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Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri (Hummingbird)

Single-Seat Scout Helicopter

Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri (Hummingbird)

Single-Seat Scout Helicopter


The Flettner Fl 282 became the first helicopter in history to be used in a military role - this by the German Kriegsmarine in 1942.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Nazi Germany
YEAR: 1942
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Anton Flettner, Flugzeugbau GmbH - Germany
OPERATORS: Nazi Germany

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri (Hummingbird) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 21.82 feet (6.65 meters)
WIDTH: 39.24 feet (11.96 meters)
HEIGHT: 7.22 feet (2.2 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 1,676 pounds (760 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 2,205 pounds (1,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Bramo Sh 14A 7-cylinder radial piston engine delivering 160 horsepower.
SPEED (MAX): 93 miles-per-hour (150 kilometers-per-hour; 81 knots)
RANGE: 106 miles (170 kilometers; 92 nautical miles)
CEILING: 10,827 feet (3,300 meters; 2.05 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 26 feet-per-minute (8 meters-per-minute)


Series Model Variants
• Fl 282 V1 - Prototype
• Fl 282 V2 - Prototype
• Fl 282 V3 - Prototype
• Fl 282 V4 - Prototype
• Fl 282 V5 - Prototype
• Fl 282 V6 - Prototype
• Fl 282 V7 - Prototype
• Fl 282A-1 - Naval Reconnaissance Platform for launch from surface warships.
• Fl 282A-2 - Naval Reconnaissance Platform for launch from submarines.
• Fl 282B-1 - Twin-Seat land-based reconnaissance model for mission liaison duties.
• FL 282B-2 - Twin-Seat land-based reconnaissance model for mission liaison duties.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri (Hummingbird) Single-Seat Scout Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 11/18/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The helicopter, as a viable war weapon, was not the sole historical domain of the Vietnam War - nor the Korean War before it for that matter - for, indeed, the concept of Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) flight was on the minds of engineers for thousands of years. The Germans saw a use for such versatile machines during World War 2 (1939-1945) where its Navy could rely on hovering platforms launched from ships to scan "over-the-horizon" and spot enemy submarines. Additionally, these systems could assist as artillery spotters for cruisers and battleships, radioing careful corrections to gunners. One of the notable contributors to the German helicopter realm in the war became Anton Flettner and his Fl 265 and Fl 282 single-seat creations. The Fl 265 appeared across six examples beginning in 1939 while the Fl 282 "Kolibri" ("Hummingbird") followed in 1942 with 24 of the type produced for both the German Navy and Luftwaffe (Air Force).

The Fl 282 was provided as a follow-up, if improved, version of the limited-run Fl 265 prior. Flettner was also responsible for several autogyro designs leading up to World War 2 during the tumultuous 1930s, the Fl 184 and Fl 185 prototypes being some examples. The earlier Fl 265 was, itself, also more or less a prototype offering while the Fl 282 became more of a refined end-product for practical military usage. The Fl 282 shared the same "intermeshing" rotor design as in the preceding Fl 265, this arrangement involving two individual rotor blades crossing one another, without touching, while rotating in opposite directions and on individual masts to achieve the desired vertical lift. The Fl 282 was also given an all-new engine in the Bramo Sh.14A, a 7-cylinder, air-cooled radial piston engine outputting at 160 horsepower.

In its basic form, the Fl 282 essentially appeared as a design built around its engine housing. The housing was centralized and made up much of the fuselage proper. At the front, in an open-air cockpit, was the pilot with an instrument panel before him and control stick between the knees. The rotors were seated atop shallow masts on top of the fuselage. A basic tail unit was added aft of the fuselage bulk to which a vertical tail assembly and horizontal planes were affixed. The undercarriage of the vehicle was fixed in place and involved a pair of single-wheeled main legs at the side of the fuselage with a single-wheeled nose leg under the cockpit floor. Rather utilitarian by modern standards, it nonetheless helped to shape the form of helicopter designs to follow. The construction of the fuselage involved steel tubing throughout with a fabric covering skin on non-critical surfaces.

Flight testing of the Fl 282 began in 1941 and eventually involved two flyable prototypes. Interestingly, these two prototypes were given enclosed cockpits while follow-up units were to feature the well-photographed open-air design described earlier. It was the German Navy, once again, that saw the value inherent in the Flettner helicopter and ordered a batch of fifteen for evaluation from its surface ships. Prototypes were designated Fl 282 V1 through V7 and followed by the Fl 282A-1 single-seat reconnaissance version for launching/retrieval from German warships. The Fl 282B-2 designation delineated submarine-launched, single-seat reconnaissance Fl 282s. The Fl 282B-2 was a unique sub-variant of the main B-model line and incorporated a second seat placement, this at the rear of the frame, for an observer in the scout, reconnaissance or mission liaison role.

The helicopters certainly provided considerable tactical value for the time - not requiring runway space to land on/take-off from and featuring relatively low-maintenance engines. Additionally, the platforms offered availability during overcast days and were not prone to the influences caused by inclement weather as experienced by fixed-wing aircraft. The Luftwaffe was granted a production order for some 1,000 Fl 282 units sometime in 1944, these to be manufactured by the storied concern of BMW for the sheer numbers required of the German war effort - having now turned into a defensive war. In 1945, the Luftwaffe went on to establish a dedicated reconnaissance wing through Transportstaffel 40 (TS/40) which was to stock several Fl 282 helicopters and based out of the Muhldorf District of Bavaria.

The Fl 282s in service soldiered on into the final weeks of the war. However, the intended (and rather ambitious) 1,000-strong fleet never materialized for the Allied bombing campaign put an end to the BMW facility operating out of Munich. Anton Flettner eventually went to work for the American firm of Kaman in the post-war years, allowing the company to deliver several well-known light helicopters utilizing the intermeshing rotor arrangement (the valuable multirole "K-MAX" line is one such modern example). It is noteworthy that the Germans also made limited-scale use of another helicopter during the war - the unrelated Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 of 1941 - of which twenty were produced. These were also assigned to TS/40 before the war's end.

Examples of Fl 282 aircraft were captured by both the Americans and Soviets in the Allied advance on Germany where they were rigorously evaluated in the post-war years.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (93mph).

Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri (Hummingbird)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (24)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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