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Messerschmitt Cars

Messerschmitt Cars - 1956 Messerschmitt KR200 Kabinenroller Pictures of Messerschmitt Cars from car shows, car museums and classic car auctions across the U.S.

Messerschmitt Cars Picture Gallery

1958 Messerschmitt KR200 Cabrio1958 Messerschmitt KR200 Cabrio 1958 Messerschmitt KR200 Cabrio Cops and Rodders Car Show March 20, 2010 - Atlanta, Georgia Photo By: Douglas Wilkinsonby Douglas
1955 Messerschmitt KR2001955 Messerschmitt KR20019,000.00 USDOffered For Sale By: Kruse International 5540 County Rd 11A Auburn, IN 46706 Phone: 800-968-4444 Email: info@kruse.com Website: www.kruse.com Date: November 7-9, 2008 1955 Messerschmitt KR200 Bubble Clear Top. Zero miles on a fresh nut and bolt restoration. Everything restored to like new condition. 5 year project. 4 speed, has reverse, runs excellent. Refurbished 1 cyclinder motor with new crank, bearings, rings, and clutch. Original side panels. Sold on bill of sale. Lot #735 Sold: 19,000by Douglas
1955 Messerschmitt KR-2001955 Messerschmitt KR-200 1955 Messerschmitt KR-200 Photo By: Douglas Wilkinson Location: The Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver, Colorado.by Douglas
1956 Messerschmitt KR200 Kabinenroller1956 Messerschmitt KR200 Kabinenroller30,800.00 USD1956 Messerschmitt KR200 Kabinenroller RM Auctions Automobiles of Amelia Island Collector Car Auction Amelia Island, Florida March 13, 2009 AUCTION RESULTS: Lot 125 - Sold at a price of $30,800 10 hp, 191 cc Sachs two-stroke single-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission – forward and reverse, independent torsilastic rubber suspension, cable-operated mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 82" This Messerschmitt KR200 was restored quite some time ago. Although it is presentable, it does show signs of aging. It is painted a teal shade of blue with a yellow vinyl interior and runs on whitewall tires. The canopy has a few cracks, and some of the moldings are lifting off the body, although it is believed some of the trim may be original. It could be used as is or serve as the basis for a more extensive restoration. The small car category is quickly becoming a must-have addition to any eclectic collection, and this delightful Messerschmitt is no exception.by Douglas
1957 Messerschmitt KR 200 Microcar1957 Messerschmitt KR 200 Microcar 1957 Messerschmitt KR 200 Microcar Photo By: Douglas Wilkinson Location: Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, Tennesseeby Douglas
1956 Messerschmitt KR-1751956 Messerschmitt KR-17544,000.00 USD1956 Messerschmitt KR-175 Auction Sale Price: $44,000 Barrett-Jackson Car Auction, Scottsdale, AZ, January, 2010, Lot Number: 5w This is a fine example of post World War II engineering by the Messerschmitt Aircraft Company. Created by aeronautical engineer Fend Flitzer, the car, first produced in 1953 created quite a stir as nothing quite like it had ever been seen before. Powered by a Fitchel & Sachs 174cc 9hp motor, the KR-175 is quite capable of cruising at 50mph. This KR-175 has been completely restored and just about everything in the car is new and refurbished. Mechanically the vehicle starts, runs and shifts remarkably well. The cockpit has ample room for 2 and is a flat out show stopper, when making an appearance. Equipped with a 4-speed transmission, including a rare reverse gear and optional electric start. The frame is precision steel tubular construction with a Plexiglas hood which opens to admit the driver and passenger. Gauges and electric controls are all in good working condition.by Douglas
1955 Messerschmitt Three-Wheeded Car1955 Messerschmitt Three-Wheeded Car 1955 Messerschmitt Three-Wheeded Car Photo By: Douglas Wilkinson Location: The Tupelo Automobile Museum in Tupelo, Mississippi.by Douglas
1957 Messerschmitt1957 Messerschmitt 1957 Messerschmitt Car Show: Moonshine Cruiz-In Location: Hiawassee, Georgia Date: August 14, 2009 Photos by Douglas Wilkinson 1 Cylinder Sachs 191cc Air-Cooled Engine 9.9 horsepower 62 mph top speed 56 mpg Length: 9 feet, 4 inches Width: 4 feet, 1 inch Weight: 506 lbsby Douglas

Messerschmitt Cars

For many years following World War II, Messerschmitt AG, the German aircraft manufacturer, was prohibited from building airplanes. The company turned to other pursuits, one of which was the production of kits for building prefabricated houses, using aluminum alloy techniques derived from the aircraft industry. In 1952, they were approached by aircraft engineer Fritz Fend, who had designed a three-wheel invalid carriage. Fend built about 250 of these Fend Flitzers through 1951, many of which were purchased by able-bodied people as simply minicar transport.

Fend's deal with Messerschmitt called for assembly at Messerschmitt's factory in Regensburg, Germany, with the vehicles carrying the Messerschmitt name. The first model was the KR175, the KR signifying kabinenroller or "enclosed scooter" and 175 for the metric displacement of its two-stroke engine. It featured tandem seating and an acrylic bubble canopy that tilted sideward for entry and exit.

In 1955, an improved model, the KR200, was introduced. This had a 10-hp Fichtel and Sachs 191 cc two-stroke engine, an improved canopy and revised suspension. To reverse, the engine was merely re-started in the other direction, which provided four speeds backward as well as forward. That year a modified KR200 was run for 24 hours at the Hockenheimring race track, setting 22 international records for three-wheel vehicles. More than 60,000 were built through 1964, by which time the fortunes of Europeans had improved to the point that minicars of this type were no longer popular. Messerschmitt had returned to the aircraft business in 1956 and lost interest in the kabinenrollers, so later assembly was carried out by Fend's own company, Fahrzeug- und Maschinenbau GmbH.

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Messerschmitt - Vikipedi

Messerschmitt AG, daha sonra Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB), özellikle Bf 109 ve Me 262 gibi uçaklar başta olmak üzere II. Dünya Savaşı avcı uçaklarının üreticisi olan Alman firması. Firma savaş sonrası hayatta kaldı ve bir dizi birleşme ve DASA tarafından 1989 yılında satın alınmadan önce ismi Messerschmitt olarak değiştirildi, şu anda EADS'ın bir parçası.

Hükümet yetkilileri Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (BFW)'nin, kâr etmeyen Otto-Flugzeugwerke üzerinden kurulmasında büyük yararları olmuştur,1916 yılının şubatında, güney Almanya'daki mühendislik firması MAN AG ve bazı bankalar, uçak üreticisi Otto-Flugzeugwerke'yi satın aldılar. Firmanın bina ve mülkleri üzerinde yatırımcılar yeni bir iş kurdular: Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG.

Şirket sözleşmesi 19 ve 20 Şubatta hazırlandı ve 2 Mart 1916 tarihinde tamamlandı. 7 Mart 1916 tarihinde şirketin detayları Ticaret Sicilinde 1,000,000 RM (Reich Mark) sermaye ile kaydedildi. Sermayenin %36'sı Bank für Handel und Industrie, Berlin, %30'u MAN AG ve %34'ü Hermann Bachstein, Berlin şeklinde bölündü. İlk genel müdürü daha önce Albatros Flugzeugwerke'de çalışan Peter Eberwein oldu.

Acil uçak üretimi gereksinimi yüzünden, geliştirme iine zaman yoktu bu yüzden BFW, Albatros Flugzeugwerke lisansı altında uçak üretimine başladı. Bu, hazırlıkların bir ay içinde tamamlanmasından sonra Prussia ve Bavyera Savaş Bakanlıklarına uçak tedarik etmeye başlayabilecekleri anlamına geliyordu. Ancak başlangıçta büyük kalite problemleri ile karşılaşıldı. Alman havacılık mürettebatları, BFW'nin ilk makinelerinde beliren ciddi noksanlardan sık sık şikayetçiydiler. Aynı şey Gustav Otto tarafından iletyilen önceki şirkette de yaşanmıştı. Bu eksikliklerin nedeni üretimdeki hassasiyetsizlikti. İşgücünün büyük çoğunluğu BFW tarafından Otto Flugzeugwerke'den alınmıştı. 1916'nın sonlarında sadece organisazyondaki değişiklikler ve montaj hattında yapılan yoğun denetim bu sorunların çözülmesini sağladı. Bu yapılanlarla BFW ilerleyen aylarda 3000 kişilik bir işgücü ile ayda 200 uçak üreten, Bavaria'da en büyük uçak üreticisi oldu.

Savaşın bitmesi ve uçaklara karşı askeri talepin bitmesi BFW'yi şiddetli sarstı. Böylece şirket yönetimi pazardaki yerini korumak için yeni ürünler aramaya zorlandı. I. Dünya Savaşı sırasında uçakalar ağırlığı hafif tutmak için ağaçtan yapılmaktaydı ve BFW oldukça eski marangoz teçhizatlarına sahipti. Ve şirket hala 200 uçak çıkartacak materyale ve 4.7 milyon reichmarka sahipti. Bu nedenle gerek hammadeyi gerekse teçhizatı mobilye ve mutfak montajı için kullanmak iyi bir fikir olarak göründü. Ek olarak 1921 yılının başlarından itibaren, şirket kendi tasarımı olan Flink ve Hellios adlı motorsikletleri üretmeye başladı.

1921 sonbaharımda Avusturyalı finansçı Camillo Castiglion BFW'yi satın almakla isteğini ilk kez duyurdu. Birçok hissedar Castiglioni'nin teklifini kabul ederken, MAN AG başlangıçta hissedarlığını korudu. Fakat Castiglioni tüm hisseleri satın almak istedi ve MAN'ın genel müdürüne yazdığı bir mektupta BFW'yi "ölmüş, söz bile edilemeyecek tesislere sahip, endüstriyel faaliyetler için favori olmayan bir şehire hiç de uygun olmayan ahşap saclardan yerleşmiş geniş bir döküntü ve coşku için çok az umut ve olayla devam eden bir statüye sahip bir şirket" olarak tanımlayan BMW'nin genel kurul başkanı Franz Josef Popp tarafından destekleniyordu. Görünüşe göre Popp Castiglioni ile hala yakın temastaydı ve belki de sonraki planların başında BMW'nin BFW ile birleşmesi geliyordu. Büyük olasılıkla 1922 yılının ilkbaharında Castiglioni ve Popp, MAN'ı BFW üzerindeki hisseleri konusunda ikna etti, böylece şirket sadece Castiglioninin sahibi olduğu bir hal aldı. Aynı yılın mayıs ayında, İtalya doğumlu yatırımcı BMW'nin motor işlerini Knorr-Bremse AG'den kazandı ve uçak firması BFW ile motor üreticisi BMW'nin birleşmesi arasında bir şey kalmadı.

Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aircraft Works-Bavyera Uçak İşleri), kısaca BFW, 1926 yılında Augsburg, Bavyera'da, Udet-Flugzeugbau GmbH limited şirkete dönüşünce reforma uğradı. İlk başlarda BMW AG şirketteki hisselerine bağlı olarak şirketi tuttu ve denetim kurulunda bulunan Josef Popp tarafından temsil edildi.[1]

Willy Messerschmitt, 1927 yılında şirkete şef tasarımcı ve mühendis olarak katıldı ve bir tasarım birimi oluşturdu. Kendi deyimiyle "hafif ağırlıklı konstrüksiyon" adını verdiği genellikle farklı yatakların tek bir güçlendirilmiş kalkan şeklinde birleştiği bir konsept sözü verdi. Konseptin ilk gerçek testi daha sonra birçok defa rekorlar kaydedecek Bf 108 Tayfun spor uçağıydı. Bu performansa dayanarak şirket Luftwaffe için bir tasarımda bulunması isteğiyle 1935 avcı yarışmasında davet edildi ve aynı tasarım metoduna sahip Bf 109 ile yarışmayı kazandı.

Münih'deki Deutschen Museum'da bulunan bir Bf 109E

Bu noktadan sonra Messerschmitt, tasarımları kadar politik yapısı ve Güney Almanyadaki fabrikasının, Kuzey sahillerindeki kümelenmiş havacılık tarlalarından uzak olduğu kadar güçlü bir şekilde Nazi partisinin favorilerinden biri oldu. BFW, 11 Temmuz 1938 tarihinde Messerschmitt AG olarak ve Willy Messerschmitt'in yönetiminde olacak şekilde yeniden yapılandırıldı. RLM Uçak Tanımlama Sistemindeki Bf öneki , Me şeklinde değiştirildi. Bf 109 ve Bf 110 gibi var olan modeller resmi dökümanlarda eski isimleri ile kalmasına karşın yeni modellerde yeni kodlama kullanıldı. Pratikte 108'den 163'e (Me-163 ile aynı uçak değil) bütün BFW/Messerschmitt Bf önekini kullandılar, sonraki bütün yeni modeller ise Me ön ekini kullandı.

Savaş sırasında Messerschmitt başlıca tasarım tedarikçisi oldu, Bf 109 ve Bf 110 savaşın ilk yarısı boyunca avcı gücünün muazzam çoğunluğunu oluşturdu. Devasa irilikteki Me 321 Gigant nakliye planörü ve altı motorlu Me 323 gibi birkaç farklı tasarım siparişi verildi. Bununla birlikte savbaşın ikinci yarısında Messerschmitt tamamen jet motorlu tasarımlara yöneldi ve Dünyanın ilk operasyonel jet avcı uçağı Me 262 Schwalbe 'yi (“Swallow” "Kırlangıç") üretti. Ayrıca DFS ( Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug- Alman Planör Uçuşu Araştırma Enstitüsü) tasarımı olan ve ilk roket güçlü tasarımı Me 163 Komet 'i üreterek hizmete soktu.

Messerschmitt, 110'un bir sonraki modeli olan Me 210, gibi şirketi neredeyse dağılmaya götürecek kadar felaket etkisi yaratan kötü tasarımlara da sahipti. Tasarım problemleri en sonunda Me 410 Hornisse 'da görüldü fakat sadece birkaç tane yapılmıştı ve bütün hepsi 262'ye çevirildi. Savaşın sonlarında Messerschmitt ayrı ağır bir "Amerikabomber" tasarımı üzerinde çalıştı, Me 264, prototip formunda uçtu ama savaşı görmek için çok geç kalmıştı.

Model İsim İlk uçuş Açıklamalar
Bf 108 Taifun (Typhoon) 1934 trainer & transport
Bf 109 Eylül, 1935 avcı,av bombardıman, Me 109'un bir sonraki modeli
Bf 110 12 Mayıs 1936 çift motorlu ağır avcı uçağı, gece avcısı
Me 155 üretilmedi yüksek irtifa avcı uçağı, Bf 109'dan geliştirildi, üretilmedi ve proje Bv 155 olarak Blohm + Voss devredildi
Bf 161 ağır avcı uçağı ; prototip
Bf 162 Jaguar 1937 schnellbomber (hızlı bombacı) Bf 110 üzerine kuruldu
Bf 163 STOL keşif uçağı; prototipi Weserflug AG tarafından yapıldı
Me 163 Komet 1941 başları roket motorlu av önleme uçağı
Me 209 1 Ağustos, 1938 Dünya hız rekorunu kırmak üzere tasarlandı avcı uçağına dönüştürme denemesi başarısız oldu
Me 209-II 1943 avcı uçağı; geliştirilmiş Bf 109, asla üretilmedi
Me 210 Eylül, 1939 iki motorlu avcı uçağı; ayrıca keşif amaçlı kullanıldı
Me 261 Adolfine 1941 uzun menzil rekoru yapmak için üretildi; üretilen üç adedi keşif amaçlı kullanıldı
Me 262 Schwalbe (kırlangıç) 18 Temmuz, 1942 iki motorlu av ve saldırı uçağı ; kullanılan ilk jet motorlu avcı uçağı
Me 263 asla uçurulmadı roket itişli önleme uçağı; Me 163'ün güçlü bir şekilde geliştirilmesi
Me 264 Amerika (America) 23 Aralık, 1942 stratejik bombardıman uçağı, Amerika Bomber program adı altında geliştirildi
Me 265 üretilmedi saldırı uçağı, teklif edildi
Me 309 Temmuz, 1942 avcı uçağı ; Me-109 yerine konulmak üzere geliştirilmiş fakat düşük performans vermiştir
Me 310 1 adet üretildi baınçlı kabine sahip geliştirilmiş Me 210, teklif edildi
Me 321 7 Mart, 1941 Büyük nakliye planörü
Me 323 Gigant (dev) Düştü, 1941 Büyük nakliye uçağı; Me 321'den geliştirilerek güçlendirildi
Me 328 Düştü, 1943 pulsejet-güçlü selbstopfer veya parazit avcı uçağı
Me 329 ağır avcı bombardıman ;
Me 334 kuyruksuz avcı uçağı, Me 163 benzeri (geliştirme durduldu)
Me 409 Zwilling (Twin) ağır avcı uçağı; iki Me 209 gövdesinin bir iskelette birleştirilmesiyle elde edildi, Me 109Z ve Heinkel He 111Z benzeri(geliştirme durdurldu)
Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet) 1943 Çift motorlu ağır avcı uçağı ve hızlı bombardıman uçağı; Me 210'un geliştirilmiş modeli
Me 509 üretilmedi Me 309 üzerine kurulu avcı uçağı, fighter, motor P-39 Airacobra'daki gibi kokpitin hemen arkasına yerleştirilmiştir
Me 510 üretilmedi çift motorlu avcı bombardıman uçağı; Me 410 türevi
Me 600 Bussard (Buzzard) ender, Arthur Sack A.S.7V-1 için yapılmış geçici tasarım
Me 609 ağır avcı uçağı; iki Me 309 gövdesinin bir iskelette birleştirilmesiyle elde edildi Me 109Z ve Me 409 benzeri (geliştirme durdurldu)
P.1101 uçmadı prototip swing-wing jet önleme uçağı; Bell X-5 e esin kaynağı oldu
  1. ^ BMW Historical Archives www.BMWgroup.com

tr.wikipedia.org

Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe

    Meanwhile in England, Frank Whittle and his startup Power Jets Limited was finally receiving the support he needed from the Air Ministry and on May 15, 1941, the first British jet aircraft, the Gloster E.28/39, officially took to the air. In Germany however, the RLM decided in 1940 to concentrate on Projekt P.1065 involving the more advanced axial straight-flow turbojet engine. Although a straight-flow compressor would allow greater speeds than the centrifugal reverse-flow engine, the axial jet engine was much more difficult to perfect.2 The British were also experiencing problems with their axial-flow engine, the Metropolitan-Vickers F.2, which required more time to develop.

This was the first Me 262 to come into Allied hands after Messerschmitt test pilot Hans Fay defected on March 30, 1945. It was subsequently lost in August 1946 after the USAAF test pilot parachuted to safety.

    There is a myth about the Messerschmitt Me 262 that the delayed deployment of the aircraft was due to Hitlers insistence that the Me 262 be produced as a super-speed bomber. The compressor and turbine of jet engines are very complicated with delicate components operating under high physical forces. More than any other reason for the delay was due to the shortage of engines. Metal temperatures within an engine can reach as high as 1,800 F (982 C) and there was a shortage of needed metals such as nickel, cobalt and molybdenum. Today we use titanium for compressor blades and high percentages of cobalt, nickel and chromium alloys for exhaust turbines, to withstand the extreme temperatures and stresses produced by jet engines.3 Although the metallurgy was understood at the time, the alloys just weren't available in sufficient quantities in Germany for its jet engine program. The required alloys needed to be imported. This was difficult to accomplish with the ongoing war, making the alloys in short supply. In consequence, series production engines had to be built with simple metals instead. The combustion chambers were made from mild sheet steel with an aluminum coating4 and since the heat resistance of these alloys was below what was required, the average life span of production engines was 25 hours. Overhauls were required after 10 hours.5 If the alloys had been available as required, this would have greatly extended engine life. Test engines built with the required alloys lasted up to 150 hours in actual flight tests and up to 500 hours on the test stand.6

    The Me 262 design process had begun in 1939 and since the turbojet engines werent ready, the first Me 262V1 prototype had a 700 hp (520 kW) piston Junkers Jumo 210G engine installed on the nose for flight tests.7 The first flight was on April 18, 1941 and although underpowered, the handling was very good requiring only minor changes to the elevator system. With the arrival of the BMW 003 turbojet engines, the Me 262V1 prototype flew on November 25, 1941. It was decided to keep the Junkers Jumo 210G engine on the nose for safety reasons and as it turned out, it was fortunate that they did. Just after takeoff, both turbojet engines failed and if not for the piston engine on the nose, the flight would have ended in disaster. The airplane just barely made it back to the airport. It wasnt until eight months later on July 18, 1942 that the first true turbojet flight was made with Junkers Jumo 004A-0 engines. These engines delivered 1,850 lbf (8.23 kN) thrust and were installed on the Me 262V3 prototype.8

There was a version of the Me 262 that towed a bomb on a wooden wing but, the idea was dropped as being too dangerous.

    On April 22, 1943, General Lieutenant Adolph Galland flew the V4 prototype (this was still the tail dragger version) and the next day Herman Gring was given a demonstration flight and he enthusiastically received the fighter. However, still no production orders were allowed. On November 26, 1943, an Me 262V6 with a fully retractable nose landing gear and improved Jumo 004 B engines was demonstrated before Hitler. Hitler now became very enthusiastic about the airplane, but to the dismay of everyone else, he envisioned it as a super-speed bomber. When approached by the Fhrer, Willey Messerschmitt being the trooper that he was, ensured him that the airplane could be turned into a bomber and basically told Hitler what he wanted to hear, in the hopes that idea would pass. Production on the aircraft finally proceeded, but when a production conference was held on May 23, April 1944, Hitler was told by the Secretary of State for Aviation, Erhard Milch, that the aircraft was being built exclusively as a fighter. Hitler had been pinning his hopes on using the Me 262 as a super-speed bomber as a defensive measure against the Allied invasion of France. Hitler knew that the invasion was imminent and his strategy was partly dependent on using the Me 262 to bomb invading forces.9 When told that the Me 262 would not be available as a bomber, Hitler was outraged. He forbade any mention of the airplane as a fighter and on July 8, 1944, Hitler made the famous Fhrer-Befehl ordering that the initial production of Me 262s be limited to bomber aircraft. This may have delayed production six months, but the crucial factor was still the engines.10 It wasnt until November 4, 1944 that Hitler relented that the plane could be built as a fighter but he insisted that it be able to carry at least one 250 kg bomb.

    Thirteen pre-production aircraft had been built by April 1944 and the Me 262 went into production in May 1944. Initial production began as the Me 262A-1a which carried an armament of four nose-mounted 30 mm. Mk. 108 cannons and was powered by Jumo 004 B-1, B-2 or B-3 engines. The fastest variant was the pre-production V12 which was specially streamlined and reached a speed of 624 mph (1,004 km/h).11

    To satisfy Hitlers requirement for a super-speed bomber, The Me 262A-2a Sturmvogel (Stormbird) was built with bomb pylons capable of carrying either two 250 kg or 5000 kg bombs or one 1,000 kg bomb. Two upper Mk. 108 cannons were removed to make way for the bomb site. With bombs installed, this reduced the airspeed by 120 mph (193 km/h) bringing it within the speed of Allied piston-engine fighters until the bombs were dropped.12 There was even another version that towed a bomb on a wooden wing attached to a 20 ft. (6 m) pole underneath the fuselage, but this created porpoising of the aircraft and the idea was dropped as being too dangerous.13

    Armament typically consisted of four 30 mm. Mk 108 cannons mounted in the nose. The Me 262 A-1a/R1 version carried a total of twenty-four R4M rockets on the wings in its role as an interceptor and was very effective against Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses. Four Me 262A-1a were modified to carry a single 50 mm Mk 214 cannon which extended almost 7 feet beyond the nose of the plane, but the blinding flash and smoke from the barrel limited the effectiveness of the cannon.

Four Me 262A-1a were modified to carry a single 50 mm Mk 214 cannon, but smoke from the barrel limited the effectiveness of the cannon.

    Although faster than any other fighter, over 100 Me 262s were destroyed by P-51s and P-47s of the US 8th and 9th Air Force and 20 were destroyed by Tempests and several more by Spitfires. However, the Me 262 claimed a total of 542 Allied victories for a ratio of 5:1. On March 18, 1945, Me 262 fighter units were able, for the first time, to mount large scale attacks on Allied bomber formations. 37 Me 262s of Jagdeschwder 7 (JG 7) intercepted a force of 1,221 bombers and 632 escorting fighters. This action also marked the first use of the new R4M rockets. The high explosive warhead of only one or two of these rockets was capable of downing a B-17. They shot down 12 bombers and one fighter for the loss of three Me 262s.

    The Me 262's top ace was probably Hauptmann Franz Schall with 17 kills which included six four-engine bombers and ten P-51 Mustangs. Night fighter experten Oberleutnant Kurt Welter claimed 25 Mosquitos and two four-engine bombers shot down by night and two additional Mosquitos by day, while flying the Me 262. Another Me 262 experten was Oberstleutnant Heinrich Br, who claimed 16 enemy aircraft.

    A total of 1,433 Me 262s were produced by the end of the war, 500 of which were destroyed by bombing raids before being completed. On August 17, 1943, the Messerschmitt plant in Regensburg was bombed by the US Eighth Air Force and some 400 employees were killed and many of the Me 262 compiled resources needed to start production were destroyed. The bombing showed that the design bureau in Augsburg was in jeopardy and the bureau was moved to Oberammergau in the Bavarian Alps delaying production several months.14 Fewer than 300 Me 262s were actually used in combat.

    At the end of the war, German production of the Me 262 ceased operations, but a production line of Me 262s that had been previously set up in in Prague, Czechoslovakia was restarted. Twelve aircraft were built by Avia by the Czechoslovak Air Industry in two variants. Nine were completed as the single-seat S-92 and three as the two-seat version CS-92. They were operated by the Czechoslovak Air Force until 1951. Both versions are on display at the Prague Aviation Museum in Kbely.

    Captured Me 262s were studied and flight tested by the Allied powers and had much influence on the designs of a number of post-war aircraft such as the North American F-86 Sabre, Republic F-84, Mig 15 and Hawker Hunter.

    Recently, several privately built flying reproductions were produced by the Me 262 Project. The project was started with the Texas Airplane Factory and administered by Classic Fighter Industries.

www.aviation-history.com

Messerschmitt - Wikipedia

Messerschmitt AG (German pronunciation: [ˈmɛsɐʃmɪt]) was a German aircraft manufacturing corporation (AG) named after its chief designer Willy Messerschmitt and known primarily for its World War II fighter aircraft, in particular the Bf 109 and Me 262. The company survived in the post-war era, undergoing a number of mergers and changing its name from Messerschmitt to Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm before being bought by Deutsche Aerospace (DASA, now part of Airbus) in 1989.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

In February 1916, the south German engineering company MAN AG and several banks purchased the unprofitable aircraft builder Otto-Flugzeugwerke, starting a new company, Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (abbreviated B.F.W.[1]). The articles of association were drawn up on February 19 and 20, and completed on March 2, 1916. Details of the company were recorded in the Commercial Register with an equity capital of RM 1,000,000 on March 7, 1916. 36% of the capital was provided by the Bank für Handel und Industrie, Berlin, 30% by MAN AG and 34% by Hermann Bachstein, Berlin. The first Chairman of the Board of Management was Peter Eberwein, who had previously been employed at Albatros Flugzeugwerke.

Due to the need for immediate aircraft production for the ongoing war, there was no time for development work and BFW manufactured aircraft under licence from Albatros Flugzeugwerke. Within a month of being set up, the company was able to supply aircraft to the war ministries of Prussia and Bavaria. However, major quality problems were encountered at the start. The German air crews frequently complained about the serious defects that appeared in the first machines from BFW. The same thing had happened with the aircraft from the predecessor company run by Gustav Otto. It was only organizational changes and more intensive supervision of the assembly line that succeeded in resolving these problems by the end of 1916. BFW then started turning out over 200 aircraft a month, with their workforce growing to 3,000 and becoming one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in Bavaria.

The end of the war hit BFW hard, since military demand for aircraft collapsed. The company's management were forced to look for new products with which to maintain their position in the market. Since World War I aircraft were largely built from wood to keep their weight down, BFW was equipped with the very latest joinery plant. What is more, the company still held stocks of materials sufficient for about 200 aircraft, and worth 4.7 million reichsmarks. It therefore seemed a good idea to use both the machinery and the materials for the production of furniture and fitted kitchens. In addition, from 1921 onwards, the company manufactured motorcycles of its own design under the names of Flink and Helios.

In the autumn of 1921, Austrian financier Camillo Castiglioni first announced his interest in purchasing BFW. While most of the shareholders accepted his offer, MAN AG initially held on to its shareholding in BFW, but Castiglioni wanted to acquire all the shares. He was supported in this by BMW's Managing Director Franz Josef Popp who, in a letter to the chairman of MAN, described BFW as a "dead factory, which possesses no plant worth mentioning, and consists very largely of dilapidated and unsuitable wooden sheds situated in a town that is extremely unfavorable for industrial activities and whose status continues to give little cause for enthusiasm". Apparently Popp was still in close contact with Castiglioni and was perhaps even privy to the latter's plans for merging BMW with BFW. It was probably in the spring of 1922 that Castiglioni and Popp persuaded MAN to give up its shares in BFW, so that now the company belonged exclusively to Castiglioni. Then, in May of the same year, when the Italian-born investor was able to acquire BMW's engine business from Knorr-Bremse AG, nothing more stood in the way of a merger between the aircraft company BFW and the engine builders BMW.

Reestablishment[edit]

Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFW) (Bavarian Aircraft Works) was reformed in 1926, in Augsburg, Bavaria, when Udet Flugzeugbau GmbH was changed into a joint-stock company. In the early stages, BMW AG held a stake in this company and was represented by Josef Popp, who held a place on the Supervisory Board.[2]

Willy Messerschmitt joined the company in 1927 as chief designer and engineer and formed a design team.

One of the first designs, the Messerschmitt M20, was a near-catastrophe for the designer and the company. Many[citation needed] of the prototypes crashed, one of them killing Hans Hackmack, a close friend of Erhard Milch, the head of Deutsche Luft Hansa and the German civil aviation authorities. Milch was upset by the lack of response from Messerschmitt and this led to a lifelong hatred towards him. Milch eventually cancelled all contracts with Messerschmitt and forced BFW into bankruptcy in 1931. However, the German re-armament programs and Messerschmitt's friendship with Hugo Junkers prevented a stagnation of the careers of him and BFW, which was started again in 1933. Milch still prevented Messerschmitt's takeover of the BFW until 1938, hence the designation "Bf" of early Messerschmitt designs.

Messerschmitt promoted a concept he called "light weight construction" in which many typically separate load-bearing parts were merged into a single reinforced firewall, thereby saving weight and improving performance. The first true test of the concept was in the Bf 108 Taifun sports aircraft, which would soon be setting all sorts of records. Based on this performance the company was invited to submit a design for the Luftwaffe's 1935 fighter contest, winning it with the Bf 109, based on the same construction methods.

From this point on Messerschmitt became a favorite of the Nazi party, as much for his designs as his political abilities and the factory location in southern Germany away from the "clumping" of aviation firms on the northern coast. BFW was reconstituted as "Messerschmitt AG" on July 11, 1938, with Willy Messerschmitt as chairman and managing director. The renaming of BFW resulted in the company's RLM designation prefix changing from "Bf" to "Me" for all newer designs that were accepted by the RLM after the acquisition date. Existing types, such as the Bf 109 and 110, retained their earlier designation in official documents, although sometimes the newer designations were used as well, most often by subcontractors, such as Erla Maschinenwerk of Leipzig.[citation needed] In practise, all BFW/Messerschmitt aircraft from the Bf 108 four-seat touring monoplane, to the Bf 163 light observation aircraft (which competed unsuccessfully for the government contract won by the rival Fieseler Fi 156 design) were prefixed "Bf", all later types with "Me".

World War II[edit]

During the war Messerschmitt became a major design supplier, their Bf 109 and Bf 110 forming the vast majority of fighter strength for the first half of the war. Several other designs were also ordered, including the enormous Me 321 Gigant transport glider, and its six-engined follow on, the Me 323. However, for the second half of the war, Messerschmitt turned almost entirely to jet-powered designs, producing the world's first operational jet fighter, the Me 262 Schwalbe ("Swallow"). They also produced the DFS-designed Me 163 Komet, the first rocket-powered design to enter service. Messerschmitt relied heavily on slave labour to produce much of the parts needed for these aircraft during the second half of World War II; these parts were assembled in an enormous underground tunnel system in Sankt Georgen an der Gusen, Austria. Slave labour was provided by inmates of the brutal KZ Gusen I and Gusen II camps, and by inmates from nearby Mauthausen concentration camp, all located near the St. Gorgen quarries. 40,000 inmates from Spain, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, France, Russia, Hungarian Jews and twenty other nationalities were murdered during the production of these aircraft at KZ Gusen. Messerschmitt officials maintained barracks at the concentration camp to oversee the work being done by the inmates. Messerschmitt, and its executive Willy Messerschmitt also occupied the famed Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic, designed by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich in the 1920s; the Messerschmitt aircraft factory office and the Gestapo occupied the property during the war.

Messerschmitt had its share of poor designs as well; the Me 210, designed as a follow-on to the 110, was an aerodynamic disaster that almost led to the forced dissolution of the company. The design problems were eventually addressed in the Me 410 Hornisse, but only small numbers were built before all attention turned to the 262. Later in the war, in competition with the Junkers Ju 390 and the unbuilt, February 1943-initiated Heinkel He 277, Messerschmitt also worked on a heavy Amerika Bomber design, the Me 264, which flew in prototype form — with three prototype airframes built, the first of which flew in December 1942 — but was too late to see combat.

Post-war[edit]

For ten years after World War II, the company was not allowed to produce aircraft. One alternative the company came up with was the three-wheeled motorcycle/bubble car or Kabinenroller (cabinscooter) KR175 / KR200, designed by an aircraft engineer, Fritz Fend.[citation needed]

The cars were actually made by Fend's own company in the Messerschmitt works at Regensburg, and Willy Messerschmitt had very little to do with the vehicles other than ruling that they carried his name. Production of the KR200 ceased in 1964.[citation needed]

The Messerschmitt factory also produced prefabricated houses, which were designed as "self-building-kits" mainly based on an alloy frame work.[citation needed]

Return to aviation[edit]

On 6 June 1968, Messerschmitt AG merged with the small civil engineering and civil aviation firm Bölkow, becoming Messerschmitt-Bölkow. The following May, the firm acquired Hamburger Flugzeugbau (HFB). The company then changed its name to Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB). In 1989 MBB was taken over by DASA. DASA later operated as "EADS Germany", which is now Airbus.[3]

Aircraft[edit]

Model Name First flight Remarks
M17 January, 1925 sports aircraft
M18 1926 passenger transport
M19 1927 sports aircraft
M20 1928 passenger transport
M21 1928 prototype biplane trainer
M22 1928 prototype biplane medium bomber
M23 early 1928 sports aircraft
M24 1929 passenger transport
M26 1930 prototype light aircraft
M27 1930 sports aircraft
M28 January, 1931 prototype mail-plane
M29 1932 sports/racing aircraft
M31 1932 sports aircraft
M35 1933 sports aircraft developed from M23
M36 1934 passenger transport
Bf 108 Taifun (Typhoon) 1934 trainer & transport
Bf 109 September, 1935 fighter, bomber interceptor; later versions sometimes mistakenly marked as "Me 109" on subcontractor's dataplates
Bf 110 12 May, 1936 twin-engine heavy fighter, night fighter
Me 155 not built high-altitude fighter, developed from Bf 109; not built, project transferred to Blohm + Voss as the Bv 155
Bf 161 1938 reconnaissance aircraft; prototype
Bf 162 Jaguar 1937 schnellbomber (fast bomber) based on Bf 110
Bf 163 19 February, 1938 STOL reconnaissance aircraft; prototype built by Weserflug AG, lost military contact to Fieseler Fi 156 Storch
Me 163 Komet (Comet) early 1941 rocket-powered interceptor
Bf 165 1937 long-range bomber project
Me 208 improved and enlarged version of Bf 108
Me 209 1 August, 1938 designed to break world air speed record; attempted fighter conversion failed
Me 209-II 1943 fighter; update to Bf 109, never produced
Me 210 September, 1939 twin-engine heavy fighter; also used for reconnaissance
Me 261 Adolfine 1941 designed as long-range record-setter; three built and used for reconnaissance
Me 262 Schwalbe (Swallow) 18 July, 1942 twin-engine fighter & attack aircraft; first operational jet-powered fighter
Me 263 never flown rocket-powered interceptor; advanced development of Me 163
Me 264 Amerika (America) 23 December, 1942 strategic bomber, developed under Amerika Bomber program in competition against Ju 390 and unbuilt He 277
Me 265 not built attack aircraft, proposed
Me 309 July, 1942 fighter; advanced but underperforming design meant to replace Me 109
Me 310 1 built pressurized Me 210 development, proposed
Me 321 7 March, 1941 large transport glider
Me 323 Gigant (Giant) Fall, 1941 large transport aircraft; powered development of Me 321
Me 328 Fall, 1943 pulsejet-powered selbstopfer or parasite fighter
Me 329 not built heavy fighter-bomber; unpowered glider only
Me 334 tailless fighter, similar to Me 163 (development abandoned)
Me 409 High-altitude fighter project; evolved into Bv 155
Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet) 1943 twin-engine heavy fighter and fast bomber; development of Me 210
Me 509 not built fighter, based on Me 309, with engine located behind cockpit as in P-39 Airacobra
Me 609 heavy fighter; combined two Me 309 fuselages into one airframe, as with Bf 109Z and Me 409 (development abandoned)
P.08-01 not flown prototype
P.1079 not flown 1939 long-range pusher bomber design
P.1092 not flown prototype
P.1095 not flown prototype multi-role aircraft
P.1099 not flown prototype multi-role aircraft, intended improvement of Me 262
P.1101 not flown prototype swing-wing jet interceptor; later inspired Bell X-5
P.1106 not flown intended improvement of P.1101
P.1110 not flown high altitude interceptor prototype
P.1111 not flown fighter/interceptor prototype
P.1112 not flown prototype tailless jet fighter; later inspired Vought F7U Cutlass

Other types of aircraft[edit]

Missiles[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

en.wikipedia.org

Messerschmitt Me 262 Jet Fighter in World War II

Messerschmitt Me 262 - Specifications (Me 262 A-1a):

General

  • Length: 34 ft. 9 in.
  • Wingspan: 41 ft.
  • Height: 11 ft. 6 in.
  • Wing Area: 234 sq. ft.
  • Empty Weight: 8,400 lbs.
  • Loaded Weight: 15,720 lbs.
  • Crew: 1

Performance

  • Power Plant: 2 x Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojets, 8.8 kN (1,980 lbf) each
  • Range: 652 miles
  • Max Speed: 541 mph
  • Ceiling: 37,565 ft.

Armament

  • Guns: 4 x 30 mm MK 108 cannons
  • Bombs/Rockets: 2 x 550 lb. bombs (A-2a only), 24 x 2.2 in. R4M rockets

Origins:

Though best remembered as a late-war weapon, design of the Messerschmitt Me 262 began prior to World War II in April 1939. Spurred by the success of the Heinkel He 178, the world's first true jet which flew in August 1939, the German leadership pressed for the new technology to be put to military use. Known as Projekt P.1065, work moved forward in response to a request from the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM - Ministry of Aviation) for a jet fighter capable of at least 530 mph with a flight endurance of one hour. Design of the new aircraft was directed by Dr. Waldemar Voigt with oversight from Messerschmitt's chief of development, Robert Lusser. In 1939 and 1940, Messerschmitt completed the initial design of the aircraft and began building prototypes to test the airframe.

Design & Development:

While the first designs called for the Me 262's engines to be mounted in the wing roots, issues with the power plant's development saw them moved to pods on the wings.

  Due to this change and the increased weight of the engines, the aircraft's wings were swept back to accommodate the new the center of gravity. Overall development was slowed due to continued issues with the jet engines and administrative interference.  The former issue often was a the result of the necessary high-temperature resistant alloys being unavailable while the latter saw notable figures such as Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, Major General Adolf Galland, and Willy Messerschmitt all oppose the aircraft at different times for political and economic reasons.

Additionally, the aircraft that would become the world's first operational jet fighter received mixed support as many influential Luftwaffe officers who felt that the approaching conflict could be won by piston-engine aircraft, such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109, alone. Originally possessing a conventional landing gear design, this was changed to a tricycle arrangement to improve control on the ground.

On April 18, 1941, the prototype Me 262 V1 flew for the first time powered by a nose-mounted Junkers Jumo 210 engine turning a propeller. This use of a piston engine was the result of ongoing delays with the aircraft's intended twin BMW 003 turbojets. The Jumo 210 was retained on the prototype as a safety feature following the arrival of the BMW 003s. This proved fortuitous as both turbojets failed during their initial flight, forcing the pilot to land using the piston engine. Testing in this manner continued for over a year and it was not until July 18, 1942, that the Me 262 (Prototype V3) flew as "pure" jet.

Streaking above Leipheim, Messerschmitt test pilot Fritz Wendel's Me 262 beat the first Allied jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor, into the skies by about nine months. Though Messerschmitt had succeeded in out-pacing the Allies, its competitors at Heinkel had first flown their own prototype jet fighter, the He 280 the previous year.

  Not backed by the Luftwaffe, the He 280 program would be terminated in 1943. As the Me 262 was refined, the BMW 003 engines were abandoned due to poor performance and replaced by the Junkers Jumo 004. Though an improvement, the early jet engines possessed incredibly short operational lives, typically lasting only 12-25 hours. Due this issue, the early decision to move the engines from the wing roots into pods proved fortuitous. Faster than any Allied fighter, production of the Me 262 became a priority for the Luftwaffe. As a result of Allied bombing, production was distributed to small factories in German territory, with around 1,400 ultimately being built.

Variants:

Entering service in April 1944, the Me 262 was used in two primary roles. The Me 262 A-1a "Schwalbe" (Swallow) was developed as a defensive interceptor while the Me 262 A-2a "Sturmvogel" (Stormbird) was created as a fighter-bomber.

The Stormbird variant was designed at Hitler's insistence. While over a thousand Me 262s were produced, only around 200-250 ever made it to frontline squadrons due to shortages in fuel, pilots, and parts. The first unit to deploy the Me 262 was Erprobungskommando 262 in April 1944. Taken over by Major Walter Nowotny in July, it was renamed Kommando Nowotny.

Operational History:

Developing tactics for the new aircraft, Nowotny's men trained through the summer of 1944, and first saw action in August. His squadron was joined by others, however only a few of the aircraft were available at any given time. On August 28, the first Me 262 was lost to enemy action when Major Joseph Myers and Second Lieutenant Manford Croy of the 78th Fighter Group shot one down while flying P-47 Thunderbolts. After limited use during the fall, the Luftwaffe created several new Me 262 formations in the early months of 1945.

Among those becoming operational was Jagdverband 44 led by the famed Galland. A unit of select Luftwaffe pilots, JV 44 began flying in February 1945. With the activation of additional squadrons, the Luftwaffe was finally able to mount large Me 262 assaults on Allied bomber formations. One effort on March 18 saw 37 Me 262s strike a formation of 1,221 Allied bombers. In the fight, the Me 262s downed twelve bombers in exchange for four jets. While attacks such as this frequently proved successful, the relatively small number of available Me 262s limited their overall effect and the losses they inflicted generally represented a tiny percentage of the attacking force.

Me 262 pilots developed several tactics for striking Allied bombers. Among methods preferred by pilots were diving and attacking with the Me 262's four 30mm cannon and approaching from a bomber's side and firing R4M rockets at long range. In most cases, the Me 262's high speed made it nearly invulnerable to a bomber's guns. To cope with the new German threat, the Allies developed a variety of anti-jet tactics. P-51 Mustang pilots quickly learned that the Me 262 was not as maneuverable as their own planes and found that they could attack the jet as it turned. As a practice, escorting fighters began flying high over the bombers so that they could quickly dive on German jets.

Also, as the Me-262 required concrete runways, Allied leaders singled out jet bases for heavy bombing with the goal of destroying the aircraft on the ground and eliminating its infrastructure. The most proven method for dealing with the Me 262 was to attack it as it was taking off or landing. This was largely due to the jet's poor performance at low speeds. To counter this, the Luftwaffe constructed large flak batteries along the approaches to their Me 262 bases. By war's end, the Me 262 had accounted for 509 claimed Allied kills against approximately 100 losses. It is also believed that an Me 262 flown by Oberleutnant Fritz Stehle scored the final aerial victory of the war for the Luftwaffe.

Postwar:

With the end of hostilities in May 1945, the Allied powers scrambled to claim the remaining Me 262s. Studying the revolutionary aircraft, elements were subsequently incorporated into future fighters such as the F-86 Sabre and MiG-15.

In the years after the war, Me 262s were used in high speed testing. Though German production of the Me 262 ended with the conclusion of the war, the Czechoslovak government continued building the aircraft as the Avia S-92 and CS-92. These remained in service until 1951.

Selected Sources

www.thoughtco.com

Bouncing Clouds - Flying the Messerschmitt Bf-109 > Vintage Wings of Canada

 

Flying the Messerschmitt Bf-109E - by Rob Erdos, Vintage Wings of Canada

“Achtung Spitfire”, I heard in a ridiculous German accent.  I smiled.  The voice was my own.  My head swivelled within the tight confines of the Bf-109 cockpit, looking for the attacker.  There it was, above and behind, waiting to pounce upon me from out of the sun!  This particular “Spitfire” (pronounced Schpitfire)looked like an unassuming summer cumulus cloud, but I turned to meet the attack nonetheless.  An intense and terrifying dogfight ensued, as the Bf-109 twisted and turned to pursue the advantage.  The enemy was cunning, but within minutes a particular southern Ontario cumulus cloud had been reduced to wispy shreds, and I had gained a much better understanding of the renowned Messerschmitt Bf-109.

May 2008 found me at Niagara South airfield, the base of the Russell Aviation Group, operators of the pristine and lovely Bf-109E, registered C-FEML, and at that time the only “Emil” flying in the world.  In addition to the Messerschmitt, Russell Aviation operates a Spitfire Mk IX and Hurricane XII.  The air display season was fast approaching, and the Russell folks needed maintenance test flights performed on all of their aeroplanes.  As a happy outcome of my work with Vintage Wings of Canada, I was already familiar with the British fighters.  The Messerschmitt was new to me, but I understandably relished the opportunity to sample the flying qualities of the “other side” of the Battle of Britain.  It’s a single-seater.  You check yourself out.  With the concurrence of the nice folks at Russell Group, I went to work.

The cockpit of the Bf-109 was a tight fit, even in comparison to the snug dimensions of the Spitfire cockpit.  The seating position was semi-reclined, indicating either that Dr. Messerschmitt appreciated the importance of g-tolerance, or that he was trying hard to reduce my frontal area.  As an outcome of both the reclined seating position and being tightly wrapped by the airframe, the forward field of view was nearly non-existent; a characteristic unfortunately common to this vintage of fighters.  In stark comparison to the semi-random layout of British cockpits of this era, the Bf-109 instrument panel was arrayed in a thoughtful, almost modern manner.  That was when my eyes caught upon the instruments:  the airspeed indicator was labelled in kilometers per hour, oil pressure in “kilograms per square centimetre”, power was indicated in “ATA”.  An apparently important instrument, devoid of other markings read, “Luftschraube Stellungsanzeige”.  Hmm.  This was getting interesting. 

Returning to the cockpit with my German-English dictionary and a calculator, I took note of the controls.  The small control stick fell comfortably to hand, although full displacement seemed to use most of the space in the cockpit.  The pedals, oddly situated more ahead than below me in the reclining cockpit, incorporated a metal strap for negative ‘g’ restraint.  The throttle was a small stub mounted on the left cockpit sidewall.  A larger throttle would have hit my thigh as I advanced it.  I scowled at the tailwheel locking mechanism mounted beneath the canopy rail directly under my left elbow.  I had already knocked that lever several times, but I mustn’t do it again.  Performing a take-off or landing with the tailwheel unlocked was guaranteed to have an unpleasant outcome.  Wearing a parachute and helmet, I tried to close the heavy side-hinged canopy, finding that it rested atop my helmet with about two inches to spare before closing.  I am 5 feet 9 inches tall.  The helmet was reluctantly left behind.  Have I mentioned that the cockpit was tight?

 Luftwaffe ground crew swarm a Messerschmitt Bf-109 on the ground in Europe during World War Two

Russell Group ground crew swarm a Messerschmitt Bf-109 on the ground in Ontario during the Friendly Foes Above the Falls Air Show. Photo: Unkown

Notable in their absence were any further engine controls.  Mixture was automatic.  The propeller control was truly unusual, consisting of a rocker switch mounted on the inside of the throttle lever.  The switch manually controlled the pitch of the propeller, via an electric motor mounted on the engine crankcase, and indicated on a clock-like instrument.  (Aha!  I think I know what “Luftschraube Stellungsanzeige” must mean!)  I could hardly believe the implications of this installation:  the Bf-109E had only a controllable pitch propeller.  It did not have a propeller governor!  I would have thought automated propeller speed control essential for an aeroplane with a 400 knot speed range.  Indeed, such systems were fitted to later Bf-109 variants.  I noticed that this particular aeroplane incorporated a small electrical switch on the floor, marked “Prop:  Auto/Manual”, but it was wired to the Manual position.  I was later told that this aeroplane never flew operationally with the system operative.  The lack of propeller governing aroused my suspicions about the workload associated with dogfighting in the aeroplane.  

The most innovative and interesting feature in the cockpit were two large concentric wheels situated on the left sidewall, aft of the throttle.  The outer wheel actuated the flaps and inner wheel controlled the pitch trim by changing the incidence of the horizontal stabilizer.  Since the flaps inevitably affect the pitch trim, the pilot could ostensibly maintain trim during flap deployment by actuating both wheels simultaneously.  An ingenious mechanism within the wing allowed the ailerons to droop for further lift as the flaps reached full extension.  The wings incorporated roughly half-span leading edge slats.  These actuated independently under the influence of aerodynamic and inertial forces.  In all, this was a very complicated wing, and one designed to squeeze as much lift as possible from each square foot of area.  That’s good because another thing became evident about the Bf-109’s wing:  there wasn’t much of it.  The wing loading of the Bf-109E was almost 50% higher than the Spitfire.  This too would be factor in air combat performance, and I would need to keep it in mind if I were ever attacked by a cumulus cloud.

Once my preparations were complete and all requisite German-English translations were made, it was time to go flying.  Starting the rare Daimler-Benz DB601 engine was relatively straight forward, although the staccato note of the powerplant initially took me by surprise.  I have always found something reassuring in the deep sonorous thrum of the Merlin; a sound akin to standing behind a dozen self-satisfied tenors.  The Daimler engine, by comparison, struck me as clattering and harsh, more like a barrel full of hammers rolling down a staircase.  I flashed a look of concern at the Russell Group’s Chief Engineer, Gerry Bettridge.  His cheerful grin seemed to confirm that this cacophony was not unusual.

The beautifully ugly working end of the Bf-109E, the only flying “Emil” in the world. Noise and stink were not the only things to come out of the Daimler-Benz DB601 engine - it also spewed a thumping heavy stream of 20 mm cannon rounds. The single high-performance cannon (or 'shell-gun', as sometimes referred in the 1930s) fired through the cylinder banks via a blast tube, with the engine buffering the recoil. The brutally simple design concept dealt with protruding bits by letting them hang in the slipstream and just fairing over them.  Photo: John Latimer, Velocity Photograhy

Taxiing is the Messerchmitt’s opportunity to get you alone and to whisper a warning in your ear.  There is a grotesquely high download on the tailwheel in the Bf-109; a situation made evident by the requirement for full rudder, hard braking, forward stick and a blast of power to effect a turn.  Try that in a Spitfire and the propeller will chew dirt!  While odd, it at least gave reassurance that even aggressive braking would be unlikely to result in a nose-over.  Unfortunately it also meant that the center of gravity was very far aft of the main wheels.  That is not a good thing.  Recalling my misadventures in once trying to steer a shopping cart backwards down a hill, I made a mental note that the tail might try to pass me during the landing.  

The geometry of the undercarriage is perhaps the most unusual feature of the Bf-109.  A digression is in order to appreciate how its characteristics would manifest themselves during take-off or landing.  Some sources claim that between 15-25% of the Bf-109s ever built were damaged or destroyed during take-off or landing accidents.  I find this a remarkable figure for a combat aeroplane – especially one that served on the losing side of the war!  Most contemporary histories of the Bf-109 attribute this to the narrow undercarriage track, however this misses the point.  (The Spitfire’s undercarriage is just as narrow, and it doesn’t have any of the Bf-109’s quirks.  It has its own quirks – but that’s another story.)  Dr. Messerschmitt faced a challenge in the design of his first fighter.  In the interest of simplifying transport and repair of the aeroplane, it was designed with the undercarriage attached to the fuselage, such that the wings could be completely removed with the aeroplane resting on its wheels.  The undercarriage struts were attached to a complicated forging at the firewall aft of the engine mount.  The narrow width of the fuselage structure necessitated installing the undercarriage legs splayed outwards.  This feature became the aeroplane’s Achilles heel.

Another advantage of main gear design was that because landing gear, retracting through roughly an 85º angle, was attached to the fuselage, it was possible to completely remove the wings of the aircraft for major servicing without the need for additional equipment to support the fuselage. It also meant that the wing structure was able to be simplified through not having to carry the weight of the aircraft and not having to bear the loads imposed during takeoff or landing. However, this had one major drawback - the wheels had to be splayed outwards and this created an extreme tendency to ground loop and/or collapse. Photo via Rob Erdos

Imagine that you have a bicycle wheel in your hands.  Roll the wheel with the axle parallel to the ground.  It goes straight.  Now roll the wheel such that the axle is not parallel to the ground.  The wheel turns.  Let’s return to the Bf-109.  Both of the tires are mounted “crooked”, rolling with a camber angle of about 25°.  Consequently both wheels want to turn inwards under the aeroplane.  When the aeroplane is rolling with an equal download on both wheels, symmetry prevails; both wheels fight to a stand-off, and the aeroplane rolls straight.  Now imagine that something causes the download on the wheels to momentarily become unequal.  In that case the rolling friction of the tires becomes uneven and the turning tendency of the “heavy” tire asserts itself.  What might do this?  Well, crosswinds.  Or torque from engine power.  However, the most dangerous culprit is turning.  With the aeroplane’s centre of gravity situated high above the tires, a swerve will set loose large centrifugal forces that cause the aeroplane to try to roll over the tires.  This is true of any aeroplane, but in this scenario the unusual camber of the Bf-109’s tires creates strong directional instability, requiring a different type of control strategy for take-offs and landings.  Tight heading control or aggressive tracking of the runway centerline can set off abrupt directional divergence.  Better for the pilot to relax, merely dampen heading changes, and accept small heading errors.  Funny, I didn’t feel relaxed.  

On a sunny day in the Niagara region, the Russell Group Bf-109 awaits her pilot. Photo: John Latimer, Velocity Photograhy

These thoughts ran through my mind as I taxied for take-off at the Niagara South airfield.  “Don’t fight with the aeroplane.  Accept any heading you get and roll straight”, I told myself as I took position for take-off.  The Daimler engine responded by growling at me, as I applied a final stab of power to turn onto the runway centerline.  Okay, pause.  I checked that the flaps were set to 20°, set the trim to one degree UP, set the propeller pitch to “11:30” on the weird clock indicator, and then locked the tailwheel.  Then I checked the tailwheel lock.  Then I double checked.  Looking straight ahead I took note of the 3-point attitude:  completely blind, save for two small strips of horizon visible at the edges of the windscreen.  Mentally noting the 3-point attitude wasn’t enough.  I would need to quickly re-establish this view when it came time to land, so I took out my secret weapon.  Using a black grease pencil I drew the meagre horizon line on the inside of the windscreen.  

I opened the throttle slowly.  Directional control authority quickly felt quite positive, although I recalled my commitment to use it judiciously.  A fairly strong push on the stick was required to gently lift the tail as the airspeed passed 60 km/hr; an act that was further destabilizing, however things were quickly improving as the airspeed increased.  With a gentle skip, the Bf-109 became airborne around 110 km/hr.  I retracted the undercarriage and immediately turned into a climbing orbit overhead the airfield while I confirmed that the engine indications were stable.

The Russell Group Bf-109E climbs out. Photo: John Latimer, Velocity Photograhy

The Messerschmitt is a rare bird indeed in a world of rare vintage fighters. Photo: Martin Galloway - Photosports.ca

Power was set at 1.15 ATA (atmospheres of manifold pressure) at the recommended climb speed of 250 km/hr.  Propeller speed was sensitive to airspeed changes, so a slight pitch reduction was required to stabilize at 2300 RPM.  The Daimler engine sounded much smoother in flight.  My initial impressions of the aeroplane were mixed.  The field of view was poor, necessitating continuous clearing turns in the climb.  The greenhouse canopy structure seemed to be slightly obtrusive no matter where I looked.  Control response in the climb was satisfyingly light and crisp, with good harmony between pitch and roll control forces.  Directional stability was clearly inadequate.  Every roll input required conscious pedal coordination.  The absence of rudder trim proved a considerable annoyance during the protracted climb.  In the interest of “calibrating” my aileron-rudder coordination, I tried a few aggressive roll reversals in the climb and received an unpleasant surprise.  The application of full aileron caused the aeroplane to shudder and buffet in a manner that, to my overactive imagination, seemed like I was receiving machine gun fire.  I rolled level and breathed.  Subsequent investigation showed that the onset of buffet occurred at large aileron displacements, and was associated with a very slight lightening of the aileron control forces and a distinct high-frequency “hammering” in the stick.  I had seen that before.  Aileron stall!  It was becoming clear to me.  Dr. Messerschmitt kindly provided me with powerful mechanical leverage to actuate the ailerons against the aerodynamic forces, and that explained why the stick forces were so pleasantly light.  That is certainly not the case in the Spitfire, where the ailerons stiffen terribly at high speeds.  In the Bf-109 I unfortunately had enough leverage under some conditions to deflect the aileron to the point of airflow separation.  The results were a bit disappointing.  In spite of the light control feel, the roll rate achievable in the Bf-109 was no better than the Spitfire. 

I levelled off above the airfield and went to work.  My test card began with an investigation of the slow flight and stall characteristics, in order to prepare myself early for the eventual landing. 

The power was reduced to just above idle, and the aeroplane decelerated for a clean stall.  I was fascinated to watch as the leading edge slats automatically extended themselves into the airflow.  The effect was smooth and transparent, however I noted that the rate of deceleration increased as the slats extended.  I made note of this effect, intending further investigation during air combat scenarios.  The clean stall occurred at 125 km/hr indicated airspeed, preceded by a 3-5 knot band of mild buffeting.  That’s 68 knots.  I wasn’t sure if I was impressed or skeptical.  The stall was marked by a mild pitch and right roll break; cues so mild that they were hardly inhibiting.  I continued to explore increasing angles of attack until I was happily flying along with full aft stick.  No sweat.  In the clean configuration, the Bf-109 retained its lateral control effectiveness without any tendency to depart - even tolerating mild sideslips at full aft stick.

Next I investigated the stall characteristics in the landing configuration.  The undercarriage and flaps were extended, the power reduced to idle, and a gradual deceleration was performed.  Roll control response became sluggish once the ailerons drooped with full flap selection, and it exhibited considerably more adverse yaw.  Again a mild buffet preceded a gentle pitch break, this time at 88 km/hr.  88 km/hr!?  That’s 47 knots indicated airspeed.  Now I was definitely skeptical.  There was simply no way that this modest wing area was holding this mass of aeroplane aloft at 47 knots.  I recalled the location of the pitot-static probe, mounted close under the left wing, and knew with certainty that it was lying.  Nevertheless, the low-airspeed and stalling characteristics of the Bf-109 were extremely benign and forgiving; a highly desirable characteristic in a fighter.

While the undercarriage and flaps were extended, I took the opportunity to do a few landings – in the clear air at 6000 feet above the airfield.  I did a simulated final turn to parallel the runway and flared to the 3-point attitude, with the objective of “landing” my altimeter exactly at the 6000 foot mark.  The final turn in a fighter typically involves a gradual turning deceleration to the runway.  I found that controlling speed and descent gradient during the turn were hardly demanding, however the forward field of view was gradually disappearing.  No surprise there.  Elevator response was suitably precise to capture the 3-point attitude without difficulty.  Overshoot from the pseudo-landing was easy – at least for a high-performance fighter.  The Bf-109E is powerful, however propeller effects were easily managed.  Chalk up one advantage of having low directional stability. 

Now that I felt I could land it, I was eager to pursue my curiosity about the Bf-109’s qualities as a fighter.  I set cruise power setting (1.0 ATA manifold pressure, 2300 RPM), stabilizing at 415 km/hr at 5500 feet.  That equates to a modest 225 knots indicated airspeed, but it wasn’t my engine.  The aeroplane felt comfortable in cruise, exhibiting weak but positive speed stability, as evidenced by the gentle, progressive elevator forces required to maintain off-trim speeds.  A gentle sustained sideslip gave evidence of both weak directional stability and weak lateral stability, at least by modern standards.  The rudder forces seemed very light.  The sideslip also induced a gentle nose-down pitch response, indicative of possible elevator blanking.  All this talk about weak stability doesn’t imply criticism of its qualities as a fighter.  The flip side of low stability is often high agility.  Nevertheless this wouldn’t be my first choice of an aeroplane for instrument flying. 

The next order of business was to become familiar with manoeuvring the machine.  I performed a wing-over and was immediately reminded of the benefits of propeller speed governing.  Lacking such amenities, the propeller speed on the Bf-109 decayed terribly as the speed reduced, reaching as low as 1600 RPM at the top of the manoeuvre.  The result was a slightly laboured sound from the engine, as it struggled with high torque at low speed.  The effect was not unlike taking your foot off your car’s clutch from a standstill in fifth gear.  Ouch.  Not good for the engine, and not good for performance.  I noted that the peak of the wing-over had been about 1700 feet above my starting altitude.  I repeated the manoeuvre, this time maintaining a constant propeller speed using the rocker switch on the throttle.  The engine sounded happier, if the growling Daimler could be described as “happy”, and this time the top of the manoeuvre managed to achieve 2300 feet of altitude gain.  Clearly any pilot wishing to obtain maximum performance from the Bf-109E would need to carefully regulate propeller speed.  Unfortunately, this draws the pilot’s attention into the cockpit, rather than allowing him to focus outside where the dangers lurk.  I was left wondering whether the young lads who flew the Bf-109E in combat really applied that degree of finesse, or whether the circumstances of combat necessitated cruder engine handling. 

Once familiar with coordination of propeller pitch with speed changes, the Bf-109 and I performed some gentle aerobatics together – strictly for technical investigation, you understand.  Loops were enlightening.  The low directional stability could result in comically large heading variations unless careful rudder coordination was applied.  I was reminded of a long-ago instructor of mine, who remarked upon seeing my aerobatics, “Nice loop.  Now do one to the right.”  It was easily mastered with practice.  Multiple manoeuvres seemed to result in a notable decay in speed, particularly whenever the leading edge slats deployed; a stark contrast to the Spitfire, whose elliptical wings retain energy nicely under sustained ‘g’.  The Messerschmitt was paying the price for its high wing loading. 

It was at this point that I was pounced upon by that dastardly cumulus.  “Fine”, I thought, “let’s see what this aeroplane can do”.  I climbed steeply and turned to bring the guns to bear upon the target.  Field of view through the greenhouse canopy was again a hindrance as I looked over my shoulder to gauge the turn.  The cumulus turned and dove steeply to flee (bear with me for a moment…).  A deflection shot would be required to engage from long range, however the limited field of view down over the nose would make this difficult.  The Bf-109 built speed rapidly in a dive, however the necessity to attend to propeller speed proved a distraction as I closed quickly upon the target.  Pulling out of the dive, I discovered that the Bf-109’s elevators became distressingly heavy at high speed.  I had read wartime accounts of Spitfire pilots taking Bf-109s into steep high-speed dives, knowing that the Bf-109 would be unable to pull out.  This was a convincing demonstration, requiring a two-handed pull to achieve a 3.5 ‘g’ recovery at 450 km/hour.  I flashed past my adversary like it was standing still.  With a gallant salute, I disengaged.  After less than an hour, the fuel gauges were telling me that it was time to return to Niagara South. 

The circuit procedures were familiar from my rehearsals at altitude, but this time it was for keeps.  A standard overhead break was performed, but delayed until well past the upwind end of the runway.  Extension of the flaps required about 30 quarter-turns of the flap wheel; a time-consuming process.  The downwind leg was entered at 200 km/hour, decreasing to 150 km/hour as the undercarriage and flaps were extended.  The numbers on the airspeed indicator seemed high, and I had to keep telling myself that they were “only kilometers”.  From abeam the touchdown point on downwind, a continuous decelerating turn was performed to the flare.  With virtually no forward field of view, a straight-in final approach leg was definitely to be avoided.  I entered the flare at 125 km/hour, maintaining a trickle of power.  I can’t claim to have been completely at ease, but within seconds the wheels began to gently rumble across the grass.  The Bf-109 was home from another mission.

Rob and Emil after landing. Photo via Rob Erdos

Enemies no more. The Russell Group Spitfire closes in on the right wing of their Bf-109E. In a story coming out this winter, Rob relates his impressions after flying both the Spitfire and the Messerschmitt back to back, hopping from one cockpit right into the next - something which has been rarely done if at all. Photo: Martin Galloway - Photosports.ca

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