The Junkers CL.I could have been so much more had it not been for production difficulties encountered in war time Germany.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
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The Junkers CL.I was something of a break-through aircraft design for its time, appearing during the latter stages of World War 1 (1914-1918). Due to production difficulties in war-torn Germany, the aircraft saw only limited manufacture numbering less than 50 units. Junkers approached the CL.1 with a largely metal design coupled to a low-wing assembly - this at a time when manufacturers favored fabric-over-wood aircraft utilizing an upper and lower wing assembly (biplane).
Development of the CL.1 was formed along the lines of the preceding all-metal designs in the Junkers D.I and the J.I. The CL.1 was given a standard operating crew of two seated in tandem with the pilot in the forward open-air cockpit and his gunner/observer in the rear cockpit. The engine was mounted at the front in the usual way with a single-finned tail unit at the rear. Power was served from a Mercedes D.IIIa series 6-cylinder, liquid-cooled, inline engine developing 180 horsepower. This, coupled to the airframe design, provided a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour with a service ceiling reaching 19,600 feet. The aircraft featured an armament suite of 3 x 7.92mm machine guns - two fixed, forward-firing and the third on a trainable mount in the rear cockpit - as standard along with provision for antipersonnel grenade dispensers mounted under the fuselage.
Despite the revolutionary design, German factories were heavily experienced in the rapid construction of fabric-over-wood aircraft and found the metal design of the CL.1 difficult to incorporate into well-accepted practices. The promising CL.I therefore foundered and held little impact by war's end. Despite the CL.1's failed showing, the concept of all-metal construction in aircraft grew into the norm heading into the interwar years. Indeed, all-metal aircraft were the norm during World War 2, making fabric-over-wood mounts largely obsolete.
Status Retired, Out-of-Service
[ 47 Units ] : Junkers - Germany
25.92 ft (7.9 m)
39.50 ft (12.04 m)
8.69 ft (2.65 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Junkers CL.I production model)
2,315 lb (1,050 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Junkers CL.I production model)
1 x Mercedes D.IIIa 6-cylinder liquid-cooled inline engine developing 180 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Junkers CL.I production model)
100 mph (161 kph; 87 kts)
19,685 feet (6,000 m; 3.73 miles)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Junkers CL.I production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
2 x 7.92mm machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mounts on fuselage.
1 x 7.92mm machine gun on trainable mounting in rear cockpit.
Antipersonnel Grenade Dispensers.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Junkers CL.I production model)
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