Fokker F.VII

The Fokker F.VII, also known as the Fokker Trimotor, was an airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

 produced in the 1920s by the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker
Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker. The company operated under several different names, starting out in 1912 in Schwerin, Germany, moving to the Netherlands in 1919....

, Fokker's American subsidiary Atlantic Aircraft Corporation
Atlantic Aircraft
Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, also known as Fokker-America and Atlantic-Fokker, was a US subsidiary of the Dutch Fokker Company, responsible for sales and information about Fokker imports, and eventually constructing various Fokker designs....

, and other companies under licence.

Design and development

The original Walter Rethel
Walter Rethel
Walter Rethel was a German aircraft designer.Working for the Dutch company Fokker in the years after World War I, he designed aircraft such as the amphibious Fokker B.I and the Fokker F.VII airliner. In the 1920s he worked for Arado Flugzeugwerke in Germany, before moving to Messerschmitt, where...

 design of 1924 was a single-engined high-winged monoplane
A monoplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with one main set of wing surfaces, in contrast to a biplane or triplane. Since the late 1930s it has been the most common form for a fixed wing aircraft.-Types of monoplane:...

. Anthony Fokker
Anthony Fokker
Anton Herman Gerard "Anthony" Fokker was a Dutch aviation pioneer and an aircraft manufacturer. He is most famous for the fighter aircraft he produced in Germany during the First World War such as the Eindecker monoplanes, the Fokker Triplane the and the Fokker D.VII, but after the collapse of...

 modified the design with two additional engines to enter the inaugural Ford Reliability Tour
Ford National Reliability Air Tour
The Ford Reliability Tour, properly called "The National Air Tour for the Edsel B. Ford Reliability Trophy", was a series of Aerial Tours sponsored in part by Ford from 1925 to 1931 and re-created in 2003. Top prize was the Edsel Ford Reliability Trophy. Henry and Edsel Ford were shareholders in...

 in 1925, which it won. Consequently, the production versions F.VIIa/3m, F.VIIb/3m and F.10
Fokker F.10
|-See also:...

all had three engines, and the aircraft became popularly known as the Fokker Trimotor.

Operational history

The 8- to 12-passenger Fokker was the aircraft of choice for many early airlines, both in Europe and the Americas. Along with the similar Ford Trimotor
Ford Trimotor
The Ford Trimotor was an American three-engined transport plane that was first produced in 1925 by the companies of Henry Ford and that continued to be produced until June 7, 1933. Throughout its time in production, a total of 199 Ford Trimotors were produced...

, itself having an all-metal design based on the World War I aircraft designs of German engineer Hugo Junkers
Hugo Junkers
Hugo Junkers was an innovative German engineer, as his many patents in varied areas show...

, it dominated the American market in the late 1920s. However, the popularity of the Fokker quickly came to an end after the 1931 death of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 coach Knute Rockne
Knute Rockne
Knute Kenneth Rockne was an American football player and coach. He is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in college football history...

 in the crash of TWA Flight 599
TWA Flight 599
Transcontinental and Western Air Flight 599 was a Fokker F.10 Trimotor en route from Kansas City, Missouri, to Los Angeles, California, on March 31, 1931. It crashed a few miles north west of Bazaar, Kansas; all eight on board died...

, a Fokker F.10. The subsequent investigation, which revealed problems with the Fokker's plywood
Plywood is a type of manufactured timber made from thin sheets of wood veneer. It is one of the most widely used wood products. It is flexible, inexpensive, workable, re-usable, and can usually be locally manufactured...

A laminate is a material that can be constructed by uniting two or more layers of material together. The process of creating a laminate is lamination, which in common parlance refers to the placing of something between layers of plastic and gluing them with heat and/or pressure, usually with an...

 construction, resulted in the banning of the aircraft on commercial flights, and the rise of all-metal aircraft such as the Boeing 247
Boeing 247
The Boeing Model 247 was an early United States airliner, considered the first such aircraft to fully incorporate advances such as all-metal semi-monocoque construction, a fully cantilevered wing and retractable landing gear...

 and Douglas DC-2
Douglas DC-2
The Douglas DC-2 was a 14-seat, twin-engine airliner produced by the American company Douglas Aircraft Corporation starting in 1934. It competed with the Boeing 247...


Pioneers and explorers

The F.VII was used by many explorers and aviation pioneers, including:
  • Richard E. Byrd claimed to have flown over the North Pole
    North Pole
    The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is, subject to the caveats explained below, defined as the point in the northern hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface...

     in the Fokker F.VIIa/3m Josephine Ford on 9 May 1926, a few days before Roald Amundsen
    Roald Amundsen
    Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He led the first Antarctic expedition to reach the South Pole between 1910 and 1912 and he was the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. He is also known as the first to traverse the Northwest Passage....

     accomplished the feat in the airship
    An airship or dirigible is a type of aerostat or "lighter-than-air aircraft" that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers or other thrust mechanisms...

    Norge (airship)
    The Norge was a semi-rigid Italian-built airship that carried out what many consider the first verified overflight of the North Pole on May 12, 1926. It was also the first aircraft to fly over the polar ice cap between Europe and America...


  • Two lieutenants of the United States Army Air Corps
    United States Army Air Corps
    The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

    , Lester Maitland and Albert Hegenberger, made the first transpacific flight from the continental United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     to Hawaii
    Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

     (c. 2,400 mi/3,862 km) in the Atlantic-Fokker C-2 Bird of Paradise
    Bird of Paradise (aircraft)
    The Bird of Paradise was a military airplane used by the United States Army Air Corps in 1926-1927 to experiment with air navigation by the use of radio beacon aids. On June 28–29, 1927, the Bird of Paradise, crewed by 1st Lt. Lester J. Maitland and 1st Lt. Albert F...

    on 28-29 June 1927.

  • Also on 29 June 1927, Richard E. Byrd, Bernt Balchen
    Bernt Balchen
    Bernt Balchen, , a winner of the Distinguished Flying Cross was a Norwegian native, and later U.S. citizen, known as a pioneer polar aviator, navigator, aircraft mechanical engineer and military leader. His service in the U.S...

     and two others flew the first official transatlantic
    Transatlantic flight
    Transatlantic flight is the flight of an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean. A transatlantic flight may proceed east-to-west, originating in Europe or Africa and terminating in North America or South America, or it may go in the reverse direction, west-to-east...

    Airmail is mail that is transported by aircraft. It typically arrives more quickly than surface mail, and usually costs more to send...

     in the civilian-owned C-2 America (NX206), crash-landing off the coast of France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     on 1 July.

  • Lieutenant Colonel
    Lieutenant colonel
    Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

     'Dan' Minchin
    Frederick F. Minchin
    Frederick Frank Reilly Minchin CBE DSO MC was born in Madras on 16 June 1890 and was educated at Eastbourne College. He passed out of Sandhurst in 1909 and after 2 years resigned his commission to train as a civilian pilot at the recently formed Eastbourne Aviation Company. In 1913 he obtained his...

    , Captain Leslie Hamilton and Princess Loewenstein-Wertheim
    Princess Anne of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg
    Princess Anne of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg was an English socialite and aviation patron and enthusiast. Anne was both the first woman to attempt and perish in a transatlantic airplane flight...

     attempted on 31 August 1927 to become the first aviators to cross the Atlantic from east to west using a Fokker F.VIIa named the St. Raphael. Their fate remains unknown.

  • James DeWitt Hill
    James DeWitt Hill
    James DeWitt Hill was an early US air mail pilot, who died while attempting one of the first transatlantic flights, with Lloyd W. Bertaud in a Fokker F.VIIA monoplane named Old Glory.-Early life and education:...

     and Lloyd W. Bertaud
    Lloyd W. Bertaud
    Lloyd W. Bertaud was an American aviator. Bertaud was selected to be the copilot in the WB-2 Columbia attempting the transatlantic crossing for the Orteig Prize in 1927. Aircraft owner Charles Levine wanted to fly in his place, and a injunction by Bertaud against Levine prevented the flight...

     made a failed attempt to fly from New York to Rome in F.VIIa Old Glory when they and the aircraft were lost in the North Atlantic 7 September 1927.

  • Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's F.VIIb/3m Southern Cross
    Southern Cross (aircraft)
    Southern Cross is the name of the Fokker F.VIIb/3m trimotor monoplane which in 1928 was flown by Australian aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew in the first ever trans-Pacific flight, from the mainland United States to Australia, about ....

    was the first aircraft to cross the Pacific
    Pacific Ocean
    The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

     from the United States to Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     in June 1928, and the first to cross the Tasman Sea
    Tasman Sea
    The Tasman Sea is the large body of water between Australia and New Zealand, approximately across. It extends 2,800 km from north to south. It is a south-western segment of the South Pacific Ocean. The sea was named after the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman, the first recorded European...

    , flying from Australia to New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

     and back in September of that year.

  • Amelia Earhart
    Amelia Earhart
    Amelia Mary Earhart was a noted American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first woman to receive the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for becoming the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean...

     became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic on 17 June 1928, as a passenger aboard the Fokker F.VIIb/3m Friendship.

  • A group of U. S. Army Air Corps
    United States Army Air Corps
    The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

     flyers, led by then-Major
    Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

     Carl Spaatz, set an endurance record of over 150 hours with the Question Mark, a Fokker C-2A over Los Angeles on 1 to 7 January 1929. The purpose of this mission was to set a flight endurance record using aerial refueling
    Aerial refueling
    Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....



F.VII: Single-engined transport aircraft, powered by a 360 hp (268.5 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle piston engine, accommodation for two crew and six passengers; five built.
F.VIIa (F.VIIa/1m): Single-engined transport aircraft, slightly larger than F.VII with new undercarriage and wing. Flown on 12 March 1925. First aircraft had 420 hp V-12 Packard Liberty engine but remaining 39 F.VIIa had mostly radial Bristol Jupiter or Pratt Whitney Wasp engines.
F.VIIa/3m: Version with two additional underwing engines, flown on 4 September 1925. The first two aircraft were identical to the F.VIIa. From the third aircraft, the fuselage was 31 in (80 cm) longer and was powered by with 200 hp (149 kW) Wright J-4 Whirlwind radial engines. Probably only 18 were built while many F.VIIas were upgraded to the F.VIIa/3m standard.
First two Fokker F.VIIAs were converted into three-engined transport aircraft.
F.VIIb/3m: Main production version with greater span; 154 built including built under licence.
F.9: American built version of the Fokker F.VIIB-3m; built by the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation in the United States.
Fokker F.10
Fokker F.10
|-See also:...

: Enlarged version of the Fokker F.VII airliner, able to carry up to 12 passengers; built by the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation in the United States.
C-2: Military transport version of the Fokker F.9, powered by three 220 hp (164 kW) Wright J-5 radial piston engines, accommodation for two pilots and 10 passengers; three built in 1926 for the US Army Air Corps.
C-2A: Military transport version for the US Army Air Corps, with greater wingspan, powered by three 220 hp (164 kW) Wright J-5 radial piston engines, accommodation for two pilots and 10 passengers; eight built in 1928.
XC-7: One C-2A fitted with three 330 hp (246 kW) Wright J-6-9 radial piston engines. Redesignated C-7 when four C-2A examples were similarly reconfigured.
C-7: Military transport conversion of C-2A for the US Army Air Corps by re-engining with 300 hp (220 kW) Wright R-975 engines. XC-7 prototype and four C-2As redesignated in 1931.
C-7A: Six new production C-7 (Wright R-975) aircraft with larger wings, new vertical fin design, and fuselages patterned after the commercial F.10A
Fokker F.10
|-See also:...

XLB-2: Experimental light bomber version of the C-7, powered by three 410 hp (306 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1380 radial piston engines; one built.
TA-1: Military transport version of the US Navy and Marine Corps; three built.
TA-2: Military transport version for the US Navy; three built.
TA-3: Military transport version for the US Navy, powered by three Wright J-6 radial piston engines; one built.
RA-1: Redesignation of the TA-1.
RA-2: Redesignation of the TA-2.
RA-3: Redesignation of the TA-3.

Licenced copies

  • SABCA, 29 aircraft built.
  • Avia
    Avia is a Czech aircraft and automotive company notable for producing biplane fighter aircraft, especially the B-534, and trucks.- History :...

    , 18 aircraft built.
  • Three aircraft built in Italy as the IMAM Ro.10.
  • Plage i Laśkiewicz
    Plage i Laskiewicz
    Plage i Laśkiewicz was the first Polish aerospace manufacturer, located in Lublin and manufacturing aircraft under Lublin name. Full name was: Zakłady Mechaniczne E. Plage i T. Laśkiewicz - Mechanical Works E. Plage & T. Laśkiewicz...

    . Between 1929 and 1930 11 passenger and 20 domestically developed (by Jerzy Rudlicki
    Jerzy Rudlicki
    Rudlicki Jerzy was a Polish aerospace engineer who invented and in 1930 patented the V-tail configuration for aircraft combining the ailerons and elevators in one system. He both worked in the World War I and World War II on aircraft...

    ) bomber aircraft.
  • Three aircraft built in Spain.
  • Avro
    Avro was a British aircraft manufacturer, with numerous landmark designs such as the Avro 504 trainer in the First World War, the Avro Lancaster, one of the pre-eminent bombers of the Second World War, and the delta wing Avro Vulcan, a stalwart of the Cold War.-Early history:One of the world's...

    , 14 aircraft known as Avro 618 Ten
    Avro 618 Ten
    -See also:-References:* Priest, Joan Virtue in Flying. 1975 Angus & Robertson ISBN 0207132305-External links:* —Image collection of Ed Coates...

  • Atlantic Aircraft Corporation

Civilian operators

    SABENA was the national airline of Belgium from 1923 to 2001, with its base at Brussels National Airport. After its bankruptcy in 2001, the newly formed SN Brussels Airlines took over part of SABENA's assets in February 2002, which then became Brussels Airlines...

     operated 28 aircraft.

  • Det Danske Luftfartselskab
    Det Danske Luftfartselskab
    Det Danske Luftfartselskab A/S, or DDL, was Denmark's flag carrier airline since 1918, and is the oldest airline still in existence...

    operated three F.VIIa aircraft.

    CFRNA , later CIDNA CFRNA ("The French-Romanian Company for Air Transport"; Compagnie franco-roumaine de navigation aérienne in French; Compania franceză - română pentru navigaţia aeriană in Romanian), later CIDNA CFRNA ("The French-Romanian Company for Air Transport"; Compagnie franco-roumaine de...

     operated seven F.VIIa aircraft.
  • STAR
    A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

     operated one F.VIIa aircraft.

  • Malert
    Malert was a Hungarian airline, founded on November 19, 1922. The airline folded in 1944, and was a fore-runner of MALÉV Hungarian Airlines....

     operated two F.VIIa aircraft.

  • KLM received all five F.VII aircraft and 15 F.VIIas.

  • Aero
    Aero (Polish airline)
    The Society of Air Transportation Aero SA was a Polish airline founded in Poznań in February 1925 by the members of the Association of Polish Pilots and based entirely on the Polish seed capital. It operated until 1928 and on 1 January 1929 it was incorporated into the newly founded Polish flag...

     operated six F.VIIa aircraft for a short period in 1928. Since 1 January 1929, all aircraft were handed over to PLL LOT airline.
  • Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT
    LOT Polish Airlines
    Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT S.A. , trading as LOT Polish Airlines, is the flag carrier of Poland. Based in Warsaw, LOT was established in 1929, making it one of the world's oldest airlines still in operation. Using a fleet of 55 aircraft, LOT operates a complex network to 60 destinations in Europe,...

     operated six F.VIIas and 13 F.VIIb/3ms between 1929 and 1939.

  • Aero Portuguesa
    Aero Portuguesa
    The Aero Portuguesa was the first airline of Portugal with regular international services....

     operated one F.VIIb-3m aircraft.

  • Ad Astra Aero
    Ad Astra Aero
    Ad Astra Aero was a Swiss airline.-Time of the pioneers:Initiated by Oskar Bider and Fritz Rihner, in July 1919 the «Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Lufttourismus» was established in Zürich...

     at least one F.VIIb-3m
  • Swissair
    Swissair AG was the former national airline of Switzerland.It was formed from a merger between Balair and Ad Astra Aero , in 1931...

     operated one F.VIIa and eight F.VIIb-3m aircraft.

 United States
  • American Airways, which later became American Airlines
    American Airlines
    American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

  • TWA
    The Twa are any of several hunting peoples of Africa who live interdependently with agricultural Bantu populations, and generally hold a socially subordinate position: They provide the farming population with game in exchange for agricultural products....

  • Pan Am operated F.VIIb/3ms aircraft.

Military operators

  • Belgian Air Force
    Belgian Air Force
    The Air Component, formerly the Belgian Air Force, is the air arm of the Belgian Armed Forces. Originally founded in 1909, it is one of the world's first air forces, and was a pioneer in aerial combat during the First World War...

 Independent State of Croatia
  • Zrakoplovstvo Nezavisne Države Hrvatske
    Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia
    The Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia, the Zrakoplovstvo Nezavisne Države Hrvatske was the national air force of the Independent State of Croatia during World War II, founded under German authority in April 1941...

  • Czechoslovak Air Force
    Czechoslovak Air Force
    The Czechoslovak Air Force was the air force branch of the military of Czechoslovakia. It was known as the Czechoslovak Army Air Force from 1918–1939...

  • Finnish Air Force
    Finnish Air Force
    The Finnish Air Force is one of the branches of the Finnish Defence Forces. Its peacetime tasks are airspace surveillance, identification flights, and production of readiness formations for wartime conditions...

     operated one F.VIIa.

  • Royal Netherlands Air Force
    Royal Netherlands Air Force
    The Royal Netherlands Air Force , Dutch Koninklijke Luchtmacht , is the military aviation branch of the Netherlands Armed Forces. Its ancestor, the Luchtvaartafdeling of the Dutch Army was founded on 1 July 1913, with four pilots...

     received three bomber F.VIIa/3m aircraft.

  • Polish Air Force
    Polish Air Force
    The Polish Air Force is the military Air Force wing of the Polish Armed Forces. Until July 2004 it was officially known as Wojska Lotnicze i Obrony Powietrznej...

     operated 21 F.VIIb/3m (20 of them were licence-built) aircraft as bombers and transports between 1929 and 1939.
    • 1 Pułk Lotniczy
      • 211 Eskadra Bombowa
      • 212 Eskadra Bombowa
      • 213 Eskadra Bombowa

  • Spanish Republican Air Force
    Spanish Republican Air Force
    The Spanish Republican Air Force, , was the air arm of the Second Spanish Republic, the legally established government of Spain between 1931 and 1939...

    , operated seven aircraft.

 United States
  • United States Army Air Corps
    United States Army Air Corps
    The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

     designations include Atlantic-Fokker C-2, C-5 and C-7.
  • United States Navy
    United States Navy
    The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

     and United States Marine Corps
    United States Marine Corps
    The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

    , originally designated TA then RA

 Kingdom of Yugoslavia
  • Yugoslav Royal Air Force
    Yugoslav Royal Air Force
    The Yugoslav Royal Air Force was formed in 1918 in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and existed until Yugoslavia's surrender to the Axis powers in 1941 following the Invasion of Yugoslavia during World War II....

Fokker F.VIIb/3m; Atlantic-Fokker C-2A

See also

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