“Storch” means stork in English and was designed by Gerhard Fieseler Werke in 1935 as a slow flying liaison aircraft. With its high-lift wings and fixed slots it could take-off and land in less than 200 feet (61m). This fact, along with the very low stall speed (less than 25 mph), means it can take-off and land virtually anywhere. This is what made it extremely useful throughout World War II.
This light aircraft is notorious for a number of important moments in World War 2.
German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, “The Desert Fox”, was flying a Storch throughout the North African Campaign, landing in troubled spots anywhere along the front line to lead the battle. The Storch not only helped him to do his job the best way possible, but also helped the morale of the troops, who were seeing their Field Marshal fighting next to them.
It was a Storch that rescued Italian dictator Mussolini from a hotel atop a mountain peak after Italian partisans captured him toward the end of the war. He was held in a mountain refuge, and Hitler ordered a risky operation to break him out. Given the nature of the mission, it was essential to use a plane that was able to take-off and land on a mountain side.
It was a “Storch” that transported the bomb that was used in the attempt on Hitler’s life in July of 1944.
Less than a year later, during the final days of the war in Europe, famous German woman test-pilot Hanna Reitsch flew a Storch into the heart of besieged Berlin. She landed on a road near the Brandenburg Gate to get last minute instructions from Hitler.
Almost 4000 Storchs were built. During the occupation of France, the Germans set up a Storch factory in Rouen, France and forced the French to build them. After the war, the French found themselves with the tooling, the parts and the knowledge to build them. It was such a great airplane that the French continued to build them during the post-war period.
The plane of the collection was built in France by Morane Saulnier -MS-502 in 1949 with the serial number S/N:204. This plane belonged to 3 different collections, in France, Canada, and the USA, before it was purchased by the Athenian Aviators Collection in 1997.
The colours and numbers found on this plane are identical to the Storch with which the German SS captain Otto Skorzeny rescued the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
This plane has logged 680 hours of flight since production.
Short-field take-off from Tatoi airport
Landing at Tatoi airport
Short flight - Inside cockpit camera