Sablatnig Flugzeugbau GmbH
Sablatnig N I in 1916 (wikimedia commons)
This German aircraft manufacturer emerged thanks to the efforts of Dr Josef Sablatnig, a renowned Austrian engineer, and aviation pioneer. Sablatnig graduated in 1904 in Klagenfurt and then studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Graz, joining the Graz academic fraternity Allemannia, where he stayed a member until he passed out in 1946 at Buchenwald. He was received at the electrical engineering at the University of Brno and was graduated in 1909. A vehicle designer and racer, he later heard of the first flight and paid a visit to the Wright brothers in the United States, for which he worked for some time and bought them in 1910 an aircraft in Berlin. In 1911 he was naturalized and became a German citizen in Prussia. Her worked for some time in Louis Blériot workshops and afterwards in Wiener Neustadt with the company Autoplan. He also flew himself, and was a passionated and gifted pilot. He was considered the first night pilot, setting before the War several high altitude records and a distance record with the Lilly Steinschneider as a passenger. During WW1 he was a volunteer in Kiel, helping building a naval air force. But in 1915 he founded his own aircraft manufacture, Sablatnig-Flugzeugbau GmbH, and went on producing small series of floatplanes, the Sablatnig SF 2, SF 5 and SF 6. They received praised and soon he was overwhelmed by production orders. After the war, his good connections allowed him to use his planes for flight courier services in government order by 1918-19. After World War I, Sablatnig was one of the rare company to successfully convert to the civilian market, and in August 1919 offered the government subsidised services between Berlin and Bremen on the tailor-built Sablatnig P.III with the Norddeutscher Lloyd company. Some 40 Sablatnig P.III were manufactured and , making it one of the largest airlines of the time.
Sablatnig C.I, 1917 (wikimedia commons)
After the war, Sablatnig converted naval aircraft to civilian airliners on the line Berlin-Warnemünde. In 1919 he built the SAB P.I designed for the first German foreign line which opened on 21 April 1919, on scheduled service to Copenhagen and Stockholm. The mass-built SAB P.III was designed by Hans Seehase. Sablatnig was the co-founder of the Dansk Luftexpress and partially acquired the Stockholm-Gothenburg line. He also co-created the aviation industry association. In 1920, he co-created a shipping company called the Lloyd Luftverkehr Sablatnig, merging with a subsidiary of the North German Lloyd between Berlin and Hesse. Victor Entler became head of the design team. In 1923, Lloyd became German Aero Lloyd after some mergings and in 1926 with the Junkers air transport AG, and air Hansa. But the Treaty of Versailles forbading all activities in aviation Sablatnig concentrated in the automotive industry through Sablatnig-Beuchelt and it was not until 1931 that he returned to aircraft construction. He worked at Junkers Flugzeugwerk AG. He was imprisoned on 16 June 1945 in Berlin by the Soviets and transferred to the Soviet special camp of Buchenwald, where he died in 1946.
Postwar service: Two Sablatnig P.III (the parasol ones) along with Junkers F.13s at Lasnamäe Airfield, Estonia in 1925. (wikimedia commons)
Models in bold are production models. Total production of Sablatnig planes (according to various sources) is about 130 planes, both floatplanes and land ones. These were generally successful but the company was not able to fulfill orders due to its small size, almost workshop-like. Despite this, his planes were so renown for their reliability that his civilian era business too off. In this section we will concentrate in all these models in detail, despite sometimes the lack of information.
- Sablatnig SF-1 two-seat floatplane 1915 (1)
- Sablatnig SF-2 reconnaissance/trainer floatplane 1916 (26)
- Sablatnig SF-3 floatplane fighter 1916 (1)
- Sablatnig SF-4 floatplane triplane fighter 1916 (1)
- Sablatnig SF-5 reconnaissance floatplane 1917 (91)
- Sablatnig SF-6/B.I trainer 1917 (1)
- Sablatnig SF-7 floatplane fighter 1917 (1)
- Sablatnig SF-8 floatplane trainer 1918 (3)
- Sablatnig C.I reconnaissance 1917 (2)
- Sablatnig C.II reconnaissance 1918 (1)
- Sablatnig C.III reconnaissance 1918 (1)
- Sablatnig N.I night bomber 1918 (1)
Heinz J. Nowarra; Bruce Robertson; Peter G. Cooksley. Marine aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. p. 62.