Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

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Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

Postby ant » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:35 pm

Image

I'd be grateful for any info on this aircraft - used by Swiss airman Walter Mittelholzer on his flight from Zurich to Cape Town in 1926.
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Re: Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

Postby TASSE » Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:04 pm

The photo that you show is of a model built by an Italian.

Image

Image

TASSE.
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Re: Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

Postby ant » Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:07 pm

A model - and I thought it was a beautifully hand-coloured original photo! Thanks a lot; I haven't seen that photo before, nor the lecture poster.
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Re: Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

Postby flyernzl » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:49 am

Quite a guy. From Wikipedia:

"Walter Mittelholzer (April 2, 1894 in St. Gallen – May 9, 1937 in Styria) was a Swiss aviation pioneer. He was active as a pilot, photographer, travel writer, and also as one of the first aviation entrepreneurs.

Mittelholzer got his private pilot's license in 1917, and in 1918 he completed his instruction as a military pilot.

On November 5, 1919 he co-founded an air-photo and passenger flight business, Comte, Mittelholzer, and Co. In 1920 this firm merged with the financially stronger Ad Astra Aero. Mittelholzer was the director and head pilot of Ad Astra Aero which later became Swissair.

He made the first North-South flight across Africa. It took him 77 days. Mittelholzer started in Zürich on December 7, 1926, flying via Alexandria and landing in Cape Town on February 21, 1927. Earlier, he had been the first to do serious aerial reconnaissance of Spitsbergen, in a Junkers monoplane, in 1923. On December 15, 1929 he became the first person to fly over Mt. Kilimanjaro, and planned to fly over Mount Everest in 1930. In 1931, Mittelholzer was appointed technical director of the new airline called Swissair, formed from the merger of Ad Astra Aero and Balair. Throughout his life he published many books of aerial photographs. He died in 1937 in a climbing accident on an expedition in the Hochschwab massive in Styria, Austria."

Goes to show that flying is safer than climbing mountains (as I say to my stepson).
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Re: Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

Postby TASSE » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:44 am

Thank you Flyernz. I have often wondered what he did other than his Africa flight.

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Re: Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

Postby ant » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:14 am

A nice resumé - thanks. It was the first seaplane Cairo/Cape Town flight - Cobham had done it in a landplane (DH50) the year before; but Mittelholzer showed the value of a seaplane/flying boat on this route, and I believe this led to the Cobham/Imperial Airways survey the following year.

You can read more about his flight here:

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/ ... arch=lieut. mittelholzer

(there are several other articles about him here too)
Some of his early photos can be seen here:

http://www.luftbild.ch/
Last edited by ant on Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

Postby TASSE » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:51 pm

Here are some more photos of the Merkur but not the one of the man in question.

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I am in doubt about the third photo. Is it or isnt it ? it could be a Do D.

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Re: Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

Postby MrWidgeon » Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:48 pm

According to my refs it's a Do T Ambulance converted from a Komet III.
Another Do T WAS converted from a Merkur and was used as a landplane (only) in Switzerland.
In water flying attitude is everything
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Re: Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

Postby TASSE » Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:31 am

Ah thanks that answers a question that i have every time i open my Merkur file.

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Re: Dornier Merkur "Switzerland"

Postby ant » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:34 am

Guys - many thanks for this info. Here's a photo taken in Cape Town:

Image
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