M.Simons The World's Vintage Sailplanes 1908-45
THE CONDOR SERIES
Heini Dittmar was still a schoolboy when his elder brother, Edgar, broke the world height record in 1928 with a climb of 775 metres. He made up his mind to follow Edgar's lead and become a soaring pilot. Early in 1931 young
Dittmar drew out preliminary plans for the Condor. Fritz Kraemer, a graduate engineer, helped him with the stressing. The fuselage and tail unit were almost identical to the Fafnir, but instead of the wooden cockpit cover and portholes, Dittmar provided himself with transparent windows in a long, narrow canopy. He adopted the birdlike 'gull' form in spite of the increased difficulty of construction.
Heini spent 2000 hours altogether, with help from Edgar, building the Condor. The new craft was test flown in 1932. At the Rhoen, Dittmar won the junior section of the competition and soon achieved a leadership that was to last for ten years. In 1933 Dittmar achieved his Silver ‘C’ badge, the ninth in the world to do so. He had many successes with cross-country flights over the plains and joined Hirth and Riedel in soaring over the suburbs of Berlin.
In January 1934, Georgii led an expedition to South America. With him went Wolf Hirth with the Moazagotl, Riedel with the Fafnir, Hanna Reitsch with a Grunau Baby and Heini Dittmar with his Condor. The group was based at Campos dos Alfonsos aerodrome outside Rio de Janeiro.
On 16th February Dittmar was towed to 350 metres by the party's Messerschmitt M-23 tug, and climbed quickly to cloud base at 800 metres. He continued circling in the cloud and ascended to 1500 metres at which height he straightened up when the upcurrent petered out and emerged from the side of the cloud. He flew away from it for a while then turned back to survey it. Locating the most promising pinnacle, he set a compass course, and deliberately flew back into the heart of the growing mass. Inside he soon struck strong lift and violent turbulence. Controlling the Condor became difficult but the variometer showed 4 metres per second climb and he soon reached 2600 metres, breaking the world record. Once again, Dittmar straightened up, left the cloud, viewed the scene and steered back into the most active part. Again there was severe turbulence, the airspeed fluctuated wildly between zero and 150 km/h, but he stabilised the Condor and the variometer needle swung right off the dial. Within three or four minutes he had reached 4350 metres. Without oxygen it was dangerous to ascend any further, so for the last time the Condor straightened up and emerged from the huge storm, to glide tranquilly down to land back at the aerodrome. Dittmar’s climb was the first really high ascent by a sailplane inside a cumulo-nimbus cloud.
Meanwhile in Germany a production line was being established at Robert Bley's factory. At the 1934 Rhoen meeting, ten Condors appeared. In 1935 Dittmar revised the design to produce the Condor 2. Apart from a larger cockpit, the main improvements were made to the wing. A new, faster aerofoil. Goettingen 532, was chosen and the washout of the wings was reduced to improve the glide at speed. The struts remained. At the Rhoen meeting Oeltzschner, flying a Condor 1, shared the new distance record of 504.2 km set by four pilots on one day. Sadly, he was killed in an aero-towing accident on the retrieval flight. The Condor 2 entered production but its strut-braced wing dated it, so in 1937 a cantilever version, the Condor 2A, was developed. After some further modifications including the addition of air brakes and replacement of the pendulum elevator by a tailplane with hinged elevator, it became the Condor 3. At the 1939 Wasserkuppe competition, just before the outbreak of war, three Condor 3s placed second, fourth and fifth. None now survive.
Condor 1: Span, 17.24 m. Wing area. 19.45 sq m. Aspect ratio, 15.28. Flying weight 310 kg. Wing loading, 15.9kg/sqm. Aerofoil, special.
Condor 2: Span, 17.24 m, Wing area 20.3 sq m. Aspect ratio. 14.64. Flying weight 330 kg. Wing loading, 16.26 kg/sqm. Aerofoil, Goettingen 532 tapering to thin symmetrical tip with slight washout.
Condor 2a: As for Condor 2 with cantilever wing and higher tailplane position.
Dittmar flying the Condor over Berlin. This, ostensibly a scientific investigation of thermals over cities, was really a publicity stunt organised by Professor Georgii to gain governmental support for gliding.
A production Condor 1, named Nurnberg and registered for that region. D-13-245, flying by the eagle monument, a favorite spot for photographers. The colors for the region were white and blue, but the fabric was clear doped, as usual. The cockpit canopy had been modified considerably on this machine.
A Condor 2 in England, flown by Eustace Thomas. This model had the redesigned, faster wing and very different ailerons.
The Condor 2A was offered with various options, the choice of tail unit being decided by individual NSFK group leaders. In this case an all-moving tailplane was selected. The aircraft. D-11-186, was painted in the standard NSFK cream, but the fabric surfaces were still clear doped.
A Condor 2A being rigged, with a Goevier and a DFS Habicht in the background.
Left, a nearly completed Condor 1 at the factory. Compare this with the Condor 2A on the right, with improved canopy, very thin cantilever wing, but still a pendulum elevator.
View of the Mu 10 in the hangar at Salzburg in 1937. The modified rudder, ailerons and canopy are well shown. The exact significance of the comical bird on the nose is not clear. Other sailplanes visible include the Rheinland (D-12-99), a Condor 2A, the tail of a Habicht, and a Swiss Spyr 3 in the background. The other types cannot be identified.
One of the Spyr 3s flown by Bauer at the International Competitions in 1937. The contest number 9 on a red and white striped diamond, and the words Zwieback Singer, appeared on the fuselage. Other sailplanes visible are, on the left, the Czechoslovakian Tulak 37 (registered OK-CECHY) and on the right, one of the Polish PWS 101s (SP-1005) with a Condor beyond it.
The Condor 1 had a rudimentary panel inside the cockpit carrying ASI, altimeter and gyro turn indicator, but room for the two variometers and the compass could be found only inside the windscreen.