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Type F.XI.
Type of aircraft
Country Netherlands
Date first flight January 1929
Crew 2
Wingspan 16.40 m
Lenght 11.25 m
number of passengers 4
Enginetype French Lorraine 7A/Jupiter VI
235 hp/465 hp
Max take-off weight 2500 kg
Empty weight 1500 kg
Range 700 km
Fokker F.XI

Fokker F.XI

This F.XI is a museumaircraft in Australia. It is a rememberance of the fact that MacRobertson Miller Airlines started his activities with another Fokker, the Universal

The Fokker F.XI was a look alike of the Universal, however it was a complete different aircraft

Fokker F.XI

The first F.XI, here still without registration

Attractively restored F.XI in Australia

A confused step back

Around 1970 the Australian airline Ansett made plans to acquire an old Fokker Universal. The idea was to restore the aircraft and put it on display in commemoration of the Universal with which Ansett had first started operations on 17 February 1936.

The original Universal, VH-UTO, no longer existed having been destroyed in a hangar fire at Essendon Airport on 28 February 1939.

Investigation showed that an aircraft of the type was still in existence in Austria and indeed there was an unrecognisable collection of parts that had once been a Universal. Closer examination however revealed that the aircraft was not what the airline was seeking.

While Ansett had started in business in 1936 with a Universal built at the American Fokker factory, the aircraft in Austria was a Fokker F.XI built in the Netherlands. Also called the Universal, the F.XI was in fact a different design. Something of a mystery shrouds the origin of the F.XI. Ir. M. Beeling wrote in his memoirs: "How the F.XI ever came to exist has always been a puzzle to me".

What was particularly intriguing was that this design from 1928 was close to being a step back.

In the opinion of Beeling, the F.XI was hardly more than a slightly modernized F.II, an aircraft that also carried four or five passengers in a fuselage of exactly the same width. There were other resemblances such as the use of wing struts at a time when Fokker was almost exclusively building aircraft with unobstructed cantilevered wings, and an engine capacity of 240 hp.

Development techniques had moved on, so of course there were some differences.

The F.XI had an air-cooled engine, dual controls, an enclosed cockpit, a higher cabin and a wider undercarriage than the F.II.


It also featured a horizontal stabilizer that was adjustable in flight and a vertical stabilizer that could be reset on the ground.

In addition, thanks to improved streamlining, the F.XI attained the faster cruise speed of 103 mph compared with 75 mph for the F.II.

Meeting requirements

The F.XI was specifically intended to meet the requirements of airlines just starting up and to serve on relatively short and/or less busy routes connecting with longer routes. Today, commuter aircraft are designed to perform these duties.

At that time, the Fokker factory in the United States had already delivered the comparable Universal (Model 4), and it is likely that the F.XI was given the same name as its successful American counterpart in order to benefit from its reputation. But as in the case of Ansett, confusion could not be prevented.

Because of the differences in aviation regulations prevailing between Holland and the U.S.A, it was not permitted simply to build the American Universal in the Netherlands - and this would still be the case today. Although the F.XI was certainly not a masterpiece of engineering, at Fokker they were quite happy with it.

Following flight testing of the aircraft in January 1929, the Fokker Bulletin magazine of February wrote:


"Test flying has confirmed that the new Fokker Universal has very good flying characteristics and is a worthy addition to the Fokker series.

On one of the flights during which even loops and other stunts were performed, the aircraft clearly demonstrated its stability and case of maneuverability in the air." During the following years the F.XI proved to be a very fine aircraft indeed with excellent flying characteristics.

The demand for the machine however was disappointing.

Only three examples were built. The prototype, equipped with a French Lorraine 7A engine, was delivered to the Swiss airline Alpar. Fokker in addition sold two aircraft of a heavier version with a Jupiter VI engine, to the Hungarian Malert airline.

It is not certain how these latter machines finally ended up although it is known that one of them was written-off shortly after entering service. The history of the Swiss aircraft is well recorded.


The first F.XI remained in service with Alpar right through to 1954. In that year the operator sold the aircraft to the Austrian Centropatransit und Handels AG, who placed the Fokker at the disposal of the country's Alpine rescue service.

As rescue work demanded only sporadic use of the aircraft, the F.XI was employed on para-dropping as well. It was also used for air launching sailplanes, towing aerial advertisements and giving joy rides.

In this way the Universal demonstrated its multi-role capability. The F.XI flew without incident for 30 years until a careless sports pilot taxied his aircraft into it. This damaged the Fokker beyond repair. Spare parts were no longer available as the Product Support division of Fokker had its limits!


The aircraft was therefore dismantled. The fuselage was for a while in a children's playground and the remaining parts were stored under a shed. Until the people from Ansett appeared in Austria it was a sad end for the faithful F.XI. When Ansett discovered the real identity of the remains, it decided nevertheless to continue with restoration.

It reasoned that the aircraft was still a 'Fokker' and a 'Universal'. Thus it was, after 146 days involving some 4,000 manhours of work, that the roll-out took place on 28 November 1974 of the wholly-restored Ansett Fokker Universal registered VH-UTO.

The F.XI is now displayed in the Astrodome Centre at Tullamarine Airport near Melbourne. It is one of fewer than ten commercial aircraft remaining in existence from before the Second World War.