Knoll Aircraft KN-1
Felix Knoll, formerly of The Rohrbach Metal Aeroplane Company (Germany) and later the Chief Engineer of the Heinkel Aircraft Company, immigrated to the United States from Germany for better opportunities. Within weeks of being in the country, Wichita business leaders recruited Felix to come to Wichita and start a company of his own. Engineering work, stress calculations, and drawings for the first model, the KN-1, were completed in Room 623 of the Broadview Hotel. Felix and Herbert Schwenke; another German immigrant from The Rohrbach Metal Aeroplane Company, worked on the plans together.
George Siedhoff, who owned and built the Broadview Hotel where the KN-1 was designed, was selected to build a new 50,000 square foot factory on a 148 acre tract of land at the northeast corner of Kellogg and Webb Road. The company set up a temporary shop at 471 W 1st street in the former building of both the Travel Air Company and Laird Whippoorwill. By the end of December, 1928, the first airplane was ready to fly. It was a four-seat cabin biplane with forward stagger.
Over five hundred spectators gathered around the East Airport to watch the KN-1 first flight. Amongst the crowd were Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech, reporters, and motion picture camerame. The December 30, 1928 first test flight was so successful that pilot Howard Jones chose to double the planned time and stayed in the air for thirty minutes. He took the airplane through loops, rolls, and power dives.
Three KN-1s were built. Registrations were X9090 and X8861. One airplane was destroyed by fire on February 1, 1929 while sitting idle; when a Laird aircraft landed on top of it.