Model Airplane News|
Model Airplane News Cover Art for August, 1964
by Jo Kotula
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The Etrich Taube was a pre-World War I monoplane aircraft, and the first mass-produced military plane in Germany. Being the Germans' first practical military plane, the Taube ("dove") was used for all common military aircraft applications, including as a fighter, bomber, surveillance plane and trainer from its first flight in 1910 until the beginning of World War I. The plane was very popular in the years immediately prior to the First World War, and was used by the air forces of Italy, Germany and Austria-Hungary. By 1914, however, it quickly proved lacking as a serious warplane, and was soon superseded.
Photos of the Etrich-Rumpler "Taube"
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The plane was developed by Igo Etrich from Austria in 1909, with the first flight in 1910. The design was licensed for serial production by Lohner in Austria and Edmund Rumpler in Germany, and called the Etrich-Rumpler-Taube However, Rumpler soon changed the name to Rumpler-Taube, and stopped paying royalties to Etrich.
Despite its name, the Taube's unique wing form was not modeled after that of a bird, but after the Zanonia macrocarpa seeds, which glide to the ground in a slow spin induced by a single wing. Similar wing shapes have also been used by Karl Jatho. While Etrich had tried to build a flying wing aircraft based on the Zanonia wing shape, the more conventional Taube type, with "normal" tail controls was much more successful. Like many contemporary aircraft, especially monoplanes, the Taube used wing warping rather than ailerons for lateral (roll) control, and also warped the rear half of the stabilizer for use as an elevator function. The design provided for very stable flight, suitable for observation. In addition, the translucent wings made it difficult for ground based observers to detect a Taube at an altitude above 400m. The French called it "the Invisible Aircraft", and it is sometimes also referred to as the "world's first stealth plane". The first hostile engagement was an Italian Taube in 1911 in Libya, using pistols and 2 kg bombs. Taube airplanes were able to detect the advancing Russian army during the Battle of Tannenberg. The plane was also used for bombing, when the pilot dropped small bombs in the Balkans in 1911 and 3 kg bomblets and propaganda leaflets over Paris in 1914.
Here is a video of a replica ofthe Etrich-Rumpler "Taube":
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