Focke-Achgelis Fa 269 VTOL / Tiltrotor Fighter Concept
The Focke-Achgelis Fa 269 VTOL aircraft was a pure wartime concept intended as a point defense fighter for Germany - it came to nothing.
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Focke-Achgelis was founded prior to World War 2 in 1937 and marked a partnership between Heinrich Focke and Gerd Achgelis. Prior to this, the duo teamed to produce the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 helicopter of which two were built and found success as technology demonstrators. The new joint venture ultimately realized the Fa 223 "Drache" ("Dragon") helicopter of 1941 and some twenty of this twin-rotor system were produced for Luftwaffe service in the Grand War. That same year, Focke-Achgelis was approached to conduct a design study for a point defense fighter to serve the Luftwaffe while incorporating helicopter elements to fulfill a "Vertical Take-Off and Landing" (VTOL) quality.
The VTOL aircraft concept had intrigued aviation engineers and warplanners alike for some time due to their need for little-to-no runway space. The new design would incorporate the vertical capabilities of a helicopter with the forward performance of a frontline fighter that would come as nasty shock to Allied fighters and bombers encroaching on German airspace. Focke-Acheglis designers returned with a unique take on the VTOL concept using a tilt-rotor arrangement. A rather-traditional fuselage was used with heavy glazing at the cockpit and the nose for good vision. A fixed, mid-wing monoplane planform would be used to control the wing-mounted main rotor units. At the rear would be a highly traditional, single-finned tail unit.
The key quality of the aircraft - designated as "Fa 269" - was its wing-mounted, three-bladed propeller units that sat on "variable-pitch" stems. When landing or taking off, these units would be turned downward. When moving into the forward-flight phase, these units would take their usual place ahead of the wing leading edge. To provide the needed clearance for the down-turned rotors, landing gear legs of considerable length would be needed - these giving the Fa 269 a rather cumbersome appearance when on the ground or hovering. The legs were, however, made retractable into the design to promote better aerodynamics for the forward-flight envelope. Physical design specifications included an overall length of 29.2 feet with a wingspan of 32.8 feet. Proposed armament was 2 x 30mm Mk 108 cannons.
Power would come from a single BMW 801 series air-cooled, radial piston engine buried within the aft section of the fuselage. This engine was already being fitted to several German warplanes of the conflict and outputted between 1,550 and 2,000 horsepower. Nearly 30,000 units were made during the war. One of the best-known applications of the BMW 801 became the classic Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter. Because of the BMW engine's placement aft of the cockpit, drive shafts were be employed to connect the engine to the wing-mounted rotors with gearboxes used to managed each system. An estimated maximum speed of 355 miles per hour was reported.
In any event, the Fa 269 never got "off the ground". Work was commencing rather well when the development facility was directly hit by Allied bombs during a raid. Reportedly, a full-size mockup was completed as were some of the drive components while much data had already been collected to prove some of the concepts sound. This major setback proved a catastrophic and insurmountable delay leading to the product's formal cancellation in 1944.