Thursday, 18 September 2008

Claudius Dornier 1884 - 1969

Claude (Claudius) Honoré Desiré Dornier born in Kempten im Allgäu May 14 1884 was a German airplane builder and founder of Dornier GmbH. His legacy remains in the few aircraft named after him, including the Dornier Do 18 and the 12-engine Dornier Do X flying boat, for decades the world's largest and most powerful airplane.

The son of a French wine importer and his German wife, Claude Dornier was born in Bavaria where he grew up and attended school, with science being his chief interest. Dornier then moved to Munich, where he graduated in 1907 from the Technical University.

As a young engineer Dornier first worked on strength calculations at Nagel Engineering Works in Karlsruhe. In 1910, he joined Luftschiffbau Zeppelin in Friedrichshafen on the Bodensee, where his advanced abilities quickly attracted Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's attention. Soon appointed as the Count's personal scientific advisor, Dornier began fundamental research and design on improving the strength of light metal sections and later on aircraft engineering and giant metal flying boats.

Dornier is also recognised in the history of German aviation for his unique propeller design. His planes often featured double ended props on the front and the back of the planes in a push-pull configuration.