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Fokker F.VII
Swissair Fokker F.VIIb-3 m (CH-192) piloted by Walter Mittelholzer in Kassala (Sudan), February 1934.
Role Passenger & military transport
Manufacturer Fokker
First flight 1924
Introduced 1925
Primary users SABENA
KLM
Polish Air Force
Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT
Produced 1925-1932
Developed from Fokker F.V
Variants Fokker F.10
The Josephine Ford at The Henry Ford.
The Southern Cross in 1943.
Fokker V.VIIb 3-m (CH-190) operated by Ad Astra Aero

The Fokker F.VII was an airliner produced in the 1920s by the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker, Fokker's American subsidiary Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, and other companies under licence.

Contents

Design and development

The original Walter Rethel design of 1924 was a single-engined high-winged monoplane. Anthony Fokker modified the design with two additional engines to enter the inaugural Ford Reliability Tour in 1925, which it won. Consequently, the production versions F.VIIa/3m, F.VIIb/3m and F.10 all had three engines, and the aircraft became popularly known as the Fokker Trimotor.[1]

Operational history

The 8- to 12-passenger Fokker was the aircraft of choice for many early airlines, both in Europe and the Americas. Along with the similar Ford Trimotor, it dominated the American market in the late 1920s. However, the popularity of the Fokker quickly came to an end after the 1931 death of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne in the crash of TWA Flight 599, a Fokker F.10. The subsequent investigation, which revealed problems with the Fokker's plywood-laminate construction, resulted in the banning of the aircraft on commercial flights, and the rise of all-metal aircraft such as the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2.[2]

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Pioneers and explorers

The F.VII was used by many explorers and aviation pioneers, including:

  • Lieutenant Colonel 'Dan' Minchin, Captain Leslie Hamilton and Princess Loewenstein-Wertheim attempted to become the first aviators to cross the Atlantic from east to west using a Fokker F.VIIa named the St. Raphael on August 31, 1927. Their fate remains unknown.
  • Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic on June 17, 1928, as a passenger aboard the Fokker F.VIIb/3m Friendship.[3]

Variants

F.VII
Single-engined transport aircraft, powered by a 360-hp (268.5-kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle piston engine, accommodation for two crew and six passengers; five built.
F.VIIa (F.VIIa/1m)
Single-engined transport aircraft, slightly larger than F.VII with new undercarriage and wing. Flown on March 12, 1925. First aircraft had 420 hp (310 kW) V-12 Packard Liberty engine but remaining 39 F.VIIa had mostly radial Bristol Jupiter or Pratt Whitney Wasp engines.
F.VIIa/3m
Version with two additional underwing engines, flown on September 4, 1925. The first two aircraft were identical to the F.VIIa. From the third aircraft, the fuselage was 31 in (80 cm) longer and was powered by with 200 hp (149 kW) Wright J-4 Whirlwind radial engines. Probably only 18 were built while many F.VIIas were upgraded to the F.VIIa/3m standard.

First two Fokker F.VIIAs were converted into three-engined transport aircraft.

F.VIIb/3m
Main production version with greater span, 154 built including built under licence.
F.9
American built version of the Fokker F.VIIB-3m, built by the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation in the United States.
Fokker F.10
Enlarged version of the Fokker F.VII airliner, able to carry up to 12 passengers. Built by the Altantic Aircraft Corporation in the United States.
C-2
Military transport version of the Fokker F.9, powered by three 220-hp (164-kW) Wright J-5 radial piston engines, accommodation for two pilots and ten passengers; three built for the US Army Air Corps.
C-2A
Military transport version for the US Army Air Corps, with greater wingspan, powered by three 220-hp (164-kW) Wright J-5 radial piston engines, accommodation for two pilots and ten passengers; eight built.
XC-7
One C-2A fitted with three 330-hp (246-kW) Wright J-6-9 radial piston engines.
C-7A
Military transport version for the US Army Air Corps; six converted from C-2A in 1931 by re-engining with 300-hp (220 kW) Wright R-975 engines.
XLB-2
Experimental light bomber version of the C-7, powered by three 410-hp (306-kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1380 radial piston engines; one built.
TA-1
Military transport version of the US Navy and Marine Corps; three built.
TA-2
Military transport version for the US Navy; three built.
TA-3
Military transport version for the US Navy, powered by three Wright J-6 radial piston engines; one built.
RA-1
Redesignation of the TA-1.
RA-2
Redesignation of the TA-2.
RA-3
Redesignation of the TA-3.

Licenced copies

Operators

Civilian operators

 Belgium
  • SABENA operated 28 aircraft.
 Denmark
 France
  • CIDNA operated seven F.VIIa aircraft.
  • STAR operated one F.VIIa aircraft.
 Hungary
  • Malert operated two F.VIIa aircraft.
 Netherlands
  • KLM received all five F.VII aircraft and 15 F.VIIas.
 Poland
  • Aero operated six F.VIIa aircraft for a short period in 1928. Since 1 January, 1929 all aircraft were handed over to PLL LOT airline.
  • Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT operated six F.VIIas and 13 F.VIIb/3ms between 1929 and 1939.
 Portugal
 Switzerland
 United States

Military operators

Croatia Independent State of Croatia
 Czechoslovakia
 Finland
 Netherlands
 Poland
  • Polish Air Force operated 21 F.VIIb/3m (20 of them were licence-built) aircraft as bombers and transports between 1929 and 1939.
    • 1 Pułk Lotniczy
      • 211 Eskadra Bombowa
      • 212 Eskadra Bombowa
      • 213 Eskadra Bombowa
 Spain
 United States
 Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Specifications

Fokker F.VIIb/3m; Atlantic-Fokker C-2A

Data from [8]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 8 passengers
  • Length: 47 ft 11 in (14.60 m)
  • Wingspan: 71 ft 2 in (21.70 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 8 in (3.90 m)
  • Empty weight: 6,725 lb (3,050 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 11,570 lb (5,200 kg)
  • Powerplant:Wright J-5 Whirlwind radial engines, 220 hp (164 kW) each

Performance

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

References


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