Focke-Wulf Fw 44C Stieglitz
German Trainer

FW44.jpg (13840 bytes)  

The Ghost Squadron's Fw 44C Stieglitz.

Image source: The Confederate Air Force Ghost Squadron CD-ROM produced by Corel. Photos by Bill Crump.

Focke-Wulf was one of the best known German aircraft companies during World War II, but in 1931 it was struggling to survive, having just merged with the Albatros company of WWI fame. The Fw 44 was the company's first commercially successful design, the work of their new designer Kurt Tank. Tank not only took over the design work at Focke-Wulf but also did much of the flight testing, and he became one of the world's leading aeronautical engineers. The famous Fw 190 fighter of World War II was one of Tank's best known designs.

Originally designed as a two-seat civilian biplane for pilot training and sport flying, the Stieglitz (German for Goldfinch) prototype first flew in 1932. After test and modifications to increase the plane's strength and improve its flight characteristics, the final Fw 44 design proved to have excellent maneuverability and aerobatics capabilities.

Famous German pilots of the 1930s including Ernst Udet, Gerd Achgelis and Emil Kopf all flew the Stieglitz in aerobatic displays and air shows in Germany, and flight schools and flying clubs placed orders for the new plane in large numbers. The demand was so great that Focke-Wulf opened a new factory just to build the Stieglitz. Orders also came from a dozen other countries and in some, Fw 44s were produced under license.

A second version of the design was the Fw 44B, which used an Argus As 8 four-cylinder inverted inline air-cooled engine of 120 horsepower. This gave the plane a more slender, aerodynamic nose that the bulkier Siemens radial engine. This model was produced in limited numbers and followed by the Fw 44C. The final C model was powered by the Siemens radial engine and was produced in the largest numbers.

With a fuselage of welded steel-tube and wings of wooden spars and ribs, the Stieglitz design was fabric covered with metal panels behind the engine. The two cockpits were open, with the pilot or student pilot flying from the rear cockpit and a passenger or instructor in front.

The Fw 44 was used by Luftwaffe training units all through the Second World War, and probably every German pilot flew the Stieglitz at some time in his training or flying career.


Pilot and Passenger/Instructor

One Siemens Sh 14a Engine
Single-row 7 cylinder Air-cooled Radial
150 hp @ 2,100 rpm

Max. Speed 115 mph @ sea level
Cruise Speed 107 mph
Landing Speed 45 mph

Climb to 9,840 ft in 23.6 minutes
Service Ceiling 12,792 ft

Length 23' 11"
Height 8' 10"
Wing Span 29' 6"

Max. Weight 1,985 lbs
Empty Weight 1,158 lbs

Normal Range 420 miles


Back to Ghost Squadron Aircraft Index

Ghost Squadron is a registered trademark of the Commemorative Air Force
All material not specifically credited is Copyright by Randy Wilson.