AviationBorn in AprilBorn in the 19th CenturyBorn on this DateDied in DecemberDied in the 20th CenturyEngineering

Born 6 April 1890 – Antony Fokker

Anthony Fokker (1890-1939), a Dutch aviation pioneer, was a man of boundless energy and a knack for innovation. Born on April 6, 1890 in Kediri, Java (now Indonesia), Fokker’s interest in flight manifested early. Although formal education wasn’t his forte, his natural curiosity and mechanical aptitude propelled him forward. By 1910, at the young age of 20, he had already built his first aircraft, the “Spin,” in Germany. This self-taught pilot then went on to establish his own company, Fokker Aeroplanbau, in 1912.

During World War I, Fokker’s company rose to prominence after he secured a contract with the German military. His Fokker Eindecker monoplanes, featuring a revolutionary synchronized machine gun that could fire through the propeller arc, dominated the skies for a period. This innovation, along with other iconic designs like the Dr.I triplane, established Fokker as a major player in the development of warplanes. However, the Treaty of Versailles following the war prohibited Germany from building military aircraft. This led Fokker to relocate his company to the Netherlands and eventually to the United States, where he continued to make significant contributions to the field of aviation, particularly in the realm of civilian passenger planes.

Despite his success, Fokker’s life was cut short. He passed away in New York City on December 23, 1939, leaving behind a legacy of innovation in both military and commercial aviation.

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