Doctor takes to the skies in replica of Red Baron’s Fokker aircraft
- Credit: Archant
A former Norfolk GP has taken to the skies in a replica First World War aircraft that took him a decade to build.
Peter Brueggemann took off from Felthorpe airfield in his German Fokker triplane and practised landing at Northrepps airfield, near Cromer.
It is a replica built on the same specifications as the aircraft flown by the pilot Manfred von Richthofen. He was the fighter ace known as the Red Baron who was shot down and died on April 21, 1918, while attempting to defend his cousin.
Dr Brueggemann, who has lived in the UK since 1992 and was a doctor in Holt, finished building the Fokker at a cost of £70,000. He was helped by his friends, his wife Sue, and his children Felix and Lottie.
He said: “The first flight was quite exciting. When you build it you cannot train to fly it because there’s only one seat.
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“For the first half an hour it was quite unstable and it took me that long to learn how to fly it. It’s so powerful and climbs so quickly.
“I went up for about an hour to a height of 3000ft. I made five landings at Northrepps, never got out of the plane, and then flew back to Felthorpe. My family was waiting for me there and were very nervous, wondering where I was.
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“It was absolutely fantastic to fly it. I started the project 10 years ago. When you’re building it you are quite scared to fly it, as you don’t know what to expect.
“I found out what it would have been like to fly it 100 years ago. The maximum speed is about 150mph for a dive, but I kept to between 100 and 110mph.”
Since the launch on Tuesday, August 28, the 55-year-old, from Briston, has flown it about eight times.
He added: “I want to get more experience and fly it in extreme conditions. Next year it will be the 70th anniversary of the Richthofen unit in Germany, and I will fly it over to that, alongside the modern Euro fighter planes.”