Focke-Wulf Fw 58
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|Fw 58 Weihe|
|Role||Trainer, Transport, Air Ambulance|
|Number built||1350 aircraft|
The Focke-Wulf Fw 58 Weihe ("Harrier") was a German aircraft, built to fill a request by the Luftwaffe for a multi-role aircraft, to be used as an advanced trainer for pilots, gunners and radio operators.
Design and development
The Fw 58 was a low-wing monoplane with two piston engines mounted in nacelles on the wing leading edges. The crew sat under an enclosed canopy. Aft of the flight deck, the fuselage was open to form a moveable machine gun station. The tailwheel undercarriage was retractable.
The Fw 58 was widely used for training Luftwaffe personnel. It was also used as a VIP transport, ambulance, feeder airliner, photo reconnaissance, and weather research aircraft. It was built under license in Bulgaria, Hungary and Brazil. It was also operated by several countries such as the Netherlands, Romania, Croatia and Turkey.
- Fw 58 V1
- First prototype.
- Fw 58 V2
- Second prototype.
- Fw 58 V3
- Third prototype.
- Fw 58 V4
- Fourth prototype.
- Fw 58 V14
Fw 58 V14, D- OPDR, was fitted with Fowler flaps and boundary-layer suction for high-lift experiments at AVA, Göttingen. The suction system was powered by a Hirth aircraft engine in the fuselage and the air exited through two circumferential, parallel rows of slots in the rear fuselage section.
- Fw 58B
- Fw 58B-1
- Fw 58B-2
- This version had a glazed nose, and was armed with a 7.92 mm (0.312 in) MG 15 machine gun.
- Fw 58C
- Fw 58W
- Twin-floatplane version.
- Hungarian Air Force - license production
- Royal Norwegian Air Force (Postwar)
The only Fw 58 on display is at Museu Aeroespacial in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil used this airplane mainly for maritime patrols and the example on display was one of the 25 Fw 58B-2 units license-built in Brazil by Fábrica de Galeão, circa 1941.
An Fw 58 C crashed on 30 March 1943 in the Lac du Bourget, France, after a low-flying training pass over the lake went wrong. Two of the four airmen on board were rescued by local fishermen. The wreckage lies at a depth of over 110 meters. Due to the dark and cold water, it is still fairly well preserved, though the canvas over the tube frame light structure is gradually deteriorating. A proposal has been made to raise the wreckage, but local divers are strongly opposed because of its status as a war grave, and the risks of damaging it.
Specifications (Fw 58)
- Crew: four
- Length: 14 m (45ft 11 in)
- Wingspan: 21 m (68 ft 10 in)
- Height: 4.3 m (14 ft 1 in)
- Wing area: 47 m² (506 ft²)
- Empty weight: 1,900 kg (4,200 lb)
- Loaded weight: 2,810 kg (6,200 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Argus As 10 air-cooled inverted V8 piston engines, 180 kW (240 hp) each
- 2 × 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 15 machine guns
- List of aircraft of World War II
- List of World War II military aircraft of Germany
- List of military aircraft of Germany
Media related to Focke-Wulf Fw 58 at Wikimedia Commons