Focke Wulf Fw61
(Many thanks to Dr. Oliver Schnaedelbach for translation.)

Prof. Heinrich Focke and engineer Gerd Achgelis started the design for this helicopter in 1932. One year after its maiden flight in 1936 the Fa61 won the world records for duration (1h21min), ceiling (3427m or 11423ft) and average speed (123 km/h or 76.4 mph), beating comparable constructions by a wide margin. The craft was already equipped with a emergency rescue system that allowed the pilot in case of an engine failure to switch the rotor to idle, enabling him to sail down to earth. To demonstrate the safety of the design, the famous aviatrix Hanna Reitsch demonstrated the Fa61 in an indoor flying show in the "Deutschlandhalle" in Berlin in 1938. 

The Fa61‘s fuselage and engine were practically identical to the well-known training aircraft Fw44 „Stieglitz“. The small prop in front of the engine was exclusively used for cooling purposes, whereas speed and direction were controlled by rotor tilt.


Technical Data:

     7-cylinder rotary engine with 160hp
Max. Speed:
     120 km/h (75mph)
     230 km (143 miles)
Empty weight:
     800kg (1760lb)
     150kg (330lb)
Rotor Diameter:
     7m (23ft)
     7.3m (24ft)
     2.65m (9ft)