"Europarundflug 1932

This article is originally based on this wikipedia-article at wikipedia, written by Michal Derela

The Challenge 1932 was the third International Tourist Plane Contest (French: Challenge International de Tourisme), that took place between 12 and August 28, 1932 in Berlin, Germany. Four Challenges, from 1929 to 1934, were major aviation events in pre-war Europe. There have been printed flyers, introducing the pilots and the new aircraft. Germany organized the contest, because a German pilot Fritz Morzik, won the previous contest, the Challenge 1930.

Fritz Morzik (1891-1985)

The original tender of the F.A.I. respective the german Aeroclub is here or can be downloaded here: Ausschreibung Aero-Club of Germany.pdf.

The preparation of the Germans

On the occasion of the contest 1932 the companies Heinkel, BfW (Messerschmitt), Klemm and Akaflieg developped new aeroplanes. Also Raab introduced a type. They had to be testflown by DVS Schleissheim, the german flight testing institution. The most elegant aeroplanes have been designed by Messerschmitt and Heinkel:
Lowwinged Monoplanes with similar performance data. The first aircraft (He 64a WNr. 404 and He 64b WNr. 409) arrived together with each a Klemm Kl 32 and a BFW M 29 on April, the 28th 1932 in Schleissheim.

He 64 c and the Messerschmitt M29: quite similar designs (please click for large picture)

Already on April, the 29th, the Heinkel He 64a (the only He 64 with the characteristic Heinkel ellipsoid- shaped wing) crashed, killing its Pilot, Oskar Notz, while making stall trials. Oskar Notz has been a successful participant of the previous contests.

The Heinkel 64 a with the elliptical wing - and after the crash at Schleissheim (Foto from Peter Achs)

The Messerschmitt also had a bad fate. It too crashed during the trials. Because of a second crash later on, the DVL forbit the participation of the Messerschmitt M29 at the contest totally. It was said, that the Messerschmitt was constructed too light; 2 times it lost its wings.

Die Messerschmitt M29

As a consequence, the german aviatrice Elly Beinhorn, who should have participated in a Heinkel, had to give up her position to one of her male collegues, who formerly trained on the Messerschmitt.

Elly Beinhorn on 'her' He 64?

The contest

The number of aircraft that took part in 1932 Challenge was smaller - 43 comparing to 60, because a contest was getting much more difficult with time, demanding high pilotage skills and more advanced aircraft. Nevertheless was the participation considerable given the economic situation of Europe 1932. This time, most countries developed special aircraft specially in a purpose of the Challenge. Only the french came with slightly modified standard-aeroplanes, which showed in the results of the contest. The English did not participate, since the strict weight limitations of the dependable, but heavy biplanes of the English would have put them into a disadvantage.

Teams from six countries entered the Challenge in 1932:

  • Germany (15 crews)
  • Italy (8 crews)
  • France (8 crews)
  • Poland (5 crews)
  • Tschechoslovakia (4 crews)
  • Suisse (2 crews)

  • The English pilot Winifred Spooner entered the contest in the Italian team, being the only women among pilots (flying Breda Ba-33).

    Winifred Spooner
    September 1900 - january 13th 1933

    One Canadian and one Romanian pilot entered the contest in the German team.

    air- and airship-port 1st grade Berlin-Staaken about 1929

    The contest consisted of three parts: technical trials, a race over Europe and a maximum speed trial. Since one of the aims of the Challenge was to generate a progress in aircraft building, it was not only pilots' competition, but technical trials also included a construction evaluation, to build more advanced tourist planes.


    The Challenge was to be a contest of tourist aircraft, so competing aircraft should be able to take at least 2 persons aboard, take off and land on a short field and cover a distance with a good cruise speed. In fact, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Italy developed modern sport aircraft to meet the Challenge demands. On contest beginning, German fast Heinkel He 64c's were considered favourites. Most numerous German aircraft was 3-seater Klemm Kl 32.

    Klemm Kl 32 at the contest: here the aircraft from Otto Cuno and Theo Ostercamp

    Both were wooden low-wing planes. Italy and Czechoslovakia developed similar low-wing monoplanes, Breda Ba 33 and Praga BH-111. Poland developed a high-wing plane RWD-6 and all-metal low-wing plane PZL-19.


    All these aircraft had closed crew cabs, fixed landing gear and advanced wing mechanization (flaps and slats). The other aircraft, especially French, modified from serial designs, were less modern and had lower chances in technical trials.

    Technical trials

    On August 13 there took place a technical evaluation of competing planes' construction. Since it was a tourist plane contest, such features, like comfortable cab with a good view, seats placed next to each other, rich set of controls, modern construction, safety devices and folding wings were also pointed. Most points was given to the Polish designs (86 pts to RWD-6 and 84 pts to PZL-19), behind them Italian Breda Ba-33 (83 pts).

    Breda Ba-33

    It gave them a dozen-or-so points advantage over most feared German designs, and placed them as favourites from this point. On August 14 there was a short start trial, demanding flying over an 8m-high gate. The German pilot Wolfram Hirth was the best, starting from the lowest 91.6m distance; other Klemms and Bredas were also at the head.

    ....uuups! torn apart... (Foto from Helmut Birner) ...ah, well, it works!

    Next, a short landing trial was proceeded. The best result, 92.4m, was made by Winifred Spooner. After technical evaluation and these two trials, leaders in general classification were: the Italian Ambrogio Colombo and the Poland Franciszek Zwirko on the RWD-6, with 161 points both. Next places were taken by the Italian team, then by the Germans and Polands, then by the rest.

    RWD-6 at the short takeoff-trials 1932

    On August 15 there was a minimal speed trial, to evaluate the aircraft safety. Flying on the edge of falling, Franciszek Zwirko was the slowest with 57.6 km/h speed, the second was other Pole on the RWD-6, Tadeusz Karpinski. After them were the Italians and the German He 64c's with good results below 65 km/h, and then the rest. On August 16 there was a trial of quick folding of wings, which was a feature to save place in hangars, and then a trial of quick engine starting. The general classification changed little after these trials, the first were still Zwirko and Colombo jointly.

    He-64c at the check of maximum size, wings folded

    On August 19 was a fuel consumption trial on a 300km distance, and the best were German aircraft that time. After all technical trials part, the first in the general evaluation was Ambrogio Colombo (247 pts), second: Franciszek Zwirko (245 pts), third: Francesco Lombardi (Italy, 242 pts), fourth/fifth: Winifred Spooner and R. Donati (Italy, 241 pts both), sixth: Tadeusz Karpinski (Poland), then two other Italians. The best German pilot, Reinhold Poss was on the 9th place with 234 pts. Before the next part, Winifred Spooner was forced to land near Berlin due to sabotage of her fuel, and she decided to withdraw.

    Race over Europe

    The second part of the Challenge was a 7363 km race over Europe, on a path: Berlin - Warsaw - Krakow - Prague - Vienna - Zagreb - Vicenza - Rimini - Rome - Bellinzona - Cannes - Lyon - Stuttgart - Bonn - Paris - Rotterdam - Hamburg - Goteborg - Berlin. 39 aircraft took part in race. Main waypoints were Rome and Paris.

    The second part of the Challenge was a 7363 km race over Europe, on a path: Berlin - Warsaw - Krakow - Prague - Vienna - Zagreb - Vicenza - Rimini - Rome - Bellinzona - Cannes - Lyon - Stuttgart - Bonn - Paris - Rotterdam - Hamburg - Goteborg - Berlin. 39 aircraft took part in race. Main waypoints were Rome and Paris. The race started on August 21. From the beginning, the German crews tried to make advantage of faster aircraft and make up for the points lost in technical trials. The Italians tried to be the first in Rome, racing against the Germans. On the other side, the Poles, having slower planes, tried to keep a good cruise speed and flight regularity, which were awarded with points in the race. On the first day, most crews reached Vienna or Zagreb, while the Italians reached Vicenza. Ambrogio Colombo and three Germans reached as far, as Rimini. On August 22, the competitors landed in Rome, but the first was the German pilot. Only 33 crews reached Rome, 6 withdrew on the way due to breakdowns and accidents. On August 23, the competitors took off from Rome. On this day, one italian Breda crashed in the vicinity of Nizza, another lost its wing at the turning point of Albenga (the mechanic of Suster, Muratori was killed). Because of a similar accident before the conest killing Bianchi, the Italian team was withdrawn from the Challenge, A. Colombo being a leader by then. On August 24, 25 remaining crews reached Paris. On August 27, the competitors finished in Berlin. The first pilot in Berlin, and the fastest in the whole race, was the German Hans Seidemann with a cruise speed of 213 km/h, flying the Heinkel He 64c. The next seven results were also German. Franciszek Zwirko reached the 11th place, with a cruise speed of 191 km/h. After technical trials and the race, the first place in the general classification held Franciszek Zwirko with 456 points, behind him Reinhold Poss with 451 pts. Fritz Morzik was the fifth with 444 pts.

    Maximum speed trial

    The last part of the Challenge was a maximum speed trial, on a 300km triangular course. The beginning and landing was on August 28 on Berlin-Staaken airfield. The fastest was the German Fritz Morzik (He 64c) with 241.3 km/h, next four places were also occupied by the Heinkels.

    Fritz Morzik while starting his engine at Staaken. In the background the old Zeppelin-hangar

    The closest rival of Zwirko, Reinhold Poss flying the Klemm Kl 32, was on the 7th position (220.7 km/h). The fastest Pole was Tadeusz Karpinski (8th position, 216.2 km/h, RWD-6), while Franciszek Zwirko took the 13th position with 214.1 km/h. Minutes could decide of the whole Challenge victory. Taking off 12 minutes after Zwirko, Morzik landed 83 seconds after him - if he had overran Zwirko, he would have been a winner. Poss, starting 5 minutes after a leader, was short of 2 minutes, 30 sec.


    After maximum speed test, on August 28 there was an ending ceremony. The winners were the Polish crew: pilot Franciszek Zwirko and mechanic Stanislaw Wigura, with 461 points. Their success was not only a result of aviation skills, but also of a technical level of the Polish-designed RWD-6 (of which Wigura was one of co-designers). Due to Zwirko victory, the next Challenge 1934 was organized in Warsaw. The second and third place was occupied jointly by the Germans: Fritz Morzik (Heinkel He 64c, the winner of the Challenge 1930) and Reinhold Poss (Klemm Kl 32V) with 458 points. The 5th place was taken by the Swiss Robert Frenz flying German Klemm Kl 32. Tadeusz Karpinski flying the other RWD-6 took the 9th place. The best Czech, Josef Kalla, took the 16th place, the best French Raymond Delmotte - 20th place. The Challenge was completed by 24 crews out of 43: 12 German, 4 Polish, 4 French, 3 Czechoslovakish and 1 Swiss Team.

    1.Franciszek \u017bwirko (Poland) - RWD-6 - 461 pts
    2/3. Fritz Morzik (Germany) - Heinkel He 64c - 458 pts
    2/3. Reinhold Poss (Germany) - Klemm Kl 32 - 458 pts
    4. Wolfgang Stein (Germany) - Heinkel He 64c - 453 pts
    5. Robert Fretz (Swiss) - Klemm Kl 32 - 452 pts
    6. Wolf Hirth (Germany) - Klemm Kl 32 - 450 pts
    7/8. Otto Cuno (Germany) - Klemm Kl 32 - 447 pts
    7/8. Hans Seidemann (Germany) - Heinkel He 64b - 447 pts
    9. Tadeusz Karpi\u0144ski (Poland) - RWD-6 - 443 pts
    10. Robert Lusser (Germany) - Klemm Kl 32 - 437 pts
    11. Jerzy Bajan (Poland) - PZL.19 - 433 pts
    16. Josef Kalla (Czechoslovakia) - Praga BH-111 - 408 pts (the best Czech)
    20. Raymond Delmotte (France) - Caudron C.278 - 265 pts (the best French)

    Less than a month after Challenge, Franciszek Zwirko and Stanislaw Wigura died in an accident, flying in storm their RWD-6 to Czechoslovakia, on September 11 1932. Also Reinhold Poss died in an accident in 1933. Winifred Spooner died the same year.

    The magazine "Flugtechnik und Motorluftschiffahrt" Nr. 19 from Oktober 14th 1932 printed an exact analysis of the contest, which is downloadable here (size 2.4 MByte) as pdf-file

    table of results (work in Progress!)
    Letztes Update der angezeigten Seite: 05/28/2012