Fokker FT-1 in flight, April 1923

Fokker FT-1 in flight, April 1923

Fokker FT-1 in flight, April 1923

Here we see the Fokker FT-1 torpedo bomber in flight in the United States in April 1923. Three Fokker F.IIs were ordered by the US Navy, where they were given the designations FT-1 and FT-2, but lost out to the Douglas DT-1. The Fokker aircraft remained in use until 1926.


16–17 April 1923

Lieutenants Oakland G. Kelly and John A. Macready with the fuel drums for their duration flight in front of the Fokker T-2, A.S. 64233. (U.S. Air Force)

16–17 April 1923: At Wilbur Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, U.S. Army Air Service pilots Lieutenant Oakland George Kelly and Lieutenant John Arthur Macready set six Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Records for speed, distance and duration, flying the Nederlandse Vliegtuigenfabriek Fokker T-2, serial number A.S. 64233, which they planned to fly non-stop across the United States of America.

They flew 2,500 kilometers (1,553.428 miles) at an average speed of 115.60 kilometers per hour (51.83 miles per hour)¹ 3,000 kilometers (1,864.114 miles) at 115.27 kilometers per hour (71.63 miles per hour)² 3,500 kilometers (2,174.799 miles) at 114.82 kilometers per hour (71.35 miles per hour)³ 4,000 kilometers (2,485.485 miles) at 113.93 kilometers per hour (70.79 miles per hour)⁴ flew a total distance of 4,050 kilometers (2,517 miles)⁵ and stayed aloft for 36 hours, 4 minutes, 34 seconds.⁶ Their overall average speed was 112.26 kilometers per hour (69.76 miles per hour).

Lieutenant Oakley George Kelly, U.S. Army Air Service. (FAI) Lieutenant John A. Macready, U.S. Army Air Service

The Fokker F.IV was built by Anthony Fokker’s Nederlandse Vliegtuigenfabriek at Veere, Netherlands in 1921. The Air Service purchased two and designated the type T-2, with serial numbers A.S. 64233 and A.S. 64234.

Several modifications were made to prepare for the transcontinental flight. Normally flown by a single pilot in an open cockpit, a second set of controls was installed so that the airplane could be controlled from inside while the two pilots changed positions. On this flight, it carried 735 gallons (2,782 liters) of gasoline in three fuel tanks.

For its time, the Fokker was a large airplane: 49 feet (14.9 meters) long, with a wing span of 82 feet (25 meters). The high-wing monoplane was powered by a 1,649.3-cubic-inch-displacement (27.028 liter) liquid-cooled Liberty L12 single overhead cam (SOHC) 45° V-12 engine producing 420 horsepower. The airplane was designed to carry 8–10 passengers in an enclosed cabin.

The second Fokker T-2, A.S. 64234, also designated A-2 (ambulance). (U.S. Air Force)

From 2–3 May 1923, MacReady and Kelly succeeded in their non-stop transcontinental flight, flying from Roosevelt-Hazelhurst Field, Long Island, New York, to Rockwell Field (now, NAS North Island), San Diego, California, 2,470 miles (3,975 kilometers) in 26 hours, 50 minutes, 38.8 seconds, for an average speed of 92 miles per hour (148 kilometers per hour).

The U.S. Army Air Service transferred A.S. 64223 to the Smithsonian Institution in January 1924. It is on display at the National Air and Space Museum.

Fokker T-2, A.S. 64233 at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, 1923. (FAI)


Fokker FT-1 in flight, April 1923 - History

1923: Atlantic Aircraft Corp, Teterboro and Wheeling WV, on obtaining a government contract to modify De Havilland DH-4s as mail planes, then as an importing agency for Fokker's Dutch designs (as Netherlands Aircraft Mfg Co of America in 1924). 1924: Absorbed Witteman-Lewis Co plant. 1926: (Anthony) Fokker Aircraft Co, Teterboro NJ. 1927: Fokker Aircraft Corp of America, Passaic NJ & Glendale WV, and Atlantic Aircraft Div, Hasbrouck Heights NJ. 1929: Became a subsidiary of General Motors as General Aviation Corp (GAC). 1930: Recapitalization by General Aviation Mfg Corp (GAMC). 1931: Ended operations because of the Depression and a much-publicized crash of an F-10 on 3/31/31 in which famed football coach, Knute Rockne, and seven others were killed. 1933: GAC assets turned over to GAMC, who also acquired Berliner-Joyce Co, then in a stock exchange became a subsidiary of North American Aviation and, subsequently, Rockwell.

NOTE: Many US Fokker products were for a time referred to as Atlantic or Atlantic-Fokker, and model designations were AF, as well as F.

Historian Jos Heyman explains: Although Dutch born, Fokker got his break in Germany during WW1. In 1918 he shifted his operations to the Netherlands. Type letters for Fokker aircraft originated in the German system for designating military aircraft, but further letters were added as required (*). Letters were used in combination with a sequential design number (initially in Roman numerals) in each type letter series. Several designs were exclusively used by the Fokker subsidiary in the USA. Fokker type letters were:
B = Amphibian(*)
C = General purpose
D = Doppeldecker (Biplane Fighter), later Fighter
Dr = Dreidecker (Triplane Fighter)
E = Eindecker (Monoplane Fighter)
F = Transport aircraft(*)
G = Twin-engine fighter/bomber(*)
K = Kampfflugzeug (Fighter)
S = Trainer (*)
T = Bomber(*)
V = Versuchflugzeug (Experimental)
W = Wasserflugzeug (Flying Boat) Fokker C-2 America [NX206]

7 (C-2) 1927 = 10pChwM three 200hp Wright J-4 span: 71'3" length: 48'6" v: 116. Repowered with 220hp J-5. POP: about 25, of which 19 to AAC as C-2 , three to USN/USMC as TA-1 [A7561/7563]. One gained fame as Adm Richard Byrd's transatlantic [NX206] America, others in Jan 1929 in transcontinental endurance flight as Question Mark (p: Ira Eaker, Carl Spaatz), and transpacific flight as Bird of Paradise (p: Lester Maitland, Albert Hegenberger). Fokker 11 [X449E] (Edward J Young coll)

11 aka Fokker-Hall H-51 1928 = 3pChwM 115hp Siemens-Halske. Motor options were 100hp Kinner K-5, 120hp Walter, and 90hp Cirrus. All-metal, folding-wing personal plane design about which very little was recorded it was neither designed nor built by Fokker and might have been a contracted work as it just "showed up" one day at Teterboro for flight testing. Hall might be Charles Hall, who founded Hall-Aluminum Aircraft. POP: 1 [X449E] c/n 1100. Dismantled in 1935 by North American Corp. 12 - Redesignated as F-32 . 13 1928 = 2pOhwM 80hp Anzani, later replaced by 90hp LeBlond. Somewhat similar to model 11 and Skeeter, with side-by-side cockpit, strut-braced parasol wing, fabric- covered fuselage, and also a mystery plane with no factory confirmation of its existence except the assigned c/n 1300. POP: 1 [X7283]. SEE Miller (Montclair NJ, 1928) for recent information. 14 - Redesignated as F-14 . Fokker A-2 [AS64234] (USAF Museum)

A-2 1923 = Aerial ambulance conversion of T-2 POP: 1 [AS64234]. Designation "A" was transferred in 1924 from "Ambulance" to "Attack" class. Fokker XA-7 [30-226] (Arthur Martin coll via WASM)

A-7 (General Aviation) 1930 = 2pOlwM 600hp Curtiss V-1570 Conqueror span: 43'11" (>46'9") length: 31'11" (>31'0") load: 1784# v: 190/184/61. All-metal attack bomber, a sharp-looking creation like right out of a "Tailspin Tommy" comic strip, with streamlined panted gear, four wing guns. It was the first monoplane designed for attack purposes. POP: 1 as XA-7 [30-226], rebuilt in 1931 with a new nose, but chronic cooling problems brought abandonment of the project. Fokker AO-1 [AS68557]

AO-1 (Model 3) aka Atlantic Observation 1924 (Fokker-Holland) = 2pOB 420hp Liberty span: 39'6" length: 30'4" v: 135. The wartime Fokker D.7 heritage was obvious in this Dutch-built design, included here because of its unique role in US military designations. POP: 1 for Army as a sole entry for evaluation in the original "AO" classification ("Artillery Observation") [AS68557]. After rejection in favor of the Douglas XO-2, it was modified as CO-4A, and 5 additional planes were purchased. Fokker XB-8 [29-328]

B-8 1930 = 3pOhwM two 600hp Curtiss V-1570 span: 64'0" length: 47'0" load: 3684# v: 160. POP: 1 as XB-8 , modified from prototype XO-27A [29-328] 6 contracted as YB-8 , were redesignated as Y1O-27 [31-598/603]. B-11 1928 = No data, likely was an F-11, but no explanation was found for the non-military "B" designation. POP: 1, custom-built for Harold S Vanderbilt of New York City [149], who was known to favor amphibians. BA-1 SEE F-7-A-3M . Fokker C-2 Maitland in Hawaii [26-202] (Eric Blocher coll)

C-2 (Atlantic) 1926 = Army version of Dutch-built F-VIIA/3m, repowered with three 220hp Wright R-790 span: 63'6" length: 47'6" load: 2565# v: 129/116/63 range: 355 ceiling: 15,500'. POP: 3 [26-202/204], the first of which was modified with 71'2" wing as Bird of Paradise to the first transpacific flight, Oakland-Honolulu, on 6/28/27 (p: Lts Lester Maitland, Albert Hegenberger).

Y1C-14A 1931 = Repowered with 575hp Wright R-1820-7. POP: 1 [31-400].

Y1C-14B 1931 = Repowered with 525hp P&W R-1690-5 Hornet. POP: 1 [31-381].

Fokker XCO-4 [AS68557]

XCO-4 1922 = 2pOB 420hp Liberty 12A span: 39'6" (>41'10") length: 29'8" load: 1480# v: 128/120/67 range: 440 ceiling: 15,300' (>17,900'). Gas tank between the wheels on the first two units was discontinued as a fire hazard in forced landings. POP: 3 [AS68557, AS68565/68566], the first modified from AO-1, then sold in 1925 to a civilian buyer [X3526].

Fokker CO-4A (USAF)

CO-4A 1923 = Improved 435hp Liberty 12A, redesigned nose and side radiators length: 30'4" load: 1554# v: 134/121/58 range: 367 ceiling: 17,060'. POP: 5 [23-1205/1209].

F-7-A, -7-B-3M (Model 6) 1925 = 10pChwM 450hp Bristol Jupiter (or 420hp Liberty) span: 63'4" length: 47'10" load: 4000# v: 112/100/55 range: 500-700. Modified in 1928 as tri-motor -B-3M with three 220hp Wright J-5 span: 71'2" length: 49'2" v: 115/x/x. Army version C-2 .

Fokker BA-1 Byrd polar flight [NX4204] (Eric Blocher coll)

F-7-A-3M, BA-1 Tri-motor 1926 = F-7-A converted into Fokker's first tri-motor with three 200hp Wright J-4 load: 3260#. POP total single-engine and tri-motors: about 18, built and tested in Holland, reassembled in US, with some to USAAC as C-2 , and USN as TA-1 . Used by Adm Richard Byrd, as BA-1 [NX4204], in his first North Pole flight of 5/9/26—interestingly, bought for him by Edsel Ford and christened in his daughter's name, Josephine Ford —and by George Hubert Wilkins for polar exploration flights of 1926 (Wilkins' Liberty-powered plane was rebuilt into Kingsford-Smith's Southern Cross, aka Spirit of California in 1928 [1985=GAUSU=VHUSU]), and for many other record flights.

According to a book published by the Fokker company in 1994, [NX4204] belongs to a F.VIIB-3m (Fokker c/n 5028) ordered by Byrd for his Antarctic Expedition in 1928. Because Edsel Ford donated a Tri-motor for this expedition, Byrd sold the Fokker to the Mechanical Science Corp. The plane was named the Friendship, fitted with floats and used for a transatlantic flight that made Amelia Earhart the first woman to fly (as a passenger) across the Atlantic. About a year later this plane was sold to Argentina and eventually ended up in Chile where it disappeared in the 1930s. Josephine Ford was the first F.VIIA-3m (Fokker c/n 4900), the former Fokker entry for the 1925 Ford Reliability Tour [C267].

The planes Wilkins used were an F.VIIA (c/n 4899 or 4909 with a Liberty engine, named Alaskan ) and the first F.VIIB-3m (c/n 4954 with three Wright Whirlwind J-4Bs, named Detroiter ).

Kingsford-Smith claimed that his plane was put together from the fuselage of Alaskan and the wing of Detroiter ( Alaskan's wing was broken in a crash and never used again, the fuselage of Detroiter was badly damaged in a crash and probably ended up in North Dakota where it is still in storage somewere!) His claim can't be verified because the c/ns of the planes can't be checked, but there are several reasons to believe he spoke the truth—although the Fokker Co book states that Southern Cross is the former Detroiter and that Alaskan ended up in North Dakota!) (— Erik Gol 9/3/02)

F-14A 1932 (ATC 2-395) = F-14 with major revisions. Rather than a modification, plane was totally redone with a cantilever top wing, enclosed pilot's cockpit moved forward of the wing, new tail design, etc. POP: 1 to Canada [X/NC844W=CFAUD].

F-14B 1933 (ATC 2-435) = 8-10pO/ChwM 575hp P&W Hornet B. POP: 1 [NC332N] to Costa Rica.

Fokker XO-27A (TknL coll)

XO-27, -27A 1930 = POP: 2 prototypes [29-327/328], the first of which became XO-27A with geared motors, cockpit canopy, and redesigned tail group. The second was redesignated as XB-8 before completion.

Fokker YO-27 (TKnL coll)

YO-27 1931 = POP: 12 production models [31-587/592]. Additionally, 6 contracted as YB-8 , at the time were redesignated as Y1O-27 [31-598/603].

Fokker PJ-1 [255] (USCG archives)

PJ-1 1933 = FLB-52 to -55. POP: 4 [252/255], then [V112/115] in 1936 used in coastal watch, SAR, and law enforcement roles.

Fokker PJ-2 [V-116] (W T Larkins coll)

PJ-2 1933 = Was FLB-51 Antares, with modified engines and cockpit. Sent to Naval Aircraft Factory in 1933 where the engines changed direction to tractors, perhaps for testing. When it was returned to USCG, the redesign was officially designated PJ-2, and the new s/n applied in 1936. POP: 1 [251=V116].

TA-1, RA-1 1927 = Three 220hp Wright J-5 span: 63'4" length: 49'1" load: 3600# v: 116 range: 460. POP: 3 [A7561/7563]. Converted to RA-3 .

TA-2, RA-2 1928 = Same as TA-1, but span: 72'10". Converted to RA-3 . POP: 3 [A8007/8008, A8018].

Fokker RA-3 (USMC)

TA-3, RA-3 c.1929 = Three 300hp Wright J6-9. POP: 6 convesions of TA-1 and -2, plus 1 built as TA-3 [A8157], redesignated RA-3.

RA-4 c.1929 = One civil F-10-A procured for evaluation, but was not accepted [A8841]. Sold as [NX38N].


World War I Flight Timeline

January 1914 The Naval Aeronautical Center is established at NAS Pensacola,­ Florida.

January 1914 The Il'ya Muromets bomber is flown for the first time.

January 1, 1914 Tony Jannus flies a Benoist flying boat between Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida, to inaugurate the first regularly scheduled passenger airline.

February 23, 1914 A prototype of the Bristol Scout flies.

April 1914 The Fokker M.5, a prototype of the Eindecker, appears.

April 25, 1914 Navy Lieutenant P.N.L. Bellinger makes the first U.S. combat flight off Vera Cruz, Mexico, to scout for sea mines.

May 6, 1914 Navy Lieutenant P.N.L Bellinger's aeroplane is hit by rifle fire. This is the first recorded U.S. aerial combat damage.

July 7, 1914 Robert Goddard secures a patent for his two-stage solid fuel rocket.

August 1, 1914 Germany declares war on Russia. In subsequent days, it becomes a true world war, with Allies versus the Central Powers.

August 22, 1914 The British RFC takes a reconnaissance of German lines.

August 26, 1914 Russian staff Captain Peter Nesterov rams an Austrian plane both pilots are killed.

August 27, 1914 The first RFC squadrons arrive in France.

August 30, 1914 German Army Lieutenant Ferdinand von Hiddessen bombs Paris from his Taube a woman is killed.

October 5, 1914 Corporal Louis Quénault and Sergeant Joseph Frantz of the French Air Force shoot down a German Aviatik. It's the first victory in aerial combat.

November 21, 1914 Three Avro 504s bomb Zeppelin sheds at Friedrichshafen, Germany.

December 21, 1914 A German airplane drops bombs on Dover it's the first attack on England.

December 25, 1914 Seven British hydroaeroplanes are launched from Royal Navy carriers. They succeed in bombing German facilities in Cuxhaven.

January 19, 1915 The first Zeppelin raids begin in England.

February 17, 1915 HMS Ark Royal, the first ship converted to aircraft duty, launches a seaplane to reconnoiter Turks at Gallipoli, Turkey.

March 3, 1915 The United States forms the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which will become the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958.

April 1, 1915 Roland Garros uses a machine gun fired through a propeller (unsynchronized) to shoot down a German plane.

May 31, 1915 The first Zeppelin raid on London kills seven civilians.

June 1, 1915 The prototype de Havilland D.H.2 makes its first flight.

June 5, 1915 Flight Sub-Lieutenant R.A.J. Warneford is awarded the Victoria Cross for dropping a bomb on an LZ 37. He is killed 12 days later.

July 1915 Fokker E 1 monoplanes ("E" standing for eindecker, or monoplane) arrive at the front, the first to have a synchronized gun firing through the propeller.

July 15, 1915 Lieutenant Kurt Wintgens scores a victory with an Eindecker fitted with a synchronized gun.

July 25, 1915 Captain Lanoe Hawker of the RFC earns the first Victoria Cross for air-to-air combat.

Fall 1915 The "Fokker Scourge" begins as Fokker Eindeckers reign supreme on the western front.

December 12, 1915 Hugo Junkers' J 1 "Tin Donkey," the first all-metal monoplane, makes its inaugural flight in Germany.

­January 1916Kampfgeschwader Nr. 1, the German elite bombing unit, receives Gotha IV bombers.

January 1916 The first aero squadron to serve outside the United States, 1st Company, 2nd Aero Squadron, sails from San Francisco to the Philippines.

Januar­y 12, 1916 German fighter aces Oswald Boelcke and Max Immelmann receive the Pour le Mérite (Blue Max) medal.

January 13, 1916 Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Company Incorporated is formed in Buffalo, New York.

January 21, 1916 The Navy begins experimenting with aircraft radio at Pensacola.

February 9, 1916 Captain A. D. Smith flies a Martin S (Hall Scott engine) to set a world hydroaeroplane record of 8 hours, 42 minutes.

February 12, 1916 The U.S. Post Office seeks bids for carrying the mail by air in Massachusetts and Alaska.

March 16, 1916 The 1st Aero Squadron, commanded by Captain B. D. Foulois, becomes the first U.S. tactical air unit in the field.

March 29, 1916 Lieutenant R. C. Saufley sets an American altitude record of 16,010 feet for hydroaeroplanes at Pensacola.

April 1916 The French use air-to-air rockets for the first time, firing Le Prieur rockets from a Nieuport fighter.

April 7, 1916 Captain B. D. Foulois and Lieutenant Dargue are fired on by Mexican troops at Chihauahua City.

April 20, 1916 American pilots form Escadrille Americaine to fight in France. The name is changed to Lafayette Escadrille in November after German protest (they did not want Americans to come into the war on the side of France).

May 18, 1916 Kiffin Rockwell scores the first victory for Escadrille Americaine.

May 22, 1916 Albert Ball scores his first two victories.

May 28, 1916 The Sopwith Triplane makes its first flight.

June 9, 1916 Lieutenant R. C. Saufley sets an endu­rance record of 8 hours, 51 minutes, then crashes to his death.

June 18, 1916 German ace Max Immelmann is killed.

June 18, 1916 H. Clyde Balsley of Escadrille Americaine is the first American to be shot down he survives.

June 23, 1916 Victor Chapman of Escadrille Americaine is the first American killed.

June 29, 1916 The first Boeing aircraft, the Boeing B & W, flies.

August 1916 A prototype D.H.4 flies.

August 6, 1916 René Fonck gains his first victory he will become the leading French ace of the war.

August 7, 1916 The Wright-Martin Aircraft Company is formed after the first of many mergers in the aviation industry.

September 1916 The French SPAD VII enters service.

September 2, 1916 The first plane-to-plane radio contact is established over North Island, California, when telegraph messages are exchanged between two aircraft two miles apart.

September 2, 1916 The first German Zeppelin is shot down over England.

September 5, 1916 Leefe Robinson is awarded the Victoria Cross for destroying a German dirigible.

September 12, 1916 Sperry Company and P. C. Hewitt demonstrate guided missile equipment.

September 17, 1916 Baron Manfred von Richthofen gains the first of his 80 victories.

September 23, 1916 Eleven Zeppelins raid England.

October 7, 1916 H. E. Honeywell wins the National Balloon Race with a flight from Muskogee, Oklahoma, to Cascade, Iowa--a distance of 866 kilometers.

October 12, 1916 Tony Jannus, the famous test pilot who piloted the first airliner, is killed demonstrating Benoist planes in Russia.

­October 28, 1916 Leading German ace Oswald Boelcke is killed in a midair collision with Erwin Böhme, a member of his own unit.

Nov­ember 18, 1916 Seven JN-4s, originating in New York City, complete the first cross-country National Guard flight.

November 20, 1916 Ruth Law sets a world record for female pilots by flying from Chicago to New York in 8 hours, 55 minutes, 35 seconds.

November 21, 1916 The Breguet 14 makes its first flight.

January 5, 1917 The Smithsonian Institution gives Robert Goddard a $5,000 grant for rocket work.

January 16, 1917 Baron Manfred von Richthofen is awarded the Pour le Mérite (Blue Max) medal.

January 19, 1917 The Gallaudet Aircraft Company (a direct ancestor of today's General Dynamics) is formed.

February 11-12, 1917 A German D.F.W. shoots down two enemy bombers in the first successful night fighting between aircraft.

February 13, 1917 The Aircraft Manufacturers Association is formed to permit cross-licensing of patents for the war effort.

March 6, 1917 The first Airco (de Havilland) D.H.4s arrive in France.

March 25, 1917 Billy Bishop gets his first victory (he will go on to become the leading surviving British ace with 72 victories).

April 1917 "Bloody April": 150 RFC aircraft are destroyed, primarily by Albatros D III fighters.

April 5, 1917 The potent Bristol F2B "Brisfit" fighter moves into combat on the western front with the RFC.

April 6, 1917 The United States declares war on Germany. Rated 14th of world air powers, the United States has only 83 pilots and 109 obsolete aeroplanes in service.

April 9, 1917 Dayton-Wright Aircraft Company is formed to manufacture Liberty-powered DH-4 biplanes.

April 12, 1917 The Breguet 14, a famous French bomber, arrives at the front.

May 1917 French squadrons begin to receive the SPAD XIII, a famous fighter.

May 6, 1917 Albert Ball, the top British ace of the time, scores his 44th victory he is killed the next day.

May 18, 1917 The U.S. Navy experiments with self-sealing fuel tanks, using double-walled tanks with layers of felt, gum rubber, and Ivory-soap paste.

May 20, 1917 The Curtiss-designed "Large America" flying boat is the first airplane to sink a German submarine (U-36).

May 25, 1917 Twenty-one Gothas raid England in the first mass bombing 95 people are killed.

June 1917 The first of the German "Giant" bombers, a Staaken R VI, is delivered.

June 13, 1917 Fourteen Gothas raid London, killing 162 civilians and injuring 432. The populace demands a home defense system.

July 1917 Sopwith Camel fighters, the most successful planes based on number of kills (1,294), go into action.

July 21, 1917 Congress ap-proves a gigantic $640 million for S.C. Aviation Service. This amount is eight times more than all U.S. aviation allocations since 1898.

July 26, 1917 The Rich­thofen Flying Circus, a group of elite pilots, forms.

August 2, 1917 Squadron Commander E. H. Dunning lands a Sopwith Pup on the deck of the HMS Furious, becoming the first pilot to land on a moving ship. He is killed five days later trying to repeat this effort.

August 11, 1917 Billy Bishop earns the Victoria Cross for his role in an attack on an enemy airfield.

August 21, 1917 The first two Fokker triplanes arrive at Baron Manfred von Richthofen's base.

August 21, 1917 The first Liberty engine is flown in a L.W.F. Model F plane.

August 30, 1917 German ace Werner Voss flies a Fokker Dr I triplane into combat for the first time, scoring three aerial victories.

­September 1917 A prototype of the Handley Page O/400--the best British bomber of the war--flies for the first time.

Septe­mber 11, 1917 French ace Georges Guynemer is shot down and killed.

September 17, 1917 Zeppelin-Staaken R planes, capable of carrying one-ton bombs, raid England.

September 23, 1917 Werner Voss is killed in a heroic, epic dogfight with the British No. 56 Squadron.

October 11, 1917 The RFC forms the 41st Wing, dedicated to strategic bombing.

October 29, 1917 The first American-made DH-4 flies with the #4 Liberty engine.

November 7, 1917 The Russian revolution begins.

November 18, 1917 The U.S. Navy begins combat operations with Tellier flying boats in France.

November 20, 1917 The Battle of Cambrai takes place. Low-level attacks on both sides set a future pattern for air-to-ground warfare.

November 21, 1917 The U.S. Navy demonstrates a radio-controlled flying bomb.

November 27, 1917 Benny Foulois takes over as the Chief of Air Service, American Expeditionary Force (AEF)

December 1917 Katherine Stinson sets an American cross-country duration record with a flight of nine hours and ten minutes, from San Diego to San Francisco.

January 1918 The Fokker D VII wins a fighter competition in Berlin.

January 19, 1918 The U.S. School of Aviation Medicine is founded.

January 23, 1918 The first U.S. Army balloon ascends in France.

February 1918 The first U.S. squadrons form in France.

February 16, 1918 A plant opens at Romorantin, France, to assemble American planes.

February 18, 1918 The 95th Aero Squadron, the first "all-American" unit, arrives in France.

March 21, 1918 A gigantic German offensive begins.

April 1918 Fokker D VIIs, the best fighters of the war, become operational.

April 1, 1918 Britain establishes the Royal Air Force (RAF) out of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).

April 12, 1918 Zeppelins raid England. It is the last raid of the war to cause casualties.

April 13, 1918 An Argentine pilot, in a Morane-Saulnier Parasol, is the first to cross the Andes Mountains.

April 14, 1918 Lieutenants Douglas Campbell and Alan Winslow score the first U.S. air victories when they shoot down Pfalz and Albatros aircraft over their airdrome.

April 21, 1918 Baron Manfred von Richthofen is shot down and killed.

May 11, 1918 The first American-built DH-4 arrives in France.

May 15, 1918 The Packard LePere fighter flies.

May 15, 1918 The Army establishes airmail service between New York and Washington, D.C.

May 29, 1918 General John Pershing makes nonflyer Mason Patrick the Chief of Air Service, AEF.

June 5, 1918 Hugh Trenchard heads the "Independent Air Force" to attack the German homeland.

June 12, 1918 The first AEF bomber squadron, the 96th Aero Squadron, forms. Members fly French aircraft.

June 19, 1918 Francesco Baracca, the leading Italian ace with 34 victories, is killed.

July 9, 1918 Major James McCudden, one of Britain's top aces, is killed when his aircraft crashes on takeoff.

July 26, 1918 One-eyed pilot Mick Mannock, a British ace with 73 victories, is shot down in flames.

August 1918 Fokker D VII fighters score 565 kills in one month.

August 2, 1918 The first combat flight of an American DH-4 is a fiasco.

August ­17, 1918 The Martin GMB, the first American-made bomber, makes its first flight.

August 21, 1918 The Nieuport 29, one of most important fighters of the 1920s, flies for the first time.

September 12-15, 1918 The Battle of St. Mihiel marks the largest deployment of aircraft in a single operation to date. Billy Mitchell commands 1,480 aircraft (including those in the service of French, British, U.S., and Italian air forces).

September 18, 1918 Major Rudolph Schroeder sets a world altitude record of 28,890 feet at McCook Field.

September 25, 1918 Eddie Rickenbacker earns the Medal of Honor for success in combat.

September 26, 1918 Leading French ace, Captain René Fonck, shoots down six German planes in one day, including four Fokker D VIIs.

September 28, 1918 Renegade Frank Luke is killed after shooting down 3 balloons to bring his total score to 21. As the second-ranking American ace, he receives a posthumous Medal of Honor.

October 2, 1918 The Kettering Bug, an early guided missile, makes its first flight.

October 24, 1918 The Fokker D VIII arrives at the front.

October 27, 1918 Major William Barker engages in an epic dogfight with 15 Fokker D VIIs. He scores three victories before he is shot down and wounded he is awarded the Victoria Cross.

November 6-7, 1918 Robert Goddard demonstrates rockets before the military.

November 11, 1918 The armistice ends World War I.

December 4-22, 1918 Four JN-4s fly coast-to-coast.

1919 Many military aircraft are modified for civil use as transports, mail planes, and personal craft.

1919 The first Lawson airliner is designed.

February 5, 1919 The first sustained airline service starts with Deutsche Luft-Reederei between Berlin and Weimar, Germany.

March 1919 International air service opens between Vienna and Padua, Italy.

March 22, 1919 The first regular international passenger service begins between Paris and Brussels by Lignes Aeriennes Farman.

May 26, 1919 Robert H. Goddard's report on "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes" is published by the Smithsonian Institution.

May 31, 1919 A Curtiss NC-4 completes the first transatlantic crossing.

June 14-15, 1919 John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown make the first nonstop transatlantic flight in a Vickers Vimy.

July 2-13, 1919 The British Army R-34 airship makes a transatlantic round-trip flight.

October 24, 1919 Aeromarine opens an airline between Key West, Florida, and Cuba with three flying boats.

December 10, 1919 Ross and Keith Smith fly a Vickers Vimy from England to Australia.

1920 Zeppelin-Staaken's 18-passenger, 4-engine all-metal airliner is ready to test.

January 1920 Raymond Orteig offers a $25,000 prize to the first pilot who can make a nonstop flight from New York to Paris.

February 7, 1920 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe sets a world speed record of 171 miles per hour in a Nieuport 29.

February 27, 1920 Major R. W. Schroeder sets an altitude record of 33,113 feet in a Liberty-powered LePere.

May 1, 1920 The U.S. Navy begins experimental work with all-metal structures.

May 26, 1920 The Boeing G.A.-X twin-engine attack triplane is tested.

­May 31, 1920 Italian pilots Arturo Ferrarin and Guido Masiero fly from Rome to Tokyo in SVA.9 biplanes.

June 4, 1920 The U.S. Army Air Service is created with 1,516 officers and 16,00­0 men authorized.

June 8, 1920 Lieutenant John E. Wilson makes a record parachute jump of 19,801 feet.

June 21, 1920 The Navy arranges to have J. V. Martin retractable gear installed on a Vought VE-7 airplane.

July 15-August 24, 1920 Four Air Service aircraft fly from New York to Nome, Alaska, and back.

August 2, 1920 Famous stunt pilot Omer Locklear is killed in a night flight in Los Angeles.

August 15, 1920 Laura Bromwell breaks the world loop-the-loop record for women with 87 consecutive loops.

September 8, 1920 A transcontinental mail route from New York to Chicago to San Francisco via plane/train is completed.

September 18, 1920 Rudolph Schroeder sets a record of 34,508 feet in a LePere.

September 30, 1920 Forty-seven Army Air Service aircraft crews report 832 forest fires.

October 1920 Donald W. Douglas organizes the David-Douglas Company to build the Cloudster.

November 1, 1920 Regular U.S. international passenger service begins between Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba, with Aeromarine-West Indies Airways.

November 1, 1920 The Sperry Messenger is tested.

November 4, 1920 The U.S. Navy continues a series of bombing tests against the obsolete battleship USS Indiana.

November 24, 1920 The prototype Dornier Delphin (Dolphin), antecedent of the famous Wal (Whale), flies.

November 25, 1920 Lieutenant Corliss C. Moseley wins the first Pulitzer Trophy in a Verville VCP-R Racer at 156.5 miles per hour.

December 14, 1920 The first fatal accident in scheduled air service occurs when a Handley Page O/400 crashes at Cricklewood, England.

1921 George de Bothezat, a Russian-born engineer working for the U.S. Air Service, builds a large, complex helicopter that is moderately successful.

1921 The Soviets establish a laboratory for research on solid-propellant rockets.

1921 Soviets begin initial airline service with a demilitarized Il'ya Muromets-type aircraft.

January 10, 1921 A "W" style, 700-horsepower, 18-cylinder engine is tested at McCook Field.

January 26, 1921 The U.S. Post Office reports daily flights over 3,460 miles of routes.

February 18, 1921 C. C. Eversole makes a freestyle parachute escape from a U.S. DH-4.

February 22-23, 1921 Jack Frye and others complete the first coast-to-coast airmail flight in 33 hours, 20 minutes.

February 24, 1921 Lieutenant William D. Coney completes a solo transcontinental flight from Rockwell Field, San Diego, to Jacksonville, Florida, in 22 hours, 27 minutes. On March 25, 1921, he is mortally injured in a crash on the return flight.

February 24, 1921 The Douglas Cloudster, the first in a long line of Douglas aircraft, flies.

March 23, 1921 Lieutenant Arthur Hamilton makes a 23,700-foot parachute drop at Chanute Field, Illinois.

April 14, 1921 KLM introduces the Fokker F III five-passenger airliner. This begins a period of Fokker airline dominance.

May 1921 The McCook Field-designed, Boeing-built G.A.-X flies for the first time. The armored, twin-engine triplane attack bomber, with eight machine guns and a cannon, is a failure.

­June 9, 1921 The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) authorizes the construction of a wind tunnel at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory.

July 12-21, 1921 Brigadier General Billy Mitchell's Martin MB-2 bombers sink the battles­hip Ostfriesland in a demonstration attack.

July 29, 1921 Brigadier General Billy Mitchell leads 17 bombers in an exhibition "raid" on New York City.

August 1, 1921 Preliminary tests begin on what will become the Norden bombsight.

August 4, 1921 Lieutenant John Macready, USAS, flies the first crop duster, using a Curtiss JN-4D conversion.

August 11, 1921 Simulated deck landing tests begin in anticipation of the first U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Langley, becoming operational.

August 24, 1921 An American-owned British dirigible R-38 breaks up in the air 42 people die.

September 23, 1921 The United States Air Service continues bomb tests, sinking the USS Alabama.

September 28, 1921 John Macready sets a world altitude record of 34,509 feet in a LePere LUSAC-11.

October 15, 1921 Compania Espanola de Trafico Aeroeo, predecessor of Iberia airlines, begins operations.

November 5, 1921 Bert Acosta wins the Pulitzer Trophy race in a Curtiss Racer at 176.7 miles per hour.

November 12, 1921 The first air-to-air refueling: Wesley May steps from the wing of a Lincoln Standard to the wing of a Curtiss Canuck with a five-gallon can of fuel strapped to his back.

November 15, 1921 The airship ROMA flies for the first time at Langley Field, Virginia.

December 1, 1921 Helium is used for the first time in an airship, the nonrigid Navy C-7.

December 29, 1921 A world endurance record of 26 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds is set in a Junkers-Larson BMW (Junkers 13).

January 16, 1922 The Navy issues parachutes for use in heavier-than-air craft.

February 7, 1922 The Lawrance J-1 radial engine completes a 50-hour test. This will lead to a revolution in engines.

March 13-June 16, 1922 Portuguese pilots fly from Lisbon to Brazil in Fairey III aircraft.

March 20, 1922 The U.S. Navy commissions its first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley.

March 23, 1922 A NACA report shows that the jet engine would consume four times more fuel than a piston engine at 250 miles per hour but would be more efficient at altitude.

April 1922 Germany and the Soviet Union set up a secret training and manufacturing base in the Soviet Union for Germany's use.

April 7, 1922 The first midair collision between passenger airliners takes place in France when a D.H.18 and a Farman- Goliath collide. All of the crew members are killed, along with seven passengers.

April 25, 1922 Eddie Stinson completes a successful test of the Stout ST-1, the Navy's first all-metal airplane.

May 1922 The Breguet 19 bomber prototype flies it will become the most widely used military aircraft between the wars.

June 10, 1922 Guglielmo Marconi states that radar could be used in fog or thick weather to identify passing ships.

June 12, 1922 Captain A. W. Stephens (later a famous balloonist) makes a parachute jump from a supercharged Martin MB-2 at 24,206 feet.

June 16, 1922 Henry Berliner demonstrates a helicopter at College Park, Maryland on July 16, it hovers at 12 feet.

August 12, 1922 Henry Biard pilots a Supermarine Sea Lion to win the Schneider Cup at 145.7 miles per hour.

­September 4, 1922 The Curtiss R-6 is flown for the first time at Curtiss Field, New York.


Fokker, Anthony

During World War I, Fokker perfected a mechanism to synchronize a machine gun’s fire with the propeller rotation so that bullets do not strike the blades. He mounted the gun on one of his Scout planes and demonstrated the armed aircraft to skeptical German officers. Although he was a neutral citizen, the Germans put him in uniform, and ordered him to the front to prove that his invention would shoot down enemy aircraft. Fokker went but refused to take the lives of the two helpless French observers that he encountered in the air. “Let the Germans do their own killing,” vowed the Dutch inventor.

    In 1910 he built his open monoplane and earned his pilot certificate.
    In 1912, he established Fokker Aeroplane in Germany and trained pilots, as well as building planes for individuals and the German army.
    During World War I, Fokker perfected a synchronized machine gun firing between propeller blades.
    He designed monoplanes, biplanes and triplanes during the First World War. After the war, he formed an airplane company in Holland and his first airliner was used on KLM’s route to England in 1920.
    His T-2 monoplane made the first nonstop flight across the U.S.
    He formed the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation in the U.S. and introduced the Fokker Trimotor, which made the first flight over the North Pole.
    His Trimotors set numerous air records and helped develop U.S. airlines.

Biography

Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker’s interest in aviation began at the age of 16 when he witnessed his first airplane flight. Another inspiration for him was the news of Wilbur Wright’s flights in France. In 1910, Fokker enrolled in a school in Germany that offered a course in practical aeronautics. There he helped build an airplane. But when the instructor wrecked this plane, the school dropped the course. Undaunted, Fokker helped build two more monoplanes in which he made his first flight and earned a German pilot license.

When Fokker completed his third plane, he took it home to Holland and made a triumphal flight honoring Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday. It was the greatest moment in his life, for which his father proudly presented him his own gold watch. In 1912, after moving to Johannisthal, a mecca of aviation near Berlin, his father financed his formation a company to manufacture airplanes. In order to interest German Army officials, he built a scout plane and towed it to a nearby military base, where he assembled it and was airborne in minutes. German Army officials were so impressed, they ordered two of the planes.

One of Fokker’s most terrifying experiences in the air took place when a wing began to crumple. Miraculously, he nursed the plane down to 30 feet before it crashed, killing a passenger. Fortunately, Tony escaped serious injury. In an attempt to interest his own country in his aircraft, Fokker demonstrated one at the Hague. But the Dutch bought French planes. He was equally unsuccessful with the Russians, Italians and English.

Fortunately, after opening a flying school, he received a three-year contract to train German Army pilots, and also won a German Army competition with his truck-transportable scout plane. Fokker electrified all of Germany by making the first loop in that country and this achievment caused newspapers to give him glowing accounts of his loop-the-loop exhibitions.

After moving his factory to Schwerin, Germany, Fokker was taken completely by surprise by the eruption of World War I. Having already offered his planes to other European countries without success, he decided to stay in Germany when Holland declared itself a neutral nation. The Germans quickly swamped Fokker with orders for his unarmed observation and scout planes. With the profits from these, he payed all of his debts and became sole owner of his airplane company. During the first year of the war, airmen begin dueling in the sky. In 1915 French pilot Garros added a machine-gun firing forward through the arc of his plane’s propeller to wreak havoc among German airmen and become an ace. Fortunately for the Germans, his plane was finally downed and his secret of adding metal plates to deflect bullets striking the propeller blades was out. Immediately, Fokker was ordered to adapt the bullet deflector idea to his planes. Instead, he perfected a mechanism to synchronize a machine gun’s firing with propeller rotation so its bullets would never strike the blades, mounting the gun on one of his scout planes. But when he demonstrated his armed plane to German officers, they were doubtful. Though he was a neutral citizen, they put Fokker in uniform and ordered him to the front to prove it by shooting down an enemy plane. When Fokker refused, Max Immelmann scored the first victory in Fokker’s armed plane in August 1915. This was a historic event, because Fokker had revolutionized all previous concepts of war. Realizing their tremendous advantage, the Germans put scores of Fokker’s armed monoplanes into the air. They had a devastating effect, for there was no defense against them. Not until April 1916 did one fall into French hands and his secret was out.

In 1916, Fokker introduced his biplane fighter equipped with synchronized machine-guns. Meanwhile, when he refused to give up his Dutch citizenship, the German government declared Fokker a naturalized German and would not allow him to leave the country. Fokker’s triplane, introduced into combat in 1917, was one of the most formidable fighters yet created, and it was used by Richtofen, the infamous “Red Baron”, to help score 80 victories and turn the tide against racy British Sopwith Camels and deadly French Spads. Then in a competition for a better fighter, Fokker’s D-7 was unanimously selected and rushed into production. It was one of the most maneuverable fighters of the war. Another was his revolutionary D-8 monoplane. It was so good the British called it the “Flying Razor”. When Germany finally surrendered, the armistice required liquidation of Fokker’s factories. To prevent this, he smuggled hundreds of planes and engines into Holland, where he re-established his factory at Veere.

Foreseeing the need for a postwar airliner, Fokker developed the F-2, which he smuggled out of Germany. It was used by KLM, the Royal Dutch airline, to inaugurate air routes throughout Europe. Billy Mitchell was the one who ordered advanced Fokkers to be equipped with American engines for his Army air service. Among them was the famous T-2, used by Lieutenants Macready and Kelly in 1923 to make the first non-stop transcontinental flight.

After Fokker came to the United States in 1924 and established Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, he created the famous Fokker trimotor for the 1925 Ford Reliability Tour. It was a sensation and soon became the world’s standard for comfort and safety. Commander Byrd and Floyd Bennett brought Fokker’s trimotor lasting fame when they made the first flight over the North Pole in the Josephine Ford. After the Fokker Aircraft Corporation was established in 1925, the air service purchased several of its transports. One, The Bird of Paradise, was used by Lieutenants Hegenberger and Maitland to make the first flight from California to Hawaii.

Almost simultaneously, Commander Byrd and his crew flew their Fokker trimotor America from New York to Paris, only to be turned back by fog and forced to ditch in the water on the French coast. Juan Terry Trippe recognized the commercial potential of the Fokker trimotor and bought several for his newly-created Pan American Airways that soon encircled South America.

Meanwhile, Fokker trimotors were setting records. Among them was the Southern Cross used by Kingsford-Smith to fly from California to Australia the Friendship in which Amelia Earhart became the first woman passenger to cross the Atlantic and the Question Mark used by Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, Ira Eaker and others to set a world’s endurance record. In 1928, Fokker opened a second factory near Wheeling, West Virginia, and its expanded line of aircraft included the popular Universal and the Super-Trimotor, which Western Air Express used to establish a model airline between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In 1929, General Motors acquired control of Fokker Aircraft Corporation and Fokker was named technical director as the F-11 amphibian and the F-14 transports were introduced, followed by the 4-engined F-32, America’s largest transport.

Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker’s untimely passing at the young age of 49 on December 23rd, 1939, brought to a close the career of this aeronautical genius. As the “Flying Dutchman”, he was arguably the most skilled of pilot of his time, as well as a gifted aircraft designer and astute business entrepreneur.

For more information on Anthony Fokker, you may want to visit these websites:


Aviation History: First Nonstop Continental Flight

On May 3, 1923, First Lieutenants Oakley Kelly and John Macready landed at Rockwell Field, San Diego, California, where they had lunch with Major Henry H. ‘Hap Arnold, the field commander. Hardly a notable occasion–on the surface.

What was remarkable about this event, however, was that the young lieutenants had just become the first aviators to fly nonstop across the continental United States. It was the culmination of 1 1/2 years of dedicated work by the lieutenants, their mechanics and engineers, and the U.S. Weather Bureau.

During the years immediately following World War I, the fledgling Army Air Service had to fight for its very life. Although the Air Service was convinced of the need to develop aviation, many politicians and citizens of the day saw aviation as a luxury, an unnecessary frill.

The Air Service’s pilots knew that their livelihood depended on their ability to showcase their skills. This period of Air Service history has been called the stunt era.

It was in this atmosphere that two aviators were given the support they needed to fly nonstop across the United States. The story begins in late 1921, when Kelly and 1st Lt. Muir Fairchild first proposed to fly across the continent nonstop. Their fellow aviators immediately declared the plan preposterous. No plane or pilot was capable.

The two aviators were convinced, however, that if they could find the right airplane, they could successfully make the trip. After evaluating all the airplanes in the Army inventory, they found that the Fokker F-IV (Army designation T-2) had the characteristics they were looking for.

The T-2 was a huge, passenger airplane with a wingspan of 74 feet 10 inches. It held eight passengers in an enclosed metal-tubing-and-fabric-covered fuselage and seated one pilot in an exposed cockpit in front of the large, cantilevered, wood-covered wing. The wing was similar to some featured on Anthony Fokker’s most successful fighters of World War I. The Army had recently acquired two of these airplanes to be used as testbeds for the Liberty 12 engine. The T-2 carried 130 gallons of fuel, but for a transcontinental flight, additional fuel would have to be added.

One of the Army’s T-2s (A.S. 64233) was made available for the flight, and 1st Lt. Earnest Dichman, the team’s chief engineer, began to modify it for the flight. He placed a fuel tank in the cabin, bringing the total fuel capacity up to 725 gallons. Other necessary modifications included additional water and oil tanks in the cabin, larger and stronger wheels, auxiliary water and oil radiators, a door between the cockpit and the cabin, and a second set of flight controls in the cabin.

The pilots had to decide from which coast to start their planned nonstop, cross-country flight. The Weather Bureau strongly recommended flying from west to east, to take advantage of the prevailing 20-plus-mph westerly wind during August and September, and the pilots agreed to the California-to-New York route.

On September 24, 1922, the airplane arrived at Rockwell Field on North Island, Calif., where final preparations for the flight were made. An overhauled Liberty 12 engine was installed the back of the pilot’s seat was hinged to allow easier access between cockpit and cabin and a continuous-cord message system was installed to allow the pilots to communicate while in flight. Macready had replaced Fairchild, who was recovering from an unrelated accident.

At last, all preparations were complete. The Weather Bureau gave the go-ahead. And on the morning of October 22, 1922, the T-2 was placed at the end of the 10,000-foot runway.

As the two airmen approached the T-2, they tossed a coin to see who would have the honor of starting the flight in the cockpit. Kelly won the toss and climbed into the cockpit. Once the preliminary checks and engine run-up were completed, the wheel chocks were removed, and the plane slowly, hesitatingly, rumbled forward. With a gross weight of 10,695 pounds (an astonishing weight for that era) the plane made its way down the runway, then slowly lifted off. As the plane headed east, Point Loma loomed ahead. At an altitude of only 100 feet, Kelly had to turn downwind to avoid it. The Fokker began to sink lower and lower, until it was skimming along a bare 10 feet above the waves.

The heavily laden plane slowly continued to gain altitude. About 50 miles into the flight, the pilots encountered light fog. Since the Weather Bureau had not indicated bad weather in the mountains, the aviators disregarded the fog and flew on. When the pilots reached Banning, however, they found the tops of the hills covered in fog. After wasting 1_ hours looking for a break in the fog, they decided to turn back. Even if they could find a route through the fog, they had by now used up too much fuel to complete the trip to New York.

The pilots returned to Rockwell Field. As they flew over the field, they dropped a note to the ground saying that they had decided to abandon the transcontinental flight. Instead, they would stay aloft and try to break the world endurance record.

A plane took off from the field with a message hurriedly painted on the side. When it closed on the T-2, the pilots read: Message received. Drop messages on marker at start of runway.

The pilots circled Rockwell Field for the rest of the flight.

After just over 35 hours aloft, the T-2 touched down, to the cheers of a thousand well-wishers. It set an endurance record, but it was declared unofficial by the Aero Club of America because the proper arrangements had not been made prior to the flight. Nonetheless, the flight proved that the T-2 and its pilots could stay aloft long enough to make a nonstop transcontinental flight. All they needed was favorable weather.

The aviators hoped to make a second transcontinental attempt in a few days. However, maintenance problems and unfavorable weather caused a longer delay than expected.

On November 3, after only 3_ hours of sleep, the pilots rose at 3:30 a.m. and headed for the airfield to prepare the plane for the flight. By 5 a.m., they were ready to go. All they had to do was wait for adequate light to safely take off.

Kelly once again took the controls for takeoff. He flew as straight a course as he could out to sea, while still avoiding Point Loma. He kept all his initial turns gradual, minimizing loss of altitude. After twice circling North Island, the T-2 headed east, toward New York.

No fog hampered the fliers this time, and they gained enough altitude to fly through the mountains in California without any difficulty. Across the Colorado River, Macready took the controls, and they continued on through the mountains.

As they approached the Continental Divide, Kelly doubted his ability to fly over it. However, with each gallon of fuel burned, the plane rose a few feet. Eventually, Kelly coaxed the struggling Fokker to an altitude of 150 feet. But just as they reached the divide, a sudden downdraft forced the plane to within 20 feet of the ground. Only Kelly’s quick action averted disaster. With airspeed near the stall point, he barely missed a large mound and turned to fly back down the mountain. He flew like this for 10 miles, expecting to crash at any minute. As the plane burned fuel, the gradual loss of weight enabled Kelly to nudge the plane high enough to cross the Continental Divide. After 40 minutes and two attempts, they crossed with 30 feet to spare.

The many delays so far had left the flight behind schedule. Crossing the divide at dusk, Kelly found night rapidly closing in and no moon yet risen. For 1_ hours, the plane bored onward in total darkness with no visible landmarks for guidance.

As the pilots later wrote, if they could reach Tucumcari, New Mexico, the long night’s flight could be commenced from a known starting point and over comparatively good country. Thankfully, they were soon able to see the city’s lights in the distance.

As the plane headed east, clouds began forming, sometimes blocking the moon and forcing Kelly to fly close to the ground so he could follow his iron compass–the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks.

Their intent was to follow the railroad tracks through the night. However, the bad weather made this difficult, at best. When Macready lost sight of the tracks, he would have to follow the compass and estimate the amount of his drift. Whenever the headlights of a train appeared, Macready would regain his bearing and make any necessary adjustments to his flight path. As they flew on, thunder and lightning rumbled and flashed on every side.

Once they had reached Pratt, Kan., they deliberately left the railroad and followed a compass course. Macready planned to double-check his course when he crossed over the lights of a small town. This proved to be more difficult than anticipated. He later said, The people of Kansas and Missouri apparently retire early and no lights appear after ten or eleven o’clock. Adding to their problems, Macready said, was a crosswind approaching the proportions of a gale, causing considerable drift.

Macready continued on toward the Missouri River. At the Kansas­Missouri border, Kelly took over the controls, and after they passed St. Louis, they saw the sun rising ahead of them. Both pilots thought that practically all the troubles of the long trip were over.

About 400 miles into the flight, the pilots had discovered a cracked cylinder jacket. But the engine was not yet losing cooling water, so the problem was not considered serious and they continued on. As Kelly passed over Terre Haute, Ind., however, he sent a message to Macready in the cabin of the plane, telling him to plan for an emergency landing. The cracked cylinder jacket had worsened, affecting some of the other cylinder jackets, and they were rapidly losing coolant. Macready took over the controls and immediately found that water was shooting from both sides of the engine in small streams.

About 50 miles from Indianapolis, Ind., Macready noticed that the water temperature was rising and prepared to land. Meanwhile, in the cabin of the plane, Kelly was pouring coffee, broth and any other liquid he could find into the water tank. This lowered the water temperature enough to allow the stricken T-2 to continue on to the Indianapolis Speedway, where they intended to land.

The pilots landed in the center of the field–then immediately jumped from the plane in order to avoid the danger of fire which seemed probable, as a dense cloud of white smoke was pouring from the engine, as they later recalled.

The airplane did not catch fire. Had they continued on any farther, however, or if they had needed to fly around the field one more time, the plane probably would not have made it. The pilots were safe due to their incredible skill, sound judgment and quick thinking. They certainly knew their exact limits, as well as the plane’s.

When Kelly and I stepped out of the T-2 in Indianapolis, Macready later wrote in National Geographic magazine, we did not do much talking about transcontinental non-stop flights. We were through. Any man who was foolish enough to want our job was welcome to it. Never, never again for us! Neither one said much, but we did a lot of thinking, and decided in our own minds that transcontinental non-stop flights were good things to keep away from. We were entirely willing for someone to take our place. We wanted to forget it.

The pilots did not know just how lucky they were to have made it through the night until they read the newspaper the next day. The storms they had flown through the previous night included a tornado that had left 12 dead and 80 injured.

After a few days of rest in Dayton, Ohio, Kelly put a map of the United States up on the wall. Without much discussion or ceremony, he and Macready were soon planning another attempt at a nonstop, transcontinental flight.

The pilots re-evaluated their previous plans. If they flew from east to west, they reckoned, they could immediately throttle back after takeoff and stay at lower altitudes until they reached the western mountains. By this time, they would have burned enough fuel to allow an easy climb over the mountains. In discussions with the Weather Bureau in Washington, D.C., the pilots learned that during the last two weeks in April, there was usually a shift in the continental weather pattern, producing two or three strong, east-to-west wind currents that they could utilize.

Once again the T-2 was prepared for a nonstop transcontinental flight, this time in the spring of 1923. While setting an official endurance record, Kelly and Macready missed two periods of favorable winds. Still optimists, they flew to New York and hoped for one more good wind.

On the evening of May 1, 1923, they received a weather report that showed favorable conditions developing. They were up at 4 a.m. and made the final preparations for takeoff from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, N.Y.

Roosevelt Field sits on a mile-square plateau, with Hazelhurst Field, the same size but 20 feet lower, adjacent to it. Macready described the takeoff from his perspective back in the cabin: The big monoplane bounced and bounced but did not rise. It was still on the ground when we came to the 20-foot drop-off from Roosevelt to Hazelhurst Field….Over we went and settled down, but not quite to the earth.

The heavily loaded plane could hardly maintain itself in level flight. For 20 minutes over Long Island our climb was hardly appreciable. In fact, for the first few miles we barely cleared the poles and wires.

Over Pennsylvania, Kelly noticed the voltage regulator was indicating discharge, which meant the plane was flying on the battery. They could only last for a few hours like this. Turning the controls over to Macready, Kelly spent the next half hour removing the voltage regulator, repairing it and putting it back in place. With the regulator now reading charge, Kelly took over the controls and flew on.

As dusk approached, the T-2 reached Dayton, Ohio, and Macready moved to the cockpit to begin his stint in front. As they flew west, clouds began to gather. Macready said, Flying into this murky night was about the same as plunging into ice-cold water with a long swim ahead.

When they reached St. Louis, its lights, barely discernible through the mist, told Macready he was still on course. He followed the Missouri River until he reached Jefferson City, Mo. Then the clouds thickened. As they flew over the Ozarks, they could no longer see ground lights. Once again, they would have to struggle through total darkness.

With the airplane pointed toward New Mexico, Macready followed a compass course across five states. He said, Kelly and I take great pride in having remained directly on our course throughout the blackness of the night.

Shortly before midnight, Macready found the clouds thinning. He could see the ground once again. At this point, they were 1,200 miles into their flight. Kelly took over the controls near Spearman, Texas, and used his compass to stay on course for the next six hours.

Macready took over at 6 a.m. They were then over Santa Rosa, N.M., and two-thirds of the way through the flight. Once he reached the Rio Grande, Macready knew he was seven hours away from San Diego, with nine hours of fuel left on board. If he could just get over the upcoming mountains, the flight surely would be a success.

The T-2 was struggling for altitude, gaining a few feet with each gallon of fuel burned. Once more, Kelly and Macready were confronted with the Continental Divide. And once more, they were unable to push the Fokker high enough to clear the mountains. As before, they had to look for a new route, a gap in the divide.

Macready flew slightly to the south of the proposed route and found the opening he needed. With all of 100 feet to spare, they cleared the highest point of the flight.

Kelly took over near Wickenburg, Ariz., and followed the Santa Fe Railroad until they reached the Colorado River. The Imperial Valley lay below. All that stood between them and the Pacific Ocean was one last mountain range. They were on time and on course. Success was near.

Since Macready was a native of San Diego, he took the controls once the Pacific Ocean was in sight. The goal was to reach San Diego in less than 27 hours total flight time. Macready brought the big airplane down from 8,000 feet, leveling off to pass over the housetops at 100 feet. The T-2 touched down at Rockwell Field 26 hours and 50 minutes after leaving New York. The exhausted pilots had flown into history.

Macready later recalled his thoughts about the end of the flight: Everyone was excited but Kelly and myself. We had been working in grease and dirt, without rest, for such a long time previous to the flight that we had not had an opportunity to think about it from the standpoint of an accomplished act.

It seemed to us that we had just finished a hard test flight, and we were mighty glad that it was over.

The pilots received congratulatory telegrams from President Warren Harding, General John Pershing and hundreds of other well-wishers. A banquet was held in their honor, and they became the darlings of the press. The Air Service needed this type of publicity.

Kelly and Macready hoped to take an extended leave once they got to San Diego, especially since Macready had gotten married a few days after they landed. Instead, the fliers were soon ordered to report to Washington, D.C., with the T-2. There, the airplane was donated to the Smithsonian Institution, where it is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum.

This article was written by Joseph B. Haymor and originally published in the March 1997 issue of Aviation History. For more great articles subscribe to Aviation History magazine today!


5 July 1917

5 July 1917: First flight, the first of two Fokker Versuch 5 (V.5) triplane prototypes, designated F.1, serial number 102/17.

The Fokker F.I was a prototype single-engine, single-seat triplane fighter, designed and built by Fokker Flugzeugwerke GmbH, Schwerin, Germany. After very slight changes, the production version would be designated Fokker Dr.I. The fuselage was constructed of steel tubing braced with wire and covered with fabric. The wings used plywood ribs and a boxed plywood spar.

The two V.5s were improved variants of the V.4 prototype. The wingspan was increased and interplane struts were added.

The F.I was 5.770 meters (18 feet, 11.2 inches) long. The upper wing had a span of 7.190 meters (23 feet, 7.1 inches) the middle wing, 6.225 meters (20 feet, 5 inches) and the lower wing, 5.725 meters (18 feet, 9.4 inches). All three wings had a chord of 1.000 meters (3 feet, 3.4 inches). The airplane had an overall height of 2.950 meters (9 feet, 8.1 inches). Its empty weight was 405 kilograms (893 pounds), and the gross weight was 587 kilograms (1,294 pounds).

Originally built with a Motorentfabrik Oberursel Ur.II nine-cylinder rotary engine rated at 110 horsepower (a license-built copy of the French Le Rhône 9J engine). The Le Rhône 9J, produced by Société des Moteurs Le Rhône, was an air-cooled, normally aspirated, 15.074 liter (919.85 cubic inches) nine-cylinder rotary engine, capable of producing 113 horsepower at 1,200 r.p.m., and a maximum 135 horsepower at 1,350 r.p.m. As the engine rotated, it turned a two-bladed Axial Proppellerwerk AG fixed-pitch, laminated wood propeller with a diameter of 2.660 meters (8 feet, 8.7 inches). The Le Rhône 9J was 850 millimeters (2 feet, 9.47 inches) long and 970 millimeters (3 feet, 2.19 inches) in diameter. It weighed 137 kilograms (302 pounds).

The Fokker F.I had a maximum speed of 185 kilometers per hour (115 miles per hour) at Sea Level and 166 kilometers per hour (103 miles per hour) at 4,000 meters (13,123 feet ). The service ceiling was 7,000 meters (22,966 feet). It carried fuel for approximately 1½ hours of flight.

The F.I was armed with two fixed 8mm Spandau LMG 08/15 machine guns, synchronized to fire forward through the propeller arc. The fighter carried 550 rounds of ammunition per gun.

Fokker F.1 102/17. The curved leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer is seen. The second protototype, F.1 103/17, was flown by Leutnant Werner Voss. It was ordered on 14 July 1917 and accepted by the German Air Force on 16 August. It was sent to Jagdstafell 10 on 21 August. Shot down 23 September 1917

Fokker F.1 102/17 was shot down by a Sopwith Camel, 15 September 1917 near Wervik, Belgium. The pilot, Oberleutnant Kurt Wolff, was killed.


Fokker FT-1 in flight, April 1923 - History



























1924 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1924 Aviation Records

Speed: (France), 278.47-mph, Florentin Bonnet, Bernard Ferbois V2, 11 December 1924.

Distance: (USA), 3,293-miles, Smith and Richter, de Havilland DH.4B, 28 August 1923.

Altitude: (France), 36,565-feet, Joseph Sadi-Lecointe, Nieuport-Delage, 30 October 1923.

Weight: (Italy), 57,319-lbs, SAI Caproni, Caproni Ca.60.

Engine Power: (UK), 1,000-hp, Napier, Cub.

January 1924

January 29 &mdash Pateras Pesara flies an experimental helicopter in Paris. The machine flew 800 meters (2,640 ft) in just over 10 minutes.

February 1924

February 20 &mdash Three French Army officers make the first two-way aerial crossing of the Sahara Desert in a Breguet 14.

March &mdash First flight of the Fairey Fawn.

March &mdash Huff Darland Dusters is established as the world's first crop dusting company in Georgia (U.S. state). It will eventually grow into Delta Air Service, then Delta Air Lines.

March 25 &mdash Royal Air Force officers McLaren, Plenderleith, and Andrews set off in an attempted round-the-world flight in a Vickers Vulture II. Their attempt will ultimately fail in Siberia in early August.

April 1 &mdash Imperial Airways is formed, with the Backing of the British government.

April 1 &mdash Britain's Fleet Air Arm is established.

April 1 &mdash The Royal Canadian Air Force is formed.

May 4 &mdash First flight of the Sikorsky S-29-A.

May 19 &mdash The first aerial circumnavigation of Australia is carried out, by an RAAF crew in a Fairey IIID.

May 26 &mdash First flight of the Tupolev ANT-2.

June 16 &mdash First flight of the Blériot-SPAD S.51.

June 23 &mdash First flight of the Focke-Wulf A-16.

June 23 &mdash Lt Russell Maughan makes the first one-day crossing of the United States, completing the flight from Long Island to San Francisco in a Curtiss PW-8 in 21 hours, 48 minutes.

July 1 &mdash Regular night airmail services commence in the United States, linking Chicago with Cheyenne.

July 17 &mdash Pelletier d'Oisy completes a flight from Paris to Tokyo. The journey takes 120 hours in the air.

July 19 &mdash First flight of the Blériot 135.

August 1924

August &mdash First flight of the Savoia Marchetti S.55.

August &mdash First flight of the Hawker Cygnet.

August &mdash The Bolivian Air Force is formed, as the Cuerpo de Aviación.

August 8 &mdash US Navy airship USS Shenandoah docks with the USS Patoka while the latter is underway, showing that airships could operate from support ships far out to sea.

August 21 &mdash First flight of the Fokker F.VII.

August 24 &mdash The USS Richmond rescues the crew of an Italian flying boat that is forced down in the Arctic Ocean by bad weather.

September 1924

September &mdash First flight of the Aero A.24.

September 11 &mdash Canada's first regular airmail service begins, with Laurentide Air Services linking Haileybury with Rouyn.

September 28 &mdash Two of four Douglas World Cruisers of the U.S. Army Air Service arrive in Seattle, completing the first aerial circumnavigation of the world. They had left the city on April 6, taking 175 days for the journey.

October 1924

October 12-15 &mdash Transportation of the Zeppelin-Airship LZ.126 (ZR.III Los Angeles) to USA under guidance of H. Eckener.

November 1924

November 6 &mdash First flight of the Dornier Do.J.

November 11 &mdash Lt Dixie Kiefer makes the first night catapult launch from a ship, the USS California.

November 24 &mdash A KLM Fokker F.VII makes the first flight from the Netherlands to the Dutch East Indies, taking 127 hours 16 minutes.

December 1924

December 13 &mdash In an early parasite fighter experiment, Lt Clyde Flinter unsuccessfully attempts to dock his Sperry Messenger with the US Army airship TC-3.

December 14 &mdash A Martin MO-1 is launched using an explosive-driven catapult fitted to a turret on USS Mississippi, requiring less distance than ever for the take-off.

Works Cited

  1. Gunston, Bill, et al. Chronicle of Aviation. Liberty, Missouri: JL Publishing Inc., 1992. 14-17
  2. Parrish, Wayne W. (Publisher). "United States Chronology". 1962 Aerospace Yearbook, Forty-Third Annual Edition. Washington, DC: American Aviation Publications, Inc., 1962, 446-469.
  3. Wikipedia, 1924 in aviation
  4. Shupek, John (photos and card images), The Skytamer Archive. Skytamer.com, Whittier, CA

Copyright © 1998-2018 (Our 20 th Year) Skytamer Images, Whittier, California
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Fokker FT-1 in flight, April 1923 - History



























1924 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1924 Aviation Records

Speed: (France), 278.47-mph, Florentin Bonnet, Bernard Ferbois V2, 11 December 1924.

Distance: (USA), 3,293-miles, Smith and Richter, de Havilland DH.4B, 28 August 1923.

Altitude: (France), 36,565-feet, Joseph Sadi-Lecointe, Nieuport-Delage, 30 October 1923.

Weight: (Italy), 57,319-lbs, SAI Caproni, Caproni Ca.60.

Engine Power: (UK), 1,000-hp, Napier, Cub.

January 1924

January 29 &mdash Pateras Pesara flies an experimental helicopter in Paris. The machine flew 800 meters (2,640 ft) in just over 10 minutes.

February 1924

February 20 &mdash Three French Army officers make the first two-way aerial crossing of the Sahara Desert in a Breguet 14.

March &mdash First flight of the Fairey Fawn.

March &mdash Huff Darland Dusters is established as the world's first crop dusting company in Georgia (U.S. state). It will eventually grow into Delta Air Service, then Delta Air Lines.

March 25 &mdash Royal Air Force officers McLaren, Plenderleith, and Andrews set off in an attempted round-the-world flight in a Vickers Vulture II. Their attempt will ultimately fail in Siberia in early August.

April 1 &mdash Imperial Airways is formed, with the Backing of the British government.

April 1 &mdash Britain's Fleet Air Arm is established.

April 1 &mdash The Royal Canadian Air Force is formed.

May 4 &mdash First flight of the Sikorsky S-29-A.

May 19 &mdash The first aerial circumnavigation of Australia is carried out, by an RAAF crew in a Fairey IIID.

May 26 &mdash First flight of the Tupolev ANT-2.

June 16 &mdash First flight of the Blériot-SPAD S.51.

June 23 &mdash First flight of the Focke-Wulf A-16.

June 23 &mdash Lt Russell Maughan makes the first one-day crossing of the United States, completing the flight from Long Island to San Francisco in a Curtiss PW-8 in 21 hours, 48 minutes.

July 1 &mdash Regular night airmail services commence in the United States, linking Chicago with Cheyenne.

July 17 &mdash Pelletier d'Oisy completes a flight from Paris to Tokyo. The journey takes 120 hours in the air.

July 19 &mdash First flight of the Blériot 135.

August 1924

August &mdash First flight of the Savoia Marchetti S.55.

August &mdash First flight of the Hawker Cygnet.

August &mdash The Bolivian Air Force is formed, as the Cuerpo de Aviación.

August 8 &mdash US Navy airship USS Shenandoah docks with the USS Patoka while the latter is underway, showing that airships could operate from support ships far out to sea.

August 21 &mdash First flight of the Fokker F.VII.

August 24 &mdash The USS Richmond rescues the crew of an Italian flying boat that is forced down in the Arctic Ocean by bad weather.

September 1924

September &mdash First flight of the Aero A.24.

September 11 &mdash Canada's first regular airmail service begins, with Laurentide Air Services linking Haileybury with Rouyn.

September 28 &mdash Two of four Douglas World Cruisers of the U.S. Army Air Service arrive in Seattle, completing the first aerial circumnavigation of the world. They had left the city on April 6, taking 175 days for the journey.

October 1924

October 12-15 &mdash Transportation of the Zeppelin-Airship LZ.126 (ZR.III Los Angeles) to USA under guidance of H. Eckener.

November 1924

November 6 &mdash First flight of the Dornier Do.J.

November 11 &mdash Lt Dixie Kiefer makes the first night catapult launch from a ship, the USS California.

November 24 &mdash A KLM Fokker F.VII makes the first flight from the Netherlands to the Dutch East Indies, taking 127 hours 16 minutes.

December 1924

December 13 &mdash In an early parasite fighter experiment, Lt Clyde Flinter unsuccessfully attempts to dock his Sperry Messenger with the US Army airship TC-3.

December 14 &mdash A Martin MO-1 is launched using an explosive-driven catapult fitted to a turret on USS Mississippi, requiring less distance than ever for the take-off.

Works Cited

  1. Gunston, Bill, et al. Chronicle of Aviation. Liberty, Missouri: JL Publishing Inc., 1992. 14-17
  2. Parrish, Wayne W. (Publisher). "United States Chronology". 1962 Aerospace Yearbook, Forty-Third Annual Edition. Washington, DC: American Aviation Publications, Inc., 1962, 446-469.
  3. Wikipedia, 1924 in aviation
  4. Shupek, John (photos and card images), The Skytamer Archive. Skytamer.com, Whittier, CA

Copyright © 1998-2018 (Our 20 th Year) Skytamer Images, Whittier, California
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


History [ edit | edit source ]

Fokker's first airplane, the Spin (Spider) (1910)

At age 20, Anthony Fokker built his initial aircraft, the Spin (Spider)—the first Dutch-built plane to fly in his home country.

Taking advantage of better opportunities in Germany, he moved to Berlin where, in 1912, he founded his first company, Fokker Aeroplanbau, later moving to the Görries suburb just southwest of Schwerin, where the current company was founded, as Fokker Aviatik GmbH, on 12 February 1912. Ώ]

World War I [ edit | edit source ]

Fokker capitalized on having sold several Fokker Spin monoplanes to the German government and set up a factory in Germany to supply the German army. His first new design for the Germans to be produced in any numbers was the Fokker M.5, which was little more than a copy of the Morane-Saulnier G, built with steel tube instead of wood for the fuselage, and with minor alterations to the outline of the rudder and undercarriage and a new aerofoil section. ΐ] When it was realized that it was desirable to arm these scouts with a machine gun firing through the propeller, Fokker developed a synchronization gear similar to that patented by Franz Schneider. Α]

Fitted with a developed version of this gear, the M.5 became the Fokker Eindecker which, due to its revolutionary armament, became one of the most feared aircraft over the western front, its introduction leading to a period of German air superiority known as the Fokker Scourge until the balance was restored by aircraft such as the Nieuport 11 and Airco DH.2.

During World War I, Fokker engineers were working on the Fokker-Leimberger, an externally-powered 12 barrel Gatling gun in the 7.92x57mm round capable of firing over 7200RPM. Β]

Later during the war, the German government forced Fokker and Junkers to cooperate more closely, which resulted in the foundation of the Junkers-Fokker Aktiengesellschaft on 20 October 1917. As this partnership proved to be troublesome, it was eventually dissolved again. By then, designer Reinhold Platz had adapted some of Junkers design concepts, what resulted in a visual similarity between the aircraft of those two manufacturers during the next decade.

Some of the noteworthy types produced by Fokker during the second half of the war included the Fokker D.VI, Fokker Dr.I Dreidecker (the mount of the Red Baron), Fokker D.VII (the only aircraft ever referred to directly in a treaty: all DVII's were singled out for handover to the allies in their terms of the armistice agreement) and the Fokker D.VIII.

Return to the Netherlands [ edit | edit source ]

In 1919, Fokker, owing large sums in back taxes (including 14,250,000 marks of income-tax), Γ] returned to the Netherlands and founded a new company near Amsterdam with the support of Steenkolen Handels Vereniging, now known as SHV Holdings. He chose the name Nederlandse Vliegtuigenfabriek (Dutch Aircraft Factory) to conceal the Fokker brand because of his WWI involvement. Despite the strict disarmament conditions in the Treaty of Versailles, Fokker did not return home empty-handed. In 1919 he arranged an export permit and brought six entire trains of parts, and 180 types of aircraft across the Dutch-German border, among them 117 Fokker C.I's, D.VII's and D.VIII's. This initial stock enabled him to set up shop quickly.

After his company's relocation, many Fokker C.I and C.IV military air-planes were delivered to Russia, Romania and the still clandestine German air-force. Success came on the commercial market too, with the development of the Fokker F.VII, a high-winged aircraft capable of taking on various types of engines. Fokker continued to design and build military aircraft, delivering planes to the Dutch air force. Foreign military customers eventually included Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Hungary, and Italy. These countries bought substantial numbers of the Fokker C.V reconnaissance aircraft, which became Fokker's main success in the latter part of the 1920s and early 1930s.

1920s and 30s: Fokker's glory period [ edit | edit source ]

In the 1920s, Fokker entered its glory years, becoming the world's largest aircraft manufacturer by late 1920s. Its greatest success was the F.VIIa/3m trimotor passenger aircraft, which was used by 54 airline companies worldwide and captured 40 percent of the American market in 1936. It shared the European market with the Junkers all-metal aircraft but dominated the American market until the arrival of the Ford Trimotor which copied the aerodynamic features of the Fokker F.VII, and Junkers structural concepts.

A serious blow to Fokker's reputation came after the TWA Flight 599 disaster in Kansas, when it became known that the crash was caused by a structural failure caused by wood rot. Notre Dame legendary football coach Knute Rockne was among the fatalities, prompting extensive media coverage and technical investigation. As a result all Fokkers were grounded in the USA, along with many other types that had copied Fokker's wings.

In 1923 Anthony Fokker moved to the United States, where he established an American branch of his company, the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, in 1927 being renamed Fokker Aircraft Corporation of America. In 1930 this company merged with General Motors Corporation and the company's new name would be General Aviation Manufacturing Corporation (which in turn merged with North American Aviation and was divested by GM in 1948). A year later, discontented at being totally subordinate to GM management, Fokker resigned. On 23 December 1939, Anthony Fokker died in New York City.

World War II [ edit | edit source ]

At the outset of World War II, the few G.1s and D.XXIs of the Dutch Air Force were able to score a respectable number of victories against the Luftwaffe but many were destroyed on the ground before they could be used.

The Fokker factories were confiscated by the Germans and were used to build Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann trainers and parts for the Junkers Ju 52 transport. At the end of the war, the factories were completely stripped by the Germans and destroyed by Allied bombing.

Post-World War II rebuilding [ edit | edit source ]

Fokker-built Gloster Meteor of the Belgian Air Force in 1955

Rebuilding after the war proved difficult. The market was flooded with cheap surplus aeroplanes from the war. The company cautiously started building gliders and autobuses and converting Dakota transport planes to civilian versions. A few F25s were built. Nevertheless, the S-11 trainer was a success, being purchased by several air forces. The S-14 Machtrainer became one of the first jet trainers, and although not an export success, it served for over a decade with the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

A new factory was built next to Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam in 1951. A number of military planes were built there under license, among them the Gloster Meteor twin jet fighter and Lockheed's F-104 Starfighter. A second production and maintenance facility was established at Woensdrecht.

The Fokker F-27 turboprop airliner.

In 1958 the F-27 Friendship was introduced, Fokker's most successful post-war airliner. The Dutch government contributed 27 million guilders to its development. Powered by the Rolls-Royce Dart, it became the world's best selling turboprop airliner, reaching almost 800 units sold by 1986, including 206 under license by Fairchild. There is also a military version of the F-27, the F-27 Troopship.

In 1962, the F-27 was followed by the F-28 Fellowship. Until production stopped in 1987, a total of 241 were built in various versions. Both an F-27 and later an F-28 served with the Dutch Royal Flight, Prince Bernhard himself being a pilot.

In 1969, Fokker agreed to an alliance with Bremen-based Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke under control of a transnational holding company. They collaborated on an unsuccessful regional jetliner, the VFW-614, of which only 19 were sold. This collaboration ended in early 1980.

Fokker was one of the main partners in the F-16 Fighting Falcon consortium (EPAF, European Participating Air Forces), which was responsible for the production of these fighters for the Belgian, Danish, Dutch, and Norwegian Air Forces. It consisted of companies and government agencies from these four countries and the United States. F-16s were assembled at Fokker and at SABCA in Belgium with parts from the five countries involved.

Aerospace [ edit | edit source ]

In 1967, Fokker started a modest space division building parts for European satellites. A major advance came in 1968 when Fokker developed the first Dutch satellite (the ANS) together with Philips and Dutch universities. This was followed by a second major satellite project, IRAS, successfully launched in 1983. The European Space Agency (ESA) in June 1974 named a consortium headed by ERNO-VFW-Fokker GmbH to build pressurized modules for Spacelab.

Subsequently, Fokker contributed to many European satellite projects, as well as to the Ariane rocket in its various models. Together with a Russian contractor, they developed the huge parachute system for the Ariane 5 rocket boosters which would allow the boosters to return to Earth safely and be reused.

The space division became more and more independent until, just before Fokker's bankruptcy in 1996, it became a fully stand-alone corporation, known successively as Fokker Space and Systems, Fokker Space, and Dutch Space. On 1 January 2006, it was taken over by EADS-Space Transportation.

Fokker 50, Fokker 100, and Fokker 70 [ edit | edit source ]

Fokker 70, Fokker's last successful aircraft.

After a brief and unsuccessful collaboration effort with McDonnell Douglas in 1981, Fokker began an ambitious project to develop two new aircraft concurrently. The Fokker 50 was to be a completely modernised version of the F-27, the Fokker 100 a new airliner based on the F-28. Yet development costs were allowed to spiral out of control, almost forcing Fokker out of business in 1987. The Dutch government bailed them out with 212 million Guilders but demanded Fokker look for a "strategic partner", British Aerospace and DASA being named most likely candidates.

Initial sales of the Fokker 100 were good, leading Fokker to begin development of the Fokker 70, a smaller version of the F100, in 1991. But sales of the F70 were below expectations and the F100 had strong competition from Boeing and Airbus by then.

In 1992, after a long and arduous negotiation process, Fokker signed an agreement with DASA. This did not however solve Fokker's problems, mostly because DASA's parent company Daimler-Benz also had to deal with its own organisational problems.

Bankruptcy [ edit | edit source ]

On 22 January 1996, the Board of Directors of Daimler-Benz decided to focus on its core automobile business and cut ties with Fokker. The next day an Amsterdam court extended temporary creditor protection. On 15 March the Fokker company was declared bankrupt.

Those divisions of the company that manufactured parts and carried out maintenance and repair work were taken over by Stork N.V. it is now known as Stork Aerospace Group. Stork Fokker exists to sustain remarketing of the company's existing aircraft: they refurbish and resell F50s and F100s, and converted a few F50s to transport aircraft. Special projects included the development of an F50 Maritime Patrol variant and an F100 Executive Jet. For this project, Stork received the 2005 "Aerospace Industry Award" in the Air Transport category from Flight International magazine.

Other divisions of the company that were profitable, continued as separate companies, like Fokker Space (later Dutch Space) and Fokker Control Systems.

In November 2009, Stork Aerospace changed its name to Fokker Aerospace Group. As of 2011, the Fokker Aerospace Group changed its name to Fokker Technologies. The five individual business units within Fokker Technologies all carry the Fokker name:

  • Fokker Aerostructures
  • Fokker Landing Gear
  • Fokker Elmo
  • Fokker Aircraft Services
  • Fokker Services

The former Fokker aircraft facilities at Schiphol were redeveloped into the Fokker Logistics Park. One of the former Fokker tenants is Fokker Services.

Meanwhile, Rekkof Aircraft ("Fokker" backwards) is attempting to restart production of the Fokker XF70 and XF100, supported by suppliers and airlines.


Watch the video: WW I Dogfight Reenactment with gunfire - Fokker vs. FVM Ö1 Tummelisa