Aviation fans likely first think about the zeppelins when it comes to Friedrichshafen, Germany. However, the city is also home of the Dornier company, who has a wide history in civil and military aviation. Right next to the airport, the Donier Museum Friedrichshafen displays the history of the franchise.
Dornier Museum – Location & Admission
The museum is located right at Friedrichshafen Airport, right across the runway from the Zeppelin NT hangar. The terminal building is just a short walk away. Thus, the museum is also connected to city center by bus and train. There is also a parking lot more or less exclusively for the museum (and some adjacent businesses like a gym).
Typically, the museum opens daily (in winter: apart from Monday), 10:00 to 17:00 hrs. During the Covid-19 period, there were significantly altered opening times. Adult admission is 11 Euro. During my visit, the sale of combination tickets was suspended due to Covid-19 – but usually, you can buy a combo ticket together with the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen for 20 Euro (adult price).
Dornier Museum – The Museum
Visiting the first part of the museum is a travel through the history of the Dornier company. Especially the first part of the exhibition is closely linked to development and construction of Dornier flying boats like the legendary DO-X. One of the key features of this section of the museum is that there are models of all Dornier planes and flying boats ever constructed. There are masses of memorabilia, from original props and controls to tableware used for during the (dining) services of the Dornier flights. Social distancing was no issue in the museum – the atmosphere was very relaxed and it was not overbooked at all.
Over time / in later parts of the exhibition, there are more features about airplanes constructed by Dornier, civil and military. Again, there are a lot of different items around the history of the company.
Nowadays, Dornier has closed down all aviation activities and concentrated on space vehicles. Space flight is the final section of the company history, including a lot of satellites and space station elements.
From the space exhibition, you enter the exhibition hangar. There are replicas of the Dornier Wal and Dornier Merkur, but also some of Dornier’s military planes Do 27, Do 28 and Do 29. A very special vehicle is the original car by Claude Dornier.
Finally, the exhibition hangar features a small A to Z exhibition with minor items representing different topics.
Dornier Museum – Outdoor Exhibits
My favorite outdoor exhibit was truly the Dornier 328JET, the last passenger plane fully constructed by a German airplane manufacturer. More than that, I have lovely memories with that plane, like the wonderful Sun-Air of Scandinavia flights. There is also the smaller 228 and a couple of military jets. I did not enter the military transport aircraft on display due to the heat on that day and the steep access.
Next to the outdoor exhibits, you also find the Baracke Seemos (Seemos barrack), which is regarded to be the starting place of the Dornier franchise. It contains an illustration of the offices of the company’s founder Claude Dornier.
The museum also currently hosts the Boeing 737-200 C “Landshut” by Lufthansa (registration D-ABCE), which the Federal Republic of Germany transferred back from its so far final position at Fortalezza, Brazil. However, funding and also hosting issues currently block the restoration and bringing the piece of German aviation history back to display.
Dornier Museum – Restaurant
Within the museum building, the restaurant and cafe Do-X, offers refreshments and is a great place to relax. Especially the outside seating was lovely, as you have a clear view over the Friedrichshafen Airport runway and, right on the other side of it, the hangars of the civil Zeppelin NT operations. The restaurant offers cake, but also a nice selection of warm dishes. I had Käsespätzle, Southern German style cheese noodles, which were really nice. Prices are also quite affordable. There is a small playground as well.
Dornier Museum – Services
Of course, an aviation museum would feel useless without an aviation souvenir shop. Unfortunately, the selection of Dornier items is limited. For example, I was asking for a model of one of my favorite civil planes, the 328JET, but they told me that they cannot drive these kind of models in an economic way – the number of models they have to produce is just too high.
The museum has a dedicated parking lot right next to it. I have been very angry about it, as the tariff given at the entrance of the parking was finally very different to how it has been in fact calculated. For my duration of visit, the final parking fee did not differ by too much, but if you have a short visit, there is a difference. This is, of course, illegal. A completely unnecessary way to spoil the visit of such a lovely place.
Dornier Museum – My View
Dornier Museum is definitely a beauty. I loved to be there, it is well structured and well done and covers a lot of interesting exhibits. The restaurant is cool as well and gives a lovely view over Friedrichshafen Airport operations. It is a must visit for aviation lovers and a great time for all other. The more, I don’t understand why a place like that is running into issues with parking tariffs. This is just unnecessary hassle and nearly made the museum fall out of the Top Pick! rankings.
Lake Constance (Bodensee)
Here are more postings related to Lake Constance (Bodensee) region:
Here are all postings about museums concentrating on aviation: