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Henrich Focke - Inventor of the First Successful Helicopter

van der Wall, Berend G. and Harris, Franklin D. (2022) Henrich Focke - Inventor of the First Successful Helicopter. Other. NASA/CR-20220014586. NASA, Ames Research Center. 110 S.

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Official URL: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20220014586/downloads/1582_van%20der%20Wall_Harris-Focke%20CR-20220014586_Final_092722.pdf?attachment=true


In 1924, Henrich Focke, Georg Wulf and Dr. Werner Naumann started Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH (Focke-Wulf Aircraft Manufacturing Ltd.). Focke-Wulf constructed Juan de la Cierva’s C.19 and C.30 Autogiros under license from 1930 until 1937. This led Focke to design the first successful and fully controllable helicopter, the Fw-61. Model tests in his wind tunnel supported the configuration and in 1932 Focke proposed a helicopter project to the ministry with drawings and calculations, which was granted in that same year. Impressed with the success of the Fw-61, the German Air Ministry suggested that Focke establish a new company dedicated to helicopter development and issued him a requirement for an improved design, capable of carrying a 700 kg (1,500 lbs) payload. Focke and Gerd Achgelis (a test pilot) partnered to establish the Focke–Achgelis company in 1938. The Fw-61 became the Fa-61. Historically, Henrich Focke and his Focke-Achgelis company must surely be considered as the developer of the world’s first successful helicopter. They began development of the Focke Wulf company’s Model Fw-61 helicopter, which had a side-by-side rotor system, in 1932. First flight was achieved on June 26, 1936 with test pilot Ewald Rohlfs at the controls. With the Fw-61’s flight demonstrated success, Professor Focke went on to present three early papers: 1. Das Trag- und Hubschrauberproblem (Autogyro and Helicopter Problems), November 1937 2. Forschung und Entwicklung der Drehflügelflugzeuge (Research and Development of Rotating Wing Aircraft), April 1942 3. Fortschritte des Hubschraubers (Progress of the Helicopter), October 1943 The first paper was also published by the German Museum (Munich) in 1938 and it was translated into English on the order of the Ministry of Aircraft Production by J. Helledoren as R.T.P No. 2128 at the end of 1937. The other two reports, however, appear not to have been translated during or after World War II and thus are made public here – probably for the first time. Translations of the three Focke papers are provided in this report. A careful translation from German to English of the papers has been made. Many of original photos have been recovered from the German Museum (Munich). In several cases, the original graphs have been redrawn to enhance each paper’s technical value. The editors have added footnotes where appropriate. The editors consider Focke’s papers to be of such immense technical and historical value that they deserve wide distribution to the rotorcraft industry. Finally, the editors believe that readers of the many technical points Henrich Focke makes about his development program will see that Focke’s program anticipated even today’s best rotorcraft industry efforts.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/186969/
Document Type:Monograph (Other)
Title:Henrich Focke - Inventor of the First Successful Helicopter
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
van der Wall, Berend G.UNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6144-0921UNSPECIFIED
Harris, Franklin D.F. D. Harris & AssociatesUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:1 September 2022
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Number of Pages:110
Series Name:NASA Contractor Report (CR)
Keywords:Inventor, First, Helicopter, Focke, Henrich Focke, helicopter pioneer, biography, Translation of German reports (1937, 1942, 1943), German Academy of Aeronautical Research
Institution:NASA, Ames Research Center
Department:Aeromechanics Branch
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:Efficient Vehicle
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L EV - Efficient Vehicle
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Virtual Rotorcraft and Validation
Location: Braunschweig
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Flight Systems > Rotorcraft
Institute of Flight Systems
Deposited By: van der Wall, Prof. Dr. Berend G.
Deposited On:03 Nov 2022 09:52
Last Modified:03 Nov 2022 09:52

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