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Fokker

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Fokker 100 of British Midland Airways
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Fokker 100 of British Midland Airways

Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker.

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History

The company was founded on July 21, 1919 by Dutchman Anthony Fokker (18901939), one of the world's early aviation pioneers. At age 20, he had built his first plane, the Spin (Spider), the first Dutch-built plane to fly in his home country. In 1912, he founded his first own company, Fokker Aeroplanbau in Berlin, Germany, later moving to Schwerin.

There, Fokker built planes for the German army during World War I, forced onto Hugo Junkers as a partner by the German government. He gained fame with his planes Fokker E.III, which used a mechanism that let pilots use machine guns on their planes without shredding their propellers (using interrupter gear), Fokker D.VII and Fokker Dr.I (triplane).

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Fokker.70.taxi.arp.750pix.jpg
Fokker 70 of KLM taxiing after landing

In 1919, Fokker separated from Junkers, returned to the Netherlands, and founded his own company. He did not return home empty-handed: Fokker managed to smuggle an entire train's worth of D.VII and C.I military planes and spare parts across the German-Dutch border. This initial stock enabled him to quickly set up shop.

After his company's relocation, its main success would lie with commercial, civilian airplanes rather than military ones, although Fokker would continue to design and build those, predominantly for the Dutch air force. A notable exception was the Finnish air force, which was largely equipped with C.V, C.X and D.XXI aircraft.

In the Twenties, Fokker's biggest success was the F.VIIa/3m trimotor passenger aircraft, which dominated the European market until the arrival of the all-metal American and German aircraft in the mid-Thirties.

In December, 1939, Anthony Fokker died in the United States, where the American branch of his company was very successful.

The Fokker factories in the Netherlands were completely destroyed during World War II, and a new factory was built next to Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam, in 1951. There, a number of military planes were built under license, among which was Lockheed's F-104 Starfighter. A second production and maintenance facility was established at Woensdrecht.

Fokker was one of the main partners in the F-16 consortium. The consortium was responsible for production of F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighters for the air forces of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway. It consisted of companies and government agencies from the four countries and USA. F-16s were assembled with parts from the five countries at Fokker and at SABCA in Belgium.

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Fokker_50_on_Reykjavk_Airport.jpeg

In 1958, the Fokker F-27 "Friendship" was introduced, which became the world's best selling turboprop airliner (selling almost 800 from 1958 to 1986). The F-27 was followed by the Fokker F-28 "Fellowship", the Fokker F50, the Fokker F70 and the Fokker F100. Both an F-27 and later an F-28 served with the Dutch Royal Flight, Prince Bernhard himself being a pilot.

In 1969, the Fokker company agreed to an alliance with Bremen-based Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke (representing ERNO) under control of a transnational holding company. They collaborated on an unsuccessful regional jetliner, the VFW-614. The European Space Agency ESA in June 1974 named a consortium headed by ERNO-VFW-Fokker GmbH to build pressurized modules for Spacelab.

In 1996 the Fokker company was declared bankrupt, but some parts of the company survived. The space division became an independent company currently known as Dutch Space. Those parts of the company that manufactured parts of planes and carried out maintenance and repair work were taken over by Stork N.V.; it is now known as Stork Aerospace Group. Stork Fokker exists to sustain remarketing of the company's existing aircraft.

Meanwhile, Rekkof Aircraft ("Fokker" backwards) is attempting to restart production of the Fokker 70 NT, supported by suppliers and airlines.

Famous Fokkers

Planes designed and/or built by Fokker

External links


Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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