Fokker is a company that has been building airplanes for over 85 years. It was founded in 1910 by Dutch aircraft pioneer Anthony Fokker after the construction of his first airplane, called the "Spin" (Spider). After the initial tests of the plane over the city of Haarlem, Fokker moved to Johannestal-Germany, 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.


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