The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor was a German all-metal four-engine monoplane that entered service as an airliner. Later versions for the Luftwaffe were used as long-range reconnaissance and anti-shipping bomber aircraft as well as transport planes for troops and VIPs.
Design and development
The Fw 200 was built to a Lufthansa specification with Wilhelm Bansemir as project director. It first flew in July 1937 after just under one year of development with Kurt Tank at the controls. The aircraft was a simple development of an earlier commercial airliner. It was an all-metal, four-engined monoplane capable of carrying 25 passengers up to 3,000 km (1,860 mi).
To adapt it for wartime service, hardpoints were added to the wings for bombs, the fuselage was strengthened and extended to create more space, and front, aft and dorsal gun positions were added. (Their extra weight meant that a number of early Fw 200 broke up on landing, a problem that was never entirely fixed.) Later models were equipped with radar.
The Fw 200 was the first heavier-than-air craft to fly nonstop between Berlin and New York City, making the journey on 10 August 1938 in 24 hours and 56 minutes. The return trip on 13 August 1938 took 19 hours and 47 minutes. These flights are commemorated with a plaque in the Böttcherstraße street of Bremen.
A Danish Fw 200 aircraft named Dania was seized by the British on English soil after Denmark was invaded by German forces in 1940. It was operated by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and was later pressed into service with the Royal Air Force. It was damaged beyond repair in 1941.
The Japanese Navy requested a military version of the Fw 200 for search and patrol duties, so Tank designed the Fw 200 V10 with military equipment. This Fw 200 was held in Germany because war had broken out in Europe by that time. This aircraft became the basis for all later military models used by the Luftwaffe.
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