Koolhoven F.K. 58 Prototype "PH-ATO"

Would you like to see the 1st Prototype of the Koolhoven F.K. 58 ingame?
  • Yes.
  • No.
0 voters
In what techtree would you like to see this aircraft be added in?
  • In a future Dutch/BeNeLux techtree.
  • In the French BeNeLux sub-tree
  • In the British techtree.
  • In the German techtree.
  • Other (Please explain in the comments).
  • I said “No” in the first question.
0 voters

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to suggest the first prototype of the Koolhoven F.K. 58!

The 1st Prototype F.K. 58, not yet fitted with the machine guns under the wings
Source: https://www.tracesofwar.nl/articles/109/Koolhoven-FK58.htm

Just to make things clear, this Prototype was owned by Koolhoven. Since that is a Dutch company, and since no other country operated this Prototype, I’m suggesting this one for the Netherlands.



A rear view of the 1st Prototype F.K. 58
Source: Foto's

The origins of this aircraft started with the French (Something that seems to happen more often then you think with Dutch aircraft). At the end of the 1930’s the French government was desperate for more fighter aircraft. And so then started looking towards both domestic and foreign options to fill this demand, but on the foreign market things were not as easy. The Curtiss-Wright Hawk’s the French had ordered were very expensive and the British air industry had their hands full with RAF orders. And Germany was seen as a potential future enemy, so no requests were made towards them.

The only option that remained was the Netherlands. But even here the biggest company, Fokker, also had their hands full with orders for the Dutch Airforce. And so the next best option was the Dutch company Koolhoven.

The founder of Koolhoven, Frits Koolhoven, was certainly an interesting man. And when the French contacted him about their problem, mister Koolhoven simply replied with: “So you need fast and excellent fighter aircraft. Well let’s just built one for you.” And so works immediately started on this new aircraft, given the design number (Ontwerp) 1166, and when the design reached a futher stage, the name F.K. 58.

By July 1938 the first prototype was ready to fly. The first flights were carried out with the landing gear still in the lowered position. When it came time to fly the aircraft with the gear raised a problem arose. When coming in for a landing the pilot (Thomas Coppers) had a feeling something was not right with the gear when he had lowered it.
Now luckily he and the ground team had agreed to a very clever system for this exact problem. The ground crews had two large wooden planks which they would put on the ground in the position the gear was in when coming for a landing. And just like Coppers thought, something was wrong with the gear. The wooden plank that signified the right gear was put on a 45 degree angle, not a 90 degree one.

Coppers quickly aborted the landing and decided to jerk the plane around a bit in the hope that the stuck gear would come loose and go down to a 90 degree angle. And luckily it did, allowing him to land the plane.

More flights were carried out, more small errors were fixed, and the plane started to turn out to be pretty good. Work on a second prototype was started, and also preporations for the production models of the aircraft was started.

The 1st Prototype was painted in a light blue color and given the civil registration letters PH-ATO.

On the 10th of October 1938 the aircraft was flown over to France where a French pilot would carry out more testing. One problem that was found right away was that the top speed was way lower then promised (448 km/h instead of the 500 km/h). It turned out the wrong propellor was fitted, and when this was fixed the aircraft reached a speed of 483 km/h at an altitude of 5,300 meters.
A dive speed of 890 km/h was also reached a little later.

Finally four machine guns were fitted later, and the tests with these were very positive. The aircraft was displayed at the 16th Paris Airshow.
When the aircraft was flown back to the Netherlands the engine broke down mid flight and the pilot (Thomas Coppers again) had to emergency land in Gent, Belgium, where the aircraft crash landed. The damage was so bad the aircraft was deemed a total-loss.

The 1st Prototype F.K. 58
Source: https://aviadejavu.ru/Site/Crafts/Craft25963.htm



A top view of the 1st Prototype F.K. 58
Source: Koolhoven F.K.58 - Wikipedia

The Koolhoven F.K. 58 was a small lightweight fighter with a retractable landing gear. The 1st Prototype was powered by a 1,063 hp Hispano-Suiza 14AA engine which gave it very good performance due to planes small size.

The straight line speed at an altitude of 5,300 meters was 483 km/h. And the max dive speed recorded was a staggering 890 km/h! Keep in mind the aircraft did this in 1938, which lead to people calling this the fastest aircraft in the world at the time.

The weaponry given to the 1st Prototype was four 7.5 mm FN-Browning mle 38 machine guns. These were added when the aircraft was flown over to France. As can be seen in the proto below, the machine guns were added in underwing pods that had two machine guns each.

A drawing of the landing gear and machine gun pod under the wing
Source: https://aviadejavu.ru/Site/Crafts/Craft25963.htm



A drawing of the F.K. 58
Source: Koolhoven F.K.58 - Destination's Journey

Crew: 1 Pilot
Length: 8.71 m
Wingspan: 11.02 m
Wing area: 17.23 m2
Height: 3 m
Empty weight: 1,800 kg
Full weight: 2,550 kg
Powerplant: Hispano-Suiza 14AA (1,063 hp)

Maximum straight line speed: 483 km/h at 5,300 meters
Maximum recorded dive speed: 890 km/h
Service ceiling: 10,500 m

4 × 7.5 mm FN-Browning mle 38 machine guns



As usualy with my Dutch vehicle suggestions, I ofcourse want to see this ingame in a Dutch or BeNeLux techtree. F.K. 58 is an interesting one since it was made for the French Air Force. And since the Dutch Air Force never operated any, this 1st (And also the 2nd) Prototype is the only way to get a Dutch one in the game.

The aircraft would be a perfect Rank 1 / 2 fighter. It’s weaponry is not exactly great, but the performance of the aircraft is amazing. It’s a very small, lightweight fighter with a 1,000 hp engine!

Personally I would love to see this in a Dutch/BeNeLux techtree. This specific Prototype could be a nice little premium in my opinion. But let me know where you would like to see this ingame in the poll above!

Two shots of the 1st Prototype F.K. 58
Source: https://aviadejavu.ru/Site/Crafts/Craft25963.htm

So there you have it! Please make sure to vote in the poll above, and let me know what you think of this little fighter aircraft!



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