Fokker

Last updated
Fokker
Industry Aerospace
Fate Bankruptcy
Founded22 February 1912
Defunct1996
Headquarters Amsterdam, Netherlands
Key people
Anthony Fokker, Reinhold Platz, Walter Rethel
ProductsCommercial airliners
Military aircraft
Website www.fokker.com/   Blue pencil.svg

Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker. The company operated under several different names, starting out in 1912 in Schwerin, Germany, moving to the Netherlands in 1919.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

Anthony Fokker Dutch aviation pioneer

Anton Herman Gerard "Anthony" Fokker was a Dutch aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer. He is most famous for the fighter aircraft he produced in Germany during the First World War such as the Eindecker monoplanes, the Dr.1 triplane and the D.VII biplane.

Schwerin Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Schwerin is the capital and second-largest city of the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It has a population of about 100,000.

Contents

During its most successful period in the 1920s and 1930s, it dominated the civil aviation market. Fokker went into bankruptcy in 1996, and its operations were sold to competitors.

History

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

Fokker in Germany

At age 20, while studying in Germany, 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 (at 53°36′45.90″N11°22′31.60″E / 53.6127500°N 11.3754444°E / 53.6127500; 11.3754444 ), where the current company was founded, as Fokker Aviatik GmbH, on 12 February 1912. [1]

Fokker Spin airplane

The Fokker Spin was the first airplane built by Dutch aviation pioneer Anthony Fokker. The many bracing wires used to strengthen the aircraft made it resemble a giant spider, hence its name Spin, and Spinne in German.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

World War I

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 in World War I. 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. [2] When it was realized that arming these scouts with a machine gun firing through the propeller was desirable, Fokker developed a synchronization gear similar to that patented by Franz Schneider. [3]

German Army (German Empire) 1871-1919 land warfare branch of the German military

The Imperial German Army was the unified ground and air force of the German Empire. The term Deutsches Heer is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the Bundeswehr. The German Army was formed after the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership in 1871 and dissolved in 1919, after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Fokker M.5

The Fokker M.5 was an unarmed single-seat monoplane aircraft designed and built by Anthony Fokker in 1913. It served as a light reconnaissance aircraft with the German army at the outbreak of World War I and was the basis for the first successful fighter aircraft in German service, the Fokker E.I.

Fokker Eindecker in flight Fokker EIII 210-16.jpg
Fokker Eindecker in flight

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 which only ended with the introduction of new aircraft such as the Nieuport 11 and Airco DH.2.

Fokker Scourge

The Fokker Scourge occurred during the First World War from August 1915 to early 1916, when the Imperial German Flying Corps, equipped with Fokker Eindecker fighters, gained an advantage over the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the French Aéronautique Militaire.

Nieuport 11 fighter aircraft

The Nieuport 11, nicknamed the Bébé, was a French World War I single seat sesquiplane fighter aircraft, designed by Gustave Delage. It was the primary aircraft that ended the Fokker Scourge in 1916. The type saw service with several of France's allies, and gave rise to the series of "vee-strut" Nieuport fighters that remained in service into the 1920s.

Airco DH.2 fighter aircraft

The Airco DH.2 was a single-seat biplane "pusher" aircraft which operated as a fighter during the First World War. It was the second pusher design by Geoffrey de Havilland for Airco, based on his earlier DH.1 two-seater. The DH.2 was the first effectively armed British single-seat fighter and enabled Royal Flying Corps (RFC) pilots to counter the "Fokker Scourge" that had given the Germans the advantage in the air in late 1915. Until the British developed a synchronisation gear to match the German system, pushers such as the DH.2 and the F.E.2b carried the burden of fighting and escort duties.

During World War I, Fokker engineers were working on the Fokker-Leimberger, an externally powered 12-barrel Gatling gun in the 7.92×57mm round claimed to be capable of firing over 7200 round per minute. [4]

The Fokker-Leimberger was an externally powered, 12-barrel rifle-caliber rotary gun developed in Germany during the First World War. The action of the Fokker-Leimberger differed from that of a Gatling in that it employed a rotary split-breech design, also known as a "nutcracker".

Gatling gun 1860s multi-barrel rapid-fire gun of Richard Gatling

The Gatling gun is one of the best-known early rapid-fire spring loaded, hand cranked weapons, and a forerunner of the modern machine gun and rotary cannon. Invented by Richard Gatling, it saw occasional use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat. It was later used in numerous military conflicts, including the Boshin War, the Anglo-Zulu War, and the assault on San Juan Hill during the Spanish–American War. It was also used by the Pennsylvania militia in episodes of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, specifically in Pittsburgh.

Later in the war, after the Fokker D.V had failed to gain acceptance with the Luftstreitkräfte (the last design by earlier chief designer Martin Kreutzer), the German government forced Fokker (for their aircraft production expertise) and Junkers (for their pioneering all-metal airframe construction techniques, and advanced design concepts) to cooperate more closely, which resulted in the foundation of the Junkers-Fokker Aktiengesellschaft, or Jfa, on 20 October 1917. As this partnership proved to be troublesome, it was eventually dissolved again. By then, former Fokker welder and new designer Reinhold Platz, who had taken the late Martin Kreutzer's place with the firm, had adapted some of Prof. Junkers' design concepts, that resulted in a visual similarity between the aircraft of those two manufacturers during the next decade.

Fokker D.V German biplane fighter of World War I.

The Fokker D.V was a German biplane fighter of World War I.

<i>Luftstreitkräfte</i> Air warfare branch of the German Empire

The Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte —known before October 1916 as the Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches or simply Die Fliegertruppe—was the World War I (1914–18) air arm of the German Army, of which it remained an integral part. In English-language sources it is usually referred to as the Imperial German Air Service, although that is not a literal translation of either name. German naval aviators serving with the Marine-Fliegerabteilung remained an integral part of the Imperial German Navy. Both military branches, the army and navy, operated conventional aircraft, observation balloons and Zeppelins.

Junkers German aerospace and engineering company

Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG more commonly Junkers, was a major German aircraft and aircraft engine manufacturer. It produced some of the world's most innovative and best-known airplanes over the course of its fifty-plus year history in Dessau, Germany. It was founded there in 1895 by Hugo Junkers, initially manufacturing boilers and radiators. During World War I, and following the war, the company became famous for its pioneering all-metal aircraft. During World War II the company produced some of the most successful Luftwaffe planes, as well as piston and jet aircraft engines, albeit in the absence of its founder, who had been removed by the Nazis in 1934.

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

Return to the Netherlands

In 1919, Fokker, owing large sums in back taxes (including 14,250,000 marks of income-tax), [5] 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 World War I 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.Is, D.VIIs, and D.VIIIs. This initial stock enabled him to set up shop quickly.

After his company's relocation, many Fokker C.I and C.IV military airplanes 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 Royal Netherlands 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 late 1920s and early 1930s.

1920s and 30s: Fokker's glory period

Fokker F.VII Southern cross.jpg
Fokker F.VII

In the 1920s, Fokker entered its glory years, becoming the world's largest aircraft manufacturer by the late 1920s. Its greatest success was the 1925 F.VIIa/3m trimotor passenger aircraft, which was used by 54 airline companies worldwide and captured 40% 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.

In 1923, Anthony Fokker moved to the United States, where in 1927, he established an American branch of his company, the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, which was renamed the Fokker Aircraft Corporation of America. In 1930, this company merged with General Motors Corporation and the company's name became General Aviation Manufacturing Corporation, which in turn merged with North American Aviation and was divested by GM in 1948. In 1931, discontented at being totally subordinate to GM management, Fokker resigned.

A serious blow to Fokker's reputation came after the 1931 crash of a Transcontinental & Western Air Fokker F-10 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 US, along with many other types that had copied Fokker's wings.

In 1934 Neville Shute of Airspeed Ltd (England) negotiated with Fokker himself for a manufacturing licencing agreement. In January 1935 Airspeed signed an agreement for the Douglas DC-2 and a number of Fokker types, with Fokker to be a consultant for seven years. Shute found him genial, shrewd and helpful but already a sick man; and he was difficult to deal with as his domestic life was irregular. Airspeed considered making the Fokker D.XVII for Greece, as Greece wanted to buy from Britain for currency reasons, but the proposal did not "come off"; Shute recommended reading his novel Ruined City on Balkan methods of business. And after a year the drift to war meant that Dutchmen could not go to the Airspeed factory or to board meetings. [6]

On December 23, 1939, Fokker died in New York City after a three-week illness.

World War II

At the outset of World War II, the few G.Is 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

Fokker-built Gloster Meteor of the Belgian Air Force in 1955 Gloster Meteor F.8 EG-121 Belgian A.F. BLA 06.09.55 edited-2.jpg
Fokker-built Gloster Meteor of the Belgian Air Force in 1955

Rebuilding after the war proved difficult. The market was flooded with cheap surplus planes 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 Fokker F27 d-aeld Marcel van Leeuwen 2-2002.jpg
The Fokker F-27 turboprop airliner

In 1958, the F-27 Friendship was introduced, Fokker's most successful postwar 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 licence by Fairchild. Also, a military version of the F-27, the F-27 Troopship, was built.

In 1962, the F-27 was followed by the jet-powered 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.[ citation needed ]

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.

A Fokker-assembled Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 arrives for the Royal International Air Tattoo, England, (2014) Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 arrives RIAT Fairford 10thJuly2014 arp.jpg
A Fokker-assembled Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 arrives for the Royal International Air Tattoo, England, (2014)

Fokker was one of the main partners in the F-16 Fighting Falcon consortium (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.

In 1986, Fokker released the title song "Fokker on the Wing" [7] to promote the company's work on the Fokker 50 and 100 aircraft. The song talks about Fokker "knows how to build aircraft", "builds you wings to sail the sky", and "on our way to new horizons". The song was famous[ citation needed ] and was used in many Fokker promotions and advertisements. It was sung by Toon Vieijra.

Aerospace

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 Astronomical Netherlands Satellite) together with Philips and Dutch universities. This was followed by a second major satellite project, IRAS, successfully launched in 1983. The European Space Agency 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

Fokker 70, Fokker's last successful aircraft Fokker.70.flying.arp.jpg
Fokker 70, Fokker's last successful aircraft
Fokker 100 Fokker-100 F-28-0100.jpg
Fokker 100

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, and 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 the company 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 solve Fokker's problems, though, mostly because DASA's parent company Daimler-Benz also had to deal with its own organisational problems.

Bankruptcy

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.

Discussions were initiated with Bombardier on 5 February 1996. After having reviewed and evaluated the opportunities and challenges Fokker represented at the time, Bombardier renounced its acquisition on 27 February. [8] On 15 March, the Fokker company was declared bankrupt.

Differences in national culture could have played a role in the failed takeover of Fokker by Deutsche Aerospace (DASA). [9]

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: it refurbishes and resells F 50s and F 100s, and has converted a few F 50s 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: 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:

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 F70 and F100, supported by suppliers and airlines.

Notable Fokker aircraft and pilots

Fokker Dr.I replica at the ILA 2006, the "Red Baron" triplane RoteBaron.JPG
Fokker Dr.I replica at the ILA 2006, the "Red Baron" triplane

Fokker aircraft

1912–1918

1919–1940

Fokker-Atlantic designs

1945–1996

Related Research Articles

Fokker Dr.I fighter aircraft

The Fokker Dr.I, often known simply as the Fokker Triplane, was a World War I fighter aircraft built by Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. The Dr.I saw widespread service in the spring of 1918. It became famous as the aircraft in which Manfred von Richthofen gained his last 19 victories, and in which he was killed on 21 April 1918.

Fokker D.VII fighter aircraft

The Fokker D.VII was a German World War I fighter aircraft designed by Reinhold Platz of the Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. Germany produced around 3,300 D.VII aircraft in the second half of 1918. In service with the Luftstreitkräfte, the D.VII quickly proved itself to be a formidable aircraft. The Armistice ending the war specifically required Germany to surrender all D.VIIs to the Allies. Surviving aircraft saw much service with many countries in the years after World War I.

Fokker F27 Friendship Regional airliner by Fokker

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Fokker 100 Regional airliner developed from Fokker F28 produced 1986-1997

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Airframe aircrafts mechanical structure

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Idflieg aircraft designation system

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Triplane aircraft wing configuration with three vertically stacked main wing surfaces

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Fokker 50 Regional airliner by Fokker

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Fokker F.VII transport aircraft family

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Fokker F.VIII airliner

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Fokker F.I (1917) airplane

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Fokker V.8

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Fokker F.II Commercial aircraft from the Fokker Aircraft Company, flying in 1919

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Fokker PW-5

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References

Notes

  1. "Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker." Fokker, A Living History. Retrieved: 19 December 2010.
  2. Weyl 1965, pp. 65–67.
  3. Weyl 1965, p. 96.
  4. "Motor Guns-A flashback to 1914–18." Flight, 8 March 1957, pp. 313–314.
  5. Weyl 1965, p.354.
  6. Norway, Neville Shute (1954). Slide Rule. London: William Heinemann. pp. 219–229.
  7. Huib De Bruijn (2015-05-12), fokker on the wing Title song , retrieved 2016-04-07
  8. "Bombardier Ends Talks With Fokker" (Press release). Bombardier. February 27, 1996.
  9. JAN ULIJN (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands); HANS HEERKENS (University of Twente, The Netherlands) (September 1999). "FOKKER, A CLASH OF CULTURE". Journal of Enterprising Culture. doi:10.1142/S0218495899000169.
  10. Associated Press in The Hague (17 May 2017). "Dutch king reveals he held part-time job as airline pilot". www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2018.

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