Fokker F.VII Trimotor “Flying Cross” Model


This model in the museum represents a very famous Fokker F.VII. The F.VII was originally designed as a single-engine transport aircraft by Walter Rethel. Five aircraft of this model were built for the Dutch Airline KLM before the head designer Reinhold Platz converted one of the single-engine versions to a trimotor configuration powered by 200 HP Wright Whirlwind radial engines. The Trimotor’s structure comprised a fabric-covered steel tubing fuselage, and plywood skinned wooden wing.

A later improvement had a slightly increased wing area with a power increase to 220 HP and was slightly enlarged to carry 12 passengers in an enclosed cabin. The airplane was the choice of many of the early airlines until in 1931 Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne died in the crash of TWA Flight 599, a Fokker F.10. The investigation that followed showed that the plywood-laminate construction revealed problems resulting in it being banned from commercial flights. This led to the rise of all-metal aircraft such as the Boeing 247 and the Douglas DC-2.

 Built by the Fokker Company, Netherlands, the Trimotor was 49 feet long, a wingspan of 63 feet, and weighed 6,800 pounds empty. Altogether 42 of these aircraft were manufactured at a cost of about $40,000 each. The Trimotors top speed was about 118 MPH. Because of its long range capability, many aviators of the late 1920’s used the Trimotor on their transoceanic, transcontinental, and polar flights. The Southern Cross was famous in the grouping and was flown by Hubert Wilkins and later by Charles


The final leg of the flight was to Brisbane, covering an additional 1,795 miles and taking 21 hours and 35 minutes. When they landed at Eagle Farm Airport in Brisbane, at 10:50 am on June 9, 1928, there were 25,000 people waiting to see their arrival. Kingsford-Smith became Australia’s greatest aviation hero because of this flight. The Southern Cross later practically flew around the world and now resides on display in the Kingsford-Smith Memorial at Brisbane Airport, Melbourne, Australia.The aircraft was later damaged during three test flights at Fairbanks, but was repaired and ended up in the possession of Charles Kingsford-Smith, an Australian aviator. He took off from Oakland Field, California on May 31, 1928, and flew to Wheeler Field, Hawaii a distance of 2,408 miles. The second leg of the flight was to Suva, Fiji, 3,144 miles, landing at Albert Park. It was the very first airplane to ever land at Fiji. This was the longest leg of the flight and took 34 hours and 33 minutes.Kingford-Smith. In early 1926, Wilkins flew from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Point Barrow and back, a flight which required flying over the 11,000 foot Endicott Mountain Range. It carried 700 gallons of fuel and 45 gallons of oil.