RUMPLER Designs Largest Plane (Feb, 1929)

There is an inverse relationship between the likeliness that a design will be produced and the triviality of the items included in the diagram. In this case someone felt the need to point out the landing lights, but neglected to include fuel tanks.

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RUMPLER Designs Largest Plane

Herr Rumpler, famous designer of Germany’s war time fighting planes, is turning his peace time activities to good account in developing the world’s largest airplanes. Rumpler, shown above in a characteristic pose at his drafting board, is now building an enormous monoplane which will have wings large enough to place staterooms in. A new blunt-nosed wing section is used to effect this design. Huge wheels, 10 feet in diameter, will be used on the landing gear. All motors will be easily accessible in flight. Navigating quarters will be in a cabin atop the wing.

The new Rumpler monoplane, now nearing completion in Germany, will have a span of 300 feet and a chord of 50 feet. It will be so large that space between the sides of each wing spar will be used for hallways, staterooms and motor compartments. A specially designed, power operated air field railway track will be constructed for housing the new giant. The cross section drawing shows the disposition of the arrangement. The plane will cruise at 82 m.p.h. A gigantic hangar is shown in the photo below with the big ship on the track. Note room for two of these monsters.

  1. Don says: November 13, 20096:47 am

    They said “Rumpler”, heh heh heh . . . .

  2. carlm says: November 13, 20097:40 am

    Besides not having a fuel tank, I wouldn’t want a huge engine right next to a stateroom. If you ever had a room next to an elevator in a hotel, imagine the sound of the engine! These stories usually mention the object of the story is being built. How come they were never seen or heard of again?

  3. Eamonn says: November 13, 20097:54 am


    About halfway down there is a tidbit about the plane. It says he never got the funding to build it. It sounds like the “nearing completion” was Modern Mechanics usual lazy reporting.

  4. John Savard says: November 13, 200912:32 pm

    Of course, in four years, Germany would turn away from peace once again. A web search allowed me to find out what happened next. Edmund Rumpler was Jewish; only due to the intervention of Hermann Goering was he kept out of a concentration camp, but he still passed away naturally in September, 1940.

  5. Myles says: November 13, 20092:40 pm

    That’s going to make a big hole when in crashes. Good thing it never went past a drawing.

  6. Tracy B says: November 13, 20093:39 pm

    You call that engine of the that era huge? I believe the max power you could get out of the engines of that time period was only 600 Hp. Only 82 mph in cruise too; today’s basic cessnas would run circles around it. Just wait until the Spruce Goose was built.

  7. Charlie says: November 13, 20093:41 pm

    Tracy B: Cessna? You could run rings about it in a Kia!

  8. Jari says: November 13, 20095:54 pm

    Tracy B: I was going to compare that thing to Spruce Goose 🙂 Some real monsters of that time were Dornier Do X and Kalinin K-7, that actually flew (or crashed on first flight, in the case of K-7…), but they have only about half of the wingspan of the Rumpler design. I tried to find some examples of engine power, but that ~600hp is good approximation. Then again, the engine development was quite rapid, and eg. 1933 Hispano-Suiza 12Y developed 760 hp. And a quick quiz: What was the displacement and hp (and other fun facts) of the most? powerful radial engine? Hints, It’s a russian, and it was used in boat.

  9. William Deering says: November 13, 20098:10 pm

    Eamonn: Thanks for steering me to that very interesting site on early European and Soviet flying wing design history.

  10. Harry says: November 15, 200912:37 pm

    I’m still trying to figure out the big Sousaphone bell above the galley.

  11. Eamonn says: November 15, 20096:30 pm

    Harry, that’s the smokestack.

  12. Harry says: November 15, 20096:43 pm

    Is it just my eyes, or did anybody else notice the asymmetry on the first page? It appears that the right wing is longer that the left.

  13. Firebrand38 says: November 15, 20098:19 pm

    Harry: Hold a ruler up the screen, one wing is definitely longer than the other. Probably just artistic license to fit all the features in one drawing.

  14. Toronto says: November 15, 20099:36 pm

    Firebrand38: That would make sense if the longer side was the cutaway, but it’s not.

    The horizontal stabilizer also looks asymetric in the drawing.

  15. Firebrand38 says: November 15, 200911:01 pm

    Toronto: Fair enough….then it was probably drawn on a Friday afternoon and approved on a Monday morning.

  16. Firebrand38 says: November 15, 200911:12 pm

    Actually you can see that the port rudder is on the center line of the fuselage while the starboard rudder is slightly inboard. Also, if you look at the oblique drawing at the top of the page, the wing tips are scalloped under at the ends and that would create the effect when the top skin is removed.

    However as I said earlier the distance from the lounge to the outermost blade on the port side of the plane is 0.9 inches (on my monitor) while it’s an even 1.00 inch on the starboard side. Whoever drew this was probably a crummy artist.

    The feature I was talking about showing was fitting in the landing wheels on the left side of the paper. To me, it was like the whole top view drawing had to get “slid” to the right to make room to show the wheel on the side view.

  17. Don says: November 16, 20099:35 am

    It’s just a drawing! It’s not like it ever flew or anything, is it?

  18. Tracy B says: November 16, 20093:18 pm

    I never thought of comparing this bird to a KIA, but there was a case when they added wings, tail, engine, etc., to a Ford Pinto and made it fly if not crash on the first try. I’ll have to look up that Russian engine. Pratt & Whitney made the R-4360 28 cylinder Wasp Major “corncob” engine that powered the KC-97 tanker, C-124 globemaster transport and B-36 Peacemaker bomber. The latter had six of those engines and later added four jets, for a total of 10 engines!

  19. Firebrand38 says: November 16, 20094:15 pm

    Tracy B: The flying Ford Pinto may be found here… with video here…

  20. Warren says: November 16, 20096:01 pm

    “A gigantic hangar is shown in the photo below with the big ship on the track.”

    ÂżQue? I see no “photo”, just another artist’s rendering of what the plane might have looked like next to a hangar that clearly didn’t exist.

    Oh well. The design is wonderfully 1930s fanciful. One imagines adventure stories being whipped up that featured a cast of brave heroes engaged in derring-do in just such an aircraft-cum-portable headquarters.

  21. Firebrand38 says: November 16, 20096:47 pm

    Warren: Looks like a photo of a scale model to me.

  22. Toronto says: November 17, 20091:08 am

    Yeah, I agree – a photo of a model.

    Seemed to spend a lot of time and effort on what amounts to the storage system, didn’t they? Lessons learned from the airship industry, I suppose.

  23. Joshua A.C. Newman says: November 17, 20093:08 am

    It’s no wonder it’s so huge. It carries 28 passengers!

    Those wingtips are total nonsense. The planform is one that was designed from experience, present on many biplanes of the day. That weird cantilevered space underneath is not only unnecessarily complex, but it eliminates much of the functionality of the wing. On the other hand, that dead space seems to only be present on the 3/4 view and not the elevation view, so clearly, someone was makin’ shit up.

    Herr Rumpler did, indeed, make a bunch of aircraft. All are more elegant than this thing, though they’re much closer to the model than the drawing.

  24. Eamonn says: November 17, 20098:54 am


    Behold! I bring the gift of diagrams, numbers, and actual technical specifications!

  25. Firebrand38 says: November 17, 200910:32 am

    Eamonn: All Hail Eamonn! Reject the shoe and follow the gourd!
    That’s a great link.

  26. jayessell says: November 17, 20091:02 pm

    Photoshop allows nearly anyone to show a VW towing a Battleship.
    Is there an app that says wings like so needs engines like so to fly?

  27. Joshua A.C. Newman says: November 17, 20091:12 pm

    It’s a great link, but I don’t see the plane in question, just a giant seaplane by the dude.

    Jayessel, I’m afraid not. That’s why there are engineers. It’s a matter of mass to accelerate; mass to lift; lift produced by a particular 3d shape of wing; and drag produced by the whole system.

    The guy *did* produce a lot of airplanes, though. We can assume that, while the logistics may have been out of whack, the theoretical construction of the planes was reasonably sound, particularly since planes get more aerodynamically efficient as they get larger.

  28. Firebrand38 says: November 17, 20091:27 pm

    Joshua A.C. Newman:
    1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: What? A swallow carrying a coconut?
    King Arthur: It could grip it by the husk!
    1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: It’s not a question of where he grips it! It’s a simple question of weight ratios! A five ounce bird could not carry a one pound coconut.
    King Arthur: Well, it doesn’t matter. Will you go and tell your master that Arthur from the Court of Camelot is here?
    1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Listen. In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?
    King Arthur: Please!
    1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Am I right?

  29. Eamonn says: November 18, 20096:26 am

    Newman, from what I’ve been able to read, that seaplane was what he was working on. There were numerous designs, and he even toyed with more than 2 hulls but it was always intended to land on water. There wouldn’t have been a runway in the world long enough to handle this beast and transoceanic planes were almost always seaplanes.

    Where the magazine got the idea of wheels I don’t know, but as others have pointed out it isn’t the most accurate diagram in the world. Modern Mechanics was known for writing up stories based on third hand accounts without any fact checking. Rumpler was a aircraft engineer, I don’t think he would have designed a plane with uneven wings and no fuel.

  30. Joshua A.C. Newman says: November 18, 200912:45 pm

    Yeah, the lack of fuel tanks was what struck me first. There’s a hallway where there should be fuel. Fuel for the 40-some hours it would take to cross the Atlantic at that speed. So we can assume that the interiors are speculative. The asymmetrical wings and off-center vertical stabilizer are rendering errors that probably come from the same lack of care.

    But the model seems like a real model, which doesn’t strike me as something Modern Mechanix would have made.

  31. Toronto says: November 18, 20092:37 pm

    I, for one, intend to use one of the inner tubes from those ten foot tires on my next vacation trip.

  32. Tracy B says: November 18, 20092:49 pm

    I wonder what the gross weight of the plane was using those 10 foot tires. The first two B-36 planes also had those huge single wheel main landing gear. Only three airport runways could handle that airplane with out buckling the pavement. Later B-36 aircraft went to a four wheel landing gear assembly similar to what is used with many aircraft these days. Interestingly, the B-36 was also tested with track-type landing gear.

  33. Harry says: November 18, 20094:48 pm

    Toronto and Tracy B; I remember playing on a B-36 inner tube in the early 1960s. It was HUGE! We took it out in the ocean and nearly floated away. Great fun, but more dangerous than we realized.

  34. Firebrand38 says: November 18, 20096:12 pm

    Harry: It was something http://www.air-and-spac…
    Those were the first tires on the XB-36 http://www.air-and-spac…
    From a terrific B-36 website http://www.air-and-spac…

  35. William Deering says: November 18, 20097:15 pm

    Thanks Eamonn and Firebrand38 for leading to the respective good links of http://www.flightglobal… and http://www.air-and-spac…

  36. Tracy B says: November 19, 20096:49 pm


    Those are great websites.

  37. Firebrand38 says: November 19, 20097:28 pm

    Tracy B: Nice of you to mention it. You’re quite welcome.

  38. jayessell says: November 21, 20097:55 pm

    Here’s a webpage with photos of the gigantic Russian aircraft that may or may not have been used in WWII.…

    Not sure about the pictures with the Flying Saucer.

  39. Jari says: November 28, 200912:12 pm

    jayessell: That’s the Kalinin K-7 I mentioned in #8. Here’s more:…

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