Siebel Si 204

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Si 204
Siebel Si.204D PH-NLL Hilversum 12.03.67 edited-2.jpg
Siebel Si 204D PH-NLL displayed at Hilversum Airport in 1967
Role Light transport/trainer
National origin Germany
Manufacturer Siebel
Primary users Luftwaffe
Czechoslovakia
France
Developed from Siebel Fh 104

The Siebel Si 204 was a small twin-engined transport and trainer aircraft developed during World War II. It was based on the Fh 104. Originally designed in response to a RLM development order for a small civil transport aircraft in 1938, it was eventually produced for the Luftwaffe.

Development and production[edit]

Siebel 204 at the Kbely museum near Prague

The Si 204 was planned as a small passenger aircraft with 2 crew and 8 passengers for German airline Deutsche Luft Hansa (DLH). The development of this all-metal aircraft was initiated in 1938. The contractor was, as usual, the RLM, but the development was conducted in close collaboration between DLH and Siebel in Halle. After the beginning of the war the aircraft was re-designed as a trainer aircraft with a full "stepless" glass cockpit, with no separate flat windscreen for the pilot (much as almost all German bomber aircraft of the time were being designed), which seemed to be better for blind flying in the Si 204's case.

The first two prototypes only were delivered as passenger aircraft with the old cockpit. The maiden flight of the first prototype was before September 1940, possibly on 25 May 1940, that of the second prototype before February 1941. The third prototype was re-designed as a trainer aircraft for blind flying. As a result of this, the maiden flight was not earlier than the end of 1941 or the beginning of 1942.

At that time Siebel produced the Junkers Ju 88 under licence, and therefore only 15 prototypes were able to be built in Halle. As a result, SNCAN (Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Nord)) in France produced the A-0 pre-series A-1 production passenger aircraft between April 1942 and November 1943. Českomoravská Kolben-Daněk (ČKD) / Böhmisch-Mährische Maschinenfabrik AG (BMM) in the Czech Protectorate delivered the first blind flying trainer D-0 in January 1943 followed by the production of a further 44 D-0 pre-series aircraft. The D-1 series was begun in March 1943 by the Aero company, also located in the Czech Protectorate, and by BMM in June or July 1943. In August 1943, SNCAN also delivered their first D-1.

The production of the D-3 was started in October 1944 by the Aero company. The D-3 had wooden wings and a tail-plane made of wood and metal. In France, production of the D-1 was ended in August 1944 as a result of the Liberation. All in all 168 Si 204 were built by SNCAN. BMM produced the aircraft until October 1944 and then changed to the production of spare parts for the Si 204. The Aero company was scheduled to cease production of the D-1 in March 1945 after building 486 aircraft and then switch to D-3 only. The aircraft, however, was only built until January 1945 with 541 completed. Therefore the total production was 1,216 including the prototypes.

Variants[edit]

Siebel Fh 104
Pre-cursor to the Si 204 family, with a stepped windscreen and slightly smaller dimensions.
Si 204
Prototypes each given a separate V number; Fifteen built by Siebel at Halle.
Si 204A
Pre-production A-0 and initial production A-1 passenger transports built at SNCAN ((Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Centre) in France.
Si 204D
A blind flying trainer developed by ČKD / BMM in the Czech Protectorate; the first D-0 pre-series aircraft was delivered in January 1943 plus another 44. Production of the D-1 was carried out by Aero and BMM. D-3 aircraft were built with wooden wings and tailplanes in an effort to relieve pressure on the Aluminium supply.
Aero C-3
Postwar production in Czechoslovakia for flying (C-3A) and crew training (C-3B).
Aero C-103
Civilian passenger transport varian
Aero D-44
military transport variant.

Production figures of the Si 204 until 31 January 1945:

SNCAC NC.701 Martinet
Military transport powered by two SNECMA 12S-00 inverted air-cooled V-12 engines.
SNCAC NC.702 Martinet
Passenger transport version with stepped windscreen.
Version Siebel SNCAC BMM/ČKD Aero SUM
Prototypes 15       15
A-0   30     30
A-1   85     85
D-0     45   45
D-1   53 447 477 977
D-3       64 64
SUM 15 168 492 541 1.216

Sources: Files from Federal Archive/Military Archive Freiburg and from Lufthansa-Archive, Cologne

After the war, a production of Si 204 continued in Czechoslovakia and France. In Czechoslovakia Aero Vodochody produced 179 Si 204D, developed into military trainer variants Aero C-3A and C-3B (the later for bombardier training), passenger variant C-103 and military transport variant Aero D-44 until 1949. In France SNCAC (Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Centre), commonly known as Aérocentre, produced 240 transport NC.701 Martinets and a number (110?) of passenger NC.702 Martinets.[1] The NC.701 was distinguished by three-blade propellers and was powered by 440 kW (590 hp) Renault 12S-00 engines. The NC.702 had a modified nose.[2]

Operational history[edit]

Scrapped Siebel Si 204 at Wunstorf, Germany, 1945

The use of the Si 204D was mainly in B- and C-Schools (advanced schools) and by FÜG 1 (delivery wing of the Luftwaffe), probably as a taxi aircraft for crews who had delivered other aircraft to fighting units. The utilization in blind flying schools was sporadic; for radio schools there is no evidence of use. The Si 204A flew mainly with communications squadrons and flying services for senior officers, but also with schools.

In July 1944 five Si 204 were destined to be converted to night combat aircraft, but no further aircraft were allotted. They were probably intended for the pre-series Si 204 E-0. There is, however, no evidence that these aircraft were ever used in combat situations.

Luft Hansa received at least four Si 204: The first prototype, D-AEFR, was evaluated from March to May 1941 by Luft Hansa Prague. From spring 1942 to spring 1943 the second prototype, D-ASGU, was used on regular routes as a freight carrier.

An Si 204 was likely the last German aircraft shot down on the Western Front. At 8 PM on May 8, 1945, 2nd Lt. K.L. Smith of the 9th Air Force's 474th Fighter Group, flying a P-38 Lightning, downed a Siebel three miles southeast of Rodach, Bavaria.[3]

At the end of the war one Si 204D remained in Berlin-Tempelhof (named “Rhein”). One flew to Enns in Austria, where it was captured by the Allies. Captured Si 204s flew in a variety of roles in the Soviet Union, including with Aeroflot and TsAGI, but were all quickly phased out of service as local aircraft manufacturing was re-established.

Prototypes of the Si 204[edit]

Version Engine Usage First Flight Fate
V1 As 410 Prototype passenger plane, Reg. D-AEFR 25 May 1940? Not mentioned in November 1942, scrapped?
V2 As 410 Prototype passenger aircraft, Reg. D-ASGU Before February 1941 26.02.44 Crash Erprobungs-Stelle Rechlin
V3 As 410 Prototype Blind flying training aircraft Before February 1942 01.06.42 Crash Erprobungs-Stelle Rechlin
V4 As 411 Prototype Blind flying training aircraft, Reg. KM+GB Before November 1942  
V5   For stress testing    
V6 As 410 Evaluation As 410 December 1942  
V7 As 410 Weather reconnaissance    
V8 As 410 General flight evaluation    
V9 As 410 General flight evaluation   30.06.43 Crash School C-16 Burg
V10 As 410 General flight evaluation    
V11 As 410 General flight evaluation    
V12 As 410 General flight evaluation   13.03.44 Crash Erprobungs-Stelle Rechlin
V13 As 410 General flight evaluation    
V14 As 411 Prototype D-2    
V15 As 411 Evaluation As 411    

Operators[edit]

Military Operators[edit]

 Czechoslovakia
  • Czechoslovakian Air Force operated ex-Luftwaffe Si 204 as well as Aero C-3 built in Czechoslovakia post war.
  • Czechoslovakian National Security Guard
 France
 Germany
  • Luftwaffe
 Hungary
 Poland
  • Polish Air Force operated six NC.701s in 1949-1955 for aerial photography (received from LOT airlines)[4]
 Slovakia
  Switzerland
 Soviet Union

Civil Operators[edit]

 Czechoslovakia
  • ČSA operated post-war built Aero C-103s.
 Germany
 Netherlands
 Poland
  • Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT operated in 1947-1948 six NC.701 bought in France. Aircraft were used for aerial photography and had markings from SP-LFA to LFF.[4]
 Sweden
  • Rikets Allmänna Kartverk operated five NC.701 bought in France between 1962-1970 for mapping photography .
 Soviet Union
  • Aeroflot operated post war some captured Si 204 for transport duties.

Specifications (Si 204)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one or two pilots
  • Capacity: up to 8 passengers or up to 1,650 kg (3,638 lb) cargo
  • Length: 13.00 m (42 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 21.33 m (70 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 4.25 m (14 ft 0 in)
  • Wing area: 46 m² (495 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 3,950 kg (8,709 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 5,600 kg (12,348 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Argus As 411-A1, 441 kW (592 hp) each

Performance

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Aviafrance.com
  2. ^ Green, W. and Pollinger, G. The World's Fighting Planes. (1954) London:Macdonald & Co
  3. ^ Olnyk, Dr. Frank J. USAAF (European Theater) Credits for the Destruction of Enemy AIrcraft in Air-to-Air Combat World War 2. (Privately published 1987)
  4. ^ a b Jońca 1985

Bibliography[edit]

  • Franzke, Manfred. Siebel Fh.104/Si.204 varianten. Ilterissen, Germany: Flugzeug Publikations GmbH, 1997.
  • Griehl, Manfred. The Luftwaffe Profile Series No. 11: Siebel Fh 104/Si 204 and its variants. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publications, 1998. ISBN 0-7643-0566-2.
  • Jońca, Adam. Samoloty linii lotniczych 1945-1956 Warszawa, Poland: WKiŁ, 1985. ISBN 83-206-0529-6.
  • Smith, J.R. and Kay, Antony J. German Aircraft of the Second World War. London: Putnam, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-836-4.

External links[edit]