Table of contents
  1. A Scotman in Russia
  2. The First Steps
  3. Russian Military Flying Schools
  4. The Imperial All Russia Aero Club
  5. General Baron Kulbars & Aviation
  6. The Imperial Russian Technical Society
  7. The Prototype of the Zeppelin
  8. Contruction, Aviators & Workmen
  9. Famous Russian Flying Men
  10. I.I. Sikorsky
  11. Foriegn Aviators in Russia
  12. Heir Fokker's Russian Lady Pilot
  13. Just Before the War
  14. Aerial Russia & the British Press
  15. Aviation & the Russian Press
  16. By Way of Conclusion

Chapter XII - Heir Fokker's Russian Lady Pilot

The third notable aviation visitor to come to Russia from Germany was a Dutchman, Heir Fokker, the constructor of Germany's famous aeroplane, to whom the war has given a world-wide reputation. When he visited Russia, Fokker was not more than twenty-one years old, but although he was a boy in point of age he was already a man of extraordinary ability and originality. Mr. Kennedy met him in Petrograd and the two aerial constructors became close friends, and I have heard from Mr. Kennedy many interesting details of the Dutchman's romantic career. He astonished the Russian aviators by his skilful piloting as well as by the unprecedented stability of his monoplane. The Fokker at this time had its wings fixed at a considerable dihedral angle. The wings had no ailerons attached to them nor could they be warped. Transversal stability was attained by reducing the engine power immediately the aeroplane took a dangerous angle. Notwithstanding Fokker's many excellent flights, the Russian authorities were not entirely convinced that his system of construction was ideal, and Fokker was unable to receive orders for his machines in Petrograd, although it was admitted that they were easy to pilot.

He had one or two interesting experiences during his stay in Russia. The aeronautic mathematician Borezat was standing with some of his friends watching Folker assemble his aeroplane, which he could do in a very few minutes. Not kno\ving that the busy mechanic was Fokker himself, Batezat assured his friends that such an aeroplane could not possibly fly, and he proved his contention by apparently incontrovertible mathematical assertions. The professor was speaking in French, but Heir Fokker understood what he was saying. He introduced himself and laughingly said that he did not care a jot for the mathematics and that he would demonstrate within two minutes that Botezat's assertions were entirely wrong. Whereupon he started his 100 h.p. Argus engine and taking a short run rose gracefully in the air, putting his aeroplane through all sorts of extraordinary manreuvres over the head of the astonished scientist. Botezat turned to his friends and remarked: "Amazing, amazing, quite an optical delusion! "

The scepticism of the Russian authorities towards the Fokker machines is not really surprising when it is remembered that, at this time, the German Government were not yet convinced of their advantages. Heir Fokker consulted Mr. Kennedy as to the best way to convince the aviation world that his aeroplanes were the easiest machines to pilot. Mr. Kennedy advised him to secure a lady pilot and to endeavour to train her to make a record flight. Heir Fokker explained that lady aviators were difficult to find in Germany, where the men preferred their womenfolk to be domesticated and where neither Fraus nor Frauleins were encouraged to adopt flying as a pastime. Thereupon Mr. Kennedy introduced a young Russian lady pilot named Golantchikova to Heir Fokker. He immediately engaged her and took her back with him to Berlin, where shortly afterwards she made a world's height record on a Fokker monoplane. The creation of this record was one of the causes that induced the German Government to extend their patronage and encouragement to the Dutch inventor.

Melle. Golantchikova did not like Germany and the Germans, and after a short stay in Heir Fokker's employment, she went to Paris, where she flew on Nieuport and Morane monoplanes.

Heir Fokker has considerably improved his machine since his visit to Russia, and to-day he is properly regarded by the Allies as one of Germany's most considerable assets, his latest very twift monoplanes being a constant source of trouble at the front. These machines are built on the lines of the Morane, but Heir Fokker has made many improvements that are distinctly his own.

After a stay of some time in France, Melle. Golantchikova returned to Russia, and she is still prominently associated with aviation. The record of her flights proves her right to be considered the most accomplished lady pilot in the world.

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