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feet besting the previous mark of 519 feet, fly at a speed of 76.1 mile per hour nearly tripling the previous record of 27.7 miles per hour, cover a closed circuit distance of 50.1 miles bettering the old mark of 27.8 miles and fly a straight line distance of 10.2 miles which was over 10 times the pre- vious record of .7 miles. All the previ- ous records were held by the Breguet- Dorand Gyroplane Laboratoire. The Fw 61 would go on to break two of its own records later in the 1930s. In 1938, the helicopter vertically ascend- ed to an altitude of 11,247 feet and in 1939 it flew a straight line distance of 143 miles.


Both Fw 61 prototypes


were tested extensively and several new helicopter pilots were trained. As word of the new helicopter and its capabilities spread, public interest


Achgelis would go on to design a sec- ond generation of the Fw 61, the Fa 266. Also known by its military desig- nation, the Fa 223 Drache or Dragon, this helicopter was a larger version of the Fw 61. The Fa 223 boasted a 1,000 horsepower engine capable of lifting an 80-foot-long fuselage with a four- seat enclosed cabin. The Fa 223 flew at speeds up to 115 miles per hour and at altitudes up to 23,400 feet. In total, 18 prototype and production Fa 223s were built before the production facil- ity was bombed during World War II. One of the surviving Fa 223s


became the first helicopter to cross the English Channel.


The first Fw 61


made its last flight on November 25, 1941 and was later destroyed during a Royal Air Force bombing raid in June of 1942. The second Fw 61 prototype


grew. The Luftwaffe and the Nazi gov- ernment began to use the helicopters for propaganda. Both Fw 61s flew at air shows and public events. The most famous of these demon- the Colonial


strations happened at


Exhibition in February of 1938. This event was held at the indoor Deutschlandhalle sports stadium in Berlin. For 14 consecutive nights a famed German female pilot named Hanna Reitsch flew the Fw 61 V1 inside the enclosed hall, demonstrat- ing its capability and maneuverability to the large crowds in attendance. Heinrich Focke and Focke-


30


is


last known to have


flown on


December 18, 1941. It is believed that Fw 61 V2 was captured by the French in May of 1945. However, there are also unconfirmed reports that parts of the second Fw 61 were seen in a German scrap yard after WWII. Despite leading the world prior to


and even during WWII, Germany lost its place at


the top of


development after the war. Due to the post-war industrial


rotary-wing conditions,


Heinrich Focke was unable to contin- ue with helicopter development. However, his work, especially the Fw 61 prototypes, would set the stage for a


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