Fw 44 file photo [28372]

Fw 44 Stieglitz

ManufacturerFocke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH
Primary RoleOther


ww2dbaseSecond only to the Fw 190 fighter as the most prolific Focke-Wulf design, the Focke-Wulf A 44 (Fw 44) Stieglitz (Goldfinch) trainer aircraft appeared in 1932, the prototype making its first flight in the late summer of that year in the hands of chief test pilot Gerd Achgelis. This tandem two-seat open cockpit single-bay biplane, launched in 1934, was Focke-Wulf's first commercially successful design, and would be widely employed in the pre-war period by the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule (German Air Transport School) and the Deutsche Luftsportverband (German Air Sports Association), and with the Luftwaffe (Air Force) throughout World War II. Construction consisted of a fabric-covered welded-tube fuselage and wooden wings with fabric and plywood covering. The cockpit allowed for the wearing of seat parachutes, while the instructor's seat could be folded forward for access to a baggage compartment. The Stieglitz also proved an excellent aerobatic mount, particularly in the hands of such famous aviators as Gerd Achgelis, Emil Kropf and Ernst Udet – the first named enjoying much success with the type in World Aerobatic Championships during the 1930s.

ww2dbasePowered by a 150-horsepower Siemens Sh.14a 7-cylinder air-cooled radial engine the major production versions (Fw 44C, D & F) incorporated some minor equipment changes from its original form (Fw 44B & E with 135-horsepower Argus As 8 and 8b engines respectively), but early models experienced a number of unacceptable flight characteristics, these being eradicated by aeronautical engineer, Dr. Kurt Tank, who had joined the company in 1931 from BFW, to head Focke-Wulf's design and flight testing department when Professor Heidrich Focke became preoccupied with his rotary-wing activities. The final production version, the Fw 44J, which was also powered by the same Sh.14a engine, provided the longest production run and would be the version most frequently selected for foreign manufacture under licence.

ww2dbaseOver 900 examples of the Stieglitz were completed with Focke-Wulf receiving orders from Bolivia, Chile, China, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Romania, Switzerland and Turkey. In addition Fw 44 aircraft were built under licence in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria and Sweden. Many examples remaining with civilian owners in Europe and Argentina long after the war's conclusion.

David Mondey: The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War II (Chancellor Press, 1996)
Rod Simpson: Airlife's World Aircraft (Airlife Publishing Ltd, 2001)
World Aircraft Information Files, File 894/29 (Aerospace Publishing Periodical)

Last Major Revision: Jan 2019


Fw 44C
MachineryOne Siemens Sh.14a 7-cyl air-cooled radial piston engine rated at 150hp
Span8.99 m
Length7.29 m
Height2.69 m
Wing Area20.00 m²
Weight, Empty525 kg
Weight, Loaded900 kg
Speed, Maximum185 km/h
Speed, Cruising172 km/h
Service Ceiling3,900 m
Range, Normal672 km


Fw 44 being towed at an airfield, Germany, 1930sJu 52, Fw 44, and He 72 aircraft at Celle Airfield, Germany, 1935

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Fw 44 being towed at an airfield, Germany, 1930s
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