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Professor Focke would later partner with a well


known aerobatic pilot named Gerd Achgelis to form Focke Achgelis and Company GmbH. The company was also known as Focke-Achgelis, and its aircraft were desig- nated with the prefix “Fa.” Subsequently, the Fw 61 has also been called the Fa 61. The aircraft was primarily a creation of Heinrich Focke and was built after he left Focke-Wulf, before Focke-Achgelis was formed.


It has


been suggested that the most accurate designation is actually the Focke Fw 61. Fw 61 V1 began tethered testing late in 1935. The


first free flight was on June 26, 1936. Ewald Rohlfs was the pilot for the first flight, which lasted less than one minute. In July of 1936 the Fw 61 received its type certifi- cate in Germany, making it the first certified helicopter. Another important first occurred on March 10, 1937. On that day test pilot Ewald Rohlfs took the Fw 61 to an alti- tude of just over 1,300 feet and switched off the engine. Rolfs subsequently made the first successful helicop- ter autorotational landing.


Although Autogyros had


proven that this maneuver was entirely possible, Rolf ’s power off landing marked an important milestone in hel- icopter development. Over a two-day period in June of 1937 the Fw 61, again with Rohlfs at the controls, would smash five Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI also known as the International Aviation Federation) records. The helicopter would fly for over one hour and 49 minutes breaking the endurance record of one hour and two minutes, ascend vertically to an altitude of 7,995


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