The German Focke-Wulf Fw-190 was one of the
most aesthetically attractive and functionally successful aircraft to
emerge from World War II. Designed by Dipl. Ing. Kurt Tank, technical director of the Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau in autumn of 1937, it was flown for the first time on June 1st, 1939 by chief Focke-Wulf test pilot Hans Sander. With a bulky air-cooled BMW 139 radial engine, slim airframe, and armed with two 7.9mm MG 17 and two 13mm MG 131 machine guns, the Focke-Wulf's
appearance at the fighting front ushered in a period of heavy losses
and high-level alarm in the Royal Air Force.
The Fw-190A1 first saw combat over the English
Channel in September 1941. Superior in many respects to
contemporary British equipment, the Fw-190A1 forced a loss/victory ratio of at least 2/1 on Fighter
Command Spitfire V's in the first few months of its operational career. The new fighter was a shock to the RAF,
being faster and more agile than the Spitfire. Known as the 'Butcher
Bird', the Fw-190 went on to become a dominant force in aerial combat in
Europe, performing with equal distinction as a fighter and as the
Luftwaffe's most important ground attack machine.
In 1989, a Focke-Wulf Fw190A1 replica was donated to the FCGA. It was built from original plans by the late Barry Westman who test flew the aircraft in 1986. At an altitude of 200 feet, the Lycoming engine vapor locked, causing Westman to make an emergency landing. The impact collapsed the landing gear and damaged the propeller. Shortly after, Barry became ill, and passed away before he could find a solution to the overheated fuel pump issue. His wife, Theresa Westman, donated the aircraft to the First Composite Group Association knowing her late husband's dream of the only flying Fw190 German fighter in existence would be fulfilled. Click on the image for the restoration project by FCGA members.
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