Subject: Fieseler Fi156 Storch
Location: Deutches Museum, Munich, Geramany 2012 and Fantasy of Flight Museum, Orlando, USA 2013.
Comments:The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch (English: Stork) was a small German liaison aircraft built by Fieseler before and during World War II. Production continued in other countries into the 1950s for the private market. It remains famous to this day for its excellent STOL performance. French-built later variants often appear at air shows.
In 1935, the RLM (Reichsluftfahrtministerium, Reich Aviation Ministry) invited tenders from several companies for a new Luftwaffe aircraft suitable for liaison, army co-operation (today called Forward Air Control), and medical evacuation. This resulted in the Messerschmitt Bf 163 and Siebel Si 201 competing against the Fieseler firm's tender. Conceived by chief designer Reinhold Mewes and technical director Erich Bachem, Fieseler's design had a far better STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) performance. A fixed slat ran along the entire length of the leading edge of the long wings, while a hinged and slotted flap ran along the entire length of trailing edge. This was inspired by earlier 1930s Junkers "double-wing" aircraft wing control surface designs, including the ailerons. A design feature rare for land-based aircraft enabled the wings on the Storch to be folded back along the fuselage. This allowed the aircraft to be carried on a trailer or even towed slowly behind a vehicle. The primary hinge for the folding wing was located in the wing root, where the rear wing spar met the cabin. The long legs of the main landing gear contained oil-and-spring shock absorbers that had a travel of 450 mm (18 inches), allowing the aircraft to land on comparatively rough and uneven surfaces. In flight, the landing gear legs hung down, giving the aircraft the appearance of a long-legged, big-winged bird, hence its nickname, Storch. With its very low landing speed the Storch often appeared to land vertically, or even backwards, in strong winds from directly ahead.