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Anthony Fokker


Pioneer Dutch

Aircraft Designer

Born Kediri Java

April 6, 1890—December 23, 1939

Herman Gerard Fokker was born the son of a Dutch tea planter in Kediri Java, he returned to Holland with his family in 1894. It was not by technical education but by native genius and inventiveness, that Fokker gained the title of "The Flying Dutchman" By age 20 he had produced what was believed to be the fastest, most stable aircraft in the world.

When World War I commenced, Anthony Fokker was already a successful aircraft designer-producer. The war heightened his prominence. Although the records were destroyed in World War II, it is known that he produced more than sixty distinct aircraft designs during this period. The great German aces of the war - Voss, Immelmann, Boelke, and Richtoffen - achieved their outstanding records with the help of the "Fokker." Accomplishments including the E series, the D-VII, which was probably the best fighter of the war and the DR-1 tri-plane made famous by the Red Baron. He developed the machine gun synchronizer in just 48 hours after being given the assignment.

One of the ingredients vital to his success was the fact that he constantly kept the pilot in mind. He personally flew and tested his own designs and continued this philosophy throughout his life. He sought out the advice of the men on the flight line and brought into his team the best engineers he could find.

In the postwar years Anthony Fokker emigrated to the U.S. and continued his work in the design and production of transport aircraft. It was his famous tri-motor aircraft on which airlines of the World were based in the late 1920's. It was these rugged, high performance ships of the air that the great air explorers made famous: the U.S. Air Corp's Fokker T-2 which made the first nonstop transcontinental flight from New York to San Diego, Byrd's Fokkers which flew over the Poles, the great endurance flight of the Question Mark, and Kingsford Smith's Southern Cross.

Invested 1970 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984

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Updated: March 12, 2004