When the fledgling Luftwaffe needed a primary trainer with aerobatic capability, it chose the new firm of Bücker Flugzeugbau GmbH and its Swedish chief designer, Anders Anderson, to build it. What emerged was a supremely agile biplane, with sharply raked wings. Thus the first Bü 131 Jungmann was born.
The ‘formula’ worked so well, that the Jungmann was built by the thousand for the Luftsportverband (the pre-war civil flying clubs) and the A/B Flugschulen of the Luftwaffe; some were also issued direct to fighter Geschwaderen ( e.g. the famous 1/JG54 had one on charge) as liaison machines, rather like Magisters were issued to RAF Squadrons. During the Second World War, the Jungmann toiled away in the rear areas turning out Luftwaffe pilots, but as the tide turned against Germany, these trainers were armed with light bombs (of up to 2kgs each) and used as nuisance raiders at night on the Eastern Front , to harass the rear areas of the Red Army. Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes were performing a similar function for the Russian forces.
Production licences were acquired by Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Japan, with a variety of four cylinder in-line engines substituting for the German Hirth HM 60R (80hp) or HM 504A-2 (105hp). Bü 131s were imported by Sweden, Yugoslavia, Finland, Romania, Brazil and Chile. The Jungmann was modified to take part in aerobatic championships postwar, and despite being up against Zlin and Yak aircraft built from the start for competition work, gave a good account of itself, despite not having such refinements as a lubrication system cabaple of running inverted.
This example is of the CASA-built 1-131E Series 2000, produced post-war, and is owned by Mr Trevor Reed. The Jungmann has beautifully ‘crisp’ controls, and the Series 2000 came with a strengthened structure, an upgraded Spanish ENMA Tigre engine, generator, a stronger seven-rib rudder, and the luxury of an electric starter! This meant that the Spanish Air Force was happy to use this classic biplane until 1981, after which they were eagerly snapped up by ‘warbird’ collectors.
It is shown here, parked in the sun at the Great Vintage Flying Weekend, Hullavington.