|Role: used in many roles from light bomber; anti-shipping; strategic bombing; night fighter; glider tug; and reconnaissance|
|Manufacturer: Dornier Flugzeugwerke|
|Designer: Claude Dornier|
|First flight: 23 November 1934|
|Retired: 15 September 1952 (Finnish Air Force)|
|Primary user: Luftwaffe; Royal Yugoslav Air Force; Finnish Air Force; Spanish Air Force; Bulgarian Air Force|
|Number built: 2,139|
|Variants: Dornier Do 215 (105 produced) and later Do 217 (1,730 produced)|
The Dornier Do 17, sometimes referred to as the Fliegender Bleistift or 'flying pencil' was a World War II German light bomber produced by Claudius Dornier's company, Dornier Flugzeugwerke. It was designed as a Schnellbomber or 'fast bomber', a light bomber which, in theory, would be so fast that it could outrun defending fighter aircraft.
When it was first designed in the early 1930s it was in a class of its own. It was highly manoeuvrable at low altitude, which made it ideal for flying below radar. Its sleek and thin airframe made it less of a profile and flying low and fast harder to hit.
When first used in Spain it was rather successful but as technology progressed its strengths became its weakness. Hence the development of the more powerful Do 215 and later Do 217.
Since its inception it was designed to be fast which came at the expense of defensive support which made it vulnerable to fighters and during the 'Battle of Britain' this became only to obvious.
The Luftwaffe then adopted its use to a multi purpose aircraft which enhanced its strengths such as reconnaissance, anti shipping and eventually as a night-fighter. The earlier Do 17 versions where used in various roles such as; trainers, glider tugs, weather and research platforms.
Series production of the Do 215 A-1 began in 1939. The order, intended for the Swedish Air Force, was stopped in August 1939 due to the political situation. The 18 extant aircraft were embargoed and pressed into Luftwaffe service upon the outbreak of World War II. Some modifications were made and the resulting aircraft were redesignated Do 215B. This was the standard production version. According to official figures 105 Do 215s were produced between 1939 and 1941 by Dornier in their factory at Oberpfaffenhofen.
The Do 215 biggest advantage over its predecessor was the range which more than doubled from 1,160 km to 2,450 km. The speed increased from max 427 km/h to 485 km/h and service ceiling from 22,965 ft / 7,000 m to 29,528 ft / 9,000 m. The Max takeoff weight was almost identical to the Do 17.
The most significant difference between the earlier Do 17 and Do 215 models was in its maximum takeoff weight. The earlier Do 17 and Do 215 had a max. take-off weight of 19,500 lb or (8,850 kg), the Do 217 doubled that with a maximum takeoff weight of 36,817 lb or (16,700 kg). The speed again was a factor which went from a max of 485 km/h (Do 215) to 557 km/h. The compromise came in range and ceiling height. The Do 215 had a range of 2,450 km and ceiling height of 9,000 m (29,528 ft). While the Do 217 had a max range of 2,145 km and ceiling height of 7,370 m or (24,180 ft). The Dornier 217 also out performed its other Luftwaffe rivals the Heinkel He 111 and Junkers Ju 88. In its day quiet a remarkable aircarft - asisbiz.
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