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Fokker Design & Development to 1919
Fokker Design & Development to 1919
By Michael Tate
Published by CjBobrow
1 August 2016
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Average N/A%
Fokker Design & Development to 1919

Fokker Design & Development to 1919
By Michael Tate
Self Published, Lulu Press, Michael Tate BSc, 2016
$36.77 Pp.332,
9” x 6”, Hardbound
170 Photographs, Appendices, Reference-Bibliography
Language: English

The Fokker story has been told, retold and reinterpreted ever since the very first, 1931, book “Flying Dutchman.” This new work looks at that story through the lens of an engineer. The author, applying his professional engineering background, has sought to make sense of the convoluted history and technological developments surrounding Fokker’s aircraft from the time of his first efforts to those culminating at the war’s end.

This is not a biography, though there is an element of biographic narrative within; how could there not be with such a dynamic individual of Anthony Fokker central to the story. The strength of Tate’s work is moving beyond the man and taking a detailed look at the development and design of aircraft credited to Fokker. Make no mistake, these designs were a team effort with some well-known names appearing throughout the narrative. Who they were and what they did in the context of the design development is intriguing; not surprisingly some well-known pilots left their mark on Fokker’s concepts. This makes sense for a multiplicity of reasons; Fokker was a pilot first and foremost, he understood and knew that courting them for their knowledge and influence would help his designs as well as enable him to gain insights into his competitors’ aircraft.

The development of Fokker aircraft, from intuitive wing designs to those scrutinized for their essential engineering and aerodynamic qualities, is the subject of Tate’s work. The author successfully takes the reader on a ride through the background history of aerofoil design and implementation by the Fokker team. The combination of cantilever and “thick wing” is one of the most intriguing aspects of story. The engineering forensics carried out by Tate in this book probably comes as close to a reasonable explanation as any of how and why the process came into existence the way it did.

The book is divided into 12 chapters; one look and the reader quickly perceives the approach of the author in defining the structure with an engineer’s eye. Such chapter topics as Airframes, Engines, Cantilever Wing, Aerofoil & Aerodynamic exemplify the approach. Tate has devoted chapters to Failures and to Reinhold Platz as well as Fokker Works Personnel, all of which make for a qualitative effort in uncovering the Fokker story. The book is decently illustrated though it is on matte paper; most importantly incorporated is Tate’s wing form illustrations, which contribute to the body of knowledge on WWI aerodynamic development as has the book in itself.

Carl J. Bobrow
Museum Specialist, National Air and Space Museum

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