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      Focke-Achgelis Fa 330 Bachstelze (Wagtail) Rotary-Wing Autogyro Aircraft  

    Focke-Achgelis Fa 330 Bachstelze (Wagtail) Rotary-Wing Autogyro Aircraft

    About 200 of the Focke-Achgelis Fa 330 series autogyros were produced by Germany.

     Updated: 3/6/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    Focke-Achgelis of Germany developed several helicopter and helicopter-type products for its participation in World War 2 (1939-1945). The most notable of the lot became the Fa 223 "Drache" which served in the military helicopter transport role to which some twenty examples were produced. Another creation, the Fa 330, was developed along the lines of "autogyro" and intended for use as a maritime scouting platform for the German Navy. The system was a single-seat aircraft tethered to an accompanying U-boat submarine (serving as its "mothership"), requiring a crew of just two to operate optimally.

    By this time in aviation history, the Autogyro concept was a decades-old one, pioneered by Spaniard Juan de la Cierva through various developments of his own during the 1920s and 1930s. The autogyro did not carry a motor to drive its main rotor blades, instead relying on an unpowered rotation of these rotors to generate lift through natural means. Forward flight could be accomplished by installation of an engine coupled to a propeller unit or through simply towing the machine through the air by some other outside means. The key consideration for autogyros was in keeping a constant flow of air running through the rotor blades and thus forcing their rotation. The result was a relatively cheap and simple aircraft with few operational requirements.

    The concept was among several considered by the German Navy during World War 2 to expand Over-The-Horizon (OTH) vision, particularly for its submarine force that was largely confined to the surface of the water - scouting accomplished from the conning tower. Traditionally floatplane aircraft served in this role for surface warships but there lay a challenge in housing and operating such aircraft from space-strapped submarines. Hence the idea to pull-behind an unpowered aircraft to achieve better vision OTH was researched - resulting in the Focke-Achgelis Fa 330.

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    Focke-Achgelis Fa 330A Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1943
    Type: Rotary-Wing Autogyro Aircraft
    National Origin: Nazi Germany
    Manufacturer(s): Focke-Achgelis GmbH - Nazi Germany
    Production Total: 200

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 14.76 feet (4.5 meters)
    Width: 27.89 feet (8.50 meters)
    Height: 5.58 feet (1.70 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 55 lb (25 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 386 lb (175 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): None. Three-bladed main rotor used for autogyro effect.

    Maximum Speed: 50 mph (80 kph; 43 knots)
    Service Ceiling: 722 feet (220 meters; 0.14 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    Global Operators / Customers

    Nazi Germany

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    Fa 330 - Base Series Designation

    Fa 330A - Main production model; 200 examples produced for service on Type IX D2 U-boat submarines.