Aside from the development of racing cars, Ferdinand Porsche is also regarded as a pioneer in Austro-Hungarian military aviation. In 1909, the Reich Ministry of War introduced dirigible balloons into the Austro-Hungarian Army and built a military airship hangar in Fischamend. The first test flight of the M.I military airship took place on November 26, 1909. It was also named « Parseval » after the design of the Prussian Major August von Parseval. The 70 hp four-cylinder motor with three-bladed propeller and the tubular frame of the gondola were supplied by the Technical Director of Austro-Daimler, the young engineer Ferdinand Porsche. In addition to Lieutenant Berlepsch, Chief Engineer Kiefer and Captain Hintertoisser, Porsche was part of the crew on board the Parseval airship´s maiden flight.
On November 28, 1909, the Parseval´s speed was tested. At 44.5 km/h, the airship passed the test with flying colours and then flew first to Schwechat and then on to Vienna, where it circled St. Stephen’s Cathedral and then returned via Schönbrunn to Fischamend. According to contemporary stories, Emperor Franz Joseph had watched the dirigible balloon with binoculars from the Hofburg Palace and was as impressed as the general public. Between November 26 and December 23, 1909, the airship flew 16 times and covered more than 800 km. Until 1912, Parseval was twice dismantled and stored and then flown again on trouble-free training runs to Graz, Bratislava, Brno and Budapest. After 1912, one lost track of the first airship, which was also the longest-serving of a total of four Austro-Hungarian Army dirigible balloons (M.II « Lebaudy » 1910 with a 100 hp Austro-Daimler motor, M.III « Körting », M.IV « Boemches) was.
The Austro-Daimler aircraft motor was the model for the world’s first mass-produced aeroplane engine – the Austro-Daimler Type 6 (AD-6), which from 1913 already sported 120 hp (88 kW) at a speed of 1200 rpm.
Are you interested in the development of Austrian aviation and Ferdinand Porsche´s contribution? On the 28 March 2019 a lecture by Koloman Mayrhofer & DI Dr. Marcus F. Zelezny on Austro Daimler and early aviation will be held at fahr(T)raum.
You can admire the detailed gondola model with further exciting information about k.u.k aviation in our worlds of experience.
Ludvigsen, Karl (2014): Professor Porsche’s Wars, Pen Sword Military.
Ster, Rudolf/Ringl, Reinhard (2017): Die k. u .k. Militär-Aeronautische Anstalt Fischamend, Carinaverlag.
Blasi, Walter/Tötschinger, Bernhard (2017): Die k. u. k. Luftfahrttruppen, W-H Edition Winkler-Hermaden.
Wikipedia (2019), Austro-Daimler
1. Titelbild, Parseval M.I © Archiv fahr(T)raum
2. Bild, Wien 2, Praterstern (1909) © Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, 134.904B/C