ZEPPELIN-STAAKEN

Within 3 weeks of outbreak of First World War on 4 August 1914 Count (Graf) von Zeppelin had not only got Dornier started on giant flying-boats at Lindau but had also formed VGO (Versuchsbau Gotha-Ost GmbH), East Gotha Experimental Works, headed by Gustav Klein (of Robert Bosch electrical giant) and aviator Hellmuth Hirth. Design team headed by Prof. Alexander Baumann produced monster biplane bomber VGO.I, 1 tractor and 2 pusher 240-hp Maybach (11 April 1915), largest aeroplane in world. Improved VGO.II (September 1915) became first of remarkable series of R-Type (Riesenflugzeug = giant aeroplane) bombers, produced in series to Armistice. Company moved June 1916 to Staaken, Berlin, renamed Flugzeugwerft GmbH and, from January 1918, Zeppelin-Werke Staaken. Thus, R.IV-R.XVI known loosely as Staaken bombers. In 1920 built fabulous stressed-skin all-metal airliner, with 4 engines along leading edge of cantilever wing; this E.4/20 was designed mainly by Dr A.K. Rohrbach and flew 1920, but destroyed by Allied Control Commission.

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