The Mystery Airplane
CASA 1.131E (Bucker Bu-131) Jungmann
April 1, 2020
Carl Bucker, a World War I German naval aviator, founded Svenska Aero in 1921. He returned to Germany along with Swedish designer Anders Andersson in 1932. Established at Berlin-Johannisthal, Bucker produced a series of fine aerobatic and training aircraft, including the Jungmann, Jungmeister, and Bestmann, many of which served with the Luftwaffe and were manufactured under license in other countries.
The prototype Bu-131 was first flown on 27 April 1934 by Joachim von Koppen. Early models were delivered to the Deutscher Luftsportverband for civilian training. Luftwaffe deliveries of the Bu-131B with the more powerful 105 hp Hirth began in 1935, being assigned to primary training schools. Although replaced toward the end of the war with the monoplane, enclosed cockpit Bu-181 Bestmann, the Jungmann soldiered on, being assigned to night ground attack units on the Eastern Front. Wartime license production took place in Japan and Switzerland, post-war license manufacture took place in Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, and as with our subject aircraft, in Spain.
Construcciones Aeronauticas SA, the main Spanish aircraft company, built German aircraft under license during and after World War II, including the Gotha Go-145, Bu-133, Bu-131, Ju-52/3m, and He-111H. Production of the Bu-131, as the CASA 1.131E, began in 1939 and continued until 1963, with 550 built, the 125 hp ENMA Tigre G-IV replacing the German Hirth. Designated E.3B by the Spanish Air Force, it remained in service until the mid-1960s. The Jungmann in this Oshkosh 2019 photo is serial number 427, N4270, built in 1959. It was re-engined with a Lycoming O-320 and is currently owned by Edwin Campbell of Hookstown, Pennsylvania.
This month’s honors go to Doug James of Scottsdale, AZ, who noted it was a Spanish version switched to a Lycoming. The Jungmann is a highly valued aerobatic aircraft, said to have well balanced, responsive controls. In over 45 years of photographing aircraft, I’ve run across German, Spanish, Czech, and Swiss-built examples of this classic biplane. Blue skies and fair winds. Fly Safely