Dornier 17 - The Flying Pencil

By now you will have seen in the media and on tv that work is underway to recover the Dornier aircraft from the sea.  This is a complex operation that will take place over the next 3 - 4 weeks.  We are unable to be exact on dates and times as the weather could have an effect on this timescale.

As work has commenced to recover the Dornier from the sea people are asking about the crew of the aircraft. The Ministry of Defence is responsible for the investigation of all military aircraft crash sites in the United Kingdom (including those situated in UK territorial waters) and has only issued a licence for recovery of the Dornier because it is NOT a war grave. The aircraft's crew of four are all accounted for and no human remains are present in the aircraft.

More news on the aircraft recovery will be posted in the next few days but in the meantime, please see below some facts and figures on the Dornier often referred to as 'The Flying Pencil'.

Dornier 17 Dornier Aircraft Information

The Dornier 17 was constructed as a medium range bomber. The twin engine, twin fin configuration together with the narrow fuselage and shoulder-mounted engines gave the aircraft a distinctive silhouette and earned it the nickname 'The Flying Pencil'.

The Dornier 17 Z had a wingspan of 59ft (18m), and a length of 52ft (15.8m). Its empty weight was approximately 5 tonnes. The aircraft was of all metal construction with a flush-riveted aluminium alloy skin over aluminium alloy ribs, stringers and semi-circular frames.

The wings were built up on two open-section girder spars that ran through the fuselage. The spars and wing root fittings were of chromium-molybdenum steel while the flanges were made of light-alloy extrusions.

Fuel and oil tanks were placed within the wings between the two spars. The fuselage was constructed in 3 sections: the cockpit; centre-section; and rear portion. Each part of the fuselage was joined to the next by about 25 bolts mounted through flanges. Flying controls comprised hollow steel tubes, rods and fittings.

Help Save the Dornier - donate hereThe rudders and other control surfaces were fabric covered - on an aluminium alloy frame. The undercarriage was constructed from alloy steel castings and steel stampings. The engines comprised aluminium alloy pressings, drop forged nickel chromium steel crankshafts, chromium steel cylinders and lead-bronze bearings. The complete engine was mounted on a welded steel triangulated structure attached to the front spar.

If you would like to help conserve the Dornier 17 for future generations, you can make a donation here.

Karen Crick, Marketing Manager
About the Author

Karen Crick, Marketing Manager

Since joining the museum in 1998 I have worked in various roles, most recently as Marketing Manager. No two working days are ever the same in this National Museum and promoting a world class aviation collection gives a great sense of pride.

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