Saturday, July 18, 2009

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: ME 262

Serious contender for the coolest airplane that ever flew, the Messerschmitt ME-262 test flew using only its jet engines for the first time 18 July 1942 in Leipheim near Günzburg, Germany, piloted by Fritz Wendel. This was almost nine months ahead of the British Gloster Meteor's first flight on 5 March 1943.



Allied pilots referred to it as the "Blow Job".


Despite engine problems in early versions, the ME-262 was way ahead of it's time. Willy Messerschmitt regarded the Me 262 as only an interim type when it went into production. The "swept wing" concept had been proposed as early as 1935; Messerschmitt researched the topic from 1940, and proposed fitting a 35° swept wing (Pfeilflügel II, literally "arrow wing II") to the Me 262, the same wing sweep angle that would later be used on both the American F-86 Sabre and Soviet MiG-15 fighter jets.

After the end of the war, the ME-262 and other advanced German technologies were quickly swept up by the Americans (as part of the USAAF's Operation Lusty), British, and Soviets. Many ME-262s were found in readily-repairable condition and were confiscated.

During post-war test flights, the ME-262 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 262 did have a shorter combat range than the Meteor.

The USAAF compared the P-80 Shooting Star and ME-262 concluding, "Despite a difference in gross weight of nearly 907 kg (2,000 lb), the ME-262 was superior to the P-80 in acceleration, speed and approximately the same in climb performance.

Survived the downfall of the Third Reich:

o Czech-manufactured variants of the ME-262 (designated AVIA S-92 and CS-92) remained in service in the Czechoslovak Air Force until 1957.

o The ME-262 is portrayed on the cover of Blue Öyster Cult’s 1974 album Secret Treaties. The song ME-262 is about a Luftwaffe pilot on a bomber interception mission in April 1945.

o Clive Cussler's famous fictional character Dirk Pitt owns an ME-262, which he acquired when he helped excavate a hidden airfield that held a number of the aircraft.

o In the PC flight-simulator Chuck Yeager's Air Combat, virtual Chuck Yeager (voiced by himself) accurately states that Allied pilots used the term Blow Job as a nickname for the ME-262.

STORMBRINGER SAVES THE BEST FOR LAST:




In January 2003, the American ME-262 Project completed flight testing to allow for delivery of near-exact reproductions of several versions of the Me 262 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.

Messerschmitt Me 262B Reproduction


The "c" suffix refers to the new J-85 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-262 left off - a continuous airframe serial number run with a 50 year production break).

Can somebody please splice together some ME-262 footage with that Blue Öyster Cult tune, and then notify me: linnane_sean@yahoo.com - Thanks! - S.L.

3 comments:

  1. Good post about a fascinating subject.

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  2. Replies
    1. What a great plane! I've never seen something like this before

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