floatplane
This model derived from the Lohner E, a bit more powerful. It was also manufactured by UFAG, Hansa-Brandenburg and Macchi. It was a two-bay sesquiplane with a pusher engine mounted on struts in the interplane gap. Pilot and observer sat in tandem in an open cockpit, and the wings featured a sweepback.
This became a highly influential design, soon licensed for production by UFAG. It provided also the basis for other major manufacturers own designs. In Germany, Hansa-Brandenburg made a modified version, which became their own flying boat called the FB. In fact Macchi copied a captured model , known as as the Macchi L.1. It became later the basis for the whole Macchi lineage, starting with the L.2. This plane was taken as the naval air station of Porto Corsini. The derivative Macchi L.1 had a Fiat machine gun and Isotta-Fraschini V.4a engine (14 built). A restored example is now preserved at the Italian Air Force Museum at Vigna di Valle.
These Lohner seaplanes saw extensive use even before World War I and long after, as the design was sound and reliable. In particular, on 2 August 1914, some of these seaplanes took of from Kumbor and photographed the Montenegrin artillery positions. This was the first operational use of air reconnaissance in this war. On 16 September 1915, the L 132 (Lt. Cdr Dimitrije Konjović) and L 135 (Walter Železni) over Cattaro spotted the French Brumaire-class submarine Foucault, attacked it with bombs and struck it enough as she was abandoned by her crew. One of the two planes landed at sea and captured two French officers, then back to Kumbor. This was the first "kill" of a submarine by aircrafts.
Löhner L floatplane preserved at the Italian Air Force Museum.
The model L was declined into the R - Photo-reconnaissance version, and S - Trainer version. Outside Germany and Italy, this model was also used by Yugoslavia.
> Crew: two, pilot and observer
> Length: 10.26 m (33 ft 8 in), Wingspan: 16.2 m (53 ft 2 in), Height: 3.85 m (12 ft 8 in), Wing area: 53 m2 (570 sq ft)
> Empty weight: 1,150 kg (2,535 lb), Gross weight: 1,700 kg (3,748 lb)
> Engine: 1 × Austro-Daimler 6 6-cyl. water-cooled in-line piston engine, 120 kW (160 hp)
> Performance: Top speed: 105 km/h (65 mph; 57 kn), Range: 600 km (373 mi; 324 nmi), Service ceiling: 2,500 m (8,200 ft)
> Armament: One trainable machine gun for observer, 200 kg (440 lb) of bombs.