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Focke Wulf FW-61

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        Primary Function:
        Rotor Diameter:
        Weight Empty:
        Max. Weight:
        Cruise Speed:
        Max. Speed:
        Climb Rate:
        First Flight:
108 hp
23 ft. 11 in.
8 ft. 8 in.
23 ft. each
1,760 lbs.
2,100 lbs
62 mph
76 mph
720 fpm
7,900 feet
143 miles

Focke Wulf FW-61
Focke Wulf FW-61

The Focke Wulf FW-61 was the first fully controllable helicopter in the world. It had an airframe that was based on a training aircraft. It was powered by a 108 hp motor in the nose of the aircraft.

The propeller cooled the engine as well as directed air to the bottom of the rotor blades. The twin rotor blades of the Focke Wulf FW-61 received their power from the engine through a series of gear boxes and friction clutches. Cables attached to the rotor actuators and rudder from the aircraft cockpit controls to allow for precise steering.

The Focke Wulf FW-61 had an automatic auto rotation feature that engaged upon engine failure to allow for controlled emergency landings.

In a demonstration on July 4, 1937, Hanna Reitsch, piloting the helicopter, achieved an altitude of nearly 8,000 feet and a speed of 76 mph. The flight lasted 80 minutes and covered some 50 miles.

After witnessing the success of the flight, the German Ministry of Aviation was ready to start production. The manufacturer refused, wanting to concentrate on the development of transportation helicopters. Therefore only one Focke Wulf FW-61 was produced.

Focke Wulf FW-61
Focke Wulf FW-61 - side

Focke Wulf FW-61
Focke Wulf FW-61 - Hargrove.

Considering that the Focke Wulf FW-61 has a propeller in the nose, it may make a good autogyro with the blades on top just freewheeling, rather than a radio control helicopter.

Pictured above is a Focke Wulf FW-61 seen in Hargrove - The Pioneers - Aviation and Aeromodeling. Unfortunately, no specifications or details are given.

The next two pictures are of the Focke Wulf FW-61 autogyro scratch built by Eric Clark. It uses two 20" diameter rotors for lift. Powering it is a HI Max 2808-0980 motor in the nose turning a 9 x 6 propeller. Including the battery, the weight is only 12 oz.

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Focke Wulf FW-61
Focke Wulf FW-61 - Clark

Focke Wulf FW-61
Focke Wulf FW-61 - takeoff