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Typenumber Fokker Super Universal
Type of aircraft
Country U.S. 1928
Crew 1
Number of passengers 6
Wingspan 15.44 m
Lenght 11.15 m
Height 2.72 m
Enginetype Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp
420 hp
Cruise speed 190 km/h
Max take-off weight 2391 kg
Range 1100 km
Empty weight 1270 kg
Fokker Super Universal (U.S.)

Fokker Super Universal in service for the Japan Air Transport Co. This company imported 10 Super Universals in 1929. Later, these aircrafts were build in licence by the Japanese Nakajima aircraftfactory. The first aircrafts were delivered in 1931 and till 1936 a total of 47 planes were build

The prototype of the Super Universal with the originalUniversal undercarriage

A Super Universal built in Japan that was flying inChina after the Second World War

Fokkers's top scoring American

The Model 8 Super Universal, launched by Fokker in the U.S.A. in 1927, was a further development of the successful Universal. The Super Universal was slightly larger and could carry six passengers rather than four.

In addition, the aircraft was equipped with a more powerful engine and a wing without struts. Of all the American Fokker types of aircraft, more were built of the Super Universal than any other: 80 in the United States, 15 in Canada under license, and a large number - the exact number is not known - under license in Japan. In total about 200 Super Universals are thought to have been built.

Undoubtedly there would have been even more if there had not been an economic crisis after 1929.



The improved flying 'Jack of all trades' had an enclosed cockpit with a forward-sloping front windscreen as on the F-10.

The aircraft was powered by a 420 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp, and had a longer fuselage and larger wing than the Universal.

The prototype was built at the Teterboro factory and differed somewhat from the later production machines.

Among other things, it was equipped with 'old fashioned' overhanging ailerons as on the Fokker F.II, Fokker F.III and Fokker F.IV.

After completing the prototype, the project was thoroughly reviewed by the designers under the supervision of Bob Noorduyn. This led to the ailerons on production aircraft being relocated within the plan view of the wing. In addition, the profile of the cockpit and fuselage was improved. The undercarriage was also considerably simplified.

The Super Universal was a contemporary of the Fokker F-10 commercial aircraft. However, for the Super Universal, as with the Universal, no 'F' number was used. The original name of the new type was 'Universal Special', but this was soon changed to Super Universal.

The first flight took place in March 1928. Shortly after, the type entered production at a new factory in Glendale. Sales in America went extremely well: 80 aircraft were laid down and Fokker went in search of more factory space. The Super Universal remained in production until January 1931.


The first production machine, named 'Virginia', was used by Admiral Richard E. Byrd as a reconnaissance and rescue aircraft for his Antarctic Expedition in 1928. In October that year, the aircraft journeyed by ship to Dunedin in New Zealand and thence, with other equipment, to Camp Little America in Antarctica where it arrived on 27 January 1929.

On completion of successful test flights, the Virginia made a two hour flight to Rockefeller Range for scientific purposes. On board were Bernt Balchen, pilot; June, radio operator; and Gould, geologist. Heavy snow storms lasting several days made the return flight impossible.

On 15 March wind gusts of over 100 mph tore the Virginia from her anchoring. The aircraft was blown overland for more than two-thirds of a mile,


ending up inverted on the ice, leaving the Virginia impossible to fly.

Four days later a Fairchild FC-2W2 aircraft, also part of the expedition, landed to pick up the crew.

The Super Universal was abandoned on the ice. Byrd did however retrieve the engine, cockpit instrumentation and other useful equipment during a subsequent expedition. In January 1988, almost 60 years later, a New Zealand newspaper announced that a scientific expedition from that country had found the Virginia.

The aircraft was held fast in the ice by its tail and part of the wing. It appeared that the local terrain was very rough and too adverse for a salvage operation without excessive expenditure.


The Super Universal caught the attention of a number of airlines and, from 1928 onwards, Fokker made deliveries to customers such as Midcontinental Air Express, Standard Airlines, National Park Airways and Universal Airlines. These operators were kept busy not only with passengers but also with air mail contracts.

This led to the Super Universal playing an important role in the development of mail transport in the United States and Canada. There was also interest from the U.S. military. The American Navy tested the Super Universal under the naval designation XJA-1, although in the end no order was placed. This did not affect the success of the aircraft though and Fokker received export orders from Colombia, Argentina, South Africa and Japan.

With the Universal having sold in Canada, Anthony Fokker anticipated a large market there for the Super Universal also. Because his factories in the U.S.A were full to capacity handling domestic orders, he proposed to Western Canada Airlines (WCA) in 1928 that it should be Fokker's agent in Canada and produce the Super Universal under license. WCA decided to go along with this idea but subcontracted the licensed production to Canadian Vickers in Montreal, a subsidiary of the well-known Vickers company in Britain.


This was not an entirely surprising move as the chairman of WCA was also a director of Canadian Vickers. One year later, Canadian Vickers received its first orders from the Canadian Air Force, International Airways and General Airways.

The Canadian prototype flew in the spring of 1929. The Canadian version differed from the American Super Universal in a variety of ways.

The Canadians added a second cabin door on the starboard side and installed a larger fuel tank and improved the electrical system. They also strengthened the fuselage and equipped the aircraft with floats. Their experiments with using a Bristol engine appear, however, to have been unsuccessful.

Not all the changes achieved the desired result. The empty weight for example, rose by 220 lb which was not attractive to customers.

Canadian Vickers also had to contend with production delays and this led to Canadian sales lagging far behind those of the U.S.

Added to this, the economic depression following upon the stock exchange crisis in 1929, had an unfavorable effect on sales figures. Consequently, a number of unsold Super Universals were stored and sold at bargain prices in 1934.


The Super Universal was also introduced in Japan, initially with aircraft being shipped as bulk components and assembled there. Then, as the performance of the aircraft was well received, the Nakajima Hikoki KK Company acquired the license rights.

Once more there was some adaptation of the design to meet local requirements. This included the 450 hp Bristol Jupiter, also license-built in Japan, being installed but later replaced by the Japanese Nakajima Kokobuti engine of 460 hp.

Nakajima's Super Universal production line started up in September 1930 and the first aircraft was delivered in March 1931. Manufacture then continued until October 1936 by which time Nakajima had built - as far as can be determined - some 47 aircraft. In addition, licensed production of the Fokker transport was also taken up by Okta Manufacturing, Manchu Airplanes and Tokyo Airplanes. The aircraft built in Japan were used for both civil and military roles with some remaining in operation until after the Second World War.


The first military Super Universals were introduced into service following Japan's occupation of Manchuria in 1931 when the Japanese forces took over seven Super Universals from the Japan Air Transport Co.

The military were very impressed with the aircraft and in 1932 the Army decided to acquire its own Super Universals.

The first Army aircraft to be delivered was a flying ambulance fitted with two stretchers and three seats. This was followed by an order for 20 aircraft to be used for training pilots, gunners, bomb aimers and wireless operators.

The Japanese Navy also ordered 20 Super Univerals, these being designated C2N1 when used for land-based operations and C2N2 when fitted with floats.

The naval aircraft were provided with a larger cabin and were used on reconnaissance and transport duties. There was a further military version, the K3M, but little is known of this.