Fokker is a company that has been building airplanes for over 85 years.
It was founded in 1910 by Dutch
aircraft pioneer Anthony Fokker
construction of his first airplane, called the "Spin
After the initial tests of the plane over the city of Haarlem
moved to Johannestal
, to dedicate himself to aircraft
construction and flight instruction. A major breakthrough for the company
was the order of 10 airplanes by the German army, followed by an
additional order of 114 planes of a new model, the M.5
The early airplanes did not have much military power. However, in
1915, Fokker invented a system to synchronize the machine gun with the
airplane propeller, and this invention "propelled" the use of
airplanes for military purposes immensely. Right before World War I,
Fokker built about 3000 airplanes in 4 years time. Designs were
continuously improved upon, and this led to the development of
triplanes. Famous pilots like Manfred von Richthofen a.k.a. "The
Red Baron" flew this type of airplane.
At the end of World War I, Fokker was aware that airplane sales
would drop, and that his factory would probably be dismantled by the
allies. Therefore, plans were made to move the factory back to Anthony's
home country, The Netherlands (that remained neutral in WWI). The
company was restarted under the name NV Nederlandse Vlieguigenfabriek.
An important customer from its beginning would be the Royal Dutch
Airlines, KLM which was founded in 1919. Fokker constructed several
highly successful passenger airplanes, such as the F.32. Fokker would
also obtain the license to build Douglas airplanes such as the DC-2
and DC-3 for the European market.
The Netherlands were occupied during World War II, and the
factory was forced to repair broken German planes. The company workers
would deliberately sabotage operations, to slow down the German war
machine. After the war, Fokker again focused on building passenger
aircrafts, such as the successful F.27 Friendship, and the F.28
Fellowship; Fokker's first airplane with jet engines.
Recession hit Fokker in the 1960's. The company had several
technologically advanced designs, such as the Fokker 50 and the
Fokker 100. The initial number of orders for these planes was high,
but Fokker could not deliver in time due to several manufacturing
problems. The Dutch government stepped in financially to rescue the
company, but sales remained low. A German aerospace conglomerate, DASA
took over the struggling company, but was unable to rescue the
enterprise. The company went bankrupt on March 15, 1996. It was the end
to a Dutch company that created great history over a short time.