The second reconstruction
of the Fokker Dr.I
by Michael Vogel,
The Blacksmith Andreas Riedel
and the Fokker-Team-Schorndorf
1. The Pre-History
The fact, that the Fokker-Team-Schorndorf became involved in this construction of a reconstructed Fokker Dr.I happened more by chance then it was intented
The Project was originally sterted by a young man from Stuttgart in Germany. His name being Michael Vogel. At the beginnings of the year 1995 I (Achim Engels) received an telephone call by him on one evening. It appeared that he has read one of the many articles about our first reconstruction that have been published in quite a few model airplane and other aviation magazines around here. This article encouraged him to get in contact with us and to ask for drawings that would allow him to start such a venture.
On the 17th of February 1995 he finaly decided to aquire the complete drawing set from us and started to familiarize himself with the structure of plane. In the period that followed this he often payed us a visit and asked for advice when problems raised. Some kind of friendly relationship was created by this this.
Some more two years past away and the construction of the aircraft only experienced little progress. Problems in time and space available keept Micheal from proceeding well with it. For special reasons he had to sell a first fuselage made by him and had to start with the construction of a new one.
At different meetings between us and Michael often the speach came to his problems in space. Well, the problem was solved by us in an easy and simple way. Here is the point where the Blacksmith Andreas Riedel and his company entered the playground.
At this point of time my father - Karl-Heinz Engels - moved with one of his electronic shops into a part of an old factory complex. As usual in such situations he went around and payed a visit to all the other companies there to be welcomed as a new neighbour. Of course he also came across the workshop by Andreas Riedel and after he heared his name was "Engels" he imidiately asked whether he was connecte in some way with the "Fokker-Team-Schorndorf". "Yes," he replied "this is my son Achim".
Only a short time later I found myself in the office of Andreas and we started a nice conversation about our reconstructed triplane. He pointed out several times that he often had thought about building such an aircraft on his own, too. This was an opportunity I should not miss I thought and told him about Micheal Vogel and the problems he was facing with the lack of space available to him. The following days I brought them together and at the end everyone was satisfied and got what he wanted. Micheal was allowed to use the workshop of Andreas in the evening hours after the working day was over and his employees went home, Andreas was involved in the construction of an aircraft and the Fokker-Team-Schorndorf also was agian back in business.
The whole thing was sattled by an oral agreement. Andreas was to provide the working space and his tools as well as his enormous knowledge as a blacksmith and in addition to that was responsible for the buying of the materials needed. Michael was to finance flight approvements of the aircraft and I invested my spare time and the knowledge earned during the first reconstruction of the aircraft. Flown was the aircraft to be by Micheal Vogel since he was the only one of us who had a Private Pilot`s Licence. The aircraft should be owned together by Micheal Vogel and Andreas Riedel, while I was allowed to use the workshop to construct a reconstruction of a Fokker D.VI for my own.
Only a short time after we brought the fuselage frame that was allready welded by Michael from Stuttgart-Vaihingen to the workshop in Schorndorf.
Herewith the common work on this second reconstruction to which the Fokker-Team-Schorndorf was connected could comence. The only, and as discovered later to be the main problem, was the aquiring of the engine. It had to be a 9-cylinder rotary. Not the finding and aquiring of the engine, but rather more the way it was practiced lead to the fact that the connection at the broke up. But let us explain this later.
Achim Engels / Andreas Riedel / Michael Vogel
2. The Construction is Resumed.
The first thing to do was a change in the fuselage upper front longerons. Micheal made an error during construction and built up the front tubes in this section of a too weak tubing. These had to be cut away and being replaced by the correct ones.
The fuselage frame after the change of the tubings in the workshop of Andreas Riedel.
The fuselage frame itself was by far not yet finished and a lot was left to do. Many small parts had to be constructed and mounted to the frame. Unbelievably helpful have been this time the tools and the space available in the workshop of Andreas. In addition his high knowledge about materials and their use was of enormous help. For many parts we had here for the first time the possibility of producing special tools that would at the end fasten the production and made it much more easy for us.
Tool for bending the streamlined rudder horns.
Single steps during production of rudder horns.
The rudder with mounted rudder horns during construction.
Rudder mounted to the fuselage.
The work proceeded well and the teamwork spirit made it much more fun then ever before. About one year it went that way and we used it very effectively. A usual working day in the workshop started at around 8 PM and lasted until 24 PM the same day. Sometimes we even did work until 1 - 2 AM the next day.
3. The Engine Prblem - Fixed?
Somewhen the old theme of the engine and how we should get one came up again. Most concerned and curious about it´s sattlement was Michael. He we eager to fly the plane no matter at which cost. Optimistically as I am from nature, I allways told him that we will find a solution and I never doubted that we would find a engine to pull the machine into the air.
Once Michael again forced us to find a solution as to how and from where to aquire the engine, I told him about a man named Udo Jörges. I knew him personally for a long time and knew that he had some engines and also was about to rebuilt the Le Rhóne. But I do not like him at all. Although he sems to an ace with his job, I do not like his human behavior he showed against me and my friends when we met back some time ago. For this reason I avoided contact with him. Since my trouble with him must not be Michael`s as well I told him about Udo Jörges and suggested to contact him directly. I also mentioned to Michael that he should inform Mr. Jörges about the fact how deep the Fokker-Team-Schorndorf is involved into the construction of the concerned triplane, for I knew that he did not like me as I don´t like him. I did not want to get Michael into trouble with him, if he discovers somehow else that I be in it, too.
It did not take long until Michael, with the brightes smile on his face one could imagine, informed us that he managed to convince Udo Jörges to provide us with even an original engine for the triplane. But that wasn´t all. He also promised to produce authentic wheels and even the streamlined steal tubing for the aircrafts undercarriage and wind struts.
Hard at work: Achim Engels / Michael Vogel
Tailplane during construction.
The undercarriage being built.
4. The Breaking Up.
Totally astonished I asked Michael whether Udo Jörges was aware of my connection to the project. Yes of course, he knew about it he told me.
Alright, if it is that way the thing was o.k. with me. That the things will go into another direction I soon should be noting.
The Fokker-Team-Schorndorf also has a close connection to Leonard E. Opdycke, the publisher of the american magazine "WWI Aero, the journal of the early aeroplane". To this magazine I sent, after I discussed the thing with Michael and Andreas, several Photographs of the aircraft under construction as well as some explaining text accompanying them. Unfortunately with the publication something went wrong and there was only the speak about Achim Engels´ new triplane. Of course Andreas and Michael have been upset by this. I only can say here that I am sorry for this.
Of course I was able to explain this to both of them, but nevertheless the effect was much larger than we could expect in the first moment.
One evening Michael entered the workshop and ignored me widely. His behaviour was somehow the one of somebody being very angry. As I asked him why he gave me to understand that Udo Jörges did read the article in WWI AERO and did cancel his help imidiately. Suddenly the engine problem was again there. It was didcovered that Michael did obviously not inform Udo Jörges that I am respectively the Fokker-Team-Schorndorf was involved in the project. Udo Jörges, so have I been told by other channels, therefore thought that I am - as the bad guy in the story - tried to trick him to get the engine by pushing Michael into the front line to aquire an engine.
We three proceeded working on the aircraft and one beutiful evening Michael came to us with the lucky massage that he was able to clear the difficulties with Mr. Jörges and that we will will get the engine nevertheless. Wonderfull!!! All have been happy! Curious was only that Michael started to avoid me from that time on. Again via other sources I have been informed that he did tell Udo Jörges that I was not longer involved in the project and that they had kick me off the game. Of course I did not know at that time whether this second hand information was correct at all or not. However, the pieces did fit together.
Since I was at that time short before my final approvement, I suddenly did no longer have time to invest in the project. I took the parts I had already constructed for the Fokker D.VI and went my way. With this the Fokker-Team-Schorndorf finally did realy separate from the project and the three bound of Engels-Riedel-Vogel was left to become the Three bound Jörges-Vogel-Riedel.
About how close Michael and Andreas do still work together or not I am not aware. Also the present stage of the project remains unknown to me
The temwork in this group was truly more then fun to me, even more since I thought some kind of friendship was born. I regret the breaking up deeply, but have learned one more thing.