D-1433 landed at Tucson at 1:50PM on July 8, 1929, and departed
the morning of the 9th at 8:00AM. The pilot was F.K.
Baron von Koenig-Warthausen of Germany. He was on an adventure
of a lifetime: a solo round-the-world flight (the very first).
Koenig-Warthausen's round-the-world airplane is a Klemm L20B
I, Serial or Werk Nummer 14, manufactured in Germany. It carried
German registration number D-1433. It still exists today,
as a partial replica, at the Daimler-Benz Museum, Stuttgart
(images below, used with permission of the image owner).
The Klemm Factory: About 1926, Dr. Hanns
Klemm founded the Leichtflugzeugbau Klemm (LFK) (Klemm Light
Aircraft) in Böblingen. Klemm was an important employer
in Böblingen. The number of employees grew from 50 in
1928 to 250 in 1933 and to about 900 employees in 1941. The
apprenticeship program at Klemm was considered exemplary.
The Klemm company earned the reputation of being very innovative
and commercially very successful. Hanns Klemm's vision was
to build aeroplanes which, like cars, would allow a much wider
circle of people to buy and run a plane. That meant a plane
which was easy to manufacture and cheap to maintain, and ideally
also fit in a garage. All development had to be subordinated
to this primary goal.
For this reason Klemm aircraft were not spectacular as far
as horsepower and speed are concerned, but they were spectacularly
economical and practical. Almost every flyer in Germany in
the 20's and 30's learned to fly in a Klemm. In 1932, production
reached 25 planes per month. Subsidiaries were formed abroad,
among other places in the USA, Great Britain, and Sweden.
In 1933 the National Socialists came to power in Germany
and Hanns Klemm too, swept up by the spirit of national resurgence,
joined the Nazi party in 1933. He soon became overwhelmed
with the demands of the party, which took away control of
his company. He quit the party and was severely persecuted
by the Gestapo into the 1940s.
UPLOADED: 01/14/06 REVISED: 11/07/07