Friday, 19 October 2012

Flitzer Biplanes of New Zealand

The Flitzer series of biplanes are nostalgic open cockpit biplanes designed to represent a mythical 1920's German design of the Staaken Aircraft Company of Berlin.  In fact they are designed by Welsh artist and long-time pilot Lynn Williams, who revealed the truth behind his prototype Z1 in an announcement on April Fools Day in 1996.  Flitzer means streaker or dasher in German.

The Flitzer series includes the Z 21 and Z 21A which has a wider 24 inch cockpit, the Z 1R (with a Rotec 2800 radial engine) and Z 1S aerobatic "Stummelflitzers", the Z 21M Meteor Speedwing, and the Z 2 "Schwalbe" 2 seater (which is in development).  They can be built with a square tail or a round tail.

The Z 21 has a wingspan of 18 feet 1 inch and a length of 14 feet 9 inches.  Its empty weight is 480 pounds and MAUW is 750 pounds.  It is designed for engines between 50 - 80 HP.

There is a very good website detailing Flitzers worldwide, at: .  According to this site there are 8 Flitzers flying (although there could be more), with many more being built.  They all seem to have their own versions of 1920's German aircraft history.

In New Zealand we have one Flitzer to date, being Max Saunders ZK-FZR (c/n Z-067), which is a Z 21A model that was first registered on 5/4/11.  (There is another Z 21A being built by Brian Anderson of Havelock North, as a round tail version).  It is powered by a Great Plains 2.2 litre VW engine mated to a Brent Thompson propellor.  Max has flown around 25 hours in his aircraft to date and says it flies beautifully.

Max's aircraft has its own 1920's German "history", being marked up with the script:  Staaken Flugzigbau AG, Zepplin Werfthalle, Staaken bei Berlin and having the Staaken logo.  It is named Elfega" which is a German ladies name meaning brightness in the heavens, and it features dual English/German cockpit placarding.

I like the cut of its jib!

Thanks very much to Max Saunders for the photo, which was taken at Flitzer Base Otaki.

1 comment:

  1. Nice plane, really should be quite an experience to pilot.