Ö 4/Ö 5 - Phönix C.1 (E 1) Dront (1926-1932)

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In the spring of 1919, two Austrian aviators, Edmund Sparmann and Max Perini, visited Sweden and made a successful display, flying two different aircraft from their company, Phönix Fleugzeugwerke in Wien.
One of the aircraft was a single-seat fighter type Phönix D.III. The other was a two-seat reconnaissance aircraft, Phönix C.I.  
The show resulted in an order for both types, including the rights for license building in Sweden.
One of the major reasons for purchasing the Phönix C.1 was the lack of a good reconnaissance aircraft in the Swedish Army aviation. The aircraft was regarded as ugly. Soon it was nick-named ”Dronten” (the Dront), a name that more or less became official.
Edmund Sparmann soon moved to Sweden. At first, he started to work for the Thulin Company in Landskrona. In 1926, he was employed as engineer and test pilot at CFM, the central workshops of the Air Force at Malmen. In 1932, he started a small aircraft industry of his own, Sparmanns Flygverkstad, in Stockholm. His enterprise was not very successful, but he delivered a few aircraft of the type P 1 Sparmannjagaren to the Air Force. In 1937, his enterprise was taken over by SAAB.
Totally 27 Dronts were delivered to the Army Aviation Company. They were of two different variants - powered with Mercedes engines of 220 hp or with 300 hp Hispano Suiza engines. When the Air Force was born in 1926, 16 aircraft were transferred, including one just crashed machine. All of them were fitted with Mercedes engines.
A new batch of ten Dronts with Hispano-Suiza engines were provided to the Air Force in 1926 as ”attack aircraft”, a hardly suitable description, to say the least of it. They got the designation A 1. But that is another story.
In 1928, the ten still airworthy Dronts from the Army Aviation Company were re-based at the War Flying School (F 5) at Ljungbyhed. Their designation in the Air Force became Ö 4. Another aircraft was used by the Air Staff.
In 1928, two aircraft got new engines of 260 hp, made by Isotta Fraschini of Italy. They also got a new designation, Ö 5 and were usually called ”Isotta-Dront”.
The Dront was not a very suitable aircraft for flying training, but it made some use training observers. Also aerobatics training in dual command were practised. The last Ö 4 was written off in 1932 and the last Ö 5 in 1930. 
The photo from the encyclopedia Nordisk Familjebok, edition 1927, shows a S 21 in the foreground and a Phönix Dront in the background.
Ö 4 Length: 7,53 m. Span: 11,0 m. MTOW: 1.340 kg. Max. speed: 168 km/h.





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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2009-05-13