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1938: Nazi Airliner in Brooklyn
Focke-Wulf 200 Condor

Focke Wulff 200 Condor Airliner

On August 10-11, 1938, a Lufthansa Focke-Wulf 200 Condor airliner — heavily modified with extra fuel tanks — made a record-breaking nonstop flight across the Atlantic from Berlin to Floyd Bennett field in Brooklyn, New York.

The aircraft was a Fw 200 VI, registered as D-ACON and named “Brandenburg.”

Fw 200 Condor in New York, 1938

Fw 200 Condor in New York, 1938

The 4,075 miles flight (6,437 km) took 24 hours and 57 minutes against strong headwinds, at an average speed of 164 MPH (263 km/h).  The return flight to Germany took 19 hours and 47 minutes at an average speed of 205 MPH (330 km/h) on August 13, 1938.

Fw 200 Condor in Brooklyn, NY

Fw 200 Condor in New York

In November, 1938 the same aircraft flew to Basra, Karachi, Hanoi, and Tokyo in only 46 hours 18 minutes, but on the return flight D-ACON ran out of fuel and ditched in the ocean near Manila.

The 26-passenger Condor was designed, for both commercial and propaganda purposes, to be the first airliner capable of nonstop transatlantic flight. The aircraft was created under the leadership of Kurt Tank, technical director of Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau of Bremen, and the propotype made its first flight on July 27, 1937.

Although originally built as a civilian airliner, the Fw 200 primarily saw service as a long-range maritime bomber and reconnaissance aircraft during World War II.  In 1939, a specially-configured Fw-200 named “Immelmann III” (D-2600) became Adolf Hitler’s primary personal aircraft.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Richard October 29, 2010, 7:44 pm

    That’s quite a story and accomplishment back in 1938. The thing looks a little like a DC-4 “tail-dragger.” It is ashame that they ran the tanks dry on the west-bound return to Germany from the Orient. No wonder Hitler was so full of bluster in the mid-thirties. We should have seen the war clouds ahead of when we did. One question though, when it ditched off Manila, did the crew or any of them survive?

  • Jeff Staines December 16, 2010, 5:54 pm

    I have an original Rudy Arnold photo of the “Brandenburg” taken at Floyd Bennett Field. Please contact me via E-Mail if you would like a scan of this photo.

  • Historic Floyd Bennett Field February 14, 2011, 7:08 pm

    Check out these photos of the crash of this FW-200 in the Philippines:


  • Phill Evans April 8, 2012, 1:49 pm

    This wasnt just a propaganda achievement, it was a warning.

  • chris krüger December 6, 2012, 8:41 am

    This Airplane was just a joke. Don`t underestimate the DC 3 that with 2 engines had the same
    economic performance using less fuel.
    The FW 200, when on the trip to Bennet Field and verse, was a “flying fuel tank” and nothin’ else
    it didn’t carry even one lausy passenger.
    What I want to say is just: this aircraft was not an inovation in civil aviation.
    The honourable DC 3 entered the skies first and stayed there much longer.

  • Patrick April 4, 2013, 3:39 am

    I can remember BOAC having flying boats down at Southampton Hampshire. I flew in one with my dad who worked for the airline. I was about five or six years old. But of course PANAM had American built flying boats. I did not know they had part of the aircraft looking like a resteraunt.

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