Focke-Achgelis Fa 330A-1 Bachstelze (Water Wagtail)

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    Focke-Achgelis Fa 330A-1 Bachstelze (Water Wagtail)

    Single-seat gyroglider with skid gear and 3-bladed rotor; breaks down for storage aboard U-boat; overall pale blue; stuffed, black leather seat cushion, olive drab canvas seat back.

    1 of 3

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Focke-Achgelis Fa 330A-1 Bachstelze (Water Wagtail)

    Single-seat gyroglider with skid gear and 3-bladed rotor; breaks down for storage aboard U-boat; overall pale blue; stuffed, black leather seat cushion, olive drab canvas seat back.

    2 of 3

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Focke-Achgelis Fa 330A-1 Bachstelze (Water Wagtail)

    Single-seat gyroglider with skid gear and 3-bladed rotor; breaks down for storage aboard U-boat; overall pale blue; stuffed, black leather seat cushion, olive drab canvas seat back.

    3 of 3

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This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Boeing Aviation Hangar

This rotary-wing kite allowed German submarines to locate targets in heavy seas. Towed aloft by Type IX D2 U-Boats to a maximum altitude of 220 meters, the pilot had a possible sighting distance of 53 kilometers. U-Boat commanders disliked the Fa 330, because it gave away the location of the submarine, both visually and on radar. Only U-Boats operating in the Indian Ocean deployed them, because Allied naval superiority in the Atlantic Ocean made surfacing in the daylight extremely hazardous.

A crew of four could assemble and disassemble the Fa 330 in three minutes. When not in use, the aircraft remained stowed in two watertight tubes in the U-Boat's conning tower. The pilot communicated his observations by a telephone line that ran along the tow cable. The Fa 330 was simple to fly, and an ingenious parachute system allowed the pilot to escape from the aircraft at relatively low altitudes.