Marketello Stahltaube (Steel Dove)

Wings of History Air museum Marketello Stahltube

The aircraft on display here at the museum (N1381N) is a flyable ¾ scale model of the original that was designed and built by Ignaz Etrich an Austro-Hungarian engineer. Joel A. Marketello built our museum aircraft and equipped it with a Continental A50 (50 HP) engine. 

The documents the museum received with this aircraft indicate that the airplane had flown a total of 12 hours prior to its donation.

The wing on the Stahltaube has three spars (the main structural pieces) and was cable braced from a steel tube truss under each wing. At the outer ends of each steel tube is a pair of vertical uprights known as “kingposts.”

Stahltaube Cockpit

Etrich’s aircraft building began when he was able to obtain two gliders from the inventory of Otto Lilienthal in 1896. Etrich added a six cylinder in line Austro-Daimler engine to his basic design that developed about 100 HP. Original manufacturing took place in Germany, but a legal dispute arose with others over the patent resulting in Etrich abandoning his patent leading to no less than fourteen other companies producing around 500 of the Stahltubes. These companies all made changes to the original design making it very difficult for historians to accurately describe the aircraft.

Karl Illner, the co-engineer on the “Taube” project flew and set the first long range flying record by flying from Vienna, Austria, to Horn, Austria, a distance of 45 miles. In addition a two man endurance record of a Taube lasting four hours and thirty-five minutes took place over Germany.The word “Taube” in German means “dove.” This was fitting as the profile of the aircraft represents a dove or bird. The aircraft was first used as a pilot trainer and an observation airplane. What is ironic is that the Taube “dove,” which is a symbol for peace, was used to bomb Paris in World War I. A lt. von Hiddessen dropped five small bombs on August 30, 1944.

The stability of the aircraft in flight was considered to be its major asset.