TYPE: Autogiro, reconnaissance, observation
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and observer
POWER PLANT: One Argus As 10c air-cooled inline piston engine, rated at 240 hp
PERFORMANCE: 103 mph
COMMENT: German helicopter development began with Focke-Wulf’s acquisition of the rights to manufacture Cierva autogyros during the 1920’s. Over 30 Cierva C.19 and C.30 autogyros were built during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, and from this experience, Heinrich Focke, the engineering half of the Focke-Wulf company, decided to develop an original autogyro design to compete in the Luftwaffe’s contest to provide a utility-liaison aircraft. The Focke-Wulf entry, designated Fw 186, was essentially a Focke-Wulf Fw 56 “Stösser” (Goshawk) parasol wing advanced trainer, with wings removed, tail unit and landing gear redesigned, and configured for two seats in tandem. The engine remained unchanged, with a clutch arrangement installed to start the blades rotating for takeoff. An autogyro, similar in principle to today’s gyrocopters, uses the main power plant for forward thrust, while the rotors freewheel in flight. The aircraft could take off and land in very short distances, but it could not hover or take off and land vertically.
The first flight of the Focke-Wulf Fw 186 was on July 1939 and although very successful, it was beaten out by the Fieseler Fi 156 “Storch” (Stork) for the Luftwaffe contract, and disappeared from the scene afterward. Only two examples were built (Ref.: Planet Models).