General Information
Type "Wal"-Militär (Whale)
Function Maritime reconnaissance, Ice monitoring
Year (make) 1926 1928 1931
Crew 4 4 4
Powerplant (two)
Type Lorraine - Dietrich BMW - VI M-17F
Takeoff Power (hp) ? 730
Cruise Power (hp) 450 500
Length (m) 17.25 18.15
Height (m) 5.2 5.5
Wingspan (m) 22.5 23.2
Wing area (m2) 94.5 96.59
Weights and loads
Empty (kg) 3560? 4400 4340
Loaded (kg) 6350 7000 7000
Wing Load (kg/m2) 67 74 73
Power load (kg/hp) 7.0 5.4 5.4
Speed (km/h)
Maximum at 0m 180 186 210
Cruising at m 140 155 160
Landing 95 100 100
Turn time ?sec 40sec 40sec
Takeoff ? 22sec
Landing ? 300m
Practical ? 2000km
Flight Endurance ? 12h
Ceiling (m) ? 3200 3600
Climb (min)
1000m ? 12 11
2000m ? 28 24
3000m ? 50 43
Fuel+Oil (kg) ? 1900+160
Gun Type 2?
Position Bow & dorsal
Ammo ?
Salvo (kg/sec) ?
Bombs 4*50kg on underwing racks

"Wal" (Whale) flying boat by Dornier

44k Dornier "Wal" of the Black Sea Fleet, from AviaPress

The "Wal" was designed as a passenger flying boat for oceanic use and later found use as a military flying boat for patrol and search-and rescue duties. It featured a very rugged metal construction which made it ideal for long distance pioneering flights. Even the Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen made use of this flying boat's great reliability and range during his expedition to the North Pole. Aircraft strong flat hull allowed reliable takeoff from ice and snow. Safe landing to the unprepared ground also was a possibility.

First aircraft of "Wal" family took of on November 6, 1922 at Italy. Trial outcome was so impressive, that company immediately invested large capital into mass production. Actually, the Spanish Air Force ordered six boats even before a single Dornier Wal had been constructed. No more than a look at the blueprints was enough to convince customers!

Until 1931 most of the production took place in Italy (Pisa) because all aviation activity in Germany was prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. Special company (Costruzioni Meccaniche Aeronautiche S.A.) had been founded especially for the purpose. Later "Wal" was built by CASA in Spain, Kawasaki in Japan, Aviolanda in the Netherlands. In 1929 production started at the Dornier Company of America in the USA.

44k Dornier "Wal" "Russian Civil and Military aircraft 1884~1969" by Heinz J.Nowarra and G.R.Duval, p.72

Small scale production was undertaken in the USSR, where Sevastopol Aircraft Repair shops assembled 6 aircraft in 1931 - 1933. Production totaled over 300 aircraft. Wal boats were flying in the USSR until the late 30s as reconnaissance and bombing aircraft, on a large scale also for civil purposes.

(70k) This great shot shows the preparation of Wal aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet for their daily flying duty. Of interest are the swimming auxiliary wheels near the beach. "Die deutschen Flugzeuge in russischen und sowjetischen Diensten" Vol.1 pp95-97

Batch of 20 Dornier Wal was ordered by USSR in 1926. Delivery started in April-May 1928. First 3 were test-flown by pilot Romashkin. R.L.Bartini participated in the acceptance trials as engineer of 60th Black Sea ESCADRILIA. Black Sea Fleet in May 22 - August 11 1928 received 11 planes equipped with bomb sight V-200 (Hertz-Boykov).

July 16 - August 15 1928 A.A.Volynskij team tested Dornier Wal at Soviet North. Wal was flown from Vladivostok to Dezhnev peninsula following the shoreline. First three aircraft of Polar Aviation were Wal, later joined by YuG-1 (Ju-24). In 1933 Levanevskij flew Dornier Wal (N-8 designation) during reconnaissance flight along future course of his ill-fated effort to reach America over the Pole.

(71k) Start at Sevastopol. Two Dornier Wal flying boats, armed with bombs on the sides of the forward fuselage, are starting for a patrol flight. (20k) A group of Dornier Wal boats of the Black Sea Fleet in flight. ("Die deutschen Flugzeuge in russischen und sowjetischen Diensten" Vol.1 pp95,97)
Serial numbers of Soviet Wal boats used in the Arctic
Serial N°NameManufacturer Serial
? Sovetskij Sever
Soviet North
N-1 Komsevmorput-1 130
N-2 Komsevmorput-2 ?
N-3 Komsevmorput-3 ?
N-6 - ?
N-7 - ?
N-8 - ?
N-9 - ?
N-10 - ?
N-26 - ?
N-235- ?
N-236- ?
N-237- ?
Wal deliveries between 1926 and 1933
Year Amount Manufacturer Serials
1926 2 56, 57
1927, 1928 20 90 to 100, 127 to 135
1932 2 (minimum) 238, 239
1933 3 (approx) 240, 243, 244

Super-Wal with 2 tandems Do-18

drawing from "History of aircraft construction in the USSR" used as a background for this page;
  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR", Vol.1 p.412-413
  • "Russian Civil and Military aircraft 1884~1969" by Heinz J.Nowarra and G.R.Duval, pp.71-72
  • "Die deutschen Flugzeuge in russischen und sowjetischen Diensten" Vol.1 pp95-97
  • Links
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  • History
  • Es begann vor 73 Jahren, die Geschichte des Flughafens "El Aeropuerto de Gran Canaria"
  • Dornier Wal
  • Dornier - A Company in the Course of Time
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  • Created November 26, 2000
    with help of Thomas Heinz
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