Lambach Aircraft has a rich history, starting in the late 1980’s with the build of a flying replica of the historic Lambach HLII stunt plane and the design of the Impuls and S-Vision aircraft. In the 2010’s focus has shifted to UAV design.
The Lambach HLII
The story of Lambach Aircraft started at TU Delft’s Faculty of Aerospace Engineering during the spring of 1989. At the time many students were thinking about good ways to honour the upcoming lustrum of the student society VSV Leonardo Da Vinci. Among them was Hans Blaauw, who conceived the spectacular idea of the students building their own flying aircraft. Next, to honouring the VSV’s lustrum, this project could also provide the students with valuable practical experience by putting the theory learned at the faculty into practice. The original idea was to replicate Anthony Fokker’s famous flight around Haarlem’s St. Bavo Church. Later it was decided to build a replica of the Lambach HL II instead. The major reason for the switch was that the Aviodrome had a large set of technical drawings available, which would facilitate the build. Additionally, the link with the university (Hugo Lambach was a Delft graduate) was a nice given.
Because the drawings in the Aviodrome were quite vulnerable, these had to be copied first. A first dedicated group of Lambach Aircraft volunteers finished the copies in the summer of 1989, which meant that by September the actual production of the replica could start. To oversee the construction, Lambach Aircraft was founded on January 19th, 1990 under its original Dutch name “Stichting Studenten Vliegtuigontwikkeling, -bouw en –beheer” or SSVOBB. The initial plan to build the aircraft in 5 months, just like the original, proved too ambitious. Even with the help of the original HL II’s chief-engineer, Wim de Koo, it would still take over five years to complete the build. Despite the delay, Lambach Aircraft persevered and in 1995 the aircraft made its first flight. Little later the society received in the FAI’s prestigious “Diplome Phénix” for this achievement.
Back in 1994, with the HL II project nearing completion, a group of volunteers started working on the Impuls. The goal of the project was to build an aircraft fully designed by the students and as such, it was the next logical step forward for the society. The initial progress was very promising and even the first parts were built, but the project was frozen in 2010. The design included then cutting-edge glass fibre composites in the main fuselage, helping the society gain much experience.
With the lessons learned from Impuls its successor, the S-Vision project, was set-up that same year. It would be a similar two-seater general aviation aircraft, but with a more conventional design sporting an aluminium frame and better performance. By 2013, the aircraft’s preliminary design was completed. While the aircraft itself was never fully constructed, the project concluded in 2016 with yet another aircraft design firmly under Lambach’s belt.
Starting in 2011 Lambach has organised UAV projects for its junior members. In 2015, this first took the shape of a competition, in which first-year bachelor students would design a wing for an R/C plane in groups, competing against each other for the best design. This has since developed into the ‘Introduction to RC’ competition still run by Lambach Aircraft.
As ownership of the HLII was transferred to Stichting Vroege Vogels, the focus of Lambach shifted fully to UAV design. In the 2017-2018 academic year Lambach entered the weight challenge of the British Model Flying Association for the first time with the ‘Spirit of Delft’. The following year the design of Aurora started, a solar powered flying wing designed for prolonged autonomous flight. However, coronavirus lockdowns caused manufacturing to be paused. Since then, Lambach has continued to compete in the BMFA challenge, and began the ATTIS project amongst many others. For an overview of current projects, please see the ‘Projects’ menu above.