Broken Me 262 Jet Fighters (Part 3)
Test flights continued over the next year, but engine problems continued to plague the project, the Jumo being only marginally more reliable than the BMW Airframe modifications were complete by but, hampered by the lack of engines, serial production did not begin until , and deliveries were low, with 28 Me s in June, 59 in July, but only 20 in August.
Even when the engines were completed, they had an expected operational lifetime of approximately 50 continuous flight hours; most s lasted just 12 hours, even with adequate maintenance. A pilot familiar with the Me and its engines could expect approximately 20—25 hours of life from the s.
Changing a engine was intended to require three hours, but this typically took eight to nine due to poorly made parts and inadequate training of ground crews. Due to their low compression ratios, early turbojet engines developed less thrust at low speed than contemporary propeller powered aircraft, and as a result, low-speed acceleration was relatively poor. This was particularly noticeable in the Me , since early jet engines before the invention of afterburners also responded slowly to throttle changes.
The introduction of a primitive autothrottle late in the war helped only slightly. Used tactically, this gave the jet fighter an even larger speed advantage in climb than in level flight at top speed. Fuel was usually brown coal-derived J2, with the option of diesel oil or a mixture of oil and high octane B4 aviation petrol.
Unit cost for an Me airframe, less engines, armament, and electronics, was RM 87, It was the first victory for a turbojet fighter aircraft in aviation history. Essentially a trials and development unit, it holds the distinction of having mounted the world's first jet fighter operations. Trials continued slowly, with initial operational missions against the Allies in August allegedly downing 19 Allied aircraft for six Me s lost, although these claims have never been verified by cross-checking with USAAF records.
Despite orders to stay grounded, Nowotny chose to fly a mission against an enemy bomber formation flying some 30, feet above, on 8 November He claimed two PDs destroyed before suffering engine failure at high altitude. Robert W. Stevens of the th Fighter Group. It is also possible he was hit by "friendly" flak. By January , Jagdgeschwader 7 JG 7 had been formed as a pure jet fighter wing, although it was several weeks before it was operational. In the meantime, a bomber unit—I Gruppe , Kampfgeschwader 54 KG 54 —had re-equipped with the Me A-2a fighter-bomber for use in a ground-attack role.
However, the unit lost 12 jets in action in two weeks for minimal returns. Galland was able to draw into the unit many of the most experienced and decorated Luftwaffe fighter pilots from other units grounded by lack of fuel. During March, Me fighter units were able, for the first time, to mount large scale attacks on Allied bomber formations.http://wegoup777.online/werebunnies-treasure-book-series-n-5.php
The German Jet Me-262 in 1944: A Failed Opportunity – Part I
On 18 March , 37 Me s of JG 7 intercepted a force of 1, bombers and escorting fighters. They shot down 12 bombers and one fighter for the loss of three Me s. Although a ratio was exactly what the Luftwaffe would have needed to make an impact on the war, the absolute scale of their success was minor, as it represented only one per cent of the attacking force.
Serving with 10 Staffel , Nachtjagdgeschwader 11 , near Berlin, these few aircraft alongside several single-seat examples accounted for most of the 13 Mosquitoes lost over Berlin in the first three months of As the two-seat trainer was largely unavailable, many pilots made their first jet flight in a single-seater without an instructor. Despite its deficiencies, the Me clearly signaled the beginning of the end of piston-engined aircraft as effective fighting machines.
The Me 's top ace [Notes 5] was probably Hauptmann Franz Schall with 17 kills, which included six four-engine bombers and 10 P Mustang fighters, although night fighter ace Oberleutnant Kurt Welter claimed 25 Mosquitos and two four-engine bombers shot down by night and two further Mosquitos by day flying the Me Most of Welter's claimed night kills were achieved in standard radar-less aircraft, even though Welter had tested a prototype Me fitted with FuG Neptun radar.
B G of the th Bombardment Squadron was lost on the mission to Ruhland, Germany on 22 March , it was hit first by Flak, then finished off by an Me Eight of the crew survived as POWs. The Me was so fast that German pilots needed new tactics to attack American bombers.
Therefore, a roller-coaster attack was devised. When they were about 1. Target acquisition was difficult because the jets closed into firing range quickly and remained in firing position only briefly, using their standard attack profile, which proved more effective.
You whack in at your bomber. It was never meant to be a dogfighter, it was meant to be a destroyer of bombers The great problem with it was it did not have dive brakes.
For example, if you want to fight and destroy a B, you come in on a dive. The 30mm cannon were not so accurate beyond meters. So you normally came in at yards and would open fire on your B And your closing speed was still high and since you had to break away at meters to avoid a collision, you only had two seconds firing time. Now, in two seconds, you can't sight. You can fire randomly and hope for the best. If you want to sight and fire, you need to double that time to four seconds. And with dive brakes, you could have done that.
Eventually, German pilots developed new combat tactics to counter Allied bombers' defenses. Me s, equipped with R4M rockets , approached from the side of a bomber formation, where their silhouettes were widest, and while still out of range of the bombers' machine guns, fired a salvo of rockets with Hexogen -filled warheads.
One or two of these rockets could down even the famously rugged B Flying Fortress. Though this tactic was effective, it came too late to have a real effect on the war, and only small numbers of Me s were equipped with the rocket packs. Some nicknamed this tactic the Luftwaffe's Wolf Pack , as the fighters often made runs in groups of two or three, fired their rockets, then returned to base.
On 1 September , USAAF General Carl Spaatz expressed the fear that if greater numbers of German jets appeared, they could inflict losses heavy enough to force cancellation of the Allied bombing offensive by daylight. The Me was difficult for its opponents to counter because its high speed and rate of climb made it extremely hard to intercept. As with all other early jets, the Me 's engines did not provide a lot of thrust at low air speeds a key criterion for good turn performance at low speeds , and throttle response was slow.
Another disadvantage all early jet engines shared was a relatively high risk of flameout if the pilot used the throttle too aggressively as is common in a dogfight. German engineers introduced an automatic throttle regulator later in the war but it only partly alleviated the problem. On the plus side, thrust at high speed was much greater than on propeller-driven aircraft.
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The plane had, by contemporary standards, quite a high wing loading This, coupled with the low thrust at slow speeds and high chance of a flameout if the throttle was worked too aggressively, resulted in Me pilots being told to avoid low speed dogfights with the Allied piston-engine fighters. This problem faces any aircraft that approaches another from behind at much higher speed, as the slower aircraft in front can always pull a tighter turn, forcing the faster aircraft to overshoot. The one above me went into a steep right-hand turn, his pale blue underside standing out against the purple sky.
Another banked right in front of the Me's nose. Violent jolt as I flew through his airscrew eddies.
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Maybe a wing's length away. That one in the gentle left-hand curve! Swing her round. I was coming from underneath, eye glued to the sight pull her tighter! A throbbing in the wings as my cannon pounded briefly. Missed him. Way behind his tail. It was exasperating.
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I would never be able to shoot one down like this. They were like a sack of fleas. A prick of doubt: is this really such a good fighter? Could one in fact, successfully attack a group of erratically banking fighters with the Me ? Luftwaffe pilots eventually learned how to handle the Me 's higher speed, and the Me soon proved a formidable air superiority fighter, with pilots such as Franz Schall managing to shoot down 12 enemy fighters in the Me , 10 of them American P Mustangs.
Other notable Me aces included Georg-Peter Eder , also with 12 enemy fighters to his credit including 9 Ps , Walther Dahl with 11 including three Lavochkin La-7s and six Ps and Heinz-Helmut Baudach with six including one Spitfire and two Ps amongst many others. Pilots soon learned that the Me was quite maneuverable, despite its high wing loading and lack of low-speed thrust, especially if attention was drawn to its effective maneuvering speeds. The controls were light and effective right up to the maximum permissible speed and perfectly harmonized.
Too fast to catch for the escorting Allied fighters, the Me s were almost impossible to head off. Combating the Allied fighters could be effectively done the same way as the U. Allied pilots soon found the only reliable way of dealing with the jets, as with the even faster Me Komet rocket fighters, was to attack them on the ground and during takeoff or landing. Luftwaffe airfields identified as jet bases were frequently bombed by medium bombers , and Allied fighters patrolled over the fields to attack jets trying to land.
The Luftwaffe countered by installing extensive flak alleys of anti-aircraft guns along the approach lines to protect the Me s from the ground—and by providing top cover during the jets' takeoff and landing with the most advanced Luftwaffe single-engined fighters, the Focke-Wulf Fw D and just becoming available in Focke-Wulf Ta H. Hubert Lange, a Me pilot, said: "the Messerschmitt Me 's most dangerous opponent was the British Hawker Tempest — extremely fast at low altitudes, highly-manoeuvrable and heavily-armed.
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They did not intercept the jet, but instead flew towards the Me and Ar base at Rheine-Hopsten. Adolf Busemann had proposed swept wings as early as Messerschmitt researched the topic from Interest in high-speed flight, which led him to initiate work on swept wings starting in , is evident from the advanced developments Messerschmitt had on his drawing board in While the Me HG I actually flight tested in had only small changes compared to combat aircraft, most notably a low-profile canopy tried as the Rennkabine literally "racing cabin" on the Me V9 prototype for a short time to reduce drag, the HG II and HG III designs were far more radical.
Messerschmitt also conducted a series of flight tests with the series production Me The resulting steepening of the dive would lead to even higher speeds and the airframe would disintegrate from excessive negative g loads. The Soviets ran similar tests. No one tried to exceed the Mach limit established by Messerschmitt. This claim is disputed because it is only based on Mutke's memory of the incident, which recalls effects other Me pilots observed below the speed of sound at high indicated airspeed, but with no altitude reading required to determine the actual speed.
Furthermore, the pitot tube used to measure airspeed in aircraft can give falsely elevated readings as the pressure builds up inside the tube at high speeds. Finally, the Me wing had only a slight sweep, incorporated for trim center of gravity reasons and likely would have suffered structural failure due to divergence at high transonic speeds.
About 1, Me s were produced, but a maximum of were operational at the same time. They destroyed about enemy planes, but the Allies destroyed about Me s in the air. Through the end of February to the end of March , approximately 60 Me s were destroyed in attacks on Obertraubling and 30 at Leipheim ;  the Neuberg jet plant itself was bombed on 19 March Large, heavily protected underground factories were constructed to take up production of the Me , safe from bomb attacks, but the war ended before they could be completed.
Wings were produced in Germany's oldest motorway tunnel at Engelberg to the west of Stuttgart. Many Me s were found in readily-repairable condition and were confiscated. Both the Soviets and Americans desired the technology to serve as a basis for their own jet fighters. During testing, the Me was found to have advantages over the early models of the Gloster Meteor.
It was faster, had better cockpit visibility to the sides and rear mostly due to the canopy frame and the discoloration caused by the plastics used in the Meteor's construction , and was a superior gun platform, as the early Meteors had a tendency to snake at high speed and exhibited "weak" aileron response.
The Me apparently has a higher critical Mach number , from a drag standpoint, than any current Army Air Force fighter. It was used for performance comparisons against the P During testing between May and August , the aircraft completed eight flights, lasting four hours and 40 minutes.
Testing was discontinued after four engine changes were required during the course of the tests, culminating in two single-engine landings. The F, designed by engineer Edgar Schmued , used a slat design based on the Me Avia S , Kbely museum. From August , a total of nine Ss and three two-seater CSs were completed and test flown. They were introduced in and in were supplied to the 5th Fighter Squadron, becoming the first jet fighters to serve in the Czechoslovak Air Force.
These were kept flying until ,  when they were replaced in service by more advanced jet fighters of Soviet origin. Both versions are on display at the Prague Aviation museum in Kbely. In January , the American Me Project , based in Everett, Washington, completed flight testing to allow the delivery of near-exact reproductions of several versions of the Me including at least two B-1c two-seater variants, one A-1c single seater and two "convertibles" that could be switched between the A-1c and B-1c configurations.
All are powered by General Electric J85 engines and feature additional safety features, such as upgraded brakes and strengthened landing gear. The "c" suffix refers to the new J85 powerplant and has been informally assigned with the approval of the Messerschmitt Foundation in Germany  the Werk Number of the reproductions picked up where the last wartime produced Me left off — a continuous airframe serial number run with a 50 year production break. Flight testing of the first newly manufactured Me A-1c single-seat variant Werk Number was completed in August The first of these machines Werk Number went to a private owner in the southwestern United States, while the second Werk Number was delivered to the Messerschmitt Foundation at Manching, Germany.
This aircraft conducted a private test flight in late April , and made its public debut in May at the ILA The new Me flew during the public flight demonstrations. This aircraft will be offering ride-along flights starting in The Jumo was hampered by poor workmanship and a lack of high-temperature super alloys. Product Details About the Author. He has interviewed dozens of former German aviation designers and gas turbine and rocket scientists throughout the s in places such as West Germany, East Germany, France, the USA, South America and other countries.
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Upon arriving, Dr. Myhra retrieved his bags containing a cassette In February of , I flew to Buenos Aires then on to Cordoba, Argentina to meet with Dr Reimar Horten, the designer of a series of sail and powered all wing flying machines. He lived in retirement on a Although the Nazi Party put a stop to all public rocket demonstrations and any talk Absolute fantasy in the late s