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Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau
Type first AG, later GmbH
Fate Merged
Successor Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke
Founded October 4, 1923 - 1964
Headquarters Bremen, Germany
Key people Henrich Focke, Kurt Tank
Industry Aerospace
Products Commercial airliners, Military aircraft, helicopters

Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau AG was a German manufacturer of civil and military aircraft before and during World War II.[1] Many of the company's successful fighter aircraft designs were slight modifications of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.



The company was founded in Bremen on 23 October 1923 as Bremer Flugzeugbau AG by Prof. Henrich Focke,[2] Georg Wulf[3] and Dr. rer. pol. Werner Naumann[4] Almost immediately, they renamed the company Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau AG (later Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH).[5]

In 1931, under government pressure, Focke-Wulf merged with Albatros-Flugzeugwerke of Berlin. Albatros-Flugzeugwerke engineer and test pilot Kurt Tank became head of the technical department and started work on the Fw 44 Stieglitz (Goldfinch).

In 1938, Hanna Reitsch demonstrated the Focke-Wulf Fw 61, the first fully controllable helicopter (as opposed to autogyro), in Berlin.[6] On August 10, 1938, the Fw 200 was the first airplane to fly nonstop between Berlin and New York City, making the journey in 24 hours and 56 minutes. The return trip on August 13 1938 took 19 hours and 47 minutes. These flights are commemorated with a plaque in the Böttcherstraße street of Bremen.

The Fw 190 Würger (butcher-bird), designed from 1938 on, and produced in quantity from early 1941 to 1945, was a mainstay single-seat fighter for the Luftwaffe during World War II. The Fw 190D version, known by pilots as "Dora", was powered by a much heavier inverted V12 that was quite a bit longer, and resulted in 30 cm added to the rear fuselage.

Repeated bombing of Bremen in World War II resulted in the mass production plants being moved to eastern Germany and Poland, using many foreign and forced labourers, and from 1944 also prisoners of war. In the 1960s, ITT Corporation won $27 million in compensation in the 1960s for damage inflicted on its share of the Focke-Wulf plant by WWII Allied bombing.[7] A 100 acre Focke-Wulf plant at Marienburg produced approximately half of all Fw 190s and was bombed by the Eighth Air Force on October 9, 1944.[8]

From 1947-1955, many Focke-Wulf workers, including Kurt Tank, worked at the Instituto Aerotécnico in Córdoba, Argentina. In 1951, Focke-Wulf began to make gliders, and in 1955, motorised planes.

In 1961, Focke-Wulf, Weserflug and Hamburger Flugzeugbau joined forces in the Entwicklungsring Nord (ERNO) to develop rockets. Focke-Wulf formally merged with Weserflug in 1964, becoming Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke (VFW), which after several further mergers it is now part of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. (EADS).

List of Focke-Wulf aircraft

Planned/unfinished designs


  1. ^ From Focke-Wulf to Avrocar: Secret Weapons of World War II: The Techno-Military Breakthroughs That Changed History. New York: Berkley Books. 2003. p. 281–283. .
  2. ^ NOTE: In 1937, shareholders ousted Henrich Focke.
  3. ^ NOTE: Georg Wulf died during a test flight 29 September 1927
  4. ^ NOTE: Dr. rer. pol. Werner Naumann differs from Dr. rer. nat. Werner Naumann, state secretary in Joseph Goebbel's Propagandaministerium.
  5. ^ Initially it produced several commercial aircraft, typically with thick wings mounted high over bulky fuselages. "Focke-Wulf" (html - German language). Retrieved 2006-07-01. 
  6. ^ Hanna Reitsch “Fliegen, mein Leben” on p. 180-198. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt Stuttgart 1952
  7. ^ Varadarajan, Siddharth. "But the world's still round". The Hindu. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  8. ^ Gurney, Gene (Major, USAF) (1962), The War in the Air: a pictorial history of World War II Air Forces in combat, New York: Bonanza Books, p. 219 

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