Etrich Taube – Model F
- : Austria
- : 1912
- : (Daimler: original) De Havilland Gipsy Major 1C
- 47 '
- 65 mph (104 km/hr)
- 1760 lbs (798 kg)
- : Active
- : Reproduction
In 1898 Etrich began experimenting with glider designs modeled on wing-like seed pod, the Zanonia Macrocarpa. By 1908, his designs evolved to accommodate engines. The first was his tail-less, Etrich 1 parasol. His 1909 Etrich II “Taube” was well-received following initial flights in 1910. Licensed production began in Austria’s Lohner Werke and Germany’s Rumpler Werke.
A quirk in the patent law caused Etrich to lose his German license protection opening production to numerous other firms. Countless variations appeared in single and two-seat models.
In 1912, the Austrian army created its own air service, which immediately required two-place aircraft capable of “landing and taking off from a freshly-plowed field.” Etrich’s new Model F met the requirements and went into production at Lohner. In just over two months, fourteen machines were delivered, all serialized with “A” to start, followed by odd letter combinations. Captain Robert Eyb, one of 30 licensed Austrian military pilots, spent many hours demonstrating his model F “ASRA” Taube in competitions, simulated reconnaissance missions with an observer, cross-country exercises, and was known to take his wife up for short excursions! When Eyb’s grandson, Mike, discovered his grandfather’s few photos and notebooks in the later 1960’s, it filled his imagination with the wonders of pioneer flying before WW1.
Mike researched model F for nearly five years before embarking on a full-size replica in 2007. He was able to secure some partial plans and a lot of advice from Austrian Heinz Linner, who built two Taube versions. Nonetheless, Mike still had to tackle many missing construction and engineering details by trial and error. Beginning with a reliable, 145hp De Havilland Gipsy Major air-cooled engine, Mike fabricated a temporary wooden engine mount and fuselage. This temporary structure allowed him to design for multiple angles, points of attachment and fittings needed to closely replicate what he thought appeared in the original. Once resolved, Mike then built the final fuselage in ash and sitka spruce. He then tackled the landing gear, wheels, axles, and fittings. Finally, he built the hinged, wooden wings and tail assembly complete with bamboo or Tonkin strips sewn into the Ceconite fabric to facilitate wing-warping and elevator control. The 47’ wingspan necessitated the creation of hinged, folding wings to allow the Taube to fit inside of the 41’ wide door of Mike’s hanger/workshop.
The Taube employs wing-warping, primarily at the outer trailing-edge, in lieu of traditional ailerons. Pitch is controlled by warping the large horizontal stabilizer in lieu of a hinged elevator. A traditional hinged twin rudder controls yaw. The rugged, spring-loaded undercarriage is designed to castor to accommodate a light crosswind. Mike’s maiden flight on a calm day 2018 was a rewarding success. He found that Taube’s limited performance and ‘twitchy’ handling was relatively close to the written experiences of his grandfather and others from 106 years earlier. Tremendous drag and a slow rate of roll required shallow turns to avoid adverse yaw. Take off occurs @45 mph. and cruise seems comfortable at @57-60 mph and perhaps higher. In the Spring of 2022, after a series of flights and his mission complete, Mike generously gifted his magnificent pioneer era Taube to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome where it continues to fly in our shows. At this time, it is the only Etrich Taube Model F replica flying in the world!