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The "152", the first German jetliner, was designed and constructed in the 1950s in Dresden in East Germany. After the German Democratic Republic had decided to create an aircraft industry of their own, work on the first prototype of the four-engined airplane was started under the supervision of Prof.Brunolf Baade in the "Volkseigener Betrieb Flugzeuwerk Dresden" ( = Publicly Owned Aircraft Plant Dresden) which was founded on May 1, 1958.

The Baade 152 was based on the Junkers EF-150. Brunolf Baade, one of Junkers’ aircraft designers, was captured by the Soviet Red Army in April of 1945. Baade was a respected advanced theoretical aircraft designer, who was working with a small team of fellow Junkers designers and engineers under the direction of Dr. Hans Wocke on a jet-powered bomber test bed/prototype called the Junkers Ju 287. Baade worked as Chief Designer with the Moscow-based OKB-1 (Opytno-Konstrooktorskoye Byuro – Experimental Design Bureau), beginning work in on a hybrid variation of the Junkers Ju 287. The legacy design was called the EF-131 (EF stood for Entwicklungflugzeu, meaning “development aircraft” in German).

Unofficially, the aircraft was named after the project leader Baade.The designation "GDR 152" definitely is wrong, even "Baade 152" was just an unofficial one, used to honor the chief designer. According to the book by Holger Lorenz (probably one of the best experts about this theme) it was at first designated as "EW 15.2" or "EW 152" (EW for "Entwurf " = Design) and later "Flugzeug 152" or simply "152". "VEB" meant "Volkseigener Betrieb" (peoples own enterprise), so it's just a term for a form of an enterprise, not a name or designation for a specific enterprise. The production plant for the 152/Flugzeug 152/"Baade 152" was part of the "VEB Maschinen- und Apparatebau Dresden" (machine and device production plant) and there are drawings with the aircraft is designated "Dresden 152". "VEB Maschinen- und Apparatebau Dresden 152" would be correct, but probably this would have been too cumbersome. The Ilyushin Il-14 Crate, a Soviet design built under licence at the same factory were designated as VEB.14s and VEB.14Ps.

The "152", which was designed for mid-range distances and in which it could transport up to 72 passengers, initially represented the state-of-the-art knowledge in modern aerodynamics and was regarded as being a promising German thrust into the jet age. But by the time that the Baade 152 rolled out in the spring of 1958, it was already obsolete. Contemporary aircraft not only had fewer engines, but no longer were engines grouped into singular pods. In December of that year, a second frame rolled out, equipped with Tumansky RD-9 engines; a notable absence of the locally-lauded Pirna. Sadly, the Pirna 014 had a nasty habit of blowing up during bench testing. Whether or not the problems were due to engine design or metallurgy are unknown, but it caused issues for the development of the aircraft.

The roll-out of the first prototype 152-V1 was celebrated on April 30, 1958. Eight months later, on December 1958, its 35 minutes maiden flight took place. The second test flight turned into a catastrophe: On March 4, 1959, the aircraft crashed 5.7 kilometers from its airfield during its landing approach. The whole crew was killed. Why this tragedy happened is obscure up to this date. The results of the scrutinizing work by an investitgation committee were declared top secret. A possible reason for the crash was a malfunctioning fuel system which caused engine failure. Also, the acceleration during the landing approach, which was unfamiliar to the pilots, may have caused the catastrophe.

The second prototype 152 V-4 was tested during two flights lasting 20 minutes each in August and September 1960. As many as 80 of there aircraft were to have been built.

Page last modified: 13-05-2018 17:50:34 Zulu