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.