1/18 scale Flettner Fl-282 V21 Kolibri scratchbuild model
After request, a 1/18 scale Fl-282 V6 helicopter with WWII Kriegsmarine markings built for a wealthy collector from Kiel, Germany. A second Luftwaffe’s Fl-282 V21 model followed for my own personal collection at home. Since the whole project cost (CAD design, 3D printing & model building) was entirely funded by the client, I did not hesitate to use the best available materials & machines to do the job. The text follows, is to describe the Flettner Fl-282 Kolibri ("B-0" series) helicopter as manufactured by Anton Flettner Flugzeugbau GmbH on early 1940ies, used by Kriegsmarine & Luftwaffe during WWII and scratch built by me as a 1/18 scale model, now days.
Anton Flettner was a German aviation engineer & inventor who made important contributions on airplane & helicopter design. During the WWI, Anton Flettner developed remote control & pilotless aircraft projects, which culminated in the prototype Siemens Schuckert Werke 1000 kg wire guided air to surface missile of 1918. Following WWI, he directed aeronautical & hydrodynamic research institute in Amsterdam and during the WWII, he headed the Anton Flettner Flugzeugbau GmbH, which specialized in helicopters. It is believed that the firm was founded in Berlin in 1935. By this time, however, Flettner had developed the idea of counter-rotating, intermeshing twin rotors. Many of his advisers thought that the airflow disturbed by the intermeshing blades would make this system less efficient than one using a single rotor; but Flettner believed that any problems thus encountered would be more than offset by the reduced drag resulting from having no external rotor-carrying structure. His pioneer work is often overshadowed by the more publicised activities of his contemporaries Heinrich Karl Johann Focke and Igor Sikorsky; yet Flettner's helicopter, was far superior to the Henrich Focke's FW-61 and made a successful free flight several months before Igor Sikorsky's VS-300 began tethered flights.
Following pictures taken at Pfaffenwiesbach a district of the municipality Wehrheim, Germany. This artistic wall painting cultural monument, created by the local municipal council in memory of Anton Flettner who was the village teacher in Pfaffenwiesbach from 1906 to 1909.
Although Anton Flettner built his helicopters for the German military, his wife Lydia Freudenberg Flettner was Jewish. Because of his personal friendship relationship with head of Gestapo, Heinrich Himmler, Anton Flettner's Jewish wife and their family safely moved to Sweden for the duration of World War II. Anton Flettner's partner and confidant was Dr. Kurt Hohenemser, a brilliant and thorough engineer who developed the details necessary for the helicopter's success. Dr. Hohenemser's father was also Jewish, yet the pair remained unharmed during their tenure together throughout the War as they worked to develop the helicopter for military use. While the final product could be factory assembled, Anton Flettner and his partner Dr. Kurt Hohenemser insisted that they were the only ones who were capable of assembling the complex intermeshing rotor gearbox assembly. However, plans for 1000 helicopters mass production were made, the project was disrupted by the destruction of the designated factory by Allied bombing.
In following pictures, Anton Flettner is proudly posing in front of his Fl-282s fleet at Schweidnitz (today Świdnica, Poland), on October 1944. The first helicopter is a V14 registered as CJ-SH.
Upon the WWII conclusion, Anton Flettner was held in the "Dustbin" interrogation camp at Kransberg castle. After 1945, Flettner, along with many other aviation pioneers, was brought to the United States as part of Operation Paperclip. He started Flettner Aircraft Corporation, which developed helicopters for the US military. His company was not commercially successful, but his work was shared with the Army Air Corps. Many of his designs, such as intermeshing rotor concept, saw widespread use in a series of postwar helicopters built by Kaman for the US Navy and USAF. Anton Flettner moved to the United States in 1947 to work as a consultant to the Office of Naval research and became the chief designer of Kaman Aircraft, creating the Kaman HH-43 Huskie, a concept with intermeshing rotors. He died at age 76 in New York City, USA on December 29th, 1961 and buried in Eddersheim cemetery at Frankfurt, Germany where he was born. In following photograph, Anton Flettner (2nd from left) meets Wernher von Braun (3rd from left).