Aviation of World War II
One of the most successful German aircraft of the Second World War was the Storch (Aist). Gerhard Fieseler designed this aircraft as a short take-off / landing aircraft and equipped it with a high-lift wing. The takeoff run of the "Shtorkha" was only 65 meters, and the run after landing was 22 meters; with a headwind of 40 km/h, the plane could "hover" in the air without losing control. Built to 1935 specifications for a light communications and reconnaissance aircraft, the Fi 156 first flew in the spring of 1936 and entered service in 1937.
The light rectangular fuselage had a frame made of steel pipes with linen sheathing. The two-spar wooden wing was covered with canvas, and the tail unit had plywood sheathing. An aluminum slat ran along the entire leading edge of the wing. The entire trailing edge of the wing was occupied by landing gear - the inner panel was a slotted flap, and the outer one was a statically balanced slotted aileron.
"Storh" got its name from the characteristic landing gear with steel candle springs and oil dampers. The upper ends of the struts were attached to the lower point of the pyramidal struts along the sides of the fuselage. A tail support was used on the plane, although a tail wheel was installed at the end of the war on some "Shtorhs".
The three-seater cockpit provided excellent visibility - the side panels of plexiglass glazing protruded above the fuselage at a steep angle. The upper central part of the wing, which made up the cockpit ceiling, was also covered with plexiglass, so that the Storch had no equal in all-round visibility.
Fieseler Fi 156 was equipped with an 8-cylinder (inverted V) air-cooled Argus As 10C engine with a takeoff power of 240 hp at 2000 rpm and 200 hp. at 1800 rpm, rotating a wooden Schwarz propeller with a diameter of 2.60 m with a metal leading edge of the blades. The dry weight of the motor was 213 kg.
The maximum speed of the aircraft was 175 km / h above sea level, the cruising speed was 150 km / h at an altitude of 1000 m. The fuel supply of 150 liters, located in two tanks in the center section, provided a flight range of 400 km at cruising speed.
Tests have shown that a small, maneuverable aircraft can perfectly withstand fighters. The latter, armed with photo-movie machine guns, could not make a single shot of the "Storh" flying at a speed of 54.7 km / h.
The production rate of the Fi 156 was 227 aircraft in 1939, 216 in 1940, and in 1941 it almost doubled - 430 aircraft. In total, the Luftwaffe received 2871 Storchs, a small number of these aircraft were transferred to the allies of Germany - Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Slovakia - all of them fought on the Eastern Front.
Surprisingly, the Stork was never used on the Eastern Front for night attacks, like the Soviet Po-2 biplane.