Focke Achgelis Fa 330
Overview
 
The Focke-Achgelis FA 330 Bachstelze (Wagtail) was a type of rotary-wing kite, known as a gyroglider or rotor kite. They were towed behind German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

s during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to allow a lookout to see farther.
Because of their low profile in the water, the submarines could not see more than a few miles over the ocean. To solve this, the German admiralty considered a number of different options, including a folding seaplane
Seaplane
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft...

 (Arado Ar 231
Arado Ar 231
The Arado Ar 231 was a light-weight Floatplane, developed during World War II in Germany as a scout plane for submarines. The need to be stored inside the submarine necessitated compromises in design that made this single-seat seaplane of little practical use....

).
Encyclopedia
The Focke-Achgelis FA 330 Bachstelze (Wagtail) was a type of rotary-wing kite, known as a gyroglider or rotor kite. They were towed behind German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

s during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to allow a lookout to see farther.

Development

Because of their low profile in the water, the submarines could not see more than a few miles over the ocean. To solve this, the German admiralty considered a number of different options, including a folding seaplane
Seaplane
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft...

 (Arado Ar 231
Arado Ar 231
The Arado Ar 231 was a light-weight Floatplane, developed during World War II in Germany as a scout plane for submarines. The need to be stored inside the submarine necessitated compromises in design that made this single-seat seaplane of little practical use....

). In the end, they chose the FA 330, a simple, single-seater autogyro kite with a three-bladed rotor.

The FA 330 could be deployed to the deck of the submarine by two people and was tethered to the U-boat via a 150 m (500 ft) cable. The airflow on the rotors as the boat motored along on the surface would spin them up. The kite would then be deployed behind the U-boat with its observer/pilot aboard, raising him approximately 120 m above the surface where he could see much farther; 25 nautical miles (46 km) compared to the 5 nautical miles (9 km) visible from the conning tower of the U-boat. If the U-boat captain was forced to abandon them on the surface, the tether was released and the FA 330 descended slowly to the surface.

When not in use, the FA 330 was stowed in two watertight compartments aft of the conning tower. Recovering, dismantling, and stowing the FA 330 took approximately 20 minutes and was a difficult operation.

Operational history

As Allied air cover in other theatres of the war was considered too much of a threat, only U-boats operating in the far southern parts of the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean used the FA 330. Despite its advantages, the use of the Fa 330 only resulted in a single sinking when U-177
German submarine U-177
German submarine U-177 was a Type IXD2 U-boat of the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 25 November 1940 at the AG Weser yard at Bremen, launched on 1 October 1941, and commissioned on 14 March 1942 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Schulze...

 used one to spot, intercept and sink the Greek steamer Eithalia Mari on 6 August 1943.

The Allies came into possession of an FA 330 in May 1944 when they captured the submarine U-852
Unterseeboot 852
German submarine U-852 was a German Type IXD2 U-boat built during World War II. She became notorious for having the only German Navy U-boat crew to be accused, prosecuted and convicted during the Nuremberg Trials of war crimes....

 intact. After the war, the British government did successful experiments towing Fa 330s behind ships and jeeps, but the development of the helicopter quickly occupied the attention of the military.

U-boats that deployed FA 330 kites included at least U-177, U-181, and U-852.

Survivors

A number of FA 330s are on public display including:
  • National Museum of the United States Air Force
    National Museum of the United States Air Force
    The National Museum of the United States Air Force is the official museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base northeast of Dayton, Ohio. The NMUSAF is the world's largest and oldest military aviation museum with more than 360 aircraft and missiles on display...

    , United States
  • RAF Museum Cosford, England
  • Imperial War Museum Duxford
    Imperial War Museum Duxford
    Imperial War Museum Duxford is a branch of the Imperial War Museum near the village of Duxford in Cambridgeshire, England. Britain's largest aviation museum, Duxford houses the museum's large exhibits, including nearly 200 aircraft, military vehicles, artillery and minor naval vessels in seven...

    , England
  • Deutsches Technikmuseum, Germany
  • RAF Millom Museum
    RAF Millom Museum
    The RAF Millom Aviation & Military Museum was a museum of the British Royal Air Force bombing and gunnery school, located in Millom, Cumbria.Opened in January 1941 as No.2 bombing and gunnery school and in summer became No. 2 air observer School. In 1942 it became No...

    , England
  • Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
    Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
    The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum 's annex at Washington Dulles International Airport in the Chantilly area of Fairfax County, Virginia, United States....

    , United States

See also

  • Hafner Rotabuggy
    Hafner Rotabuggy
    The Hafner Rotabuggy and as the "M.L. 10/42 Flying Jeep" was a British experimental aircraft that was essentially a Willys MB combined with a rotor kite, developed with the intention of producing a way of air-dropping off-road vehicles.-Design and development:It was designed by Raoul Hafner of the...

  • Kite mooring
    Kite mooring
    Kites are given mooring by many methods. Watercraft and aircraft traditionally have the term "mooring" applied to making the watercraft or aircraft fast to some external object...

  • Kite types
    Kite types
    Kites are tethered flying objects which fly by using aerodynamic lift, requiring wind, , for generation of airflow over the lifting surfaces.-Kite types:...

  • Kite
    Kite
    A kite is a tethered aircraft. The necessary lift that makes the kite wing fly is generated when air flows over and under the kite's wing, producing low pressure above the wing and high pressure below it. This deflection also generates horizontal drag along the direction of the wind...

  • Man-lifting kite
    Man-lifting kite
    A man-lifting kite is a kite designed to lift a person from the ground. Historically, man-lifting kites have been used chiefly for reconnaissance and entertainment. Interest in their development declined with the advent of powered flight at the beginning of the 20th century.-Early history:The first...

  • Kite applications
    Kite applications
    The kite is used to do certain things; one kite or many kites are applied to achieve certain purposes, objectives, or tasks, that is: applications. Humans have applied the kite to bring perceived benefits during peace and war alike. New applications for the kite continue to be found...

  • Rotary-wing hang glider

External links

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