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Research Aircraft: the Dornier Do.31, Images by Wernher Krutein and PHOTOVAULT®

Dornier DO-31 (Berman experimental VTOL transport) made and tested in Munich, Ger as a prototype VTOL transport able to support VTOL combat aircraft in the field. Under this experimental program, the production program covered a small and a large hovering rig for studying design principles, an airframe for structural testing, and a systems test stand for hydraulic and electric systems.
Both prototypes flew in 1967 and were successfully tested between 1967 and 1971.

The fuselage was left free to accommodate troops or cargo by locating the power plants in wing nacelles. The inner nacelles held two turbofans, and the outer nacelles were detachable pods holding four RB.162 direct-lift engines. These pods were to be optional when, later, thrust-deflecting main engines were fitted.

Two conventionally mounted engines (one of which can be seen here) provided forward thrust, while wingtip mounted engines provided vertical lift. The Do-31 first flew in 1967 and the project was terminated in 1970. By tilting the cruise engine nozzles, the Do 31 was accelerated to the speed of approximately 250kph required for aerodynamic horizontal flight, and the eight lift-producing engines were stopped again after 20 seconds. The Do 31, which established several world records during its ferry flight to the 1969 Paris Air Show, was the first and so-far only vertical take-off jet transport built in the world.

The Do.31E1 first prototype flew in February 1967 with two Pegasus engines. The Do.31E2 second prototype followed in July with all ten engines. From December 1967 full forward and backward transitions were made.

Dornier also proposed a Do.231 100-seat passenger or a similar freight version for production, with twelve 13,100 lb (5942 kg) thrust RB.202 lift engines and two 24,000 lb (10886 kg) thrust propulsion engines.

Dornier Do.31 data:

POWERPLANT: Two Pegasus 5 v-t engines and eight RB.162 lift engines in detachable wingtip pods. Production
version to have two RB.153 turbofans with thrust deflection, and optional use of lift pods.
LOADED WEIGHT: (VTOL) 52,500 lb (24,000 kg)
SPAN: 64 ft 7* in (19.7 m)
LENGTH: 67 ft 4* in (20.53 m)
CRUISING SPEED: 435-497 mph (700-800 km/h)
RANGE; 1,120 miles (max. payload)

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