Focke, Henrich born in Bremen, on 08-10-1890, the son of Senate Syndicus Johann Focke (1848-1922) and his wife Louise born. Stamer. His father is the founder of the Focke Museum in Bremen. His achievements in mathematics were moderate at the elementary school as well as at the humanistic grammar school.In 1914 he volunteered as a war volunteer, but was initially withdrawn because of heart disease. Only in the fall of 1914 he was obliged to serve in the 75th Infantry Regiment. Already in the spring of 1915 he was transferred to the flying squad with the support of a friend. He studied in Hanover, where he became friends with Georg Wulf
in 1911. In 1914, he and Georg Wulf both reported for military service and Focke was deferred due to heart problems, but was eventually drafted into an infantry regiment. After serving on the Eastern front, he was transferred to the Imperial German Army Air Service. Georg Wulf’s passion for flying cost him his life as he crashed during a test flight on 29-09-1927, age 32 in Bremen.. Focke graduated in 1920 as Dipl-Ing (MS) with distinction. His first job was with the Francke Company of Bremen as a designer of water-gas systems. At the same time he continued his aeronautical experimentation, he and Wulf building the new A VII around the engine from the A VI.
In 1923, with Wulf and Dr. Werner Naumann , Focke co-founded Focke-Wulf-Flugzeugbau GmbH
. Nauman later was State Secretary in Joseph Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Wulf died in an accident in 1927 in the F19 “Ente” canard monoplane
In 1930 Focke was offered a chair at the Danzig Institute of Technology, an honour which he declined. In 1931 the city of Bremen awarded him the title of Professor. Together with The same year, Focke-Wulf was merged with the Albatros Flugzeugwerke company. Focke-Wulf constructed Juan de la Clerva’s C.19 and C.30 autogyros under license from 1933, and Focke was inspired by it to design the world’s first practical helicopter, the Focke Wulf Fw 61, which first flew on 26-06-1936 by Hanna Reitsch in the Deutschland Hall Stadium in the 1930s.
In 1936 Focke was ousted from the Focke-Wulf company by shareholder pressure. Though the ostensible reason was that he was considered “politically unreliable” by the Nazi regime there is reason to believe it was so that Focke-Wulf’s manufacturing capacity could be used to produce Bf 109 aircraft
. The company was taken over by Aeg, but soon after this the Air Ministry, which had been impressed by the Fw 61 helicopter, suggested that Focke establish a new company dedicated to helicopter development and issued him with a requirement for an improved design capable of carrying a 700 kg (1.500 lb) payload.
Focke established the Focke-Achgelis company on 27-04-1937 in partnership with pilot Gerd Achgelis , and began development work at Delmenhorst in 1938. Gerd Achgelis died old age 82 on 18-05-1991 in Hude. The new company built the experimental FA 225 using the fuselage of a DFS 230 glider and a rotor from a Fa 223. Another project was the Fa 330 kite with rotor, capable of being deployed by a submarine at a moments notice and then used as a towed spotter. It was stored in a watertight container on the deck of the U-boat and was used during the war. A powered version of the kite would have been the Fa 336 which was in the design phase when the war ended and built in France postwar for testing.
Focke subsequently manufactured the heavy-lift transport helicopter Fa 223, and designed the Fa 224,Fa 266, Fa 269, Fa 283, Fa 384, and the Fa 336 during World War II. Only a few of the large Fa 223 Drache (“Dragon”) helicopters actually were produced, but even the prototype set a new helicopter speed record of 182 km/h (113 mph) and climb record of 8.8 m/s (1.732 ft/min) in 1940. Subsequent war models were primarily used as mountain troop transport, rescue, and crashed aircraft recovery. The helicopter had provision for a nose-mounted machine gun, and could carry one or two bombs, but the Drache was never used for combat.
Towards the end of the Third Reich Focke started design work on the Focke Rochen, also known as Schnellflugzeug. On 01-09-1945, Focke signed a contract with the French company SNCASE and assisted in development of their SE-3000 passenger helicopter , which was based on the Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 “Drache” and which first flew in 1948. In 1950, he worked as a designer with the North German Automobile Company (Norddeutsche Fahrzeugwerke) of Wilhelmshaven.
In 1952, Focke and other members of his former design team were employed by Brazil’s Centro Técnico Aeroespacial (CTA), at the time the air force’s technical center, to develop a Convertiplane, the “Convertiplano”, which drew heavily on Focke’s wartime work on the Fa 269. Also recruited was Bussmann, a transmission specialist formerly of BMW. The Convertiplano was built using the fuselage and wings of a Supermarine Spitfire Mk 15, which was believed to be one delivered to Argentina as a sales example. Britain refused to supply the Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba engine originally selected and the design was altered to accept a mid-mounted 2200 hp Wright engine instead as used in the Lockheed Constellation, which necessitated a redesign of the transmission due to the increase in weight and vibration. Some 40 workers and US$8 million were devoted to the project, and more than 300 takeoffs were achieved.
Focke returned permanently to Germany in 1956 and began developing a three-seater helicopter named the “Kolibri” (“hummingbird”) at the Borgward company in Bremen, with its first flight taking place in 1958. While working at Borgward Focke set up a wind tunnel in a disused hangar in central Bremen; this wind tunnel was rediscovered in 1997 and is today the centerpiece of a museum devoted to him.
After Borgward collapsed in 1961, Focke became a consulting engineer with Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke of Bremen and Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Luft-und Raumfahrt. Focke was awarded the Ludwig-Prandtl-Ring from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft und Raumfahrt (German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics) for “outstanding contribution in the field of aerospace engineering” in 1961.
Death and burial ground of Focke, Henrich.
Henrich Focke died highly honored and awards in Bremen on 25-02- 1979, old age 88 and is buried, with his wife Louise and son Eberhard, on the Riensberger cemetery. Daniel Ion Vlad from Romania visited the grave side and kindly sent me the grave photo’s.