A pioneering era: from adventure to routine operations
Fly in open aircraft, in the dead of winter? Could such a thing really be possible? It just had to work. And the time was now: the beginning of the 1920s, right after the war. Politicians and journalists were the first to crouch on uncomfortable planks, “air-cooled” and surrounded by mail bags and parcels. They were real pioneers. But it wouldn‘t be long until they‘d be sitting in full-fledged passenger aircraft, equipped with heated cabins.
By now a number of a small aviation companies had sprung up in Germany. Their aircraft made wobbly trips, back and forth, from one city to another – preferably along rail lines and during the day. Pilots didn‘t have radio contact with the ground yet. Only two airlines survived the all-out competitive battle: Deutscher Aero Llyod and Junkers Luftverkehr. For the subsidies-paying German state, however, this was still one too many. After the two joined forces to found “Deutsche Luft Hansa AG” on January 6, 1926, the flight path started to point upward.
With the introduction of the summer timetable 1928, Lufthansa offered a special air freight service: During certain periods of the year, the airline operated daily cargo flights covering a route network measuring 3,855 kilometers.
Before takeoff: A mechanic still had to crank the engine by turning the propeller – here on a Junkers F13. He then had to duck double-quick to avoid being hit by the spinning propeller. A dangerous job.