Dornier, Claude Honoré Desiré “Claudius”, born on 14-05-1884 in Kempten, the son of a French wine importer and his German wife. He became a German airplane builder and founder of Dornier GmbH. His legacy remains in the few aircraft named after him, including the Dornier Do 18 and the 12-engine Dornier Do X flying boat, for decades the world’s largest and most powerful airplane. Claude Dornier was born in Bavaria where he grew up and attended school, with science being his chief interest. Claude’s first job was with Nagel Engineering Works
in Karlsruhe where he worked on strength calculations. In 1910, he joined the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin in Friedrichshafen, while he was there he met the young aircraft designer Richard Vogt, here with the flyer ace Ernst Udet
, who died in January 1979 of myocardial infarction in Santa Barbara, California, at age 84 and encouraged him to study to become an aircraft engineer. it wasn’t long before Claude Dornier was excelling at his job with Zeppelin and came to the notice of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin,
and was soon appointed his personal scientific adviser. Dornier had French nationality and was naturalized as a German in 1913. When the Nazis came to power Hermann Goering (did you know) pushed the Airplane development. Dornier focused mainly, but certainly not only, on the construction of flying boats. In 1925, polar explorer Roald Amundsen explored the North Pole in a Dornier Wal flying boat. The Do X in 1929, the largest aircraft of its timeIn 1929 Dornier introduced the Dornier Do X, the largest aircraft in the world at the time. In 1931 the aircraft, which could carry 169 passengers, flew from Germany to New York. Due to the high cost, the Do X was not a commercial success. As a result of the German rearmament, the Dornier factory expanded from 1933. At the beginning of World War II, the Dornier Do 17, along with the Junkers Ju 88 and the Heinkel He 111, was one of the most important bombers of the German Luftwaffe.
During World War II, Dornier build many Bomber planes for the Third Reich’s Luftwaffe and met Adolf Hitler
(did you know) several times. Dornier is also recognized in the history of German aviation for his unique concepts in multiple aircraft engine installations. His planes often featured double ended props on the front and the back of the planes in a push-pull configuration. The famous flyer ace Oberst, Herman Graf
came to visit his factory for special the Do 17 which was a pillar for the German Air Fleet and the Allied had a lot of problems with this plane.
A competitor of Dornier was the Dutch designer Anthony Fokker who fled out of Germany to Holland, with all his equipment and co workers in trains, at the end of the war. After his first wife Olga, born. Kramer, with whom he had two sons (Claudius († 1986), Peter († 2002)) who died of the Spanish flu in 1918, married Dornier again. From this marriage with Anna, born, Selinka, have five other sons (Silvius, Prosper († as a child), Justus, Donatus († 1971), Christoph († 2008)) and a daughter (Dorothea). After the war he was not allowed to build planes anymore and he went to the Spain of Fransico Franco, until in 1955 the prohibition was cancelled. Peter, the second oldest son of Professor Claude Dornier was also a graduate in mechanical engineering. He joined his father’s company in 1944 as aircraft constructor and was then decisively involved in the development of the German aircraft industry. Peter died almost the age of his father, 84, and the same age as his mother 85, Anna Selinka Dornier, in 2002. Peter D. Dornier , son of Peter Dornier, born in 1961 and graduate in mechanical engineering, took over responsibility for the company in the third generation. Peter D. Dornier joined his father’s company in 1989.
Death and burial ground of Dornier, Claude Honoré Desiré “Claudius”.
Claude Dornier, here with aircraft designer Ernst Heinkel
, lived and worked till his death at the old age of 84, on 05-12-1964, in Friedrichshafen and is buried with his wife Anna, born Selinka, who died age 85 on 29-08-1984, on the Hauptfriedhof of Friedrichshafen, Ehrengräber Feld 12, close to the grave of WWII Generalleutnant der Flieger, Commandeur Luftgruppe 17, in Vienna, Friedrich Arnauld de la Periére.