Wings Over the World: Fokker: A Dream Fulfilled
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(Feb 21, 2008)
Dutch aviator Anthony Fokker's first company was established in Germany where his designs were destined for the front lines of World War I. Later, at incredible personal risk, he smuggled aircraft components to Holland where he established the Fokker Aircraft Company. Across the Atlantic he also established the largest aircraft company in the world at that time. The story does not end with his death in 1939. With the outbreak of war, Fokker aircraft fought in defense of Holland, Norway, Denmark and Finland, and ironically, also with both the RAF and the Luftwaffe. The company's expansion continued and encompassed a wide range of successful passenger aircraft but, as the next century approaches, its future hangs in the balance. Like so many of the smaller aviation companies, Fokker struggles against the economic difficulties of the 90's. Will the dream survive the 20th century?
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Top Customer Reviews
Their hour documentary on Anthony Fôkker (hereinafter referred to as AF) skews his birth year as 1898 (it's actually 1890), thus making it seem that this legendary Dutch aviation pioneer built his first simple flyer at age 13, had his own company at 14 and was working for the German war effort at 16.
No matter his age, AF did introduce some important aviation devices and craft.
His synchronized machine gun in the M5 model kept bullets from ricocheting off of or destroying a fighter plane's propeller. This innovation gave the Germans air superiority during the Great War's first two years.
AF took 16 mm films of the devastation his handiwork caused the enemy. Some of this rare footage included here is of Baron Von Richtofen's Flying Circus and their unique tri-wing planes of AF's design. His subsequent bi-wing replacement for these slow planes was unstable when maneuvering.
At war's end AF escaped back to the Netherlands, where he founded a new company, an operation that produced early commercial airlines. The F3 variety accomodated five passengers in an elegant sitting room. AF's F7 revolutionized civil aviation, and one of his smaller planes was piloted by Richard Byrd during the world's first flight over the North Pole.
After moving operations to the U.S. in the mid 1920s, AF's string of award-winning designs continued. Early in 1929, his American-born wife died from a fall out a window. The death was ruled a suicide, but questions always remained. This event was the first of many setbacks for AF, especially in business. All-metal Douglas planes made every AF design obsolete, as they were partly wood and canvas.Read more ›