International Resin Modellers Association ©SM®TM
Zane R Nobbs
820 North Johnson Street
Bay City, MI 48708
Fokker F.26 Phantom
Boxart by Zane R Nobbs
Perhaps one of the most intriguing designs of the 1940s, the Fokker F.26 Phantom was the first jet design of the Fokker Aviation Company and the first jetliner design for the world. It has also been chosen to be IRMA Kit No. 7 Fokker F.26 Phantom!
Fokker F.26 Phantom, illustration by Thijs Postma
Relying on its excellent reputiation for producing the most advanced fighter planes for Germany during the First World War, including the Fokker E.1, the famous Fokker Dr.1 for the Red Baron, the Fokker D.VII, specifically requested in the Armistice by the Allies, and other airplanes, the company returned to the Netherlands in 1918 when hostilities were concluded. There Anton "Anthony" Herman Gerard Fokker had begun his career with his Fokker Spin prior to the war. Post-war Fokker produced aircraft for the Netherlands, Soviet Union, Germany and others. Fokker aircraft ended up fighting the Luftwaffe with the outbreak of the Second World War with the German invasion of the Netherlands.
Replica of Fokker Dr.1 of Baron Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, the Red Baron, Imperial War Musuem photograph
Originally the Fokker Aviation Company, via Fokker Director Ir. P. J. C. Vos, planned the Phantom in conjunction the the Dutch aviation transportation company KLM-Royal Aviation Company (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V.); the Dutch National Institute for Aviation Development (Nationaal Instituut voor Vliegtuigontwikkeling N.V.I.) and the Dutch government.
Photographs provided by Fokker Heritage Trust & F.27 Friendship Association
Construction Chief Ir. M. Beeling was in charge of the Fokker F.26 Phantom project and his team completed two scale models initially for exhibition and wind tunnel testing. This was the catalyst for construction of the Phantom.
Fokker F.26 in flight, Fokker Aviation Company illustration
The F.26 was considered an advanced design, especially in consideration of what the Germans had done to the Fokker factory from reducing its role in avaition to destroying or removing all of its production equipment to Germany during the war. Having lost their founder, Anthony Fokker in 1939 to meningitus in the U.S.A., the Fokker Company forged ahead to regain air routes, contracts and production lost during the war.
Anthony Fokker piloting the Spin, 1911, Nationaal Archief photo
Indeed, the Fokker F.26 was presented at the 1946 Paris Air Show in November utilizing British Rolls-Royce jet engines. Unfortunately jet powered airliners were considered too futuristic by many of the world’s airlines and transport companies so no offers resulted at that time. Fokker later claimed that the F.26 was merely a conceptual design, however, developments would appear to prove otherwise.
Fokker F.26 Phantom at Paris Air Show, November, 1946, original photograph property of IRMA
At the behest of Dr. Albert Plesman, head of KLM, Fokker initiated a project in cooperation with the British DeHavilland Aircraft Company to produce a jetliner between the two nations. Dr. Plesman felt this would distribute the costs more economically since he didn’t feel Fokker could achieve such a project on its own, even with government subsidies.
Fokker F.26 Phantom display model, photograph provided by Mr. Bob Dros of BEL-AIR MODELS
The end result was that after joint research the British took all of the data and used it for their own DeHavilland D.H. 106 Comet which would fly in 1949 as the world’s first built jetliner. Later the British would experience this same scenario when they contributed data from their own Miles M.52 with America and the U.S.A. took the data for use on the Bell X-1.
DeHavilland DH-106 Comet prototype, Imperial War Museum photograph
In appearance the Fokker F.26 Phantom was strikingly unique in that the engine placement was beneath the fuselage for the two Rolls-Royce RB.41 Nene centrifuge engines. The aircraft was also an all metal design with accomodations for 17 passengers with a crew of 3. Seating was arranged for two rows on the starboard side with a single row on the port side. At the rear of the aircraft were further accomodations for two cargo bays and a restroom.
Fokker Aviation Company illustration of F.26
Although the F.26 did not enter production beyond some component parts manufacture, wind-tunnel research and market testing did help with development of the British DeHavilland D.H. 106 Comet, the Avro Canada C-102 Jetliner and also with the new Fokker F.27 Friendship of a few years later. The Friendship was powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines located in the more traditional positions on the wings.
Fokker F.27 Friendship prototype in flight, Fokker Aviation Company photograph
In the end the Fokker F.26 Phantom not only demonstrated the perseverance and tenacity of the Fokker Aircraft Corporation, but also the spirit of the Netherlands in rising from the ashes of the Second World War to continue on in the new post-war era with an attitude of optimism and determination in meeting new challenges. Indeed, Fokker was successful with the Fokker S.14, the world’s first specifically designed and produced jet trainer!
Fokker S.14 MachTrainer, photo by Arjen Mulder
In contributing to the research and construction of the master for this model, IRMA would like to extend our deepest appreciation to Mr. Bob Dros of BEL-AIR MODELS without whom this kit would not be possible. In historical research IRMA extends appreciation to Mr. Jan F Homma of the Fokker Heritage Trust & F.27 Friendship Association, especially in identifying the Construction Chief and for the photographs.
Illustration from SPiRU 13 JANVIER 1949, page 13 (Note: Cabin entry door is on wrong side.)
Wingspan: 59’ 9" (18.2 m)
Length: 50’ 6" (15.4 m)
Height: 19’ 6" (5.9 m)
Weight: 25,353 lbs (11,500 kg)
Maximum Speed: 500 mph (433 kph)
Range: 621 miles (1,000 km)
Thrust: 5,000 lbs (22.24 kN) per engine
Engine: 2x Rolls-Royce RB.41 centrifuge turbojets
Crew: 3, with accomodations for 17 passengers
- Zane R Nobbs, © Copyright, IRMA 2013
Fokker Aviation Company technical document
References for this article:
Fokker: Aircraft Builders to the World, by Thijs Postma, Jane’s Publishing Company, 1980
Fokker: Bouwer aan de Wereldluchtvaart, by This Postma, Fokker-VFW b.v., Schipol/Unieboek, b.v., Bussum, 1979
Fokker Commerical Aircraft: From the F.1 of 1918 Up to the Fokker 100 of Today, by René de Leeuw, N.V. Koninklijke Nederlandse Vliegtuigenfabreik Fokker, 1994
Fokker Verkeersvliegtuigen: Van de F.1 uit 1918 tot en Met de Fokker 100 Van Nu, by René de Leeuw, N.V. Koninklijke Nederlandse Vliegtuigenfabreik Fokker, 1989
La Premier Avion Commercial Hollandais a REACTION Voicile FOKKER "Phantom," SPiROU 13 JANVIER 1949
"From the Continent: The Fokker F.26 Phantom," The Aeroplane, May 2, 1947
"Fokker To-Day," Flight, December 9, 1948
Fokker: A Transatlantic Biography, by Marc Dierikx, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997
Fokker-The Man and the Aircraft, by Henri Hegener, Harleyford Publications, 1961
"An Ambitious Project" Dutch Aviation, by Paul van Weezepoel, www.Dutch-Aviation.nl, 2013
Dutch Military Aviation 1945-1978, by Paul A Jackson, Midland Counties Publications, 1978
Koolhoven: Nederlands Vliegtigbouwer in de Schaduw van Fokker, by Theo Wesselink, Thijs Postma, Unieboek bv, Bussum, 1981
World Encyclopedia of Civil Aircraft, by Enzo Angelucci, Crown Publishers, Inc., 1982
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Box Art by Zane R Nobbs
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International Resin Modellers Association ©SM®TM
Zane R Nobbs
820 North Johnson Street
Bay City, MI 48708