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Flight Plans Newsletter

Tip-to-Tail Tour: Focke Wulf Fw-190 D-13

Tip-to-Tail Tour: Focke Wulf Fw-190 D-13

Time: Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 11:00am - 12:00pm

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The Focke-Wulf Fw190 rates with the Spitfire, and the P-51 Mustang as one of the best fighters of World War II. In early 1942 RAF fighters first encountered the Focke-Wulf 190 in numbers, and it became evident that the formidable German fighter was overwhelmingly superior in performance to the then current variant of Spitfire. The design was the only successful new piston-fighter to be introduced by the German Air Force during the war. The Museum's Fw-190D represents the "second-generation" Fw-190 design which followed the Fw-190A into combat. The Fw-190D was a re-engined and re-engineered development of the widely-used Fw-190A, the first Fw-190 production model. The air-cooled radial engine of the A series was replaced by a Junkers Jumo inverted V-12 engine previously used only in German bomber aircraft. This also gave the design its characteristic "long-nose" look. Adding the heavier, liquid-cooled engine also required modifying the A-8 fuselage by adding an additional 18 inch section to the aft end of the fuselage. The longer-nosed Fw-190D was a success with pilots because of increased engine reliability and performance much superior to the earlier Fw-190's in climb, dive and level speed. The aircraft attained 430mph at 20,200 ft. - performance that made it a much better interceptor against the burgeoning and fighter-escorted American 8th Air Force bomber formations. Pilots considered it more than a match for the P-51D Mustang escorts. The Fw-190D-13 on display in the Great Gallery (called "Yellow 10" from its markings) saw service with German fighter squadron JG-26 in March 1945. After the war, the plane was one of five long nose versions of the Fw-190's brought to the United States for flight testing. Later it was given to Georgia Tech for research. Years later the aircraft showed up with many parts missing in Santa Barbara, Calif. In 1972 the plane was purchased by Doug Champlin of Champlin Fighter Museum fame, and returned to Germany to be restored by Art Williams. With the help of Kurt Tank, the plane's designer, the aircraft underwent a four-year restoration project. Parts were gathered from all around Germany, but many had to be fabricated from scratch. Completed in 1979, the aircraft was shipped back to the United States and included in the new Champlin Fighter Museum, Mesa, Ariz. After the Champlin Fighter Museum was sold to The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Doug Champlin retained the Fw-190 and decided to have the aircraft completely disassembled and rebuilt to 100 percent original condition. In 2001 a complete rebuild was begun by Dave Goss of Gosshawk Aviation, at Falcon Field, Mesa, Ariz. The spectacular result, now on loan from the Fighter Heritage Collection, is on view in the Great Gallery.