Anthony FokkerAnton ‘Anthony’ Fokker, also known as ‘The Flying Dutchman’, was born on 6 April 1890 in the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia. When he was four years old, the Fokker family moved to the Netherlands. Anthony Fokker dropped out of high school, but he had always been interested in mechanical things. His father sent him to Germany to be trained as a car mechanic, but he ended up learning to build flying machines. At the age of twenty, Fokker built his first aircraft, named ‘Die Spinne’ (The Spider). Two years later, he founded his own aircraft company, called ‘Fokker Aeroplanbau’. Fokker designed a variety of aircraft during the early 1910s, but when World War I broke out in 1914, the German government took control of his company. Soon, Fokker gained fame for building some of the German Air Force’s most successful fighters, including the Fokker Dr.I, which was famously used by the ‘Red Baron’. His company manufactured hundreds of fighters during the war. Fokker was the first to successfully use interrupter gear for the guns on his aircraft, allowing guns to fire through the propeller disk without damaging the propeller blades. After World War I, Fokker moved to the Netherlands and later the United States, where he focused on producing civilian airliners. Anthony Fokker died in New York in 1939, due to complications after sinus surgery and pneumococcus meningitis. He was 49 years old.
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