Fokker Fighters of World War One (Vintage Warbirds 6)
By Alex Imrie
Publisher: Weidenfeld Military 1986 64 Pages
PDF 37 MB
Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker was born at Kediri in Java on 6 April 1890, the son of a Dutch coffee planter. Attracted to aviation, he went to Germany in 1910, became involved in aircraft construction and taught himself to fly on the second version of his Spider monoplane, successfully taking the tests for his FAI Aviator's Certificate (Germany Number 88) on 16 May 1911. Less than one year later he had established his Fokker Aeroplanbau at Johannisthal near Berlin, developing the Spider design and running a flourishing flying school which attracted military students and soon began to supply aeroplanes to the German Army.
Favourable conditions offered by the authorities caused Fokker to move his production facilities to Schwerin-Gorries in Mecklenburg towards the end of 1913, where the Fokker Flugzeugwerke GmbH was to remain until the end of the First World War. His name first came to the public's attention through his daring and skilful aerobatic flying at Johannisthal before the war, and it became etched in history when his machine-gun-armed monoplanes created heroes out of Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke and caused the unwieldy BE biplanes of the Royal Flying Corps to be referred to as 'Fokker fodder'. It was highlighted again in 1918 when Allied airmen tended to name all German fighting aeroplanes 'Fokkers'. From the earliest days of the war Fokker established a rapport with the front-line airmen: he was always willing to listen to their views and incorporate their ideas, based on operational experience, into his designs. Because of this a bond existed between the pilots and Fokker that produced results denied to most other aircraft manufacturers. Fokker also possessed an uncanny ability to perceive what changes were necessary in a design to eradicate undesirable qualities and to promote improved handling and performance. This was not merely an attribute of a skilled pilot, but showed a sound knowledge of aerodynamics which was put to good use in the experimental environment that obtained at this time.