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Fokker M.17

Fokker M.17


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Fokker M.17

The Fokker M.17 was one of a series of models of biplanes developed by Anthony Fokker in an attempt to find a replacement for the earlier Fokker monoplanes. The aircraft was very similar to the Fokker M.16, but was powered by air-cooled rotary engines instead of the water-cooled engines used on the M.16.

The M.17 had wings of very similar size. The lower wing was attached to the bottom of the fuselage, while the upper wing was slightly above the top of the fuselage. The pilot’s eye line was level with the upper wing, while on the M.16 the pilot had been looking out over the upper wing. This was done in an attempt to improve downwards visibility.

The M.17E featured single bay wings. It was powered by an 80hp Oberursal U.0 air cooled rotary engine and was armed with a single LMG 08.14 machine gun on the fuselage centreline, in front of the cockpit. The M.17E had a comma shaped tail plane, with a rectangular rudder, similar to the one used on the M.16Z. The German army was not interested in the M.17E, but Fokker kept it as his personal aircraft until 1918. It entered testing in the spring of 1916, and was ordered by the Austro-Hungarian Empire as the Fokker B.II. Ordered as an armed fighter, it was delivered unarmed and used as a trainer.

The M.17Z featured two-bay wings. The increase in wingspan improved its rate of climb and high-altitude performance, but reduced its manoeuvrability. It used the same rudder and tail plane as the M.17E. The first prototype was powered by a captured La Rhône 80hp rotary engine. The aircraft entered testing on 17 April 1916. As a result of these tests, the engine was replaced with a more powerful 100hp Oberursal UR.I rotary engine. The fuselage was lengthened by two feet and the wingspan reduced by a foot. In this form, the M.17Z was ordered by the German army as the Fokker D.II.

Books on the First World War |Subject Index: First World War


Fokker M.17 - History

De &ldquoD&rdquo aanduiding van Fokkervliegtuigen, geeft aan dat het in principe om gevechts of aanvalsvliegtuigen gaat.
Tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog voorzag het Duitse leger een aantal Fokker tweedekker &ldquoM&rdquo-types van een &ldquoD&rdquo aanduiding &ldquoDoppeldecker&rdquo ofte wel dubbeldekker.
Deze &ldquoM&rdquo types waren ook allemaal gevechts dan wel aanvalsvliegtuigen.


Ook konden er bewapende verkenningsvluchten met een &ldquoD&rdquo type worden gemaakt, wat onder andere werd aangegeven bij de D.C.I, waarbij de D het gevechtsvliegtuigtuig aangeeft en de C voor bewapende verkenning.
De &ldquoD&rdquo types waren allemaal van bewapening worden voorzien of konden bewapend worden.
Gesynchroniseerde wapens voor de cockpit, op geschutkoepels in de romp, of zoals bij de D.XXI, in en onder de vleugels.

Het uiterlijk van de diverse &ldquoD&rdquo types verschilt nogal, dit komt mede doordat ze in een lange periode gebouwd zijn.
Van de fragiele D.II tweedekker uit 1915 tot de robuuste D.XXI jager uit 1936 gevolgd door het laatste &ldquoD&rdquo model, de revolutionaire D.XXIII uit 1939.
Van een aantal &ldquoD&rdquo types heeft er ook licentiebouw plaatsgevonden in verschillende landen buiten Duitsland en Nederland.
Een klein aantal &ldquoD&rdquo types is in de USA terecht gekomen, hoofdzakelijk op het McCook field in Dayton Ohio voor proeven en experimenten.

Bij de &ldquoD&rdquo types zullen bijvoorbeeld ook de D.VI, D.VII, D.VIII en de Dr.I toegelicht worden, ook al zijn deze types oorspronkelijk ontstaan uit Fokker &ldquoV&rdquo types, Versuchsflugzeug ofwel test/prototype.
Publiekelijk zijn deze vliegtuigen beter bekend onder de &ldquoD&rdquo aanduiding als onder de &ldquoV&rdquo aanduiding, vandaar deze keuze.
De &ldquoD&rdquo types hebben aan vele oorlogshandelingen tussen landen onderling deelgenomen, &ldquoD&rdquo types hebben zowel aan de Eerste als aan de Tweede Wereldoorlog deelgenomen.

Door op de foto te klikken komt u op de uitgebreide beschrijving van het type.

De Dr.I is officieel een Fokker V.4.

De uiteindelijk typeaanduiding &ldquoDr&rdquo is ontstaan doordat het Duitse leger de V.4, &ldquoDreidecker&rdquo noemde.

De toevoeging van de &ldquor&rdquo ontstond doordat de enkele &ldquoD&rdquo al stond voor Doppeldecker.

De D.I was de Fokker M.18ZF / M.18ZK.

In tegenstelling tot wat de naam doet vermoeden, was de D.I de opvolger van de D.II.

Qua bouw gelijk aan de D.I maar met een andere motor,

De Fokker D.III was een directe doorontwikkeling van de Fokker D.I en Fokker D.II met aanmerkelijk betere prestaties.

Doorontwikkeling van de D.IV.

Laatste ontwerp van Martin Kreuzer.

Zeer wendbaar, maar te langzaam door de zwakke rotatiemotor.

Het was, zowel kwalitatief als qua prestaties, het beste Fokker gevechtsvliegtuig gebruikt in de Eerste Wereldoorlog.

D.VIII

Voorgekomen uit de Fokker V.26 en eerst als E.V in dienst gemomen.

Na modificaties werd het de D.VIII.

Vanaf hier is de 'D' weer een Fokkernotatie.

In de VS kreeg het de aanduiding PW-6.

1-zits gevechtsvliegtuig ontwikkeld uit de D-VIII.

1-zits gevechtsvliegtuig, als PW-7 bekend in de USA.

Gebruikt in USA, Zwitserland, Spanje, Argentinië, Rusland en Roemenië

Doorontwikkeling van de D.XI

D.XIII

1 of 2-zits gevechtsvliegtuig

50 stuks gebouwd, gebruikt in Rusland

Niet geaccepteerd door militaire autoriteiten,

D.XV en DXVa

Projecten, nooit in productie genomen.

Gebruikt in Nederland, Hongarije, China en Italië.

D.XVII

1-zits gevechtsvliegtuig, in 1940 nog in dienst.

D.XVIII, D.XIX en DXX

Projecten, niet verder ontwikkeld.

1-zits aanvals / gevechtsvliegtuig.

Dit type heeft in mei 1940 deelgenomen aan luchtgevechten in de 2e Wereldoorlog.

D.XXII

D.XXIII

Revolutionair ontwerp met twee staartbomenen en duw-trek propellers.

De D.C.I

2-zits versieafgeleid van de C.IV, maar met kortere spanwijdte.

Door KNIL als gevechts en verkenningsvliegtuig gebruikt in Nederlands Oost-Indië.


Giving the Machine Gun Wings

A photo of Jules Védrines Morane-Sauliner Nm in September 1915 shows one of the wedge-shaped bullet deflectors on his propeller.

Service Historique De L’Armee De L’air 881 558

Air combat came of age during World War I with the invention of devices that allowed fighter pilots to “point and shoot”.

On April 1, 1915, Roland Garros took off in a Morane-Saulnier L from an airfield in northern France, planning to play an April Fool’s Day trick on the Germans. The Frenchman soon spotted a two-seater Albatros B.II reconnaissance plane and approached it head-on—no doubt much to the German pilot’s surprise. The Morane-Saulnier challenging him was a single-seater, without an observer in the rear armed with a rifle, as was the German observer. Perhaps the Albatros pilot never even saw the gas-operated Hotchkiss machine gun fitted in front of Garros before the Frenchman opened fire. As the bullets passed through Morane-Saulnier’s propeller arc and into the Albatros, the German pilot slumped dead over the controls and the aircraft dropped out of the sky, the observer helpless in the rear cockpit. On that day, as American World War I pilot Arch Whitehouse later wrote: “Roland Garros had given the machine gun wings. His fantastic device gave birth to a new and most deadly weapon, providing the military forces with a lethal piece of armament. It made the airplane as important a war machine as the naval dreadnought.”

Garros was 26 when he became the first pilot to down an enemy airplane with a machine gun firing through the propeller. Described by a contemporary as possessing “a liquid eye and an olive skin,” the young Frenchman had gained his pilot’s licence in 1910 and that year competed in Britain, France and the United States flying a Demoiselle, a bamboo-and-fabric monoplane that aroused much hilarity at exhibitions. The British aviation journal Aero reported that “the whole attitude and jerky action of the machine suggest a grasshopper in a furious rage.”

Garros soon graduated to the Morane-Saulnier H, a monoplane designed by Raymond Saulnier and the Morane brothers, Léon and Robert. In September 1913, he flew it across the Mediterranean Sea from France to Tunisia in what The New York Times described as “one of the most notable feats in aviation.” Garros returned to Europe a hero, but already his aerial fame was being overtaken by events.


Roland Garros stands in his Morane-Saulnier H, in which he became the first to cross the Mediterranean Sea by airplane on Sept 23, 1913. (National Archives)

Earlier in 1913, the First Balkan War had ended with a resounding victory over the Ottoman Empire for the combined forces of Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and Bulgaria. During the conflict Bulgaria used aircraft to conduct reconnaissance missions over enemy lines, also dropping two bombs—by hand—on Odrin, Turkey. Aircraft designers were now awakened to the airplane’s military potential, and the race was on to create a plane capable of more than just scouting. The real challenge was armaments, which would exercise the ingenuity of both Raymond Saulnier and Swiss engineer Franz Schneider in 1913.

Schneider had worked for the French manufacturer Nieuport before joining the German Luft-Verkehrs Gesellschaft (LVG) firm. In July 1913, he patented an “interrupter” gear, so named because when the pilot pressed the gun trigger a series of mechanical linkages interrupted firing until the propeller blade was clear. But the German military was unimpressed with Schneider’s work, refusing even to loan him a machine gun for testing.

The Germans might have been more receptive had they known that Saulnier was conducting similar experiments in France. He was in fact wrestling with the same problem confronting Schneider: The structural design of front-engine aircraft restricted the use of machine guns to a three-quarter rear field of fire by an observer sitting behind the pilot. Saulnier knew the solution lay in inventing a device that allowed the pilot to operate a forward-firing machine gun. He balked at experimenting on an interrupter gear because with open-bolt machine guns such as the Hotchkiss and Lewis, the ammunition had no “uniform period of ignition.” This unpredictability could lead to hang-fire failures (an unexpected delay between a weapon being triggered and the bullet actually firing) and the possibility of a bullet hitting the propeller. Instead Saulnier fixed wedge-shaped steel deflector plates to the propeller blades where the arc crossed the line of fire of a front-facing gun. The French military loaned him a Hotchkiss machine gun, and initial trials went well, with only superficial damage to the prop. But ultimately Saulnier’s invention also met with disdain. The French, like the Germans, still believed aircraft didn’t require heavy armament. When World War I began in July 1914, neither country was equipped for an offensive aerial war.

Nor were the British. Fighter ace James McCudden, who would have 57 victories at the time of his death on July 9, 1918, began the war as a mechanic with No. 3 Squadron. In his memoirs, completed shortly before he was killed in a flying accident, McCudden described the arrival at his squadron of two Bristol Scouts: “These Scouts were far ahead in performance of anything the Germans had in the air at this time, but the trouble was that no one had accurately foreseen developments as regards fitting machine-guns so that they could be used with any effect from single-seater machines. The Bristol in No. 3 Squadron was fitted with two rifles, one on each side of the fuselage, shooting at an angle of about 45 degrees in order to miss the air-screw.”

In December 1914, Garros paid a visit to his old friend Saulnier and asked him to fit metal deflector plates to the propeller blades of his Morane so that he could mount a Hotchkiss gun at the front of his cockpit. Garros then spent the first few weeks of 1915 familiarizing himself with his new weapon. But he soon discovered there was a downside to Saulnier’s invention, as described by McCudden after No. 3 Squadron took delivery of a Morane-Saulnier Nm with a front-mounted Lewis gun. “[It] had a piece of steel fixed on each blade directly in front of the muzzle of the Lewis gun,” wrote McCudden. “So that the occasional bullets that hit the propeller were turned off by these hard-steel deflectors—as they were called. The deflectors took off almost thirty percent of the efficiency of the propeller, so that for the smallness of the machine and its ample power (80-hp Le Rhône) it was not very efficient in climb and speed.”

By the end of March 1915, however, Garros had gained sufficient confidence in the deflector plates to test them in an operational flight, so he embarked on the April 1 patrol that ended in his victory over the Albatros B.II. The shoot-down made the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune on April 10, when the paper carried an eyewitness account of the encounter from Major Raoul Pontus: “Presently the crackling of a quick-firer showed the Frenchman judged himself sufficiently near to take the offensive. Could the German escape? It seemed difficult, for Garros shot forward in great bounds, getting nearer and nearer, but the German observer used his carbine freely and it seemed that a bullet might strike the Frenchman. Suddenly a long jet of white smoke gushed from the German machine and then a little flame, which, in an instant, enveloped the whole aeroplane. Notwithstanding the extreme peril the pilot took to flight but his effort to escape soon was converted into a horrifying downward plunge.”

The day after the Tribune’s report, Garros attacked another two-seater, an Aviatik B.I, whose observer emptied his Mauser pistol at Garros. The Frenchman claimed a victory, but could not get it confirmed. The next day he claimed another unconfirmed success over an LVG Scout, and on April 15 he dispatched another Aviatik. Garros’ lethal stretch continued on the 18th, when he shot down an Albatros as his third confirmed victim—earning him a citation for the Legion of Honor and an invitation to address the Directorate of Military Aeronautics.


British Sergeant Tony Bayetto sits in the cockpit of a Morane-Saulnier Type N "Bullet" with deflector wedges fitted to the propeller blades. (IWM Q65882)

Suddenly the French authorities were desperate to learn more about Saulnier’s invention. With the benefit of hindsight, one might expect they would have done their best to ensure their new secret weapon didn’t fall into enemy hands. But perhaps their belief in Garros’ invincibility explains why they allowed him to take off alone on April 18 for yet another patrol.

Accounts vary as to what exactly happened as Garros approached the Belgian town of Courtrai, four miles from the French border. According to the leader of a detachment of German soldiers guarding the railway line, Garros attacked a southbound train approaching on the line between Ingelmunster and Kortrijk.“Suddenly the plane went into a steep dive of about 60 degrees from a height of about 2,000 meters to about 40 meters from the ground,” wrote the German. “As the plane had swooped down over the train the Bahnschutzwache troops had fired on it following my order to open fire. We shot at him from a distance of only 100 meters as he flew past. After he had thrown his bomb at the train he tried to escape, switching his engine on again and climbing to about 700 meters through the shots fired by our troops. But suddenly the plane began to sway about in the sky, the engine fell silent, and the pilot began to glide the plane down in the direction of Hulste [northeast of Courtrai].”

Other reports made no mention of a train, attributing Garros’ problems to engine failure as he was strafing German troops in the trenches. Either way, the Frenchman managed to nurse his Morane-Saulnier away from Courtrai before eventually landing in a field. He leapt out of the plane and tried to destroy it, but the wing fabric and spruce framework were damp and wouldn’t catch fire. Then the pilot spotted an approaching enemy patrol and fled, evading his pursuers but leaving his precious machine in German hands.

Garros was soon captured by Württemberger cavalrymen, one of whom told the Schwabishen Merkur newspaper that their prisoner “was a good-looking, dark-haired Frenchman with a high white forehead, a slightly crooked nose and a small black beard. With his lips pressed together he looked at us in wide-eyed amazement.” The capture of the most famous flier of the war made headlines around the world. The French paper Le Temps described how “the news has caused a great emotion in France…because his exploits have made him the terror of the Germans.”

When members of the German army air service inspected the Morane-Saulnier, they couldn’t believe their luck. Within days Garros’ airscrew had been transported to the workshop of Dutch aviation engineer Anthony Fokker.

Fokker had learned to fly at age 20, and just two years later, in 1912, he started building airplanes. At first business was slow, but then came war. As Fokker wrote in his memoirs: “In the desperate struggle to keep the business afloat I had joyfully sold my planes to the German army…Holland had preferred French aeroplanes England and Italy hardly responded to my offers in Russia I was put down by the general corruption, and only Germany seemed to give me a civil reception, albeit not with open arms. As a young man of twenty-four, I wasn’t very interested in German politics and cared not where it would lead. I was Dutch and neutral.”

As the money rolled in, Fokker began improving the performance of the monoplane he had first designed in 1912. Unlike the wooden Morane-Saulnier, Fokker’s machine was made of welded steel tubing and powered by an 80-hp Oberursel engine.


Armed with a single machine gun mounted on the cowling, Lieutenant Kurt Student taxis for takeoff in a Fokker E.III. Student scored three of his six aerial victories while piloting Eindeckers. (National Archives)

Fokker recalled that on April 20, 1915, two days after Garros’ capture, he was summoned to Berlin, where he collected the deflector plates salvaged from the Morane-Saulnier, along with a Parabellum machine gun, then returned to his workshop. He later described the French design as “very cunning,” but he believed it could be improved. Within two days Fokker and his team of engineers had produced a synchronized gear whereby the machine gun’s rate of fire was controlled by the propeller’s revolution, so the bullets avoided hitting the blades. “We placed a cog on the prop, that lifted another rod with a spring that released the firing cock of the machine gun,” Fokker explained. “The prop passed a given point 2400 times a minute, so with this machine gun that fired 600 rounds per minute we needed only one cam on the prop. The pilot had a lever that enabled him to make contact between the cam on the propeller and the firing mechanism. That was all.”

On April 22, Fokker took his design to Berlin, and the next day gave a demonstration to a group of air service officers, using a gun fitted to a monoplane pulled by an automobile. All went well, and Fokker assumed he would receive instructions to fit the synchronization gear to all German aircraft. He noted, however, “In my overconfidence I had not taken into account the conservatism of the military mind.” The officers demanded to see the system in action in the air, so Fokker obliged them, but “still they weren’t happy and stated that the only way to test the gun was that I, not a German nor a soldier, would go to the front and shoot down a plane with it myself. Without leaving me any choice I was packed off to the front…[where] I was issued a uniform and an identity card, styling myself Lieutenant Anton Fokker of the German Air Force. In this manner I flew for several days, two or three hours a day, looking for an Allied aeroplane. Then one day I saw a Farman two-seater coming out of a cloud at 800 meters below me. At last I could show off the capabilities of the gun and I dived towards it.”

As he closed in for the kill, Fokker later claimed, his conscience got the better of him, and he broke off his attack. He returned to Douai, where he “quit the front line flying business.” Fokker said he had a furious row with Flieger Abteilung 62’s commanding officer, insisting that as a citizen of a neutral country he refused to be responsible for the death of a French pilot. As a compromise, Fokker offered to teach a German pilot how the synchronization gear worked.

“Lieutenant Oswald Boelcke, later to become Germany’s first ace, was assigned to the job,” Fokker recalled. “The next morning I showed him how to manipulate the machine gun while flying the plane, watched him take off for the Front, and left for Berlin. The first news which greeted my arrival there was a report from the Front that Boelcke, on his third flight, had brought down an Allied plane. Boelcke’s success, so soon after he had received the new weapon, convinced the entire air corps overnight of the efficiency of my synchronized machine gun. From its early skepticism headquarters shifted to the wildest enthusiasm for the new weapon.”

By July 1915, the synchronization gear had been fitted to Fokker’s single-seater M.5K Eindecker. Equipped with its forward-firing Parabellum, the monoplane—known as the Fokker E.I—became the German air service’s first fighter. Flying an E.I on August 1, Max Immelmann shot down a British two-seater, and by the end of that summer Royal Flying Corps pilots were referring to themselves as “Fokker-fodder.”

Not only did the Allies have no answer to the front-firing Eindecker, but at that point they had no pilots equal to Boelcke or Immelmann. Both men were brilliant technicians, with Immelmann inventing his famous climbing turn and Boelcke always attacking head-on, out of reach of his opponent’s gun. “To see a Fokker just steadying itself to shoot another machine in the air is, when seen close up, a most impressive sight,” wrote the RFC’s McCudden, who was fortunate to survive several such encounters.“For there is no doubt that the Fokker in the air was an extremely unpleasant-looking beast.”

For the rest of 1915, the Germans ruled the skies over the Western Front. French bombing sorties into German territory were halted in the face of the “Fokker scourge,” and British pilots’ morale dipped low, as they lost 49 pilots and observers to Fokker E.Is in the year’s last two months. Had McCudden not been sent back to England for training at the Central Flying School in January 1916, he might have been added to the list. As it was, when he returned to France in July, McCudden found superiority in the air war had shifted back in the Allies’ favor.

The French had introduced the Nieuport 11 Bébé sesquiplane (a biplane with the upper wing chord greater than the lower) in early 1916, which soon ended the Fokkers’ dominance. Small and swift with a good rate of climb, it was armed with a Lewis gun on the top wing firing over the propeller arc. The British quickly took delivery of a number of Nieuports, and over a four-day period at the end of May 1916, 19-year-old Albert Ball shot down three German aircraft while flying an up-powered Nieuport 16.


A German mechanic examines the above-wing Lewis gun mounting on a Nieuport 16 after the fighter was captured on May 22,1916. (Courtesy Jon Guttman)

By this time the British had an impressive airplane of their own, the de Havilland D.H.2. Initially labeled the “spinning incinerator” because of a series of fatal spin accidents during training, the D.H.2 pusher proved agile and maneuverable in the right hands. Since the plane’s engine was in the rear, the Lewis gun in the nose had a clear field of fire for the pilot and, more important, an unlimited rate of fire.

Yet it would be another British pusher aircraft, the two-seater Farman Experimental F.E.2b, that was responsible for the death of Immelmann on June 18, 1916. Boelcke, having notched 40 victories, was killed in October of that year, and in November acting command of his Jagdstaffel 2 passed to his protégé, Manfred von Richthofen. Boelcke had schooled Richthofen in his “dicta,” a set of aggressive tactics by which fighter pilots hunted rather than patrolled. The Germans reasserted their dominance in the air in the spring of 1917, but by the end of the year they were struggling to manufacture an adequate number of airplanes due to metal and rubber shortages.

Richthofen had raised his score to 80 when he was killed on April 21, 1918, just a couple of weeks after Roland Garros rejoined the air war. The Frenchman had escaped from a German POW camp in February 1918 and made it back to his homeland. Desperate to atone for his failure to set fire to his secret weapon nearly three years earlier, he reenlisted in his old squadron and scored his fourth victory. But on October 5, Garros was shot down and killed while flying a Spad XIII.

By war’s end, Fokker was much in demand—except by his own government. Unwanted by the Dutch, he opened a factory in the U.S., and by the end of the 1920s was America’s largest civil aircraft manufacturer. Only the introduction of the all-metal Douglas DC-1 in 1933 ended the Dutchman’s dominance in American aviation.

Yet for all his achievements in civil aviation, it was in the military sphere that Anthony Fokker showed his greatest foresight. As James McCudden wrote of the Fokker E.II in 1918, “I must admit that the enemy deserves credit for first realising the possibilities of the scout type of aeroplane firing ahead, and for getting such machines in action before we had any machines ready to counter them.”

Gavin Mortimer is the author of Chasing Icarus: The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation. Recommended reading: The Origin of the Fighter Aircraft, by Jon Guttman Sharks Among Minnows, by Norman Franks Early German Aces of World War 1, by Greg VanWyngarden and Aces High: War in the Air Over the Western Front, 1914-18, by Alan Clark.

Originally published in the July 2013 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.


Operators

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Length: 6.30 m (20 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.05 m (29 ft 8 in)
  • Height: 2.55 m (8 ft 4 in)
  • Wing area: 20.0 m 2 (215 ft 2 )
  • Empty weight: 430 kg (948 lb)
  • Gross weight: 710 kg (1,565 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Oberursel U.III, 120 kW (160 hp)
  • Maximum speed: 160 km/h (100 mph)
  • Range: 220 km (137 miles)
  • Service ceiling: 4,700 m (15,420 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 4.8 m/s (940 ft/min)

Bibliography

  • Gray, Peter and Owen Thetford. German Aircraft of the First World War. London: Putnam, 1962. ISBN 0-933852-71-1
  • Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. The Complete Book of Fighters. New York: Smithmark, 1994. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.
  • Lamberton, W.M., and E.F. Cheesman. Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Letchworth: Harleyford, 1960. ISBN 0-900435-01-1.
  • Leaman, Paul. Fokker Dr.I Triplane: A World War One Legend. Hersham, Surrey, UK: Classic Publications, 2003. ISBN 1-903223-28-8.
  • VanWyngarden, Greg. Early German Aces of World War I (Aircraft of the Aces No. 73). Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2006. ISBN 1-84176-997-5.
  • VanWyngarden, Greg. Jagdstaffel 2 Boelcke: Von Richthofen’s Mentor (Aviation Elite Units No. 26). Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2007. ISBN 1-84603-203-2.
  • Weyl, A.R. Fokker: The Creative Years. London: Putnam, 1965. ISBN 0-85177-817-8.
  • Woodman, Harry. Spandau Guns (Windsock Mini Datafile No.10). Berkhamsted, Herts, UK: Albatros Publications, 1997. ISBN 0-948414-90-1.

Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License additional terms may apply.

Published in April 2019.


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Fokker M.17 - History

This is by no means a comercial website. This page deals exclusively with aircraft I either built or am currently building. Also covered are all aspects of interest I share.If you stumble across any webpage herein featuring prices, these are former sales prices and shall only be considdered comparative. These pages will be replaced sooner or later.

On this page you will learn all about the Fokker-Team-Schorndorf and all that is worth to be known about me - Achim Engels - and the Fokker-Team-Schordorf. My Family, my friends and I have devoted ourselves to reserach and to preserve the knowledge about the development of aviation in Germany. Our main focus lays on the time up to 1920 and on Fokker´s Company and the history of this manufacturer.

I do sincerely invite you to inform yourself about our work here. The goal is to research all aspects of aviation technlogy as well as history related to it and to share this knowledge with all interested in it.

My intention is to set up a small aviation museum. Focus is supposed to be on German aviation technology and Fokker. The technical details are supposed to be featured by replicas of aircraft parts. Full aircraft are also part of the museum. Part of the exhibition as it is for now already are several aircraft in different stages of contruction: Two Fokker Dr.I, one Fokker D.VIII and one Fokker D.VII, as well as the ptototypeof the D.VI (the V.9). I offer the opportunity to participate in teh construction of these aircraft. Also part of the collection are flying aircraft. Amongst these one Fokker E.III, one Fokker D.VII and one Fokker D.VIII. These three aircraft are on long term loan to TAVAS of Australia under Andrew Carter. By 2030 they will return to Germany in airworthy condition. To house these aircraft in our future museum, we do need a new rooftop that also spans across the courtyard of our two barns. As a trade for such a bern I offer the new Fokker D.VIII that is currently being built. Of course I am open for other ideas. I can imagine to also give away on lifelong loan for free use one or more of the three airworthy in return for such a rooftop. In case of interest just contact me.

If anybody wants anything from me he must contact me or get here personally. My home address is:

E n g e l s, Achim
Heubeundstrasse 1, 73116 Waeschenbeuren

On this page you will also find access to my Exhibition at Wäschenbeuren, which also shows my other hobbies. Amongst these are Model building or the restoration of vintage motorbikes and cars.

The Fokker-Team-Schorndorf finances its work exclusively from the haushold budget of the Engels Family. There is no other financial backup. Wherever possible we avoid the use of money at all. However you are welcome to support our work by:

- Providing or purchasing material for our projects

- A donation via PayPal to [email protected]

- We do need a new rooftop for the creation of the intented museum.

Apart from that you can follow me on Facebook in the following groups of mine:

Flugzeugbau Fokker, alá Engels - zum Mitmachen

Private Sammlung - Wäschenbeuren

Restauration stolzer Hahn

"Fokker D.VIII - In Detail" Now available as download

Latest News as of 18th of March 2021:

News: A lot has happened again in the past month. First is the foundation of the

The museum now also has its own Facebook page under the title "Museum für Flugzeugbau und technische Geschichte - Wäschenbeuren"

New exhibits have also been created in the workshops. For the Fokker D.VII 228/18, which is currently under construction, the ailerons were prepared for the covering and an additional aileron was also made as an exhibit. In contrast to 228/18, this exhibition aileron is covered with 4-colored aircraft fabric, as was the case with the first series machines.

In addition, the previously missing version with the first round main frame and the first version of the trigger device was released for the collection of all Fokker control stick grips. The special features of this design are the 13mm main frame structure, the flattened assembly neck and the nickel-plating of the metal surface

The long-term test of the covering of our tail unit of the Fokker D.VII 228/18 was finished and one side of the horizontal tail unit was cut open so that the inner workings can now be seen in the exhibition. The separated pieces of the covering can currently be auctioned on E-Bay, you can bid on it to support our work.

Reminder: I just wanted to remind you of the fact, that we are trying to set up a small aviation museum. In order to achive this we require a new rooftop. As a trade for a new rooftop we offer a Engels E.6 which is currently under construction. The aircraft will come less engine and certification but with the full built-log, of course. In case of interest contact us. First come, first serve, of course.

Here are a few shots of another D.VIII I built that is corrently on long term loan to TAVAS and will eventually be part of the museum to be.

Current work: Engels E.1 (Fokker Dr.I) As some may already know, I am doing a full collection of Fokker Dr.I rudders featuring all national insignia cross styles found on teh triplane. I will do 12 rudders this year of which 6 will remain with the collection. The other six rudders are available for trade. Four are already gone so only two are left. In case of interest contact me.

While working on the rudder bits I did the strap blocks for the fabric cover and decided to finally do the strap blocks for the aileron as well. The following images do show the strap blocks and their assembly with the ailerons as well as aileron fitting to the wing..

18th of November 2020:

Engels E.1 (Fokker Dr.I) I did some more work on my personal triplane. The aircraft may be available as a trade. The control stick grip received all its bowden cable attachments for the triggers and the throttle.

I also did the spent cartrige slide for the right hand gun.

14th of November 2020:

The five new control grips for the Fokker Triplane are now done. Four of them are gone, one is still available as a trade. In case of interest, just send an E-Mail. Two of the five I did to represent Richthofens field modification, one is a early style without the dual trigger lever. The last remaining one is mid serial production and could be modified to Richthoifens style.

Apart from that I started to make wall mounts for rudders and display stands for grips. Next year I will continue to make Dr.I rudders to complete my collection of all know cross shapes. I may also do several more for trade.

New book release. Finally volume 1 of our new "In Detail" about the making of various Engels E.3s (Fokker D.VII)is out now. This first volume shows how different airplanes (Pre Production, early serial production and late production) looked with respect to their structural detail. It also includes the new airplane recently revealed by TVAL at Masterton, flying in Willy Gabriels Livery of Fok. D.VII 286/18 while it was under construction in my workshop. Volume 2 is under preparation.

28th of September 2020:

Building of the upper wing´s front spar of my reproduction of Fokker D.VII 228/18 is in progress.

22nd of September 2020:

As many of you may know, my dear Alexandra passed away a few months ago. At that time we were in the middle of the creation of our new book about the Fokker D.VII in our "In Detail" series. She was very fond of the project and wanted to see it, but this did not happen.

There is still lots of work to do, but I will now resume work on it. Volume 1 is almost complete and proofread. This volume deals with the structurel details of the various aircraft of the type I built. Volume 2 may still take some time since my interest is to work out all the historic data we have collected over the past decates and to show all the historic details of it´s development.

Riveting wooden handles to the steel tube structures of Fokker control grips. This style of grip was used with the very late Dr.Is, the D.VI and the D.VIII as well as with very few very early Fokker D.VIIs. Fokker-Team-Schorndorf offers some of these for sale/trade. Only as long as they are available. Of the five of each in the making one of each is already gone.

19th of September 2020:

I am laminating the wing spar main beams for the front spar of the Upper wing of my reproduction of Fokker D.VII 228/18.

16th of September 2020:

Current work: All ribs for the new Engels E.6 (Fokker D.VIII) are done. This airplane is available for a trade. In case of interest contact me.

All steps are recorded properly and glueing samples are made for a future registration of the project.

10th of September 2020:

Current work: Building of wing ribs for the Engels E.6 (Fokker D.VIII). Click on the image to see the whole project on Facebook

7th of September 2020:

My latest work is now available. It details the development and evolution of control coloumn grips of Fokker fighter aircraft up to 1918.

This si the very first time in over 100 years that anybody takes care of this topic, and this although it is quite of interest.

Volume 2 - history, colour schemes, reproduction, certification.

80 Photographs, history text, colour plates, use. . 60 pages.

Both books appear as downloadable files. The quality is much improoved over previous releases in the same series.


Personal and never shown

So I’m proud that my team and I have the opportunity to create a book about the relationship between KLM and Fokker. Similar to other books we have created, Farewell MD-11 and End of Flightplan, Dutch at Heart will appear in pure KLM house style. Of course, the publication will contain many personal stories from KLM and external staff who worked on or in the KLM-Fokker aircraft. Designers, builders, salespeople, and test pilots for the final series of Fokkers will also have a chance to say something.

You can read about how KLM established its reputation in 1920 with the Fokker F.II and which aircraft it flew thereafter, with emphasis on the Fokker 70. On each page you’ll see special images – some of which have not been shown before – provided generously by the Fokker Archives, private collectors, and aviation photographers.


Fokker M.17 - History

T he newly invented airplane entered World War I as an observer of enemy activity (see The Beginning of Air Warfare, 1914). The importance of the information gathered by this new technological innovation was made evident to all the belligerents in the opening days of the conflict. The equal importance of preventing the enemy from accomplishing this mission was also apparent.

Anthony Fokker (left) at an
airbase at the time of the
introduction of his
new machinegun, 1915
The French were the first to develop an effective solution. On April 1, 1915 French pilot Roland Garros took to the air in an airplane armed with a machine gun that fired through its propeller. This feat was accomplished by protecting the lower section of the propeller blades with steel armor plates that deflected any bullets that might strike the spinning blades. It was a crude solution but it worked, on his first flight Garros downed a German observation plane. Within two weeks Garros added four more planes to his list of kills. Garros became a national hero and his total of five enemy kills became the benchmark for an air "Ace."

However, on April 19, Garros was forced down behind enemy lines and his secret revealed to the Germans. Dutch aircraft manufacturer Anthony Fokker, whose factory was nearby, was immediately summoned to inspect the plane. The Germans ordered Fokker to return to his factory, duplicate the French machinegun and demonstrate it to them within 48 hours. Fokker did what he was told and then some. Aware that the French device was crude and would ultimately result in damaging the propeller, Fokker and his engineers looked for a better solution. The result was a machinegun whose rate of fire was controlled by the turning of the propeller. This synchronization assured that the bullets would pass harmlessly through the empty space between the propeller blades.

Although Fokker's demonstration at his factory was successful, the German generals were still skeptical. They felt that the only true test of the new weapon would be in combat. Fokker was informed that he must make the first test. Fokker dutifully followed instructions and was soon in the air searching for a French plane whose destruction would serve as a practical demonstration of his innovation. Finding one, he began his attack while the bewildered French crew watched his approach. As his prey grew larger in his sights, and the certainty of its destruction dawned on Fokker, he abandoned his mission, returned to his base and told the Germans that they would have to do their own killing. A German pilot soon accomplished the mission and orders were given that as many German planes as possible be fitted with the new weapon.

The airplane was no longer just an observer of the war it was now a full-fledged participant in the carnage of conflict.

"I thought of what a deadly accurate stream of lead I could send into the plane."

Fokker described his encounter with the French airplane in his biography written a few years after the war. We join his story as he searches the sky for a likely victim:

Even though they had seen me, they would have had no reason to fear bullets through my propeller. While approaching, I thought of what a deadly accurate stream of lead I could send into the plane. It would be just like shooting a rabbit on the sit, because the pilot couldn't shoot back through his pusher propeller at me.

As the distance between us narrowed the plane grew larger in my sights. My imagination could vision my shots puncturing the gasoline tanks in front of the engine. The tank would catch fire. Even if my bullets failed to kill the pilot and observer, the ship would fall down in flames. I had my finger on the trigger. . .I had no personal animosity towards the French. I was flying merely to prove that a certain mechanism I had invented would work. By this time I was near enough to open fire, and the French pilots were watching me curiously, wondering, no doubt, why I was flying up behind them. In another instant, it would be all over for them.

Fokker's test plane with the
machine gun attached to its nose
Suddenly, I decided that the whole job could go to hell. It was too much like 'cold meat' to suit me. I had no stomach for the whole business, nor any wish to kill Frenchmen for Germans. Let them do their own killing!

Returning quickly to the Douai flying field, I informed the commander of the field that I was through flying over the Front. After a brief argument, it was agreed that a regular German pilot would take up the plane. Lieutenant Oswald Boelcke, later to be the first German ace, was assigned to the job. The next morning I showed him how to manipulate the machine gun while flying the plane, watched him take off for the Front, and left for Berlin.

The first news which greeted my arrival there was a report from the Front that Boelcke, on his third flight, had brought down an Allied plane. Boelcke's success, so soon after he had obtained the machine, convinced the entire air corps overnight of the efficiency of my synchronized machine gun. From its early skepticism headquarters shifted to the wildest enthusiasm for the new weapon."

References:
This eyewitness account appears in: Fokker, Anthony H. G., Flying Dutchman (1931) Cooke, David C., Sky Battle 1914-1918 (1970) Reynolds, Quentin, They Fought for the Sky (1957).


Fokker C.I

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/31/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Fokker C.I was a biplane aircraft that entered development under the flag of the German Empire during World War 1 (1914-1918). It appeared at a critical time for the German war effort but could not be serially produced before the end of the war in November of 1918. However, the line received renewed hope in the post-war years with Fokker's relocation to The Netherlands to avoid its German debts. This was a return for the company originally founded by Anthony Fokker in The Netherlands during 1912.

Despite the Armistice, the Fokker company managed to sneak components for their new biplane across the border from Germany and arrange what became the prototype "V.38" reconnaissance platform. This aircraft was typical of the type seen during the period - a biplane wing arrangement being used with fixed wheeled undercarriage and a twin-seat placement for pilot and observer. The engine was held in a forward compartment with the crew at midships and a conventional tail unit at rear. The upper and lower wing mainplane spans were supported through a strut network, the primary support beams being N-type units. The fuselage was relatively rounded at front (near the metal-covered engine section) and slab-sided for most of its length thereafter. The platform carried a sole fixed, forward-firing machine gun was afforded to the pilot while the rear crewman was given a trainable machine gun for protecting the aircraft's vulnerable "six". Additionally, the aircraft held provision to carry 110 pounds of conventional drop stores.

For all intents an purposes, the C.III was essentially an enlarged version of the wartime Fokker D.VII of which over 3,300 were produced. The new aircraft's length was 23.8 feet with a wingspan of 34.4 feet and a height of 9.4 feet. Empty weight was 1,885 pounds against a gross of 2,765 pounds.

Power for the mount was through a BMW IIIa series 6-cylinder liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 185 horsepower. This provided the crew with a top speed of 109 miles per hour, a range out to 200 miles and a service ceiling up to 13,125 feet.

First flight was recorded during 1918 as the war was drawing to a close. The Armistice negated any serial production efforts for Germany which forced Fokker to relocate operations elsewhere. There was interest from the Dutch government which commissioned for sixteen of the type in February of 1919 as the "C.I" and these went on to serve a dual-role nature in service - training and reconnaissance.The line received another production boom when the Soviet Union came calling for forty-two examples while the United States Navy was interested in acquiring two of its own in 1921. The Royal Danish Air Force rounded out the small stable of operating forces.

While V.38 represented the prototype and C.I the production-quality two-seat reconnaissance models, the C.I a was brought along as an improved variant of the original C.I. The C.IW followed as an experimental floatplane derivative but this version was not pursued. The C.II was developed as a three-seat passenger hauler and the C.III was a two-seat advanced trainer. The latter differed in it being powered by a Hispano-Suiza 8B series engine. All other models retained the BMW IIIa series fit.

The aircraft maintained an operational service life until 1936 by which time they had been superseded technologically by more modern offerings with monoplane wings, metal skinning, retractable undercarriages and fully-enclosed cockpits as well as better performing engines and airframes offering much improved mission capabilities.

Total C.I production was to end around 250 examples - an impressive feat for a late-war German design.


The Fokker Scourge: Imperial Germany’s Secret Weapon in the First World War

When World War 1 Broke out in 1914, most nations were ill-equipped for a sustained aerial war. The Treaty of Madrid, in 1911, outlined aircraft as purely for reconnaissance and artillery spotting, not weapons platforms. But as the war progressed, these peacetime rules were quickly forgotten, and aerial combat became a possibility.

Most planes were relegated to observation and spotting roles. In the rare events that reconnaissance flights would come across each other, the first air to air combat developed. Originally this consisted of pilots throwing rope, grappling hooks, and grenades at one another. One Russian pilot, Pyotr Nesterov, even rammed an Austrian Reconnaissance plane in September of 1914, this has been reported as the first air to air victory of the 1st World War.

As the war progressed pilots, copilots and spotters began carrying small arms. One noted German ace, Wilhelm Frankl, scored his first kill with a Carbine from the back of a plane!

But on October 5th, 1914, French Pilot Louis Quenault opened fire on a German opponent with a forward mounted Hotchkiss M1909 machine gun. This was a turning point in both aviation and military history. But Quenault was piloting a push motor Voisin, which had the engine mounted backwards, and the propeller behind the pilot.

A propaganda illustration of Pyotr Nesterov’s suicidal ramming of a German reconnaissance plane. This has gone down in history as the first Air to Air victory.

While this provided an excellent firing platform, with nothing obstructing the gun, push craft tended to be slower than their traditional counterparts and quickly proved obsolete.

A Voisin Biplane in France.

Early attempts at forward-firing machine guns proved disastrous, the guns firing through the propeller. This, of course, meant that bullets would strike the wooden propellers, shredding them. While some planes took the risk, hoping that even a propellerless glider was a maneuverable craft, most recognized the danger.

One French Pilot, Roland Garros found a solution: deflector plates fitted to the propeller. These steel wedges would send about seven bullets out of 100 scattering, but free of the propeller behind them. On April 1st, 1915 he tried this system out, with immediate success. He downed a German plane and went on to down two more over the next three weeks. But on April 18th, he was shot down, and the Germans discovered the deflectors. Germany asked their chief designer, Anthony Fokker to make an improved version.

Roland Garros’s air screw, with the steel deflector plates mounted. This innovation allowed him to surprise and shoot down three German planes in quick succession. But this triggered the creation of the synchronization gear, which then gave Germany air superiority.

Fokker went far beyond that. He reworked some of the disrupter gear ideas which had been proposed before the war into a combat-ready and mostly reliable system. These gears were synchronized to the firing of the machine gun to the rotation of the propeller, ensuring that bullets never hit it. Fitted to the Maxim MG08, and mounted on the fast and maneuverable Fokker Eindecker (monoplane), the Germans had just found their trump card in the air.

Max Immelmann, one of the First Fighter Aces, he started his fighter pilot career in a Fokker Eindecker.

Max Immelman and Oswald Boelcker became the frontmen for this new weapon. Their skill in the air and their love of the lighter, more maneuverable aircraft made them natural fighter pilots. Originally sharing a single plane, taking turns on sorties, they began to rack up kills. The British pilots who faced this new German war machine quickly learned to fear it. In almost every facet, the Fokkers were superior to their British counterparts.

They had forward mounted engines, forward firing machine guns, more maneuverability, and faster speed. What’s more, their machine guns were belt fed, unlike the drum fed Lewis guns which many Allied aircraft used. This allowed them to carry much more ammunition, and not have to reload mid combat, a difficult and often deadly operation. The Fokkers dominated the skies.

As the German victory counts mounted higher and higher throughout the last months of 1915, they began preparations for the battle of Verdun. To prevent enemy reconnaissance planes from finding the massed troops, they used groups of fighters, flying up and down their trench lines, creating an aerial blockade. Allied pilots had learned to fear their German counterparts, and morale dropped as they tried to penetrate the blockade, to little or no avail.

Oswald Boelcke, Immelmann’s counterpart and a great fighter ace.

But in war, obsolescence is a “when” not an “if.” And these small, nimble Fokkers were no exception. By the winter of 1915/1916 the French had brought out the Nieuport 11, a fast, light, biplane, with a forward firing Lewis gun, mounted on the top wing. While this was more difficult to aim, clear from a jam, and reload, it was mounted on a far superior airframe. The Nieuports, thanks to their biplane design, were able to easily outmaneuver nearly everything the Germans threw at them.

The French also recognized the necessity for specialized squadrons for these new fighter planes. The Germans still viewed theirs in a defensive role, either protecting reconnaissance missions or preventing enemy reconnaissance from returning home. The British, too, improved their aircraft, using the pusher plane D.H.2.

A reproduction Nieuport 11. These planes helped to defeat the Fokker by outmaneuvering them, thanks to their biplane design. By Rudolph89 CC BY-SA 3.0

At first German pilots attacked these new Allied planes without fear. They knew that the intimidating effect of the Fokker’s reputation, would scatter the enemy, and give them easy targets. But early encounters with Nieuports and D.H.2s proved disastrous for the Germans, and their spell was broken. By March 1916, while German aces were still scoring victories in Fokkers, their combat effectiveness had faded.

The final nail in their coffin came in April when one pilot accidentally landed in a British aerodrome. The English captured his aircraft and immediately began testing, and inspecting it. They soon realized it wasn’t nearly as maneuverable or powerful as they had thought, its only real advantage was the synchronizer gear. They soon reverse-engineered this invention and began designing their own forward firing tractor planes.

World War 1 was a war of innovation. It saw the development of the tank, modern infantry tactics, radios, and automobiles. But in the skies, one plane truly revolutionized aerial combat: the Fokker Eindecker.

Its brief career brought fear into the hearts of its opponents, and it was the first fighter for many of the greatest German aces of the war. But its fearful mystique was short-lived, and it was quickly outclassed by French and British fighters. And, thanks to the English reverse-engineering a captured plane, its forward mounted machine guns soon became the standard armament for nearly all aircraft the world over.


Watch the video: Красный барон- Манфред Рихтгофен и его самолет Fokker . Обзор модели фирмы Meng. (July 2022).


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