No. 8142. Koolhoven F.K.58A (PH-AVK c/n 5808)
Aeroplane Photo Supply (APS) Photo No. 1119 via Michael Brannin & Craig Simpson

Koolhoven F.K.58A

07/31/2014. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "Evolved specifically to meet a French requirement and designed by Dr. Erich Schatzki, the F.K.58 single-seat fighter prototype, c/n 5801, flew within barely three months on July 17, 1938. On September 19 it was registered PH-ATO and flown to France for test flights and it appeared at the Paris Air Show in November. On January 12, 1939, while returning to the Netherlands the aircraft was destroyed in a forced landing near Gent, Belgium, after encountering engine problems.

Meanwhile Koolhoven had started F.K.58 series construction in late 1938 and in January 1939 the company received an order from France for fifty examples to be fitted with French equipment, including a Gnome-Rhone 14N-39 radial engine rated at 1,036 hp at 16,405 ft (5,000 m) and four 0.295 in (7.5 mm) FN-Browning Mle 38 machineguns.

The second prototype, c/n 5802, was registered as PH-AVA on February 21, 1939, and flew for the first time on February 27, 1939, the day the first production fighter was also completed. These and the next three production examples were fitted with the 1,066 hp Hispano-Suiza 14AA radial engine, all subsequent aircraft having the Gnome-Rhone and these were designated F.K.58A.

The F.K.58 was of standard Koolhoven construction, with plywood-covered wooden wings and a welded steel tube fuselage with duralumin and fabric covering. Interest in the F.K.58 was meanwhile being shown by the Luchtvaart Afdeling (Air Service of the Dutch Army), and Koolhoven arranged with the Belgian SABCA concern to sub-contract some of the future F.K.58 production, commencing with ten of the French contract aircraft.

The first Gnome-Rhone-engined production aircraft flew on June 26, and four F.K.58s and thirteen F.K.58As (French serials
C-016 to C-032) were delivered to France by early September 1939, including the first two F.K.58A series aircraft PH-AVK (above) and PH-AVL, these were allotted the serials C-020 and C-021.

In the event, the French government was unable to furnish the necessary engines and equipment. Hence Koolhoven shipped the remaining 23 aircraft, in various stages of assembly, to Le Havre, France, from there they were transported to Nevèrs, where it was proposed that they be completed. However, out of the few built at Nevèrs, only one (s/n C-033) was accepted by the French AF by the time WW II hostilities reached France (and western Europe) in May 1940, while the ten SABCA-built airframes were scrapped after the occupation of the country by German forces.

On July 22, 1939, an order was placed by the the Luchtvaart Afdeling for 36 F.K.58s to be powered by the 1,080 hp Bristol Taurus III engine, those under construction at the Koolhoven factory were destroyed by bombing in May 1940."

Created September 30, 2008