Campaign: Albatros Rebuild


Albatros operators seek funds to return aircraft to New Zealand workshop


Operators of a world war one German fighter that crashed in Kent on its return from a Somme commemoration in September have completed an initial assessment of damage and are hoping to return the aircraft to New Zealand for repair early in the New Year. They also hope to return the aircraft to the skies in 2017. 

The aircraft, a Fokker Albatros, was returning from France to Headcorn Aerodrome when engine trouble forced the pilot, Keith Skilling, to bring the aircraft down in a field. The aircraft somersaulted on landing, causing extensive damage to both the top and lower wings as well as the undercarriage. The pilot was unhurt.

Dick Forsythe, Chief Trustee of The World War One Aviation Heritage Trust (WAHT) which operates the Albatros as well as a number of other vintage aircraft, does not underestimate the scale of the challenge: “The ‘closed’ construction of the aircraft makes it difficult to repair, but in an initial assessment by our own engineers in the UK we believe that most of the fuselage is recoverable, as is the engine and the undercarriage.

“The wings, however, will need to be rebuilt, and all of the flying surfaces will need replacing. The v-strut, a modification specific to the DVa variant of the Albatros, will also need to be replaced, and that will be a particular challenge.” 

WAHT is currently in negotiations with the aircraft’s owner to ship the Fokker back to New Zealand in the same container as an SE5a: “Our New Zealand engineering colleagues have the necessary jigs, tooling and spares to effect the repairs,” Dick continues, “as well as the required ‘know-how’ on the Fokker.

“With only limited funds at our disposal, however, we need to raise around £10,000 to send her home and assist with the repairs , and are appealing to the great British Public to help us.”

If you would like to help return the Fokker to the skies over England, contact WW1 AHT at