Frederick Koolhoven 1886-1946


On May 10 1940, the invasion of The Netherlands, German bombers took off to cripple the Dutch airfields. At the airport Waalhaven of Rotterdam, the N.V. Koolhoven Aeroplanes was their first target. The factory was laid in ashes. Airplanes, drawings, documents, photographs, all was lost.

Today Frederick Koolhoven (pronounced: "Coalhoven") and his designs have almost been forgotten, but in its days, with 1200 employees and a well filled order-book, his factory was certainly as important as our 'national pride' Fokker.

The Koolhoven factory in 1938

Koolhoven's work was very innovative and visionary. In 1919, when passenger planes were all converted military planes, he built the B.A.T. F.K.26 'Commercial', the world's first aircraft specifically designed for commercial aviation, or the world's first airliner. His F.K.41 was one of the world's first high winged sportscoupes. The F.K.55, a contra propelled fighter, was unquestionably his most spectacular design.
Some of his designs became a great success, some were failures. Yet, many times these failures possessed features that were far ahead of their time. From Koolhoven's designs nearly 3000 airplanes were built.

Only one original Koolhoven has survived, a B.A.T. F.K.23 'Bantam' which is restored by volunteers of the Koolhoven Aeroplanes Foundation.