Two famous names from German aviation history staged a comeback at the Aero '97 show, with the presentation of new prototypes from Zeppelin and Junkers.

The general-aviation show, in Friedrichshafen, Germany, from 23-27 April, featured the public debut of the Zeppelin New Technology (NT) airship, the LZ N07. Munich-based Junkers, meanwhile, displayed a prototype of its Ultima two-seat ultralight aircraft.

The LZ N07 is a 75m-long rigid airship with room for 12 passengers and two crew, and it is due to have its maiden flight in the third quarter of this year.

Zeppelin expects full German certification to FAR part 23 standards in late 1998.

The company has preliminary contracts for five craft from three German customers and one in Switzerland. The first series-produced Zeppelin NT will go to newly founded Skyship Cruise in Switzerland, which will use it for tourism, advertising and promotional work.

Plans are being drawn up to build a production hangar at Friedrichshafen Airport; this should be ready for use by the end of this year.

The helium-filled airship has a primary structure of aluminium and carbon-fibre composite, less than half the weight of those of previous rigid airships. It is powered by three swivelling, 149kW (200hp) Textron Lycoming IO-360 piston engines, and is expected to have a maximum speed of about 70kt (130km/h) and a ceiling of 8,200ft (2,500m).

Meanwhile, Junkers displayed an improved second prototype of its two-seat Ultima, which the company says will have its first flight within a month.

The aircraft differs from the first prototype in having a redesigned fin and lighter carbon-fibre wings, moving away from the earlier use of canvas over a carbon-fibre composite frame.

Junkers expects the aircraft to be granted German certification within three months, and hopes to follow this with JAR very-light-aircraft certification for the export market. The aircraft is to be on the market from the start of 1998.

The Rotax 912-powered Ultima has an empty weight of 274kg, and a 450kg maximum take-off weight. The aircraft has a maximum speed of 135kt, with a range of about 1,100km.

The company has five options for the aircraft, which has a basic DM120,000 ($70,000) price tag.

Source: Flight International