Sunday 30 June 2013

Visitors - The German Connection (take #3)

"Wolfgang von Gronau was convinced that the Dornier Wals could be used to establish a commercial air route between Germany and the United States.  The German government was not convinced of von Gronau's ideas even after he had made two successful round trip Atlantic crossings. To prove his case, von Gronau decided to make a third crossing. Once started, he decided to extend his 3rd trip to a round-the world flight.  He hoped for world-wide recognition to get the attention of the German government for his air route ideas. 
 On July 22, 1932 in a Donier seaplane called the "Gronland-Wal" (Greenland Whale) he took off from List, Island of Sylt (northern most part of Germany) for his Atlantic crossing flight which he changed to a round-the-world flight.  He was accompanied by his co-pilot, Gerth von Roth and mechanic, Franzl Hack and radio operator, Frtiz Albrecht." (extract from THIS site).

On September 4, 1932 at 10:52 von Gronau's Wal registered D-2050 reached Nemuro in Hokkaido and then finally Kasumigaura on the same day at 15:35. At 19:33 the train took him to Ueno Station for a short but warm welcoming party at the German embassy while on the 5th they all attended a proper party held at the roof garden restaurant of the Imperial Hotel. The crew stayed in Tokyo for about two weeks visiting famous tourist sites in Niko and Kamakura.
Their plan was to start their journey around the world again on the 16th but due to bad weather conditions they took-off from Kasumigaura at 9:35 the next day flying towards Nagoya. Due to heavy rain they had to make an emergency landing at Hiratsuka finally reaching Nagoya at 15:20 where they stayed for four days. On the 21st left Nagoya at 08:40 reaching Kagoshima the same day at 13:00 and leaving on the 23rd at 8:50 and landing in Shanghai at 13:10.

Photo below from a vintage publication probably taken on September 17 in Kasumigaura. Interestingly on-line artwork shows the plane in overall "orange" colour.

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