Fokker F.10: We are all the same, but not equal.

The American-built Fokker F.10 was an larger more powerful version of the classic Fokker F.VII airliner built in the late 1920’s. Like their forebear they were quite prolific (more than 60 built) and turned out to be real money-makers until that fateful day. On March 31, 1931, the wooden-wing of a Transcontinental and Western Fokker F.10 failed catastrophically and it crashed in the Kansas prairie, killing, among others, a popular football hero of the era: Knute Rockne. That accident, and the huge publicity it produced, meant the end of wooden airliners in the United States and also brought radical changes in the regulations and operations of the airlines. The American commercial aviation technology supremacy achieved from the middle 1930’s was the result.

Gorgeous machines they were. We can no deny the splendor of that era.


Fokker S.14 Machtrainer: Always hard the first time.

The Dutch resumed their aviation activities after the dark WW2 days with a vengeance. Their S.14 Machtrainer was, in fact, the first purpose-built jet trainer to see the light. The origins of this sadly quite forgotten aircraft was in fact in Britain. The Rolls-Royce wanted to take a piece of the lucrative postwar jets aircraft market, and specially they wanted something where to put their engines to compete with the then flourishing de Havilland jet engines. After trying in the UK they approached the Fokker company with a possible RR Derwent-powered jet trainer concept. The Fokker found the idea agreeable and their S.14 became just that. First flown in 1951, this superb aircraft was aggressively marketed, but proved to be just too big and, above all, way too expensive for its role. Only 21 in total were produced and those  saw service mainly with the Dutch AF.

Superb photo of the original prototype, long “spear” pitot tube included. Gladly, the K-1 (PH-XIV) is among the three surviving S-14’s. It resides nowadays at a museum in the Lelystad Airport.

Fokker C.1: Past and desired future.

The Fokker C.1 two-seat recon-attack aircraft was developed from the seminal Fokker D.VII fighter. Too late to saw action at WW1, these efficient biplanes served as basis, somehow, to Anthony Fokker new start in his own country -Fokker smuggled a number of them, with other types, to Holland just in the nick of time. New built C.1’s and their descendants followed.

Really durable aircrafts, one of them (PH-APL, c/n 527) was equiped in the spring of 1937 with this superb looking propeller, an invention of Adriaan Dekker. According to some sources PH-APL did achieve a sort of short lift off. The Germans took posesion of it in 1940 (when this pic was taken: jackboots) at Holland surrender, after that…. no info.

Fokker B.II: Such a damn shame.

Precious Dutch light reconnaissance flying boat of 1923. This sesquiplane carried a crew of just three in open cockpit. The B.II have one characteristic very dear to me: its tractor 360hp RR Eagle engine was mounted upon de upper surface of the top fabric-covered wing (the lower was plywood-covered). The unique prototype was tested by the Dutch Navy, sadly no production followed.

Stupendous cutaway interpretation of the neat B.II. The artist, no doubt, knew this photo….

Fokker F.VIII: Unassertively Handsome.

The F.VIII was Fokker answer to a KLM requeriment of 1926 for an airliner with more passenger capacity (originally 12, later 15) than their F.VII’s diverse models. Fokker’s first twin-engined airliner -the engines were by then powerful enough for that-, the F.VIII still employed the household trademarks: fat wooden cantilever wing, engines “suspended” under the wing and fabric covered steel tube fuselage. First flown in 1927, only a few were built (11) and they were used in the European route of the company starting in that same year – aircraft development was sure faster then…
Always too conservative in their enginering, the Fokker company and their empirical designer Reinhold Platz nevertheless took sometimes very/too timid steps technologically. Like in this F.VIII; the PH-OTO implemented in 1932 Fokker’s original plan to instal engines in the wing’s leading edge. Sometimes called the F.VIIIA, this Wright Cyclone engined aircraft was later used for survey work. It was written off in 1940 during a German bombardment.

Pander S-4 Postjäger: Good looks & charm are not enough.

The Postjäger was designed as a fast mailpane to connect Holland and the Dutch East Indies. Built by Pander & Son, this three-seat, 420hp Wright Whirlwinf powered marvel made its maiden flight in Oct. 1933. Despite its beauty flight tests revealed mixed results; it was slower tha expected and tricky on take-off/landing phases. Next year,the S-4 took part in the famous 1934 MacRobertson Trophy Air Race. It was doing quite well until it suffered landing accident at Allahabad. Repaired later it was destroyed when it hit a car while taxying out for take-off. Regrettably, no more Postjägers were built.

A charming postcard anyway.