Falcon Models FA724009 German Fieseler Fi 156C Storch Air Ambulance - "KN+NO" (1:72 Scale)
"The peril of the hour moved the British to tremendous exertions, just as always in a moment of extreme danger things can be done which had previously been thought impossible. Mortal danger is an effective antidote for fixed ideas."
- Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel
The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch (stork) was a small German liaison aircraft built by Fieseler before and during World War II, and production continued in other countries into the 1950s for the private market. It remains famous to this day for its excellent STOL performance, and French-built later variants often appear at air shows.
In 1935, the RLM (Reichsluftfahrtministerium, Reich Aviation Ministry) put out a tender for a new Luftwaffe aircraft suitable for liaison, army co-operation (today called Forward Air Control), and medical evacuation, to several companies. Conceived by chief designer Reinhold Mewes and technical director Erich Bachem, Fieseler's entry was by far the most advanced in terms of STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) performance. A fixed slat ran along the entire leading edge of the long wings, while the entire trailing edge, inspired by earlier 1930s Junkers "double-wing" aircraft wing control surface designs, including the ailerons, was a hinged and slotted flap.
In a design feature rare for land-based aircraft, the wings on the Storch could be folded back along the fuselage in a manner not unlike that of the US Navy's F4F Wildcat fighter, allowing it to be carried on a trailer or even towed slowly behind a vehicle. The primary hinge for folding the wing rearwards was located in the wing root, where the rear wing spar met the cabin area. The long legs of the main landing gear contained oil-and-spring shock absorbers that compressed about 450 mm (18 inches) on landing, allowing the plane to set down almost anywhere. In flight they hung down, giving the aircraft the appearance of a very long-legged, big-winged bird, hence its nickname, Storch. With its very low landing speed the Storch often appeared to land vertically, or even backwards, in strong winds from directly ahead.
A total of about 2,900 Fi 156s, mostly Cs, were produced from 1937 to 1945 at the Fieseler Factory in Kassel. In 1942, the production started in the Morane-Saulnier factory at Puteaux in France. Due to the demand for the Bf 109 and the Fw 190, the Storch production was shifted to the Leichtbau Budweis in Budweis in 1943.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale German Fieseler Fi 156C Storch air ambulance.
Length: 5-1/4 inches
Wingspan: 7-3/4 inches
Release Date: July 2013
Historical Account: "Air Ambulance" - As with many Emergency Medical Service (EMS) innovations, treating patients in flight originated in the military. The concept of using aircraft as ambulances is almost as old as powered flight itself. Although balloons were not used to evacuate wounded soldiers at the Siege of Paris in 1870, air evacuation was experimented with during the First World War. The first true Air Ambulance flight was made when a Serbian officer was flown from the battlefield to hospital by a plane of the French Air Service. French records at the time indicated that the mortality rate of the injured was reduced from 60% to just under 10% if they were evacuated by air.
The first recorded British ambulance flight took place in 1917 in Turkey when a soldier in the Camel Corps who had been shot in the ankle was flown to hospital in a de Havilland DH9 in 45 minutes. The same journey by land would have taken some three days to complete. In the 1920s several services, both official and unofficial, started up in various parts of the world. Aircraft were still primitive at the time, with limited capabilities, and the effort received mixed reviews.
Exploration of the idea continued, however, and France and the United Kingdom used fully organized air ambulance services during the African and Middle Eastern Colonial Wars of the 1920s. In 1920, the British, while suppressing the "Mad Mullah" in Somalialand, used an Airco DH.9A fitted out as an air ambulance. It carried a single stretcher under a fairing behind the pilot. The French evacuated over 7,000 casualties during that period. By 1936, an organized military air ambulance service evacuated wounded from the Spanish Civil War for medical treatment in Nazi Germany. The first use of medevac with helicopters was the evacuation of three British pilot combat casualties by a US Army Sikorsky in Burma during WW2, and the first dedicated use of helicopters by U.S. forces occurred during the Korean War, between 1950 and 1953. The French used light helicopters in the First Indochina War. While popularly depicted as simply removing casualties from the battlefield (which they did), helicopters in the Korean War also moved critical patients to hospital ships after initial emergency treatment in field hospitals.
Knowledge and expertise of use of air ambulances evolved parallel to the aircraft themselves. By 1969, in Vietnam, the use of specially trained medical corpsmen and helicopter air ambulances led U.S. researchers to determine that servicemen wounded in battle had better rates of survival than motorists injured on California freeways. This inspired the first experiments with the use of civilian paramedics in the world. The US military recently employed UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to provide air ambulance service during the Iraq War to military personnel and civilians. The use of military aircraft as battlefield ambulances continues to grow and develop today in a variety of countries, as does the use of fixed-wing aircraft for long-distance travel, including repatriation of the wounded. Currently, a NATO working group is investigating unpiloted aerial vehicles (UAVs) for casualty evacuation.