Richard Vogt (aircraft designer)

Richard Vogt (aircraft designer)

Dr. Richard Vogt (19 December, 1894 - January 1979) was a German engineer and aircraft designer. He is well known as a designer of unique warplanes, including an asymmetrically-shaped reconnaissance aircraft and a nuclear-powered bomber, [ [ "Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Part III"] , by Jim "Twitch" Tittle, on, 04 October 2001. Retrieved 16 April 2008.] during and after World War II.


Richard Vogt was born in Schwäbisch Gmünd, a town in the German imperial state of Baden-Württemberg, on 19 December, 1894. He was the seventh child of twelve siblings. He was admitted to school of universal literacy education in Stuttgart-Cannstatt. When he was a student of the school, he had an opportunity to know Ernst Heinkel and to achieve his first aeronautical experience, which aroused his enthusiasm for flying.

In 1912, when he was 18 years old, Vogt made his first aeroplane. With the draft plane he tried to give first flight tests through the help of his friend. He carried out the plan with a permission of the authorities concerned in the heath of Mutlangen, neighboring town of Schwäbisch Gmünd. Unfortunately the trial which was performed under observation of Ernst Heinkel ended unsuccessfully.

After graduated from high school, he worked for a year at an engine factory in Ludwigshafen.

With the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted in the ranks of the German Empire. However, he injured in action and returned home. Then he received a pilot training in Halberstadt at his own request. He was discharged from military service in August 1916, and was able to work on projects at the Zeppelin works in Friedrichshafen. In the company he met with Claudius Dornier. Vogt was impressed by him and encouraged to be an aircraft designer. After the war, he completed the two-year course at the Technical University in Stuttgart, and successively was an assistant of Professor Baumann at the institute of aeronautical and automobile systems until 1922. In the period he got his first patent, and received a doctorate degree. He began his career as an aircraft designer.

On behalf of Claudius Dornier, Vogt was briefly sent to Italy. And then from 1923 to 1933 he was dispatch to the Kawasaki Dockyard Company Limited (Kawasaki Aircraft) in Kobe, Japan, licensed manufacturer of Dornier aircraft. In Japan he was appointed chief designer, and trained a Japanese young engineer Takeo Doi who later designed the Ki-61 "Hien" to be his successor. During the period Vogt designed several models including KDA-5 Army Type 92 biplane fighter plane, KDA-2 Army Type 88 biplane reconnaissance, KDA-3 single-seat fighter, and renovated type of KDA-5 Army Type 92-I biplane fighter (worked with Takeo Doi).

In 1933 he returned to Germany accepting an offer from the Blohm & Voss shipyards that invited him to be a head engineer for the aircraft department. His first work in Blohm & Voss was the Ha 136 monoplane trainer. His second design was the Ha 137 dive bomber with inverted gull wing. This aircraft did not succeed, but was equipped some challenging technologies. The attractive cantilevered wings had a rectangular- or square-shaped all-metal tubular spar in which main fuel tank was integrated. The peculiarity of the Ha 137 resembled to the Kawasaki Ki-5 which Vogt was concerned in the design just before leaving Japan. After these works, many other warplanes, especially the BV 138 maritime reconnaissance aircraft, Ha 139 transport seaplane, Ha 140 torpedo bomber seaplane, BV 141 reconnaissance aircraft, BV 222 transport / reconnaissance aircraft "Viking", and BV 238 reconnaissance aircraft were produced under his leadership and significant participation. The BV 141 is well known by its unique asymmetrical structure, and the flying boats BV 222 and BV 238 were the largest and heaviest aircraft, respectively at the time of maiden flight.Although Vogt worked out a plan of another huge flying boat, P.200, with eight engines and range of 8,000 km, it could not be realized.

The design of the BV 155 high-altitude interceptor was started in mid-1943. The aircraft was initially developed as a carrier-based fighter aircraft Me 155 at Messerschmitt. However, as the tide of war interfered with the development of the fighter, Blohm & Voss was ordered to design a high-altitude fighter by the Luftwaffe. Vogt totally redesigned the aircraft and build a prototype plane in the end of 1944 or early 1945. The BV 155 was not provided in service before Germany was defeated in the war.

At the final stage of the war, deterioration of the battle created a necessity for more efficient offensive power. Vogt designed Bv 246 "Hagelkorn (Hailstone)", a pilotless glider carrying large quantities of explosive. The tiny glide bomber was able to radio-control from the carrier aircraft which released it at high altitude. However the glide bomber had never used though more than 1,000 were manufactured.He also had a plan to develop a jet fighter, but it remained unexecuted.

After WWII, Vogt was requested to follow the US Air Force carrying out "Operation Paperclip", and went to the United States. In the United States, he was working as a civilian employee for the Research Laboratory of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio from the beginning of 1947 to 1954.Subsequently he became chief designer of the Aerophysics Development Corporation and worked till the company decided to quit the business in 1960. From August 1960 to August 1966, he was a staff of a team of George Schairer, chief aerodynamicist, in the research and testing division of Boeing Company. In Boeing he dealt especially with vertical takeoff system and hydrofoils. He also investigated the effect of the length and shape of wing on the flying range, and proved the small extension attached to the both tips of the wing improved the aerodynamics and increased the range. The finding has been widely used in the modern aircraft and the part is well known as wing tip or winglet. His last job was the after-the-launch evaluation of the design of Boeing 747. After retirement, he enjoyed to develop a safe sailboat free from turnover and wrote his memoirs. In 1977 a fire totally destroyed his house and he lost many personal and technical documents.

Richard Vogt was married and had two sons. In January 1979, he died of a myocardial infarction in Santa Barbara, California, at age 84.

Aircraft of his design

In Japan [ [ List of Japanese military aircraft designed by Richard Vogt "in Military Aviation History"] ]
* Kawasaki KDA-2 Army Type 88 biplane reconnaissance (1927, 710 were built) [ [ Kawasaki (Type 88 reconnaissance aircraft) KDA 2 "in Military Aircraft Database"] ]
* Kawasaki KDA-3 Single-seat fighter (1928, 3 were built) [ [ Kawasaki KDA-3 "in Military Aircraft Database"] ]
* Kawasaki KDA-5 Army Type 92 biplane fighter (1930, 385 were built) [ [ Kawasaki (Army Type 92 fighter) KDA-5 "in Military Aircraft Database"] ]

In Germany [ [ List of German military aircraft designed by Richard Vogt "in Military Aviation History"] ]
* Blohm & Voss Ha 136 Advanced monoplane trainer (1934, two were built)
* Blohm & Voss Ha 137 Close-support aircraft / dive bomber (1935, six were built)
* Blohm & Voss BV 138 Maritime reconnaissance flying boat (1937, 279 were built)
* Blohm & Voss Ha 139 Transport / reconnaissance seaplane (1936)
* Blohm & Voss Ha 140 Torpedo bomber seaplane (1937, four were built)
* Blohm & Voss BV 141 Reconnaissance aircraft (1938, 38 were built)
* Blohm & Voss BV 222 Transport / reconnaissance flying boat "Viking" (1940, 13 were built)
* Blohm & Voss BV 238 Reconnaissance flying boat (1944, one was built)
* Blohm & Voss BV 155 High-altitude interceptor (1944, three were built)
* Blohm & Voss BV 246 Radio-guidable glide bomber (1945, approximately 1,100 were built)
* and more


* Weltumspannende Memoiren eines Flugzeugkonstrukteurs ("Global memoirs of an aircraft designer") by Richard Vogt (Aero, 1976), ISBN 9783934596146


External links

* [ snapshot of Richard Vogt (right) "in"]
* [ Die Ära der Flugboote "in Hamburger Abendblatt"]
* [ Die Airbus-Schmiede - wie alles begann "in Hamburger Abendblatt"]
* [ Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.]
* [ Kawasaki Aerospace Division]
* [ Kawasaki Aircraft "in Virtual Aircraft Museum"]

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