RAY WATKINS COLLECTION
No. 8898. Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke H 3 Sprinter (D-9544 c/n E-2)
Photograph from VFW-Fokker

Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke H 3 Sprinter

04/30/2009. Remarks by Ray Watkins: "Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke GmBH (VFW, United Aeronautical Factories) was a consortium of the former Focke-Wulf and Weser companies set up in 1963. Heinkel joined in 1964 and VFW gained control of Rhein Flugzeugbau (RFB) and Henschel in 1968. The group undertook extensive rotorcraft research and in 1965 produced a small experimental autogiro known as the WFG H 2. From the configurations studied the helicopter/autogiro was considered to have the greatest potential to compete with existing products.

Design of the H 3 Sprinter began in 1966, it was a three-seat general-purpose design powered by a 400 shp Allison 250-C20 turboshaft engine. The engine was set up to supply compressed air to nozzles at the tips of the three main rotor blades, for vertical takeoff and landing, and shaft drive to two side-mounted ducted fan units for forward propulsion. Yaw control was provided by vanes in the jet exhaust. The fuselage had an aluminum framework with a fiber-reinforced plastic shell over the cabin, engine bay covers and a low-set tail boom with a V-tail.

The first prototype, D-9543, was completed in 1969 and the first flight took place on May 5, 1970 without the side fan units fitted. The second prototype, D-9544, flew in January 1971. Testing of the H 3s with side fan units fitted was never carried out. All development of rotorcraft was terminated after VFW merged with Fokker in 1972.

Both aircraft are preserved in Germany, D-9543 is at the Hubschraubermuseum at Bückeburg, and D-9544 is in private hands at Meinerzhagen."

Created April 30, 2009