Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Austria - 1917 Lloyd 40.08 Luftkreuzer

Those Crazy Austrian Odd Birds and Why We Love Them

Sometimes you see something which tickles your humor gland. For me it usually is one of the bizarre designs by an Austrian madcap designer.

It makes me think of a bad joke. "An Austrian aircraft designer walks into the Luftfahrtruppen office with a brick which has 8 wings pasted on it. The clerk asks 'What it is?'; The designer says 'It is a revolutionary new fighter aircraft design.' The clerk looks at it again and says 'Wunderbar! We need 200 of them! How quickly can you get it into production'?"

Forget about functionality, forget about aerodynamics and some cases forget about it actually flying at all. These planes are more sculpture than aircraft. Rube Goldberg must be smiling somewhere.

I had been hunting down information on this bird and luck was with me. I want to thank Lord K. from Dieselpunk for the missing pieces to the puzzle. I was able to find a rough line drawing photos, and a dodgy color drawing to guide me in making this profile.

The Lloyd Luftkreuzer was a very bizzare and unsuccessful triplane bomber which was first proposed in 1916. It was plagued with design flaws which were never solved to the degree that never let it leave the ground. It never made it past the prototype stage of development.

The prototype Lloyd Luftkreuzer was based on the requirement of LFT (Luftfahrtruppen) to develop a modern and powerful bomber powered by three engines. In August of 1915 LFT approached two companies, Lloyd and Oeffag Phönix who were awarded funding to construct two prototype triplane heavy bombers. The machine should be driven by one powerful engine in the main hull and two engines in smaller side mounted boom style fuselage. The next requirement was the ability to carry a 200 kg bomb load and endurance of at least 6 hours. Defensive armament would provided by four machine guns, two of the guns should be mounted on the main fuselage and the other two guns would be mounted in the side hulls.

In January of 1916, Ungarische Lloyd Flugzeug und Motorenfabrik AG was supplied with the first drawings and specifications for two triplane bombers called Luftkreuzer I (type I, LK), designation was changed to the Lloyd 40.08 and the Luftkreuzer II (type II, LV) was renamed the 40.10 Lloyd. The name "Luftkreuzer" means Sky Cruiser.

Lloyd 40.08 Luftkreuzer

The aircraft was a triplane with unequal span wings. The upper wing had a span of 23.26 meters and a width of 2.40 m. The middle wing was 22.38 m long and 2.20 meters wide. The lower wing span was 16.84 meters and 2.00 meters wide. The middle wing was mounted to the bottom of the booms and center fuselage. The upper and lower wings were connected by struts and bracing. The gap between the two upper wings was 2.10 meters and the two bottom gap was 1.75 meters. The total wing area was 110 square meters. Below the main body between the upper and lower wings was an enclosed gondola, apparently the bombardier rode in this position

The forward section of the central fuselage had a large enclosed cabin for two gunners. The design provided an excellent field of vision in all directions. In the rear section of the main hull there was a engine compartment for the 12 cylinder 300 hp Daimler water cooled engine, driving a wooden two-blade pusher propeller.

The gun stations were also equipped with a spotlight. The side hulls were built from modified Lloyd C. II fuselage. Both were fitted with a six-cylinder water cooled inline Daimler engine producing160 hp each. Both ot the two blade wooden propellers revolved in the same direction.

The machine was completed on June 8, 1916 and was ready for engine testing at the airport in Aszód. The aircraft was found to be very nose-heavy and the center of gravity was too high. During ground tests prototype suffered some minor damage when it nosed over and flipped. This prompted a redesign of the chassis and the addition of a third wheel under the nose to keep it from toppling nose first into the ground. After the redesign the prototype was ready for its test flight in October of 1916,. Oberleutnant Antal Lany-Lanczendorfer was the test pilot for the flight. The flight seems to be unsuccessful because there is no evidence that the aircraft actually got airborne. In early November Flars (Fliegerarsenal) considered reducing the bomb load in order to reduce the total take-off weight. Development continued at a snail''s pace. In December Flars recommended the installation of additional chassis rails. These were added to the main undercarriage.

In March 1917 Lloyd applied for a revision of the airplane, but the application was rejected and the work came to a halt. The Lloyd 40.08 airframe placed in storage until January of 1918 when it was ordered to be transported to aircraft cemetery in Cheb.


  1. Knights of the Air Made in Hungary
  2. Lloyd 40.08 Valka Cz
  3. Grosz, Peter, The Austro-Hungarian Army Aircraft of World War One. Flying Machines Press, 2002, ISBN 1-891268-05-8


kingsleypark said...

Is it any surprise that there is no evidence the thing flew?? That has to be one of the weirdest and ugliest designs I have ever seen.

I laughed at the comment "very nose heavy" - you can say that again!

And even I, who has absolutely zero knowledge about aerodynamics would have been happy to have bet money that it wouldn't have got off the ground.

I'm sure it was not the only unsuccessful design of the war but by heck it's ugly

W. I. Boucher said...

Well to be fair on the initial test the tail made it off the ground. However that is because the aircraft nosed over and flipped.

What amazes me is there had been lots of experience by the time they built it. It would seem reasonable that they would have looked what other nations were building. Instead it never occurred to them that their designs were worthless.

What is the word I am looking for.... Iconoclastic? no.. Visionary? ummmm no.. Delusional? Spot on!

The Angry Lurker said...

I'm sorry but this is beautiful, bizarre but beautiful.

Jacob said...

Haha, I wouldt get in that contraption for a million bucks!

W. I. Boucher said...

I agree Fran, it has certain charm. It is like an 19th century idea of what a futuristic 20th century aircraft would look like. I would love one in my yard, not to fly, just sit in and have a few pints.

@Jacob, imagine being the bombardier on this plane, you would soon get religion praying you cleared the tree line in time. at least the windows are side mounted so you can not see what is coming at you.