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Aircraft D-EHKO       
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  Aircraft D-EHKO 
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Röhlemann



Joined: 15 Mar 2020
Posts: 1
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:57 am    Post subject: Aircraft D-EHKO Reply with quote

D-EHKO

Hello world!

My name is Jürgen Röhl, and I have some bits of the history of the Klemm 35D D-EHKO to add, as my father, Helmut Röhl, rescued the plane from being broken up for firewood some 50 years ago.

The plane was built in 1940 and sold to the Swedish Air Force as trainer. Sweden was one of the very few countries that would still do any buisnes with the Nazis back then, which would turn out to be D-EHKO's luck.
When in the late nineteenfourties, civil aviation began to pick up again after the defeat of the Reich, a flying club from Kiel in northern Germany bought the plane from the Swedish Air Force and it thus became D-EHKO.

After flying the plane for a couple of years, more modern types became available and the club lost interest in it. It was sold on and ended up in the hands of a training facility of the newly founded Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr at Pinneberg, just north of Hamburg. Here aircraft mechanic apprentices would exercise on the Klemm, until room for more modern exercise pieces was required.
Around the time D-EHKO was sold on by the Kiel based flying club, a certain Helmut Röhl, then studying to become a teacher for English and history, had fallen in love with flying (and shortly after that a very pretty apprentice teacher that would become his wife a few years later). He decided that he'd much rather have planes (And preferably the interesting kind!) around him than screaming brats, and aborted his studdies to join the Luftwaffe in 1960, signing up for 12 years. He trained to become a fighter pilot, a dream which was thwarted by a health issue which was recognised shortly before he finished training. So he was grounded, and joined the staff. He had reached the rank of Hauptmann (Which equals the Captain of British and U.S. ranks) when he had some business at the Pinneberg mechanic school to do. After finding out that the now sad old beaten up Klemm he had found in the corner was about to be scrapped, he asked for its scrap value and bought it off of the school for DM 1500.- (1966 or 67, I am not sure about the exact date.)
In the following years, D-EHKO was slowly but surely restored by him and two or three kind helpers (one of which would later claim ownership rights to the plane for his help, lawyers and courts had to tell him just how wrong he was… Not so kind after all, that much is for sure.)
In 1971, D-EHKO finally was fit to take to the air again and took her new home at Bonn-Hangelar Airfield (EDKB).
My father was member of the Bundeswehrfliegerguppe, a private flying club made up of Bundeswehr members, and often joined outings with a couple of other planes in his D-EHKO. (Dad quit the club when his enrolment with Bundeswehr ended in 1972, which he quit as Major.)

D-EHKO served flawlessly and was a delight to fly, outperforming younger sports planes, even if at the cost of being less comfortable with its open cockpit and harder to handle on the ground, lacking a starter. Back then, airfield personnel and airmen still knew how to start an engine by hand, so operating her wasn't too difficult, though.
In 1972, a funny (in hindsight) incident occurred. Flying home from a meeting somewhere in the area around Münster, the engine suddenly stopped in mid air, right over Cologne's inner city. There was no fuel pressure.
My father checked the gauges and saw that the feeder tank, which was located ahead of the cockpit in the upper side of the fuselage, was empty. The Klemm 35 had two tanks, the main tank in the wing centre section and the feeder tank behind and above the engine. The engine was started on the feeder tank to assure gravity feed. After Take off, the main tank was selected. (Guess who forgot to do that this time!).
Thankfully, my father was careful enough to never fly D-EHKO at low altitudes, knowing that any engine issues would, due to the lack of a starter, require some spare altitude to help fix them. So after (finally) selecting the main tank and bringing fuel pressure back up by the hand pump that was located on the backside on the right of the instrument panel, he made use of the some 10000 feet altitude, and dived D-EHKO onto Cologne. The propeller started started to turn the engine after a tense moment and the engine caught again. The rest of the flight was without incident.

Sadly, this is the only story I remember from what my father experienced with D-EHKO.
All in all, my father loved the Klemm 35D, did a lot of aerobatics with her and would probably never have let go off her if not, well, there are bastards in the world.
I don't remember if it was due to high prices or there being no room available in Bonn-Hangelar's hangars that D-EHKO was kept in the open. Not a good idea for a wooden plane, to say the least. What was much more problematic in the end was the lack of shelter from bastards who would rob a plane's parts from an airfield. Said bastards made their way over or through the airfield's fence, took off D-EHKO's propeller, stole both instrument panels and took a crowbar to D-EHKO's back, where the first aid kit was stowed under a hatch, as if any evidence was needed that idiocy and bastard-dom weren't two sides of the same coin.
D-EHKO being damaged like this, here wings were taken off and she was put into the corner of Hangar 1of the airfield, which is where the Picture by Keith Sowter that is online here shows her in pretty sad condition. Note the ribs aft of the spar in her right wing's centre section, cracked by fellow aviators who didn't quite take care of what they were doing. I still was a toddler when I last saw D-EHKO, in exactly that state.
Dad hoped that the pink little lump his wife had produced was going to become a decent lad and interested enough in planes that he could help get D-EHKO airborne again.
Things continued to go less than perfect, though. The missus became sick with cancer, a family had to be kept together, a house was to be paid for, so D-EHKO was fairly far down the list of priorities, and finally, dad gave up hope that he'd be able to restore her a second time.
D-EHKO was swapped for A Ka6 and restored to her beautiful white-and-red appearance she would have for the rest of her time as D-EHKO. I don't remember the name of her next owner, only that he did a wonderful job with her.
She crashed in 2006 or 2007. What bits remained of her were sold to a French enthusiast, and if I remember right, she was rebuilt.
My father kept flying and teaching youngsters glider flying as much as he could, given the circumstances. On May 31st, 1984, one of his former flight pupils crashed an Astir CS into the ASK13 my father was in as flight teacher. Out of the three people involved, he was the only one for whom this incident would turn out fatal. That is why I don't remember too much of the tale of the time D-EHKO spent in his hands. I was very young and it's been long ago that I heard the stories.
At least I finally got a chance to shed some light on D-EHKO's dark ages for all you plane spotters out there. I know I have some pictures of her from those days knocking about somewhere, I hope I'll find them to scan them for you lot!
Here's Keith Sowters picture of her in the trim I knew her in. It must have been taken some time between the mid seventies and 1981:

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