EKW C-36 explained

The EKW C-36 was a Swiss multi-purpose combat aircraft of the 1930s and 40s. It was a single-engined monoplane with a crew of two. It entered service in 1942, and despite being obsolete, remained in front line use until the early 1950s, and as a target tug until 1987.

Development and design

In 1935, the Swiss Air Force developed a requirement for a replacement for Switzerland's Fokker C.V-E biplanes, which were used as reconnaissance aircraft, escort fighters and patrol aircraft. To meet this requirement, the Swiss Federal Constructions Works (EKW) proposed two designs, a modernised C.V, the EKW C-35 and an all new monoplane, the C-36.[1]

Orders for 80 C-35s were placed in 1936, but no decision was made about whether to order the C-36, with preference being given to the purchase of foreign twin-engined aircraft for the role, attempts been made to buy Messerschmitt Bf 110s from Germany or Potez 63s from France. These attempts failed, however, and in 1938 approval was given for EKW to complete detailed design of the C-36 and to build a prototype.

The first prototype, the C-3601, carried out its maiden flight on 15 May 1939. It was a low winged cantilever monoplane of all metal construction. It was powered by a single licence-built Hispano-Suiza 12Y engine driving a three-bladed variable-pitch propellor. A crew of two sat in tandem under a long continuous canopy. The aircraft was fitted with a twin tail, and had a fixed tailwheel undercarriage.

The C-3601 crashed on 20 August 1939 due to wing flutter, but a second prototype, the C-3602, which had a more powerful engine and a constant-speed propellor flew on 30 November that year. Testing was successful, and orders were placed for an initial batch of 10 of an improved version with a retractable undercarriage, the C-6303 was placed in 1940.[2]

Operational history

A fair few were built and, along with EKW D-3801's, fought off trespassing Luftwaffe aircraft to defend Swiss neutrality. Soon the aircraft would be relegated to training and target-towing duties. The latest variant of the C-36 aircraft family, the C3605, had its maiden flight in 1968 and in service with the Swiss Air Force until 1988. Thanks to its coloration, the C-3605 was called "Flying Zebra Crossing".[3] .

Many still fly to this very day.


  • First prototype with long-span wings, fixed undercarriage and powered by 641 kW (860 hp) Hispano-Suiza 12YCrs engine.[4]
  • Second prototype powered by 746 kW (1,000 hp) Hispano-Suiza 12 Y-51.[4]
  • Production version with retractable undercarriage, powered by Hispano-Suiza 12 Y-51. Armed by one 20mm Oerlikon cannon firing through propeller hub, two 7.5mm macine guns in the wings and two machine guns in the rear cockpit.[5]
  • Service trial aircraft with long-span (15.10 m (48 ft 6½ in)) wings. 10 built, of which 9 were later converted to C-3603-1 standard.[5]
  • Main production version, with short span (13.74 m (45 ft 1 in)) wings. 142 built by 1944, plus further 6 assembled from spare parts in 1947–48.[5] 20 converted to target tugs (Schlepp) from 1946 by Farner Werke, and 40 (including surviving original conversions) to improved standard by FFA and Farner from 1953–54.[6]
    C-3603-1 Tr
  • Advanced trainer version. Two built.[7]
  • More powerful and heavier armed derivative of C-3603, powered by 929 kW (1,245 hp) Saurer YS-2 (a more powerful Swiss development of the Hispano-Suiza 12Y-51) and carrying an extra two 20mm cannon in its wings. One prototype and twelve production aircraft built.[8]
  • Turboprop version with Lycoming T53 engine (24 converted from C-3603-1). It was much larger and also more powerful than the C-3601, with a maximum speed of 560km/h or 296mph.




    External links

    Notes and References

    1. Gruenenfelder and Francillon 2001, p. 46.
    2. Gruenenfelder and Francillon 2001, pp. 47–48.
    3. http://www.goaviator.com/c-36-warbird-adventure.html C-36 - The Swiss WWII Warbird
    4. Gruenenfelder and Francillon 2001, p. 47.
    5. Gruenenfelder and Francillon 2001, p. 48.
    6. Gruenenfelder and Francillon 2001, pp. 50, 52.
    7. Gruenenfelder and Francillon 2001, p. 50.
    8. Gruenenfelder and Francillon 2001, pp. 49–50.