|Fw 58 Weihe|
|Role||Trainer, Transport, Air Ambulance|
|Number built||1350 aircraft|
The Focke-Wulf Fw 58 Weihe ("Harrier") was a German aircraft, built to fill a request of the Luftwaffe for a multi-role aircraft to be used as advanced trainer for pilots, gunners and radio operators.
Design and development
The Fw 58 is a low-wing monoplane with two piston engines mounted in nacelles on the wing leading edges. The crew sat in an enclosed canopy. Aft of the flight deck, the fuselage is open to form a moveable machine gun station. The tailwheel undercarriage is retractable.
The Fw 58 was widely used for training Luftwaffe personnel. It was also used as VIP transport, ambulance, feeder airliner, photo reconnaissance, and weather research aircraft. It was built under license in Bulgaria and Brazil. It was also operated by several countries such as the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Croatia and Turkey.
- Fw 58 V1
- First prototype.
- Fw 58 V2
- Second protoype.
- Fw 58 V3
- Third prototype.
- Fw 58 V4
- Fourth prototype.
- Fw 58B
- Fw 58B-1
- Fw 58B-2
- This version had a glazed nose, and was armed with a 7.92 mm (0.312 in) MG 15 machine gun.
- Fw 58C
- Fw 58W
- Twin-floatplane version.
- Argentine Air Force (1938-1952)
- Independent State of Croatia
- Royal Norwegian Air Force (Postwar)
The only Fw 58 on display is at Museu Aeroespacial in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil used this airplane mainly for maritime patrols and the example on display was one of the 25 Fw 58B-2 units license-built in Brazil by Fábrica de Galeão circa 1941.
A Fw58 C-2 is currently under restoration at the Norwegian Aviation Museum in Bodø - http://www.luftfart.museum.no/Utstillinger/Focke%20Wulf.htm
A FW 58 crashed in 1943 in the Lac du Bourget (France) after a low-flying training pass over the lake went wrong, Two of the Four airmen were rescued by local fishermen (The local German command even freed four "terrorists" - local people jailed for suspected Resistance activities - as a goodwill gesture towards the local population) .
The wreck is currently accessible to advanced divers with "tech diving " equipment as it lies at a depth of over 110 M, Video footage of the wreck was shown on various European TV channels . Due to the dark and cold water it is fairly well peresrved after 70 years, though the canvas over tube frame light structure is gradually deteriorating. Plans were made about rising the wreck but local divers are strongly against it because of the ethical aspects (War grave) and risks of badly damaging the wreck with inadequate rising techniques (cutting the aircraft in parts with ROV's before raising it.)
Specifications (Fw 58)
- Crew: 4
- Length: 14 m (45ft 11 in)
- Wingspan: 21 m (68 ft 10 in)
- Height: 4.3 m (14 ft 1 in)
- Wing area: 47 m² (506 ft²)
- Empty weight: 1,900 kg (4,200 lb)
- Loaded weight: 2,810 kg (6,200 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Argus As 10 air-cooled inverted V8 piston engines, 180 kW (240 hp) each
- Maximum speed: 256 km/h (159 mph)
- Range: 676 km (420 mi)
- Wing loading: 59.8 kg/m² (12.3 lb/ft²)
- List of aircraft of World War II
- List of World War II military aircraft of Germany
- List of military aircraft of Germany
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