Fokker F.VII, also known as the
Fokker Trimotor, was an airliner
produced in the 1920s by the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker,
Fokker's American subsidiary
Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, and other
companies under licence.
1 Design and development
2 Operational history
2.1 Pioneers and explorers
3.1 Licensed copies
4.1 Civilian operators
4.2 Military operators
5 Accidents and incidents
Fokker F.VIIb/3m; Atlantic-
7 See also
Design and development
The F.VII was designed as a single-engined transport aircraft by
Walter Rethel. Five examples of this model were built for the Dutch
airline KLM. One of these planes, registered H-NACC, was used in 1924
for the first flight from the
Netherlands to the Dutch East Indies. In
1925, while living in the US, Anthony
Fokker heard of the inaugural
Ford Reliability Tour, which was proposed as a competition for
Fokker had the company's head designer, Reinhold
Platz, convert a single-engined F.VII A airliner (a 1924 Walter Rethel
design) to a trimotor configuration, powered by 200 hp Wright
Whirlwind radial engines. The resulting aircraft was designated the
Fokker F.VII A/3M. Following shipment to the US, it won the Ford
Reliability Tour in late 1925. The Trimotor's structure consisted of a
fabric-covered steel-tube fuselage and a plywood-skinned wooden
Fokker F.VII B/3M had a slightly increased wing area over the
A/3M, with power increased to 220 hp per engine, while the F.10
was slightly enlarged, carrying 12 passengers in an enclosed cabin.
The aircraft became popularly known as the
The eight- to 12-passenger
Fokker was the aircraft of choice for many
early airlines, both in Europe and the Americas and it dominated the
American market in the late 1920s. However, the popularity of the
Fokker quickly waned after the 1931 crash of a Transcontinental &
Fokker F-10, which resulted in the death of Notre Dame
football coach Knute Rockne. The investigation revealed problems with
the Fokker's plywood-laminate construction, resulted a temporary ban
from commercial flights, more stringent maintenance requirements, and
a shift to all-metal aircraft such as the similar
Ford Trimotor and
Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2.
Pioneers and explorers
The F.VII was used by many explorers and aviation pioneers, including:
Richard E. Byrd
Richard E. Byrd claimed to have flown over the
North Pole in the
Fokker F.VIIa/3m Josephine Ford on 9 May 1926, a few days before Roald
Amundsen accomplished the feat in the airship Norge.
Two lieutenants of the
United States Army Air Corps, Lester Maitland
and Albert Hegenberger, made the first transpacific flight from the
United States to
Hawaii (c. 2,400 mi/3,862 km)
in the Atlantic-
Fokker C-2 Bird of Paradise on 28–29 June 1927.
Also on 29 June 1927, Richard E. Byrd,
Bernt Balchen and two others
flew the first official transatlantic airmail in the civilian-owned
C-2 America (NX206), crash-landing off the coast of
France on 1
Lieutenant Colonel 'Dan' Minchin, Captain
Leslie Hamilton and Princess
Anne of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg attempted on 31 August 1927
to become the first aviators to cross the Atlantic from east to west
Fokker F.VIIa named the St. Raphael. Their fate remains
James DeWitt Hill
James DeWitt Hill and
Lloyd W. Bertaud
Lloyd W. Bertaud made a failed attempt to fly
from New York to
Rome in F.VIIa Old Glory when they and the aircraft
were lost in the
North Atlantic 7 September 1927.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's F.VIIb/3m Southern Cross was the first
aircraft to cross the Pacific from the
United States to
June 1928, and the first to cross the Tasman Sea, flying from
New Zealand and back in September of that year.
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic on 17
June 1928, as a passenger aboard the
Fokker F.VIIb/3m Friendship.
A group of U. S. Army Air Corps flyers, led by then-
Major Carl Spaatz,
set an endurance record of over 150 hours with the Question Mark, a
Fokker C-2A over Los Angeles on 1 to 7 January 1929. The purpose of
this mission was to set a flight endurance record using aerial
Single-engined transport aircraft, powered by a 360 hp
Rolls-Royce Eagle piston engine, accommodation for two
crew and six passengers; five built.
Single-engined transport aircraft, slightly larger than F.VII with new
undercarriage and wing. Flown on 12 March 1925. First aircraft had
420 hp (310 kW) V-12 Packard Liberty engine but remaining 39
F.VIIa had mostly radial
Bristol Jupiter or Pratt & Whitney Wasp
Version with two additional underwing engines, flown on 4 September
1925. The first two aircraft were identical to the F.VIIa. From the
third aircraft, the fuselage was 31 in (80 cm) longer and
was powered by 200 hp (149 kW)
Wright J-4 Whirlwind
Wright J-4 Whirlwind radial
engines. Probably only 18 were built while many F.VIIa were upgraded
to the F.VIIa/3m standard.
Fokker F.VIIa were converted into three-engined transport
Main production version with greater span; 154 built including built
American built version of the
Fokker F.VIIBb/3m; built by the Atlantic
Aircraft Corporation in the United States.
Enlarged version of the
Fokker F.VII airliner, able to carry up to 12
passengers; built by the
Atlantic Aircraft Corporation in the United
Military transport version of the
Fokker F.9, powered by three
220 hp (164 kW) Wright J-5 radial piston engines,
accommodation for two pilots and ten passengers; three built in 1926
for the US Army Air Corps.
Military transport version for the US Army Air Corps, with greater
wingspan, powered by three 220 hp (164 kW) Wright J-5 radial
piston engines, accommodation for two pilots and ten passengers; eight
built in 1928.
One C-2A fitted with three 330 hp (246 kW) Wright J-6-9
radial piston engines. Redesignated C-7 when four C-2A examples were
Military transport conversion of C-2A for the US Army Air Corps by
re-engining with 300 hp (220 kW) Wright R-975 engines. XC-7
prototype and four C-2As redesignated in 1931.
Six new production C-7 (Wright R-975) aircraft with larger wings, new
vertical fin design, and fuselages patterned after the commercial
Experimental light bomber version of the C-7, powered by three
410 hp (306 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1380 radial piston
engines; one built.
Military transport version of the US Navy and Marine Corps; three
Military transport version for the US Navy; three built.
Military transport version for the US Navy, powered by three Wright
J-6 radial piston engines; one built.
Redesignation of the TA-1.
Redesignation of the TA-2.
Redesignation of the TA-3.
SABCA, 29 aircraft built.
Avia, 18 aircraft built.
Three aircraft built in
Italy as the
IMAM Ro.10, powered by 3x215hp
Alfa Romeo Lynx engines. 3 built for operation by Avio Linee Italiane
and Ala Littoria.
Plage i Laśkiewicz. Between 1929 and 1930 11 passenger and 20
domestically developed (by Jerzy Rudlicki) bomber aircraft.
Three aircraft built in Spain.
Avro, 14 aircraft known as
Avro 618 Ten.
Atlantic Aircraft Corporation
SABENA operated 28 aircraft.
Det Danske Luftfartselskab
Det Danske Luftfartselskab operated three F.VIIa aircraft.
CIDNA operated seven F.VIIa aircraft.
STAR operated one F.VIIa aircraft.
Avio Linee Italiane
Malert operated two F.VIIa aircraft.
KLM received all five F.VII aircraft and 15 F.VIIas.
Aero operated six F.VIIa aircraft for a short period in 1928. Since 1
January 1929, all aircraft were handed over to PLL LOT airline.
Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT operated six F.VIIas and 13 F.VIIb/3ms
between 1929 and 1939.
Aero Portuguesa operated one F.VIIb-3m aircraft.
Ad Astra Aero
Ad Astra Aero at least one F.VIIb-3m
Swissair operated one F.VIIa and eight F.VIIb-3m aircraft.
American Airways, which later became American Airlines.
Pan Am operated F.VIIb/3ms aircraft.
Belgian Air Force
Independent State of Croatia
Zrakoplovstvo Nezavisne Države Hrvatske
Czechoslovak Air Force
Finnish Air Force
Finnish Air Force operated one F.VIIa.
French Air Force
French Air Force - 5 F.VIIa/3m and 2 F.VII/3m aircraft, impressed into
military service in 1939/1940.
Kingdom of Hungary
Royal Hungarian Air Force
Netherlands Air Force received three bomber F.VIIa/3m aircraft.
Polish Air Force
Polish Air Force operated 21 F.VIIb/3m (20 of them were licence-built)
aircraft as bombers and transports between 1929 and 1939.
1 Pułk Lotniczy
211 Eskadra Bombowa
212 Eskadra Bombowa
213 Eskadra Bombowa
Spanish Republican Air Force, operated four aircraft in the squadron
of the Sahara and other two in Madrid.
United States Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Corps designations include Atlantic-
C-5 and C-7.
United States Navy and
United States Marine Corps, originally
designated TA then RA
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Yugoslav Royal Air Force
Accidents and incidents
On June 21, 1926, a
KLM F.VII (H-NACL) force-landed at Seabrook Beach,
Sandgate near Hythe, Kent, due to fuel exhaustion caused by pilot
error; all five on board survived, but the aircraft was written off.
On July 9, 1926, a
KLM F.VII (H-NACC) struck ground in fog at
Wolvertem, Belgium, killing both pilots.
At 9:44pm on 31 August 1927 the oil tanker SS Josiah Macy reported the
last known sighting of the F.VIIa St. Raphael on a trans-atlantic
attempt from Upavon, England to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, piloted by
Leslie Hamilton and Frederick F. Minchin, with Princess Anne of
Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg as passenger.
On 7 September 1927, Old Glory disappeared with
Lloyd W. Bertaud
Lloyd W. Bertaud and
J. D. Hill at the controls of an attempted transatlantic flight from
Old Orchard Beach,
Maine to Rome, Italy. The flight's last known
location was in the North Atlantic, 960 km East of Cape Race,
On September 17, 1927, a Reynolds Airways F.VII (C776) crashed at
Dunellen, New Jersey due to loss of control following engine failure,
killing seven of 12 on board. The aircraft was formerly operated by
KLM and had been imported to the United States.
On July 4, 1928,
Alfred Lowenstein disappeared during a flight over
English Channel in unknown circumstances.
On August 15, 1928, a
Pan Am F.VIIa/3m (NC53, General Machado) ditched
in the Gulf of Mexico off Egmont Key, Florida.
On September 11, 1930, a
Sabena F.VII (OO-AIN) crashed on climbout
Croydon Airport due to an in-flight fire, killing both pilots.
On December 6, 1931, a
KLM F.VIIb/3m (PH-AFO) crashed at
failing to take off, killing five of seven on board.
On April 3, 1940, a BOAC
Avro 618 Ten (G-AASP, Hercules) crashed on
takeoff from Cairo; there were no casualties, but the aircraft was
On May 10, 1940, a
KLM F.VII (PH-ACJ) was destroyed on the ground at
Schiphol Airport by the Luftwaffe during the German invasion of the
Fokker F.VIIb/3m; Atlantic-
Data from 
Capacity: 8 passengers
Length: 47 ft 11 in (14.60 m)
Wingspan: 71 ft 2 in (21.70 m)
Height: 12 ft 8 in (3.90 m)
Empty weight: 6,725 lb (3,050 kg)
Loaded weight: 11,570 lb (5,200 kg)
Powerplant: 3 ×
Wright J-5 Whirlwind
Wright J-5 Whirlwind radial engines, 220 hp (164 kW)
Cruise speed: 92 kn (170 km/h)
Alfred Loewenstein, a Belgian financier who fell mysteriously to his
death from his private
Avro 618 Ten
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
List of aircraft of World War II
List of aircraft of the Finnish Air Force
List of military aircraft of the United States
List of military aircraft of the
United States (naval)
List of civil aircraft
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
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Aircraft produced by Fokker
Aircraft produced by OFM, Romeo and IMAM
United States military transport aircraft designations, Army/Air Force
and Tri-Service systems
Army/Air Force sequence
Revived original sequence
1 Not assigned
See also: AC-47 • AC-119 • AC-130 • DC-130
• EC-130 • HC-130 • KC-130 •
LC-130 • MC-130 • WC-130 • CT-39 •
United States Navy/USMC transport designations pre-1931
No other designations were assigned in this sequence
USN/USMC transport designations 1931–1962
to "V" (see below, at "Lockheed")
from "O" (see above, at "Lockheed")
1 Not assigned
2 Assigned to a different manufacturer's type
3 Sequence restarted
4 Assigned to a different