Tuesday, 21 August 2018


Financed during the inter-war period by the Germany Ministry of Transportation partially to circumvent peace treaty conditions which limited the range and speed of aircraft produced and to captivate the public—who were impressed with this feat of engineering but it never proved commercially viable—the prototype Dornier Do X had its first test-flight in July of 1929 on the Swiss part of Lake Constance (die Bodensee). The largest and heaviest flying boat (Flugschiff) ever built, it was designed to accommodate a compliment of fourteen crew members and between sixty-six (long-haul) and one hundred (short-haul) passengers and after trials that achieved the requisite altitude for a trans-Atlantic crossing, the craft began a tour of Europe with the aim being to introduce the flying boat to North American markets.
A series of accidents and mishaps instead diverted the plane to meandering course to Brazil via the Azores and Cape Verde and north to Puerto Rico and finally landing ten months later in New York City and Newfoundland before a return flight to Berlin. Public jubilation could not overcome financing hurdles (made all the more difficult to secure due to the burgeoning Great Depression) and further botched excursions, though the Dornier Do X concept demonstrated what could be done with amphibious aircraft and opened up business to the idea of international passenger service.