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Your copy of the "Davis-Monthan Airfield Register" with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.


Tucson Star. July 9, 1929.

This site informally summarizes his entire round-the-world journey, including a link to a map. He had quite a time!

Klemm-Daimler images with permission, courtesy of the image owner at this site.

A wonderful series of images, with German language captions, is available here. This page is a must-see. The last image on that page shows the Baron as an 80-year-old.

If you can find it, the following book:

Baron von Koenig-Warthausen, F.K. 1930. Wings Around the World , G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York. Black & white images of the Baron, right, are from the frontispiece and pages 180 and 184 of his book.

The Baron's Book, 1930

Image, above, of the dust cover of the Baron's 1930 book (from your Webmaster's library).

Jessen, Gene Nora. 2002. "The Powder Puff Derby of 1929". Sourcebooks, Inc. Naperville, IL. 296 pp.


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Friedrich Karl Freiherr Baron von Koenig-Warthausen and Copilot, ca. 1929

You're 22 years old living in Germany during the late stages of the Weimar Republic. Your well-to-do father buys you a small, very light airplane (Klemm-Daimler D-1433). You learn to fly (about 20 hours solo flight time). You decide to compete for the "Hindenburg Cup" prize offered by President Paul von Hindenburg to the amateur pilot completing the best sporting flight of the year. You figure a flight from Berlin to Moscow should clinch the cup.

Departing August 9, 1928 from Berlin you fly to Moscow, win the cup, but decide to keep on going east. So, for the next 16 months you live an adventure that few of us today can even imagine. Over a year later (after accumulating 450 flight hours and traveling 20,000 miles), on November 22, 1929, you arrive back in Germany, having circumnavigated the globe, west to east, solo, in a small airplane. IMPORTANT POINT: This was the first time anyone had ever flown around the world (for more information, please direct your browser to the links, left sidebar). And so it was.

Now comes world traveler Friedrich Karl Freiherr Baron von Koenig-Warthausen to our Airfield in Tucson. We see him in only a snapshot near the end of his global itinerary.

In his book (reference, left), his approach to Tucson was one like many contemporary pilots live through. He described it as follows (pp. 152-53).

"I had just crossed the Colorado River and was flying over an Indian reservation [the Colorado River Reservation?], when the weather changed suddenly, and great drops of rain began to come down. On account of the intense heat, even though I was not pleased at the thought of getting wet, I welcomed this shower. The clouds turned yellow and green and lightning appeared to be striking from all sides, accompanied by rolls of terrific thunder. I could see Tucson in the distance by this time, and was determined to make it. I gave my motor all the gas it would take, and as I was fairly high I could, by heading down just a little bit, fly toward Tucson with great speed. I reached the airport just in time. Scarcely had I nosed my ship into the hangar, then everything turned black and the storm broke loose with terrific fury. I stood at one of the windows of the hangar's office looking out at the downpour which raged with such force that I could not see ten feet before me on account of the sand that was being lifted high into the air."

And so he landed at Tucson at 1:50PM on July 8, 1929, and then departed the morning of the 9th at 8:00AM. His visit is newsworthy, as the following clipping from July 9th Tucson Star shows:

7/9/29 Tucson Citizen

Ahem, well, as journalists sometimes do, they skipped the copy editing and mulched the airplane name, calling it an "aero-marine clam". They meant Aeromarine-Klemm, even though this airplane was a Klemm-Daimler made in Germany, not in the United States (by the Aeromarine-Klemm Corp., which later manufactured them at Keyport, NJ). They got the cat's name correct, however.

The next eight photographs are shared with us by friend of, John Underwood. They capture von Warthausen and his airplane at different points during his flight. The first two photos (with captions) were snapped at Alameda, CA.

The Baron (R) With Wm. H. Royle, Alameda, CA, 1929 (Source: Underwood)
The Baron (R) With Wm. H. Royle, Alameda, CA, 1929 (Source: Underwood)

Below, the annotation on the back of this photograph.

Caption: The Baron (R) With Wm. H. Royle, Alameda, CA, 1929 (Source: Underwood)
Caption: The Baron (R) With Wm. H. Royle, Alameda, CA, 1929 (Source: Underwood)


The Baron, Alameda, CA, 1929 (Source: Underwood)
The Baron, Alameda, CA, 1929 (Source: Underwood)


Caption: The Baron, Alameda, CA, 1929 (Source: Underwood)
Caption: The Baron, Alameda, CA, 1929 (Source: Underwood)


Below, the Baron with two unidentified gentlemen (although the one on the left looks like Register pilot Tommy Tomlinson).

The Baron (C) With Two Unidentified (Source: Underwood)
The Baron (C) With Two Unidentified (Source: Underwood)

Below, a different view of the airplane and the same three people. Note the looseness of the fuselage fabric near the "14."

The Baron (C) With Two Unidentified (Source: Underwood)
The Baron (C) With Two Unidentified (Source: Underwood)

Below, at the end of his flight in New York.

The Baron at New York, November, 4,1929 (Source: Underwood)
The Baron at New York, November, 4,1929 (Source: Underwood)


Caption: The Baron at New York, November, 4,1929 (Source: Underwood)
Caption: The Baron at New York, November, 4,1929 (Source: Underwood)


Just after he left Tucson his journey was rudely interrupted at El Paso, TX. On July 12th, the taxicab driving Koenig-Warthausen to the airport had a major accident and he woke up in hospital. He spent about two months convalescing in El Paso. It is during this forced stay that the 1929 National Air Races passed through El Paso on August 21.

The 1929 cross-country race was the first in which women were allowed to compete. Thea Rasche, a German pilot, was among the female competitors. In Jessen's "The Powder Puff Derby of 1929" (reference, left), we find the author describing our pilot Koenig-Warthausen:

"An imposing figure paced the ramp, steadfast in the mounting wind, awaiting Thea Rasche's arrival in E. Paso. F.K. Baron von Koenig-Warthausen, taking time from his world tour in a Klemm aircraft, had diverted to Texas to encourage his fellow countryman. Unfortunately, Thea was running a lap behind and did not pass through El Paso until the next day. The Derby's managing director tried to placate the German, speaking admiringly of Thea and telling the Baron that she had exhibited rare skills." pp. 140-41

Details aside regarding his reason for "taking time from his world tour", the cat had been found in a tree unharmed (eight lives left?), and they both continued their voyage departing El Paso on September 15th.

He finished his flight across America in New York where he sailed at midnight on November 15th on the Bremen to Germany, where he docked on November 22nd. His next flight leg was to take him from Bremer Haven to Berlin. However, fog and rain forced him to make a landing in the vicinity of Hanover. He went by automobile the rest of the way to Berlin for his reception at Temple Hof Field. He was welcomed by officials of the German Government, friends and his parents.

At The Finish Line ca. November 1929

Over the next two days he received another welcome at the German Aero Club, and he was received by President von Hindenburg and presented with the Hindenburg Cup he won the year before. He then traveled to his father's castle at Sommershausen in the south of Germany where he proceeded to write his book cited in the left column (image, above, from his book). His was truly a grand adventure!



The Airplane: 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).

Klemm L20B I, D1433, Starboard


Klemm L20B I, D1433, Head On

The image, below left to right, shows the baron's father, himself, his mother and his aircraft's manufacturer, Dr. Hanns Klemm. For the era, his parents certainly allowed and endured their son's long, long leash. They must have been very proud of his accomplishment.

The Father, The Baron, The Mother, Hanns Klemm, ca. 1929


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.


Dossier 2.1.22

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/11/06 REVISED: 01/14/06, 01/17/06, 02/10/06, 10/30/07, 03/15/10

The Register

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Shanghai (China), Kobe (Japan), Tokyo. SHIP

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Bremer Haven (Germany), Hanover Berlin.



Despite the fact that he took ships part of the way, this was the FIRST solo flight around the world.


Does anyone know what happened to the Baron over the years after his flight?

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