Focke-Wulf Triebflügel-a wacky design that never took-off

The Focke-Wulf Triebflügel, also known as Triebflügeljäger, was a German aircraft idea created in 1944, during the last stages of World War II, to defend against the escalating Allied bombing raids on central Germany.

A VTOL from the twentieth century?

In an effort to devastate German industry and bring the German war machine to its knees, the Allies developed massive bombing raids. Despite not being outclassed, the Luftwaffe was severely understaffed, making the need for new ways to safeguard the skies over Germany critical.

The Modelling News

It was created as a type of “tailsitter” interceptor aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing for the defence of important factories or locations without airfields or just with a small area for takeoff.

Design and specs

The design was especially unique. It had no wings, and a rotor/propeller arrangement that extended a third of the way down the craft’s side generated all of the lift and propulsion.


The rotors would have operated like a helicopter when the plane was vertically positioned on its tail.  They would act more like a huge propeller when flying horizontally.

The rotors would be tilted to provide lift when taking off, much like a helicopter. The pilot would tilt the plane into level flight once it achieved a suitable altitude. At the highest forward speed of the aircraft, the rotors kept spinning at 220 revolutions per minute as they flew level.

WINGSPAN11.5 m (38 ft 0 in)
POWERPLANT(s)3 × Pabst ramjets, 8.9 kN (2,000 lbf) thrust each
3 × Walter liquid fuel rockets
2 × standard German Walter 109-501 RATO units , 14.71 kN (3,306 lbf) thrust each
MAXIMUM SPEED 1,000 km/h
GUNS2 × 30 mm MK-103 each with 100 rounds + 2 × 20 mm MG-151 each with 250 rounds

Four tailplanes made up the cruciform empennage at the back of the fuselage. These tailplanes included moveable ailerons that could have served as both rudders and elevators. The tailplane would have given the pilot a way to regulate flight in pitch, roll, and yaw in addition to preventing the fuselage from rotating in the same direction as the rotor due to friction from the rotor ring.

The aircraft had to reduce its speed and tilt its fuselage until it was vertical in order to land. The pilot’s seat on this aircraft was fixed in the direction of forward flight, unlike certain other tailsitters. Rear view would likewise be obstructed by the rotating object.

Among VTOL craft from the 20th century and other German concept craft, this design was exceptional. The Rotary Rocket Roton spacecraft, however, had a free-spinning rotor with tip-driven rotors generating lift in certain early concept studies from the 1990s.

After the war, the U.S. obtained the aircraft’s blueprints and briefly tested the design before abandoning it. Since then, no other aircraft designers have tried a concept like this, and it is unlikely that anything like it will ever be seen again.

The Focke-Wulf Triebflügel may very well be qualified for the title of the wackiest airplane ever created.

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