Koolhoven F.K. 58A, when you quickly need a good, cheap plane

Would you like to see the Koolhoven F.K. 58A ingame for the French techtree?
  • Yes.
  • No.
0 voters

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to suggest the Dutch Koolhoven F.K. 58A that was made for and operated by the French Air Force!

A line up of F.K. 58A’s
Source: https://www.tracesofwar.nl/articles/109/Koolhoven-FK58.htm



A close up of a line of F.K. 58A’s
Source: Foto's

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.

Two Prototypes were made and tested by Koolhoven, and also handed over to the French for a short time so they too could test fly them. Overall the results were very good, and in Januari of 1939 the French government made an order of 50 F.K. 58’s. But unlike the Prototypes which were fitted with Hispano-Suiza 14AA engines, the French models had to be fitted with the Gnome-Rhône 14N39.

The aircraft fitted with the Hispano-Suiza engine were called F.K. 58.
The aircraft fitted with the Gnome-Rhône engine were called F.K. 58A.

Frits Koolhoven was so certain that the F.K. 58 would sell, that he had already started production of the aircraft before the proper French order was made. And so the first four that were already under construction were already being fitted with the Hispano-Suiza 14AA engine.
The French government accepted these, but the rest of the production models were to be fitted with the Gnome-Rhône engines.

Production of the aircraft continued and the first aircraft with the Gnome-Rhône engine was ready in August of 1939. With six more follwing shortly after. When the aircraft were finished they were given Dutch civilian registration names. These were PH-AVK up till , PH-AVX. Sources say a total of 13 aircraft, but going from the letters K till X we count 14. So it’s most likely that one letter was not used for the Koolhoven aircraft. When the aircraft arrived in France they were given French registration numbers. Those were C-020 up till C-032.

Around this time the Dutch Air Force also started to show interest in the aircraft. And it became obvious that if another big order would be made for more aircraft then the small Koolhoven factory wouldn’t be able to keep up. Luckily Frits managed to get a deal with the Belgian aircraft company SABCA. And so SABCA would make 10 of the French F.K. 58A’s.

At this point production of the F.K. 58A’s in the Netherlands came to a halt due to a lack of equipment that the French were suposed to deliver. This happend because the French government needed them for the various aircraft France was building. With the thread of war around the corner it became very hard to send equipment and materials to another country.

Various options were looked at, but at the end it was decided to move the remaining unfinished airframes to a location in France and find a way to finish them there. In total 23 airframes in various states were shipped over. And in December 1939 some much needed parts finally arrived. Which allowed them to finish another 9 aircraft. And another 4 in February of 1940.
But after that production stopped again due to a lack of needed equipment.

By the 10th of May 1940 the 10 aircraft made by SABCA were ready, but still lacked engines. All then were put on trains and send over to France. But when they reached the border the train was attacked by a German plane. Destroying all 10 aircraft.

With Germany now invading France all focus was put on getting as many F.K. 58A’s ready for combat. But only a handfull were actually ready. And by the time France surrendered only 11 aircraft were ready to fight. This pretty much put an end to the story of the Koolhoven F.K. 58A.

A F.K. 58A with French markings
Source: Koolhoven F.K.58 - Destination's Journey



A nice view of a F.K. 58A that clearly shows the machine gun barrels sticking out of the gun pods
Source: Koolhoven F.K.58 - Destination's Journey

The Koolhoven F.K. 58A was a small lightweight fighter with a retractable landing gear. The F.K. 58A model was powered by a 1,030 hp Gnome-Rhône 14N39 engine which gave it very good performance due to the planes small size.

The straight line speed at an altitude of 5,300 meters was around 475 km/h. And the max dive speed recorded was a staggering 890 km/h! *

The weaponry planned for the French F.K. 58’s was four 7.5 mm FN-Browning mle 38 machine guns. 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: Koolhoven FK-58



A drawing of the F.K. 58A
Source: Koolhoven FK-58

Crew: 1 Pilot
Length: 8.71 m
Wingspan: 11.02 m
Wing area: 17.23 m2
Height: 3 m
Empty weight: 1,930 kg
Full weight: 2,750 kg
Powerplant: Gnome-Rhône 14N39 (1,030 hp at 5000 meters)

Maximum straight line speed: 475 km/h at 5,000 meters
Maximum recorded dive speed: 890 km/h
Service ceiling: 10,000 m

4 × 7.5 mm FN-Browning mle 38 machine guns



I think this plane could be a nice addition to France. It could be added to Rank 1, right after the H-75’s. The plane is very similar to the H-75, only it’s a little lighter.

Since the Netherlands has been added to the French techtree with the introduction of the BeNeLux, it might also be nice to add some more Dutch aircraft models that France has operated themselves.

A nice shot of a F.K. 58A with a French camouflage, note this one lacks the small bulges on the engine cowling, also the Dutch civilian registration name is still present on the side
Source: Koolhoven F.K.58 - Destination's Journey

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!

A illustration of a French F.K. 58A
Source: Koolhoven F.K.58 - Destination's Journey



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This was MADE for the BeNeLux subtree! +1

I can see it as an event or premium plane, keep the Dutch FK for the subtree, +1!