Focke-Wulf Designer & Test Pilot

Signed by Dr Kurt Tank


    KURT TANK – Konstructeur und Testpilot bei Focke-Wulf

    The rare signature of the Focke-Wulf Designer & Test Pilot
    under his frontispiece photograph

    Kurt Tank

    Bernard & Graefe Verlag, first edition 1980.  272 pages and well illustrated with photographs. The original German language first edition which was later published in English by Schiffer in 1999.

    Fine condition hardback book in bright blue covers with silver gilt titles.  Clean, tight and bright. The unclipped dustjacket is also in Fine condition. There is a German previous owner name neatly written on the grey front end paper.

    Dr Kurt Tank (1898-1983). A decorated WWI cavalry captain, Kurt Tank retrained as an aeronautical engineer and test pilot who led the design department at Focke-Wulf from 1931 to 1945. He was responsible for the creation of several important Luftwaffe aircraft of World War II, including the Fw 190 fighter aircraft, the Ta 152 fighter-interceptor and the Fw 200 Condor airliner.

    In 1936 Tank designed the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor to a Deutsche Lufthansa specification. The first flight was in July 1937 after just under one year of development with Tank at the controls. The Condor made a famous non-stop flight from Berlin to New York City in 1938, proving the concept of transatlantic air travel. The Condor would later be used as a maritime patrol bomber aircraft during the war.

    The Fw 190 first flew in 1939 and was produced from 1941 to 1945. It was a mainstay Luftwaffe single-seat fighter during World War II, and Tank’s most-produced (over 20,000) and famous design and led to the Ta 152, a potent development of the Fw 190 design.

    After the war, Tank spent two decades designing aircraft abroad, working first in Argentina and then in India, before returning to Germany in the late 1960s to work as a consultant for Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm.  He died in Munich in 1983.

    This volume, the second in a multi-volume history of German aviation, discusses the life work of one of Germany’s greatest aircraft designers in pictures, tables, drawings and in his own words discussing flight testing of his airplanes. Examined are the birth of Focke-Wulf’s airplanes, the ideas and thinking which formed the foundation of Tank’s designs, his masterpieces in the areas of long-range and high-speed flight as well as flight test results.

    The reader experiences the metamorphosis of an aircraft design from the first pencil line on the drawing board to the screaming, nearly supersonic dives during its evaluation phase. Tank would only entrust to civilian pilots, military flyers and the captains of the Lufthansa fleet those designs whose superior flying characteristics, stability, and flawless stall handling he had been able to experience first hand. A mixture of technical history, flight testing and previously unpublished data enable the reader to catch a fascinating glimpse of the aircraft built during the 1930s and 1940s, not to mention the outstanding designs Tank worked on in other countries following the war. All of the classic Focke-Wulf aircraft are to be found: the well-known Fw 200, Fw 190, Ta 152, and Ta 154, as well as the lesser known Fw 57, Fw 187, Fw 189 and others.

    In German language, this is an authentic and exceptionally rare signed aviation book as Tank’s scarce signature is usually only to be found on Rossbach first day covers and the occasional signed photo.