Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Heinrich Focke 1890-1979

Henrich Focke was a German aviation pioneer from Bremen. He was a co-founder of Focke-Wulf. He built a glider in 1909, and his first motorised plane, the Kolthoff-Focke A III, a year later. The A III was too underpowered to be airworthy. His next model, the A IV allowed his first motorised flight in 1912. He then joined forces with Georg Wulf and in 1914 they built the Focke-Wulf A VI. After the end of World War I, experimentation continued. Focke and Wulf built the new A VII around the engine from the A VI. In 1923, with Wulf and Dr. Werner Neumann, Focke co-founded Focke-Wulf, which developed and built large numbers of aircraft to support the Luftwaffe during World War II. Before the outbreak of war, Focke had parted ways from the company that continued to bear his name. In 1937 shareholder pressure ousted him, and he founded, with Gerd Achgelis, another company Focke Achgelis to specialise in helicopters. In 1951 he moved to Brazil. At the Brazilian General Command for Aerospace Technology (CTA) he conducted some ground tests with a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, called Convertiplano. The BF-1 Beija-Flor helicopter was a Prof. Focke design from 1956, at this time still working at CTA. A two-seater, the Beija Flor had its 225hp Continental E225 engine fitted in the nose, with a short coupling to the rotor pylon, which was mounted centrally in front of the crew. An open structure tubular steel tail boom carried a pair of tail surfaces and a small tail rotor. The prototype flew on 1st January 1959, and performed an extended flight-testing campaign until it was damaged in an accident. It is thought that further work on the Beija Flor was then abandoned. In 1956 Focke moves back from Brazil to Bremen.