Focke-Wulf Fw 189

infobox Aircraft
name = Fw 189 "Uhu"
type = Tactical reconnaissance and army cooperation aircraft,light bomber
manufacturer = Focke-Wulf

caption =
designer = Kurt Tank
first flight = July 1938
introduced = August 1941
retired = 1945 (Luftwaffe)
status =
primary user = Luftwaffe
more users = Hungarian Air Force Slovak Air Force
produced = 1940–1944
number built = 846
unit cost =
variants with their own articles =

The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 "Uhu" ("Eagle Owl") was a German twin-engine twin-boom three-seat tactical reconnaissance and army cooperation aircraft. It first flew in 1938 (Fw 189 V1), entered service in 1940, and was produced until mid-1944.

Design and development

In 1937, the Reichsluftfahrtministerium issued a specification for a single-engined reconnaissance aircraft with optimum visual characteristics. The preferred contractors were to be Arado, but the request prompted the Focke-Wulf company to work up the alternative idea of the Focke-Wulf Fw 189, a twin-boom design with two small, French-made Argus As 410 engines and a central crew gondola, while Blohm + Voss proposed something far more radical: chief designer Dr. Richard Vogt's unique asymmetric Bv 141.

Possibly the best reconnaissance aircraft to operate during WWII, the Fw 189 was produced in large numbers, first at the Bordeaux-Merignac aircraft factory (now the Dassault Mirage plant) in occupied France, then in the Aero Vodochody aircraft factory in Prague 337 pcs, occupied Czechoslovakia. Total production was 846 aircraft of all variants.

Operational history

Called the "Flying Eye" of the German army, the Fw 189 was used extensively on the Eastern Front with great success. Its Russian nickname was "Rama" (Frame), referring to its distinctive tailboom shape. Despite its slow speed and fragile looks, the Fw 189's maneuverability made it a difficult target for attacking Russian fighters. When attacked, the Fw 189 was often able to outturn attacking fighters by simply flying in a tight circle that enemy fighters could not follow. Its ruggedness was demonstrated when Fw 189s routinely returned to bases with one tail shot or torn off.


The main production model was the Fw 189A reconnaissance plane, built mostly in two variants, the A-1 and A-2.

* Fw 189 V2: Second prototype.
* Fw 189 V3: Third prototype.
* Fw 189 A-0: Ten pre-production aircraft for operational tests and trials.
* Fw 189 A-1: Initial production version, armed with two flexible convert|7.92|mm|in|abbr=on|r=2 MG 15 machine guns in the dorsal and rear positions, two 7.92 mm (0.31 in) MG 17 machine guns in each wing root, plus four convert|50|kg bombs. It could carry an Rb 20/30 or an Rb 50/30.
* Fw 189 A-1 Trop: Tropicalised version of the Fw 189 A-1, fitted with desert survival equipment.
* Fw 189 A-1/U2: VIP transport version of the Fw 189 A-1.
* Fw 189 A-1/U3: VIP transport version of the Fw 189 A-1.
* Fw 189 A-2: The flexible MG 15s were replaced by twin-barrel 7.92 mm (0.31 in) MG 81Z.
* Fw 189 A-3: Two-seat dual-control training aircraft. Built in small numbers.
* Fw 189 A-4: Light ground-attack version, armed with two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons in each wing root, fitted with armour protection for the underside of the fuselage, engines and fuel tanks.

The Fw 189B was a five-seater training aircraft; only 13 were built.

* Fw 189 B-0: Three pre-production aircraft.
* Fw 189 B-1: Five-seat training version. Ten built.

The Fw 189C was conceived as a heavily armored ground attack, close-support variant, but its two prototypes (V1b and V6) were not satisfactory, and it was not produced.

* Fw 189D: Proposed twin-float trainer floatplane. Not built.
* Fw 189E: Proposed version, fitted with two convert|522|kW Gnome-Rhone 14M radial piston engines.
* Fw 189 F-1: Re-engined Fw 189 A-1 aircraft, fitted with two convert|433|kW Argus As 411 MA-1 engines.
* Fw 189 F-2: Fitted with electrically operated landing gear, increased fuel capacity and additional armour plating, powered by two convert|433|kW Argus As 411 MA-1 engines.


*Hungarian Air Force;flag|Slovakia|1938
*Slovak Air Force


One Fw 189 survives today. Its story starts on May 4, 1943 when Fw 189 V7+1H (Werk Nr. 2100) based at Pontsalenjoki took off on a mission to photograph the Loukhi-3 airbase from an altitude of convert|6000|m|ft|abbr=on|r=-3, then to continue north along the Murmansk-Leningrad railway. Approximately 31 minutes after taking off V7+1H was attacked by Soviet Hawker Hurricane fighters. The aircraft dived to escape the fighters, but owing to damage already suffered could not pull out in time, and it struck the treetops. The tail was torn off, and the crew nacelle left hanging upside down within the trees. The pilot, Lothar Mothes, survived but one crewman was killed in the crash and the third died from blood loss as a result of a severed leg. Incredibly, Mothes was able to survive two weeks in sub-zero temperatures, evading Soviet patrols while eating bark and grubs as he walked back to his base. Mothes spent the next nine months in a hospital recovering from severe frostbite before returning to the front lines to eventually fly another 100 missions.

In 1991, the wreckage of V7+1H was found in the Russian forest where it had remained for 48 years. The aircraft was purchased by a group of British aircraft enthusiasts and was shipped to the UK, arriving in the town of Worthing, West Sussex in March 1992. The Focke Wulf 189 Restoration Society was formed to restore the aircraft to flying condition. Her pilot met up again with his aircraft in 1996 at Biggin Hill airshow.

It has been reported that this aircraft has recently been acquired by Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection. The Flying Heritage Collection’s new location at Paine Field in Everett, WA will open to the public June 6, 2008.

pecifications (Focke-Wulf Fw 189 A-1)

aircraft specification

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
length main=12 m
length alt=39 ft 4 in
span main=18.4 m
span alt=60 ft 4 in
height main=3.7 m
height alt=12 ft 0 in
area main=38 m²
area alt=409 ft²
empty weight main=2,680 kg
empty weight alt=5,920 lb
loaded weight main=3,950 kg
loaded weight alt=8,708 lb
max takeoff weight main=
max takeoff weight alt=
engine (prop)=Argus As 410
type of prop=
number of props=2
power main=350 kW
power alt=465 hp
max speed main=357 km/h at 2,600 m
max speed alt=222 mph at 8,530 ft
range main=670 km
range alt=416 miles
ceiling main=8,400 m
ceiling alt=27,550 ft
climb rate main=8.3 m/s
climb rate alt=1,640 ft/min
loading main=103.9 kg/m²
loading alt=21.3 lb/ft²
power/mass main=177 W/kg
power/mass alt=0.107 hp/lb
* 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns mounted in the wing roots, firing forward
* 1 × 7.92 mm MG 15 machine gun in dorsal position, flexible mount, firing rearwards
* 1 × 7.92 mm MG 15 in rear cone, flexible mount, firing rearwards (optional)
** In later versions MG 15 were replaced with 7.92 mm MG 81Z twin-barrel machine gun
* 4 × 50 kg (110 lb) bombs

ee also

similar aircraft=
*Bv 141
*Praga E-51
*Sukhoi Su-12
Fw 187 -
Ju 187 -
Ju 188 -Fw 189 -
Fw 190 -
Fw 191 -
Ao 192
*List of World War II military aircraft of Germany
*List of military aircraft of Germany




* Brown, Capt. Eric (CBE, DSC, AFC, RN). "Wings of the Luftwaffe". Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1978. ISBN 0-385-13521-1.
* Green, William. "Warplanes of the Third Reich". London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1970 (fourth impression 1979). ISBN 0-356-02382-6.
* Kucera, Pavel. "Focke-Wulf Fw 189" (bilingual Czech/English). Prague, Czech Republic: MBI, 1996. ISBN 80-901263-6-7.
* Punka, George. "Focke-Wulf Fw 189 in Action (Aircraft Number 142). Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1993. ISBN 0-89747-310-8.
* Smith, J.Richard. "Focke-Wulf, an Aircraft Album". Shepperton, Surrey, UK: IAn Allan Ltd., 1973. ISBN 0-7110-0425-0.
* Smith, J.Richard and Kay, Anthony. "German Aircraft of the Second World War". London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1972 (third impression 1978). ISBN 0-370-00024-2.
* Wood, Tony and Gunston, Bill. "Hitler's Luftwaffe: A pictorial history and technical encyclopedia of Hitler's air power in World War II". London: Salamander Books Ltd., 1977. ISBN 0-86101-005-1.

External links

* [ of Fw 189 V7+1H's final mission]

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