WOW203 – Fieseler Fi 156 Storch
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WOW 203; The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was a small German liaison aircraft built by Fieseler before and during World War II. Production continued in other countries into the 1950s for the private market. It remains famous for its excellent STOL performance. Conceived by chief designer Reinhold Mewes and technical director Erich Bachem. Fieseler’s design had a far better short take off and landing (‘STOL’) performance than other aircraft of its time. A design feature rare for land-based aircraft enabled the wings on the Storch to be folded back along the fuselage. This allowed the aircraft to be carried on a trailer or even towed slowly behind a vehicle. The primary hinge for the folding wing was located in the wing root, where the rear wing spar met the cabin. The long legs of the main landing gear contained oil-and-spring shock absorbers that had a travel distance of 40 cm, allowing the aircraft to land on comparatively rough and uneven surfaces; this was combined with a “pre-travel” distance of 20 cm, before the oleos began damping the landing gear shock. In flight the main landing gear legs hung down, giving the aircraft the appearance of a long-legged big winged bird. The Storch is probably most famous for its role in ‘Operation Eiche’ and the 1943 rescue of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from a boulder-strewn mountain-top near the Gran Sasso. Even though the mountain was surrounded by Italian troops, German SS officer Otto Skorzeny and 90 German paratroopers using gliders landed on the peak and quickly captured it. However the problem of how to get back off with Mussolini still remained. A Focke-Achgelis FA 223 helicopter was dispatched, but it broke down en route. Instead, pilot Heinrich Gerlach flew a Storch to the mountain top and took off with Mussolini and Skorzeny on board over a distance of 80 metres. On 26 April 1945, a Storch flown by Hannah Reitsch was one of the last aircraft to land on the improvised airstrip in the Tiergarten near the Brandenburg Gate during the Battle of Berlin in an attempt to convince Hitler to leave the doomed capital. Our 1/30 scale model is a smaller version of the one used in the Gran Sasso rescue attempt. Because of it’s high wing construction and large glazed interior this is a tricky model to perfect, we hope you feel that we have done this iconic aircraft justice. A limited edition of 5 of these models are available now with a further 5 available middle of next year, this model comes with a free figure of FJ035 German sentry with our compliments.