Aviation of World War II
FW-58 "Weihe" ("Lun") made its first flight on January 18, 1935. The aircraft was produced in two versions: FW-58B - for training bombardier shooters, navigators, radio operators and for night and "blind" flights; FW-58C with dual control - for training pilots of twin-engine aircraft and radio operators, for training at night and "blind" landing.
Construction . The FW-58 was a twin-engine strut-braced monoplane with a low wing. The metal frame had duralumin and linen sheathing. Rational design using mainly light alloys (duralumin, electron) in combination with small the amount of chrome-molybdenum steel, wood and canvas made it possible to make the aircraft relatively large in size very light. With a takeoff weight of 2930 kg, the weight of an empty Focke-Wulf is only 1985 kg. The crew consisted of 3-4 people. The pilot's and instructor's seats were located side by side. The device of the cockpit made it possible for free direct communication between the crew members. The chassis was retracted into the engine nacelles using a hydraulic drive and closed by flaps. The chassis was produced under its own weight. Damping oil-pneumatic, with a long stroke. Wheels with pneumatic 690 x 200 are equipped with hydraulic brakes. The tail wheel is 260 x 85 oriented, automatically stops when the gas is fully supplied. The wheels were equipped with guards that protect the lifting mechanism from contamination during taxiing, takeoff and run. The wing is equipped with flaps controlled from the cockpit. The ailerons had trim tabs adjustable on the ground; on the rudders - in-flight trimmers.
Power plant . The aircraft was equipped with eight-cylinder in-line V-shaped inverted Argus-10-C air-cooled engines. The takeoff power of each of them is 240 hp. (at 2000 rpm), nominal - 200 hp (at 1880 rpm). The motors are started manually or with compressed air. Two-blade propellers, wooden, fixed pitch. It was possible to install Hirth НМ 508D engines with a power of 240 hp. Two fuel tanks of 170 liters in the center section.
In the forward part of the fuselage there was a place (recumbent) for the front gunner (navigator-bombardier). The pilot and instructor seats are located above the center section. Behind the pilots is the position of the radio operator, behind him is the position of the rear gunner. The FW-58B aircraft housed two mobile rifle installations with MG-15 machine guns. Their ammunition was 225 rounds for the front machine gun and 375 rounds for the rear. Bomber armament consisted of cluster bomb racks for vertical suspension of 10 and 50 kg bombs with a total weight of 120-150 kg. Mechanical bomb release device. The bombing sight of the GV-219 type - a mechanical sight - was located under the upper sliding floor of the fuselage. The Focke-Wulf was equipped with communication facilities: a transceiver radio station and an intra-aircraft intercom for telephone communication between crew members. In addition to flight and navigation instruments, engine group instruments and a radio compass, the aircraft was equipped with means for night flights and "blind" landing. The FW-58C aircraft did not have small arms and bomber weapons, but was equipped with dual control. It also had two additional console gas tanks with a capacity of 60 liters each. During tests at the Air Force Research Institute of the spacecraft, which took place in the summer of 1940, the FW-58B performed 63 flights with a total duration of 36 hours 50 minutes, and the FW-58C - one hundred and twelve flights with a total duration of 32 hours 35 minutes. The conclusions noted that the aircraft "fully meets the training requirements for navigators, gunners, radio operators, bombardiers and pilots of two-seater aircraft."
In general, the training Focke-Wulf got a very good mark, especially in terms of crew comfort, stability and controllability. Namely: "In terms of its flight data it is not inferior to the UT-3 aircraft, but in terms of piloting technique it is extremely simple and accessible to pilots with below average qualifications." And further: “The aircraft has good longitudinal and lateral stability in all flight modes and all loading options. Allows flight with abandoned controls. " Besides: "The hatches for viewing the units and controls do not protrude beyond the dimensions, they are durable and easy to use." The testers also liked the spacious navigator's cabin. Two people were quietly accommodated there, which is especially convenient when training a scorer. The navigator's working position is lying on a special inflatable rubber mattress. There are no seats and harnesses in the cab. By the way, the use of air mattresses was recommended to be introduced in our Air Force. The Soviet aviators paid special attention to the absence of "blowing" in the forward cockpit and the ability for the navigator to work without flying goggles.
The UT-3 created at the Yakovlev Design Bureau was tested at the Air Force Research Institute of the spacecraft simultaneously with the FW-58. Those advantages of the German aircraft, to which our testers first of all paid attention, testify to the absence of those (one can assume) in the domestic UT-3. The difference between German aircraft and the newest domestic ones, which were tested practically in parallel at the Air Force Research Institute, was so striking that it forced the head of the institute, AI Filin, to draw the attention of IV Stalin to this. The consequences were dramatic for Filin: he was arrested on May 23, 1941.
A training aircraft for bomber crews did not appear in our country either before the war or during wartime. The crews were trained on training versions SB and Pe-2. A specialized UTB was created at the Sukhoi Design Bureau only in 1946.
Modifications of the Fw 58B. There were variants of the Fw 58B-1 - a training and communication aircraft, Fw 58B-2 - an aircraft for training shooters of heavy bombers. All modifications of the aircraft had the same wheeled landing gear with a track of 4 m. Wheels with low pressure pneumatics in flight were retracted into the nacelle compartments and closed with flaps. To retract the chassis, a hydropneumatic drive was used, release - by its own weight. However, the possibility of releasing the chassis using a drive was not excluded. The tail wheel was installed in a light metal fork and could be replaced with a conventional tail crutch.
The most massive modification was the Fw 58C, equipped as a passenger aircraft or a communications aircraft. In the cockpit of the aircraft there were two pilot seats equipped with dual controls, and seats for six passengers were installed in the cargo compartment. In the Luftwaffe, aircraft of this modification were used to provide communication between formations and units, to deliver urgent cargo and evacuate the wounded. Eight Fw 58 C aircraft in 1938-1939. acquired by Lufthansa.
Fw 58 was widely used outside Germany. It was perhaps the most exported aircraft of the German aircraft industry - out of 1,350 aircraft of this type, most were delivered to the armed forces and civilian airlines of Argentina, Bulgaria, Brazil, China, Denmark, Holland, Hungary, Romania and Sweden. In Brazil, 25 aircraft of this type were produced under license. One Fw 58B also flew with Soviet identification marks. In September 1944, the leaders of the Slovak People's Uprising flew to the USSR on this plane for help. Subsequently, the aircraft was handed over to the 1st Czechoslovak mixed aviation division formed in the USSR and used to support the actions of this division against German troops. In the post-war period, this aircraft and other aircraft of this type captured at airfields in Czechoslovakia flew with the Czechoslovak Air Force under the designation D-58.