Fieseler Storch Fi 156 C7 (475081)Fieseler Storch Fi 156 C7 (475081)

Fieseler Storch Fi 156 C7 (475081)  [@ RAF Cosford]

A remarkable aircraft, the Fi 156 Storch (Stork) was noted for its remarkable STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) performance.  Fitted with powerful high-lift devices that permitted it to take off in only 65m (70 yards), land in 18m (20 yards) and virtually hover in a 40km/h (25mph) headwind without any loss of control.  The result of a 1935 requirement for an army cooperation, casualty evacuation and liaison aircraft, the Fi 156 first flew in the spring and the type entered service in 1937 powered by an inverted V8 Argus engine.  Built by Fieseler at the Fieseler Factory in Kassel before and during WW2 with production continuing in other countries into the 1950s.

475081 was built by Mraz at Chocen, Czechoslovakia, in 1944 and was one of three captured intact by the British at Flensburg, Germany.  Flown to the UK on the 5th September 1945 and used extensively by the RAE Aerodynamics Flight, including deck landings trials on the aircraft carrier HMS Triumph.  These trials were flown by Lt Cdr E M `Winkle' Brown and were conducted on the 28th and 29th May 1946.  On the 17th December 1949 475081 was transferred to the RAE Technical College Gliding Flight for glider towing duties.  During 1955 475081 was retired due to a lack of spare parts and allocated on the 26th July 1956 to RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire, for possible use as a ground instructional airframe.  Unfortunately 475081 was redeemed as being unsuitable and was transferred via 49 MU based at RAF Colerne on the 22nd August 1956 to the Air Historical Branch collection for storage with 15 MU at RAF Wroughton, Wiltshire, on the 18th August 1956.  During 1969 X-ray analysis showed that 475081to be in a good flying condition and was considered for adoption by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight but unfortunately after evaluation 475081 was not adopted due to a lack of manpower.  Eventually 475081 entered the museum at RAF Cosford on the 6th April 1989.

Fieseler Storch Fi 156 C3 (1827)

Fieseler Storch Fi 156 C3 (1827)  [@ RAF Duxford]

Production totalled about 2900 aircraft from 1937 to 1945 at the Fieseler Factory in Kassel.  In 1942 production also started at the Morane Saulnier factory at Puteaux in France and approximately 141 airframes were built before the end of WW2.  After the liberation of France in 1944 the production of the Storch at the Morane-Saulnier factory was continued at the request of the Armée de l'Air (French Air Force).  The batch of aircraft produced with the remaining stock of French built Argus engines were designated MS 500 Criquet.  A total of 925 aircraft were built before the end of the production of the Criquet (Locust) by Morane Saulnier in 1955.

1827 is an airworthy Storch, registered G-BPHZ, and was constructed by Morane Saulnier in France in 1942.  Originally fitted with an Argus inverted V8 engine 1827 was used after WW2 by the French Armee de L'Air (French Air Force) and re-designated a MS 500 Criquet.  After military service 1827 was re-engined with an American Jacobs R755 A2 radial engine and so became an MS 505 Criquet and was used for glider towing before being bought to the UK in 1988.

Morane Saulnier 500 Criquet (110062)Morane Saulnier 500 Criquet (110062)

Morane Saulnier 500 Criquet (110062)  [@ Deutsches Technik Museum, Berlin]

Due to the demand on Fieseler to build the Bf 109 and the Fw 190 it was necessary to move Storch production to the Leichtbau Budweis in Budweis in 1943.  In 1944 production was moved from the Leichtbau Budweis to the Mráz factory in Chocen, Czechoslovakia, where production ended in 1949.  After the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939 Germany provided several aircraft, including the Fi 156 C, to the Soviet Union.  Antonov was made responsible for putting the aircraft into production to meet Soviet requirements.

Built by Morane Saulnier and served with the Flugwaffe (Swedish Air Force).  110062 was sold to the private market in 1961.

Morane Saulnier 500 Criquet (4299)

Morane Saulnier 500 Criquet (4299)  [@ Deutsches Museum, München]

A small number (approx. 80) of the type were built under licence at the ICAR factory in Bucharest from October 1943 to 1946.

The main Luftwaffe variants were the unarmed Fi 156 A which was produced from 1937 to 1938, the Fi 156 C armed model in four sub-variants which was produced from 1939 to 1945, and the Fi 156 D air ambulance model in two sub-variants which was produced from 1941 to 1945.  The Storch was widely used on all fronts, and was noted for its part in the daring rescue by German commandos of the Italian dictator, Mussolini, from a tiny plateau on the Gran Sasso in 1943.

Built by Morane Saulnier and delivered to the Flugwaffe (Swiss Air Force) on the 13th December 1950.  Withdrawn from service on the 31st December 1962 4299 is finished in the paint scheme generally adopted by the Flugwaffe at the end of WW2.

Morane Saulnier 505 Criquet

Morane Saulnier 505 Criquet  [@ RAF East Fortune]

Built by Morane Saulnier and saw service with the Armee de l' Air in French Indo.  Upon retirement it entered into private hands before flying to the museum at East Fortune in 1982.

The British captured 145 Störch aircraft, of which 64 were given to the French as war compensation from Germany.  One became the personal aircraft of Field Marshal Montgomery wile two more became the personal aircraft of Air Vice Marshal Arthur Coningham and Air Vice Marshal Harry Broadhurst.