Product Reviews => Magazines - DataFiles - Books => Topic started by: Dave W on July 14, 2020, 04:02:36 PM

Title: Zeppelin-Lindau Aircraft of WW1
Post by: Dave W on July 14, 2020, 04:02:36 PM
Zeppelin-Lindau Aircraft of WWI

Claude Dornier's Metal Airplanes 1914-1919


Reviewed by Erik W. Whipple

Format: 8˝ x 11. 236 pages, 380 photos and drawings, of which 42 are in color. 15 color profiles, 20 pages of scale line drawings.
Author: Michael Schmeelke
Translated by Pilar Elvira Wolfsteller
ŠAeronaut Books & Michael Schmeelke
Color Profiles: Bob Pearson
Scale Line Drawings: Martin Digmayer
Cover Design: Aaron Weaver
Cover Painting: Mike O'Neal
Retail Price: $49.99USD. Available online at (via email for this title) and

Overall impressions:

This latest title from Aeronaut adheres to the large, well-illustrated paperback format established by their previous publications. Translation from German to English is seamless and makes for smooth, enjoyable reading. Excellent in-depth coverage of the design philosophy employed by Claude Dornier and his associates along with detailed descriptions and the stories of each aircraft type produced by the firm. The subject matter from chapter-to-chapter flows logically as the author covers the various aircraft in tidy groupings based on their types and evolution. This is a story of innovation, engineering prowess, triumph, and occasional tragedy.

Reviewer's Comments:

Author Michael Schmeelke's work in documenting these aircraft, the designers, the test pilots, and military officials- the story of the planes, the people, and the places- is the most detailed and comprehensive treatise on the subject that I've yet encountered. From some of the largest aircraft ever designed and built to petite scouting and reconnaissance aircraft, the boldness, forward thinking, and mastery of advanced materials among the Zeppelin-Lindau firm are common themes woven throughout the text. The reader can plainly see how far these designers had pushed the state-of-the-art in just a few years and how their approach continued to influence aircraft design through and even beyond the golden age of aviation. Manufacturing and testing facilities, their geographical settings, and aircraft under construction are well-described and illustrated in photographs.


The first two chapters concentrate on the aeronautical works of Claude Dornier and the team he assembled, which included many now-familiar names like Klemm, Flettner, and Lippisch. There is a brief summary of Dornier's contributions to aviation from 1910 to modern times and this provides a context for the main subject, the firm's efforts during the Great War.
Chapters 3 through 12 provide extensive coverage of the Zeppelin-Lindau's amphibious aircraft. Design features, construction, testing, technical challenges, triumphs, and failures are thoroughly documented in a smooth and concise manner. From truly gargantuan flying boats like the Rs series to the smaller ZWL two-seater twin-float aircraft, the aeronautical ambitions of Dornier and his associates make a very big impression and the author has done a thorough job of taking the reader on a very deep dive into the subject matter. Land-based aircraft produced for the army are covered in Chapters 13 through 18, consisting of a mixture of biplanes including two-seaters and the promising D.I fighter. While most of the reconnaissance C-types do bear some resemblance to their contemporaries produced by other manufacturers, their metal skins and the manner of their construction sets them apart. Several of these machines displayed great potential, using a number of different power plants, and in many cases outperformed their competition in trials.


Chapters 19 through 22- followed by 20 pages of line drawings- round out and bring the story to a graceful conclusion by describing the dissolution of the company in the tumultuous twilight of the Great War, key personnel retained by Dornier along with those who moved into other companies such as Junkers, their sustained influence in aviation through the Golden Age and World War II, the Dornier Museum and it's sad fate, along with existing examples of aircraft, components, and powerplants.


Reviewer's opinion and recommendation:

I truly enjoyed this new title from Aeronaut books and can recommend it to modelers and enthusiasts interested in the dawn of aviation, the revolutionary designs of the Zeppelin-Lindau company, and the people whose vision and acumen kept them on the leading edge of aerospace technology for several decades. They were ahead of their time in so many ways, which is typically a double-edged sword during war time with its challenging demands on designers and manufacturers. Unlike the great airships, most of these planes were doomed to dwell in obscurity, but they initiated a legacy in design and construction that persisted decades beyond their day.
This new book from Aeronaut upholds their well-deserved reputation for quality, substance, depth, and detail and should be considered an important title among technical and historical Great War aviation literature.