Will the warbirds return to Friedrichshafen in 2019?

The carbon-composite SkyLeader UL-39 Albi two-seater, ultralight concept presented in 2017 was not seen in 2019. However, other aircraft were on display from its manufacturer Zall Jihlavan Airplanes of the Czech Republic.

SkyLeader UL-39 Albi from Zall Jihlavan Airplanes
SkyLeader 600 all metal 2-seater from Zall Jihlavan Airplanes.

The JH Aircraft Corsair is a replica of the legendary Vought F4U Corsair American fighter aircraft certified to LTF-L German civil airworthiness requirements and U.S. American FAR part 103 regulations. It returned in 2019 and is available in a ready-to-fly aircraft as well as kit form.

Corsair replica from JH Aircraft
Ultralight Corsair replica from JH Aircraft of Germany.

Marketed as “a fighter jet design in a luxurious form,” the desert camo plumed TL Ultralight Stream was seen again in 2019 suspended in its hangar/hall at Messe.

Desert cammo plumed TL Ultralight Stream
The TL Ultralight Stream from the Czech Republic.

The Stampe SV4-RS from Ultralight Concept in Belgium is a light-sport full scale replica of the 1930s Stampe-Vertongen SV4b. It returned in 2019 and is available ready-to-fly at under €100,000.

Ultralight Concept Stampe SV4-RS
Ultralight Concept Stampe SV4-RS replica.

While two examples of the T-131 PA Jungmann were present at Aero 2017, Air Res did not show in 2019. The T-131 is a stunning replica of the Bücker 131 offered by the flight school and maintenance operation of Air Res Aviation of Poland.

T-131 PA Jungmann from Air Res Aviation
T-131 PA Jungmann from Air Res Aviation in 2017.

The ChemTools T-28 Trojan seen in 2017 was scrubbed and the company branded Extra EA-330LT was on exhibit in its place in 2019.

ChemTools Extra EA-330LT
ChemTools of Germany’s Extra EA-330LT aerobatic and touring aircraft.

The Tomark Viper SD4 is an all-metal two-seater microlight/LSA aeroplane seen again at Aero 2019. The company is pitching the SD4 as a Primary Air Force trainer.

Tomark Viper SD-4
Tomark Viper SD4 from the Slovak Republic.

Blackshape, though neither vintage nor warbird, presented two exciting aircraft including the full carbon fiber framed high performance two-seater Prime alongside Gabriél. The latter, powered by Lycoming, was pitched as an airline trainer. According to Blackshape, “both aircraft have been inspired by cutting edge approaches in military training syllabuses.”

Blackshape Gabriél
Blackshape Gabriél and Blackshape Prime are built in Italy.

The Zeppelin is ever-present at Messe Friedrichshafen. This year the Europa Park logoed Zeppelin was tethered at the airfield. Based at Bodensee Airport adjacent Zeppelins are available for scenic flights of the area.

Europa Park Zeppelin
Europa Park Zeppelin at Bodensee Airport in Friedrichshafen.

Again, a newly manufactured Junkers F13 was present, this time on the aircraft’s 100th anniversary. It was the second in a contemporary minting of the Junkers F13 being built from original drawings. The F13 was developed in Germany at the end of World War I and first flew in 1919. Like other manufacturers of civil aircraft immediately after World War I, Junkers was faced with competition from the very large numbers of surplus warplanes and the F13 was the company’s answer.

Junkers F13
Junkers F13 newly manufactured aircraft from Junkers Flugzeugwerke in Switzerland.

A newcomer to Aero 2019 was the Bücker 133 Jungmeister, an advanced trainer of the Luftwaffe in the 1930s. This one is named for Liesel Bach, a German aerobatic pilot and flight instructor, and the first woman to fly over Mount Everest.

Bücker Jungmeister Liesel Bach
Bücker Jungmeister “Liesel Bach” at Aero 2019.

Inside the Dornier museum at Bodensee Airport one can learn about the Do-27. TQ Avionics, based in Germany, is well aware of the importance of this classic high-wing taildragger. Built for military use in a light utility role, it’s a heavy hauler, and compared to similar STOL-capable it’s a standout, which correspondingly reflects the diverse capabilities of TQ Avionics’ parent company, TQ Group. The company has recently purchased a Do-27, and while it will based in the U.S. one can expect to see it in many places including North American fly-ins and cameoing in international press.

Dornier Do 27
The Dornier Do 27 first flew in 1955 and was the first mass-produced aircraft in Germany after World War II.

In 1919, ground trials began for the Siemens-Schuckert R.VIII bomber. In 2017, Siemens brought the Magnus eFusion aircraft to Aero. The eFusion fully electric design was unfortunately lost in a test flight accident in June 2018. But at Aero 2019, the Magnus returned.

Magnus Fusion
The Magnus Fusion from Hungary.

Trig Avionics displayed a pair of Pitts S-1D Specials at Aero 2017. These aircraft have since been retired and their pilots have ventured into an organization called Ultimate Warbird Flights offering experiences in a variety of warbirds including Supermarine Spitfire, TF-51D Mustang, ME109 (Hispano Buchón) Hawker Fury, Hawker Hurricane Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, and North American T-28 Trojan.

A pair of Pitts S-1D Specials
A pair of Pitts S-1D Specials.

A newcomer to Aero 2019 was the ScaleWings Mustang. The company’s SW-51 Mustang replicates the historic North American P-51 Mustang in ultralight and experimental kit versions. It is produced in Poland and Germany.

ScaleWings SW-51 Mustang
The ScaleWings SW-51 Mustang 70% replica.

This Focke-Wulf 190 A 5 was spotted at Aero 2019.

Focke-Wulf 190 A 5
Focke-Wulf 190 A 5 at Aero 2019.

Tecnam brought its new P2002JF MkII CS-23 / FAR Part 23 certified fully IFR trainer in silver military camo.

P2002 Sierra MkII
The P2002JF Mark 2 from Tecnam of Italy.

Jets and helicopters were display by the German military at Aero 2019.

German Luftwaffe Tornado
German Air Force (Luftwaffe) Panavia Tornado multirole combat aircraft on static display.
German military helicopter
German Army (Deutsches Heer) Eurocopter EC135 T1 helicopter in the halls of Messe Friedrichshafen.

The stealthy looking Nexth aircraft from Aero & Tech of Italy will be German LTF-UL certified and constructed of faceted aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber components.

The stealthy Nexth
The stealthy Nexth from Aero & Tech of Italy at Aero Friedrichshafen.

© Mike Taylor. Contact mtay.us for re-publication and hi-res images.

Aero Friedrichshafen 2019 Show Capsule


Aero 2019 was held again at Messe Friedrichshafen on the northern banks of Lake Constance in central Europe. The exhibition delivers a consistently pleasing balance of trade fair, camaraderie, progress, esprit de corps, solidarity, and fine cuisine. It lacks the enormity, nay listless spectators and petulant weather, of comparable shows in the U.S.; and that’s just fine with the vendors and punters it’s intended to draw.

Europeans categorically think of General Aviation (GA) as those aircraft not used in scheduled or chartered air traffic, essentially characterizing them as “sport” aircraft with the occasional appendage of “utility.” Much of what might be characterized as purpose-built aircraft in the U.S. are simply folded into sport aviation in Europe, and this is particularly evident at Aero. Style is pervasive, flair dominates, and a strong sense of nationalism and personality distinguish one European offering from another.

Take for example the Blackshape Gabriél. This aircraft is an outgrowth the company’s Blackshape Prime, popular for sport flying. Co-branded with Transavia, Gabriél is a prime example of the crossover between sport and utility as its intended role is training for the airline. Stylish Italian design teamed with Transavia, an Air France/KLM subsidiary, to promote the Gabriél as a flight training platform.

Ultralight aviation also characterizes a large part of GA in Europe where it maintains a distinctly different certification class from the U.S. Aero is dominated by light aircraft. However, at this show this distinction may refer to multiple certification standards, including Ultralight (UL), Very Light Aircraft (VLA), the U.S. standard Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA), and a large number of small EASA CS-23 / FAR Part 23 certified aircraft. Examples include the Shark from Letisko of the Slovak Republic,“a type of airplane that flies safe and efficient,” and the Fly Synthesis Syncro LSA and UL from Italy.

General aviation in Europe also flourishes at the intersection of speed and style. More examples at Aero included the Tomark Viper SD4 all metal two seater from Slovak Republic, and the colorful Belmont Patino from Latvia.

AERO Friedrichshafen is “Europe’s largest exhibition for general aviation, and with regard to innovations and premieres, it’s the industry’s foremost exhibition in the world,” said Messe Friedrichshafen CEO, Klaus Wellmann. He speaks the truth with respect to sheer numbers of aircraft at an indoor exhibition, and in particular 1- to 2-place aircraft. The show makes its mark with a dose of European flair, for example, the TL 3000 Sirius by TL Ultralight and the VL-3 Evolution JMB Aircraft greeted visitors with beauty and style.

Aero offers more.

While the most crowded areas at Aero, namely the corridors connecting Halls A3 through A6, were designated for general aviation services, equipment, engines, pilot supplies, and avionics (including Garmin, which is gaining a foothold in Europe) there were many other interesting areas to browse.

Twelve large hangar halls at Messe Friedrichshafen are complemented by an outdoor static display area populated by pre-owned aircraft for sale, a small collection of military and historic aircraft, and the Europa-Park Zeppelin on the adjacent airfield. German military technology was on display at Aero. Inside were search-and-rescue and law enforcement helicopters. Outdoors was a German Luftwaffe Tornado.

Europe loves its gliders, such as the L23 Super Blaník all-metal glider remake. In 2019 the “sailplanes” displays were moved to Hall A1 at main entrance.

Eastern and Western Europe differ ideologically according to Christoph Becker, editor of FliegerRevue magazine, speaking specifically with regards to a fascination for aviation. The East is rife with engineering, design, development and has a long manufacturing history in this industry. For non-German speakers, I was told, the aircraft featured in FliegerRevue provide “aviation eye-candy.”

Junkers Flugzeugwerke from Dübendorf is one of the Swiss aircraft makers represented at the Aero. The company is currently building a second replica of the six-seater Junkers F13, an all-metal transport plane originally constructed in 1919. A recently completed F13 is flying under the Rimowa moniker. The company hopes to produce at least five units of this classic design from original blueprints.

When old and new technology meet, the results are some interesting aircraft that seem to exist without any particular reference to time and place. Those at Aero include the Bücker Bü 133 Jungmeister Liesel Bach on display and the FK12 Comet tandem folding-wing biplane produced in Germany.

Power to the piston

Sustainable and e-flight (electronic flight) continue to be nascent technologies in the aviation world. However, a newly vinted and unusual-looking aircraft featured at AERO was the “flying wing” made by Horten Aircraft from Eisenach, Germany. Another notable design presented at Aero was the vertical take-off and landing e-flyer AutoflightX which, figuratively speaking, plans to elevate transport.

Two sides of the Altantic

North American and European aviators maintain a strong bond. This is evidenced by nearly every vendor at Aero. They are well aware that their market is not limited to one continent. Airplus of Germany, which markets unique products for aircraft performance and customization, is responding to overwhelming demand for installation of ADS-B equipment in the U.S. by providing this capability on business aircraft flown to Europe.

A number of exhibitors at Aero 2019 admitted to being travel-worn, having just arrived from a week in Florida at the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in. Back-to-back shows this year put a strain on personnel. Curiously, though perhaps favorably, the two shows will occur at the same time in 2020 making it imperative that duties be divided, rather than sweeping. Aero Friedrichshafen 2020 will be held April 1–4.

A condensed version of this article was published in General Aviation News, May 23, 2019.

AERO Friedrichshafen 2019 Photo Highlights