The Dornier Do 17 Flying Pencil (Bleistift)

Germany
Germany

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A failed civil aircraft in 1934 (for a fast mail or 6 passenger aircraft), it stood out because of its notable design. Striving for absolute aerodynamic cleanliness the Dornier designers created an extremely thin circular fuselage whose form was only broken at the cockpit: a stepped windscreen design. Because of its slenderness it became known as the "flying pencil" (German nickname "Bleistift").

The first three prototypes were returned by Lufthansa after they decided that the passenger version was too cramped and hard to enter. A former Dornier employee (Flugkapitän Untucht) happened to visit them, and tried one of the prototypes. He decided that it had potential as a medium bomber, and after verification of the German Air Ministry, Dornier was asked to produce more prototypes for evaluation Do 17 V4 till Do 17 V10 were produced, the Do 17 V9 standing as model for the first Dornier Do 17 production model, and the Do V10 a last engine test bed prototype.

The Do 17 E-1 got it's first wartime operational sorties in the Spanish Civil War, and a number of improvements were made. However, this was to no avail when World War 2 broke out, and the Do 17's suffered heavy losses in the daylight bombing raids in France and during the Battle of Britain. Generalmajor Kammhuber however saw that even though the Do 17 was inadequate for daylight bombings, it could be transformed into an acceptable nightfighter.

Versions:

Further pictures:

Dornier Do 17Z Night-Fighter in full flight
Dornier Do 17Z Night-Fighter in full flight

 

Technical data on the Dornier Do 17Z-2 bomber
Powerplant 2 × BMW-Bramo Fafnir 323P radial, rated at 1000 hp (745.49 kW) each Role during war
  • Night-Fighter
  • Medium Bomber
  • Reconnaissance Aircraft
Length 51 ft 9.67 inch Height 14 ft 11.5 inch
Empty weight 14145 lb Operational weight 18937 lb typical,
19841 lb max
Wing Span 59 ft 0.33 inch Wing Aspect ratio 5.89
Wing Area 592.03 sq ft Service ceiling 26900 ft
Maximum speed 255 mph at 13125 ft Cruising speed 186 mph at 13125 ft
Initial climb rate Climb to 3,280 ft in 3 min 18 sec Range 205 miles typical,
935 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 341 Imp gal (409 US gal) plus provision for 196 Imp gal (236 US gal) auxiliary fuel in fuselage tank Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns 7 or 8 × 0.312 inch MG 15, all trainable:
  • 2 × forward firing in windscreen
  • 1 or 2 × forward firing in the nose
  • 2 × lateral firing in the side windows
  • 1 × rearward firing in dorsal position
  • 1 × rearward firing in ventral position
Cannons -
Bomb load 2,205 lb max internal, consisting of 4 × 551 lb SC-250's or 10 × 110 lb SC-50's Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 4: pilot, navigator/bombardier/gunner, radio operator/gunner, gunner Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) Late half 1934 Operational Service 1937 - 1948
Manufacturer Dornier Werke G.m.b.H. Number produced about 1.200 all versions
Metric system
Length 15.79 m Height 4.56 m
Empty weight 6416 kg Operational weight 8590 kg typical,
9000 kg max
Wing Span 17.99 m Wing Aspect ratio 5.89
Wing Area 55 m² Service ceiling 8199 m
Maximum speed 410 km/h at 4000 m Cruising speed 299 km/h at 4000 m
Initial climb rate Climb to 1000 m in 3 min 18 sec Range 330 km typical,
1505 km max
Fuel capacity internal 1550 liters plus provision for 895 liters auxiliary fuel in fuselage tank Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns 7 or 8 × 7.92 mm MG 15, all trainable:
  • 2 × forward firing in windscreen
  • 1 or 2 × forward firing in the nose
  • 2 × lateral firing in the side windows
  • 1 × rearward firing in dorsal position
  • 1 × rearward firing in ventral position
Cannons -
Bomb load 1.000 kg max internal, consisting of 4 × 250 kg SC-250's or 10 × 50 kg SC-50's Torpedoes/rockets -

Technical data on the Dornier Do 17Z-10 night-fighter
Powerplant 2 × BMW-Bramo Fafnir 323R-2 radial, rated at 1200 hp (894.59 kW) each Role during war
  • Night-Fighter
  • Medium Bomber
  • Reconnaissance Aircraft
Length 53 ft 3.75 inch Height 14 ft 11.5 inch
Empty weight unknown Operational weight unknown
Wing Span 59 ft 0.33 inch Wing Aspect ratio 5.89
Wing Area 592.03 sq ft Service ceiling 26410 ft
Maximum speed 264 mph at 16405 ft Cruising speed 239 mph at 14110 ft
Initial climb rate unknown Range 746 miles typical,
1864 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 341 Imp gal (409 US gal) plus provision for 196 Imp gal (236 US gal) auxiliary fuel in fuselage tank Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns 5 × 0.312 in MG 17, 4 × fixed forward firing nose mounted, 1 × trainable rearward-firing in the rear cockpit Cannons 2 × 20 mm MG FF
Bomb load - Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 4: pilot, navigator, radio operator/gunner, radar operator Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) Late half 1934 Operational Service 1937 - 1948
Manufacturer Dornier Werke G.m.b.H. Number produced dorndo17
Metric system
Length 16.25 m Height 4.56 m
Empty weight unknown Operational weight unknown
Wing Span 17.99 m Wing Aspect ratio 5.89
Wing Area 55 m² Service ceiling 8050 m
Maximum speed 425 km/h at 5000 m Cruising speed 385 km/h at 4301 m
Initial climb rate unknown Range 1201 km typical,
3000 km max
Fuel capacity internal 1550 liters plus provision for 895 liters auxiliary fuel in fuselage tank Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns 5 × 7.92 mm MG 17, 4 × fixed forward firing nose mounted, 1 × trainable rearward-firing in the rear cockpit Cannons 2 × 20 mm MG FF
Bomb load - Torpedoes/rockets -

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Dornier Do 17  Flying Pencil (Bleistift)
Dornier Do 17E-1 Bomber Initial production model. It saw service during the Spanish Civil War. Powered by 2 × BMW VI High compression engines, rated at 750 hp (559 kW). Armed with a single 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) MG 15 in Dorsal and Ventral hatch positions. Max bombload of 1,102 lb (500 kg).
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17F-1 Reconnaissance Export variant for Yugoslavia, fitted with 2 × Gnome-Rhône 14N-1/2 radials, rated at 980 hp (731 kW). Later Yugoslavia built some aircraft under license. The armament of all these craft consisted of 1 × 20 mm cannon, and 3 × 0.312 inch (7,92mm) guns. Maximum bombload was 2,205 lb (1.000 kg).
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17Kb-1 Bomber Subvariant of the Do 17 K
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17Ka-1 Reconnaissance bomber Subvariant of the Do 17 K
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17Ka-2 Reconnaissance bomber Subvariant of the Do 17 K, but with different equipment than the Do 17 Ka-1.
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17M bomber Identical to the Do 17 E-1. Powered by 2 × BMW-Bramo 232A-1 fafnir radial, rated at 1,000 hp (746 kW) with use of a two-stage supercharger. One 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) MG 15 was added, a forward firing clamped/trainable gun operated by either the pilot or the navigator

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Dornier Do 17 M-1/Trop bomber Identical to the Do 17 M-1, but with provisions for use in the North African theatre by adding a Desert survival kit and sand/dust filters over the carburetor air inlets.
Dornier Do 17 M-1/U1 bomber Identical to the Do 17 M-1, but dorsal gun placement moved forward to accomodate a survival dinghy.


Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17P Reconnaissance Powered by 2 × BMW 132N radial, rated at 865 hp (645 kW). Switch to this engine was necessary because of the decision that the Fafnir engine were for fighters, and were in short supply. One 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) MG 15 was added, a forward firing clamped/trainable gun operated by either the pilot or the navigator
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17U-1 Specialized Pathfinder The experiences of the Spanish Civil War showed that the Do 17 was capable of outflying biplane fighters, but was a sitting duck for more modern monowing fighters. The engine was already upgraded with the Do 17M and Do 17P versions, but defensive armament still lacked. To upgrade this a redesign was necessary. The cockpit received a higher roof which was fully glazed, the bombardiers position was fully glazed deepened and extended, and thus provided a much better field of vision for the guns. Powerplants: 2 × Daimler-Benz DB600A
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17Z Definitive version of the Do 17, it sported a number of subvariants.
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17Z-1 Bomber Subvariant of the Do 17Z. Powerplant: 2 × BMW-Bramo 323A-1 Fafnir. 4 × 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) guns in ventral, rearcockpit, windscreen and nose positions.
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17Z-2 Bomber Subvariant of the Do 17 Z. See above for statistics.
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17Z-3 Reconnaissance Bomber Subvariant of the Do 17Z. Equal to the Do 17Z-2, but configured as a reconnaissance bomber. It was equiped with 2 rb 20/30 automatic cameras, and a max bombload of 1,102 lb (500 kg). This was the last production version.
Number built: unknown, a total of about 1200
Dornier Do 17Z-4 Subvariant of the Do 17Z. Converted to a dual-control trainer
Number converted: unknown
Dornier Do 17Z-5 Subvariant of the Do 17Z. Equiped with inflatble flotation bags and live saving equipment for operations over water
Number converted: unknown
Dornier Do 17Z-10 Kauz II (Screeching Owl) The last 9 aircraft of the Do 17 production (DO 17 Z-3) were converted to nightfighter standard. After testing the DO 17 fuselage with a Junkers Ju 88C-2 cockpit it was decided that although it worked, it was far from optimal. Dornier designed a new nose, which carried the the Spanner-Anlage IR sensor, which was capable of detecting aircraft exhausts. It was equiped with 2 × 20 mm MG FF cannon, and 4 × 0.312 in (7,92 mm) MG 17 machineguns, all fixed forward firing. The Spanner-Anlage proved to be inadequate, unable to identify friend or foe and lacking range. The Z-10's where then refitted with Lichtenstein SN-2 radar system. The Do 17Z-10 lacked too much performance which made it ineffective as a night-fighter, so after delivery of only 9 aircraft production was stopped.
Number converted: 9
Dornier Bacalao (salt pod) Dornier Do 17E-1 passed on to the Spanish Nationalist air force, and nicknamed Bacalao by them.
Number transferred: unknown
Dornier Do 215 B The Export version of the Dornier Do 17 Z, except some equipment specific wishes made by the ordering countries.
Number built: 92 total
Dornier Do 215B-1 Bomber Starting as a september 1939 order for Sweden, the German governement embargoed all export of the type. Originally called Do 215A-1, these aircraft were refitted for use as a reconnaissance bomber, power by 2 × Daimler-Benz DB 601A inverted Vee, rated at 1,075 hp (801 kW) each.
Number built: unknown, a total of 92 Do 215's
Dornier Do 215B-3 2 aircraft were sent to the USSR as part of the non-aggression pact, designated Do 215 B-3
Number transferred: 2
Dornier Do 215B-4 A reconnaissance bomber version, the Do 215B-4 was equiped with 1 Rb 50/30 camera, and 1 Rb 20/30 camera. A maximum of 1,102 lb (500 kg) of bombs could be carried. A couple of B-4's were transferred to the Hungarian air force after Germany took them out of the front-line duties..
Number built: unknown, a total of 92 Do 215's
Dornier Do 215B-5 The few successes of the Do 17Z-10 Kauz II inspired a nightfighter version of the Do 215 as well. The night-fighter was converted from the Do 215B-4 and had the same cockpit, same armament and same IR unit. The IR unit however was replaced by a FuG 202 Lichtenstein BY airborne interception radar.
Number converted: 20

Remarks:

After Germany decided that the Do 17 was no longer an option for front-line service, a number of aircraft were transferred to other countries, including Croatia and Finland. A few futile attempts were made to upgrade the Do 17 family, but proved useless.

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

 

© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 9/20/00