Flying Prone

The fs17 is an experimental plane designed to test whether a pilot can feasibly fly prone. Such a seating arrangement promises less drag due to the reduction of the fuselage’s cross-sectional area. Akaflieg members of the time couldn’t find any references to a prone seating arrangement in literature and experts in the field all had differing opinions on the subject. It seemed that there weren’t even any practical tests since the days of the Wright Brothers, so we decided to do it ourselves.

One focus of the project was pilot safety since such a seating arrangement put him at more risk than a conventional one would in case of an accident. Therefore, the aircraft was built with a low-wing configuration and was given an exceptionally rigid fuselage. Emphasis was also placed on prevention of spinning and effectivenes of control surfaces in near-stall flight conditions.

Since the aircraft was meant as a purely experimental one, it was decided to try out other things as well. For example, the wing spars was also designed to absorb torsional forces since leading edge planking commonly used at the time proved to be unsatisfactory after a while. Furthermore, new fuselage-mounted airbrakes were tested.


First flight21 March 1938
Method of constructionWood
Ultimate load factor14g