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Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann

1st Flight 1937

The Bü 181 aircraft was a single-engine low-wing monoplane with fixed undercarriage, split flap, twin controls and two adjustable seats arranged side-by-side.

The cabin section of the fuselage was of a tubular steel frame construction whereas the rear of the fuselage had a wooden shell.

The wing assembly and tail unit were also of wooden shell construction.

All the rudders, elevators and ailerons had wooden ribs and are covered in fabric.

The flaps were metallic on the B types and wood on the C types.

The Bü 181 Bestmann was powered by a 78 kW (105 hp) four-cylinder Hirth HM 500A or B piston engine.

The aircraft was designed for training flights, pleasure trips and aerobatics.

It was extensively used by the Luftwaffe in World War II.


Bu 181V Prototype

Bü 181 B-0

Pre-production series with Hirth HM 504 A-2 engine

Bü 181 B-1

With Hirth HM 500 A engine

Bü 181 B-2

 As B-1 but no electrics

Bü 181 B-3 (Schlachtflugzeug)

Night harassment version made from converted B-1s and C-1s carrying improved instrumentation, Revi gunsights and three ETC 50 bomb racks.

Bomb loads

Either three SC50 or three SD50 or three SD70 or three AB70 droppable clusters.

Max. Bomb load 210 kilograms (463 lb).

Bü 181 C-1

Increased range and Hirth HM 500B engine.

Bü 181 C-2

As C-1 but no electrics

Bü 181 C-3 (Panzerjäger)

B-2 or C-2 subtypes modified for the antitank role carrying four wing mounted Panzerfaust 100 single-use antitank grenade launchers in pairs, two on each wing.

Post war license built & developments.

Zlín Z.181

Two-seat primary trainer aircraft. Czech production version of the Bu 181, built by Zlín in Czechoslovakia after the war.

Zlín Z.281

Two-seat primary trainer aircraft, powered by a Toma 4 piston engine.

Zlín Z.381

Two-seat primary trainer aircraft, powered by a 78 kW (105 hp) Walter Minor piston engine.

Czech Air Force Designation C-106.

Gomhouria Mk 1

Two-seat primary trainer aircraft, powered by a Walter Minor piston engine.

Egyptian production version of the Zlín 381, built under licence in Egypt by the Heliopolis Aircraft Works.

Gomhouria Mk 2

Two-seat primary trainer aircraft, powered by a 145 hp (108 kW) Continental C-145 piston engine.

Gomhouria Mk 3

As Mk. 2, but with improved undercarriage.

Gomhouria Mk 4

Increased fuel capacity.

Gomhouria Mk 5

Similar to Mk 1, powered by Walter Minor, but with different engine mounting.

Gomhouria Mk 6

Continental O-300 engine.

Sk 25

Swedish Air Force designation of the license built Bestmann.





7.85 m (25 ft 9 in)


10.6 m (34 ft 9 in)


2.05 m (6 ft 9 in)

Wing area

13.5 m2 (145 sq ft)



NACA 23017


NACA 4412

Empty weight

480 kg (1,058 lb)

Max take-off weight

750 kg (1,653 lb)


1 × Hirth HM 500A or 500B 4-cyl,

Inverted air-cooled inline piston engine, 78 kW (105 hp)


2-bladed fixed-pitch propeller


Maximum speed

215 km/h (134 mph, 116 kn) at sea level

Cruise speed

195 km/h (121 mph, 105 kn)

Never exceed speed

440 km/h (270 mph, 240 kn)


800 km (500 mi, 430 nmi)

Service ceiling

5,000 m (16,000 ft).


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