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Fa 223 Drache

Fa 223 Drache, built in Germany

Fa 223 Drache, built in Germany, was the
world's first helicopter to achieve production

The Focke Achgelis Fa-223 Drache was the world's first helicopter to achieve production status. It was used during World War II, but Allied action limited its production to some 20 complete machines. It was used primarily for transport, rescue, and reconnaissance. A captured Fa-223 was the first helicopter to cross the English Channel when it was returned to England in September 1945 for post-war evaluation. U.S. forces acquired two others during May 1945.

This twin-rotor helicopter included an MG 15 machine gun and two 551-pound (250-kilogram) bombs, a rescue winch and cradle, a reconnaissance camera, and a 106-gallon (300-liter) auxiliary fuel tank that could be jettisoned. It was powered by one 1,000-horsepower (746-kilowatt) radial piston engine and could reach a maximum speed of 109 miles per hour (175 kilometers per hour). Each rotor was 39 feet (12 meters) in diameter. The helicopter was 39 feet (12 meters) long and 14 feet (4 meters) in height.