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Type of aircraft
Country The Netherlands
Date first flight 1936
Crew 4
Wingspan 33.00 m
Lenght 23.75 m
Height 5.50 m
number of passengers 32
Enginetype 4 x Wright Cyclone GR-1820-G
850 hp each
Max. take-off weight 18000 kg
Cruise speed 273 km/h
Range 1650 km


Attempted comeback

Even though KLM had gone ahead and chosen the all-metal Douglas DC-2, Fokker did not want to accept the fact that his time-honored method of construction had reached the end of the road.

On 12 February 1936 he wrote a confidential letter to KLM with an offer of two new designs: the F.56 and the F.XXXVII.

The F.XXXVII was an improved Fokker F.XXXVI that retained the proven system of wooden wings and steel tube and linen covered fuselage.

The most important advance was the choice of a retractable undercarriage. The main wheels were to be retracted into the nacelles behind the inboard engines.

Fokker wanted to introduce hydraulic suspension using an undercarriage supplied by the French company Messier.

This choice was in reaction to the less than satisfactory experience with the mechanical suspension on the undercarriage of the Fokker F.XX where servicing was laborious.

Higher take-off weight

It was also Fokker's idea to equip the aircraft with four Wright Cyclone GR-1820-G engines of 850 hp each, allowing the aircraft to have a maximum take-off weight of 39,685 lb. In the construction of the F.XXXVII it was proposed to save weight by the use of chrome-molybdenum alloy tubing in place of steel. Because the aircraft had to attain a higher take-off weight than the F.XXXVI, the wing spars and ribs were strengthened.

A broader front fuselage section was introduced together with hydraulically-actuated flaps that operated in conjunction with the lowering of the undercarriage. The normal baggage space in the wing was omitted. Fokker took offence at Plesman's criticisms of the F.XXXVII and its limited fuel capacity which resulted in an increase in range of only 60 miles.

The cockpit layout and windscreen had to be altered to compete effectively with the DC-2.



This resulted in the pilots' seats being placed side by side instead of behind each other. In his offer to KLM, Fokker said he would build eight aircraft and deliver them between 1 March and I July 1937, for a unit price of 258,000 guilders.

As with the F.XXXVI, the type designation of the F.XXXVII indicated the maximum number of passengers and crew. As well as 32 passenger seats, the aircraft provided accommodation for five crew members - two pilots, a flight engineer, a radio operator and a steward.

The latter had an electric hot plate at his disposal.

Although Fokker had made this gesture in an effort to revive the fortunes of his commercial aircraft, he did not succeed. The preference at KLM was now definitely for metal aircraft. And because the Douglas company did not stand idle after the success of its DC-2 and developed the DC-3, it was not the F.XXXVII that went into service in 1937, but the new DC-3.