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WWII German Luftwaffe »  Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet
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Messerschmitt

 Country: Germany

 Industry/ Capability:
Military aircraft

 Head Office:
Messerschmitt AG
Augsburg, Germany


 Noteworthy:
Messerschmitt Bf 109
Messerschmitt Bf 110
Messerschmitt Me 163
Messerschmitt Me 262
Messerschmitt Me 410 ...
* partial list


Willy 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.

? submited a design for the Luftwaffe's 1935 fighter contest, winning it with the Bf 109, based on these construction methods.


 Additional Notes:

— produced the world's first operational jet fighter, the Me 262 and the first rocket-powered design to enter service, the Me 163 Komet.

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Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet

the first fighter design to incorporate swept wings


The Me-163 functioned as a pure Interceptor. After take-off the Komet would jettison the trolley style main wheels and use its amazing 11,800 feet per minute climb rate to rapidly climb above the allied bomber formations!

This is a real blueprint, expertly restored from original plans and vintage design drawings. — measuring a generous 42"x 30".

The Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet was the first purely-rocket-powered fighter to be placed in active duty. It was a very beautiful, well-designed craft.. and it was deadly. If that simply had referred to the enemy facing the Komet, it wouldn't be much of a drawback, but unfortunately the pilot and the ground crew were also the ones who were in great danger. ...   continues: Click here


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ww2_messerschmitt_me163b-b.jpg ww2_messerschmitt_me163b-a.jpg ww2_messerschmitt_me163b-c.jpg

The combination of spectacular performance and the dangers of the highly explosive rocket fuels… make the Messerschmitt Me-163 a fascinating piece of aviation history.

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History and Description: Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet...
Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet

This is a real blueprint, expertly restored from original plans and vintage design drawings. — measuring a generous 42"x 30".

The Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet was the first purely-rocket-powered fighter to be placed in active duty. It was a very beautiful, well-designed craft.. and it was deadly. If that simply had referred to the enemy facing the Komet, it wouldn't be much of a drawback, but unfortunately the pilot and the ground crew were also the ones who were in great danger.... continues below

Continued from above…   in great danger.

Nevertheless the plane was astonishing in flight. After take-off from a dolly it would be going over 200mph at the end of the runway, at which point it would pull up into an 80 degree climb all the way to the bomber's altitude. It could go even higher if need be, reaching 40,000ft in an unheard-of three minutes. Once there it would level off and quickly accelerate to speeds around 550mph or faster, which no allied plane could hope to match.

As the only operational rocket-powered fighter of Second World War, the Komet was designed to exceed the performance of conventional aircraft. Originally tested as a glider, the tailless design incorporated a wheeled dolly dropped during takeoff, and a landing skid under the fuselage. The Komet first flew operationally in May 1944. Though the Komet was not a significant factor in German air defence, the German Air Force took delivery of 339 and flew them until the end of the war.

The Messerschmitt Me-163 has earned a place in aviation history as a revolutionary plane. It had it's problems, but it did have amazing performance. In production form it could attain speeds of up to 597mph, and at full throttle accelerate from 250mph to almost 600mph in seconds!

Fact File:

The Me 163

The development and use of the Luftwaffe's jet aircraft was crippled by interservice wrangles and Hitler's maniacal meddlings, such as his concept of the Messerschmitt Me-262 as a bomber rather than a fighter. All this ensured that the four operational Luftwaffe jets, to which Messerschmitt made another contribution, the Me-163, were never employed to their full potential.

Of the four, the Me-163 seems the most futuristic in the context of contemporary piston-engined aircraft. Its arrowhead, delta-shaped outline foreshadowed the jets of the post-war period, as did the speed of 623 mph (1002.5 kph) which it reached on its first full-power test on 2nd October 1941. On this test, too, the pilot experienced the effects of flying too close to the 'sound barrier' - vigorous tail flutter, and buffeting as pressure waves built up to hammer the insufficiently streamlined outline of his plane. The dangers facing pilots flying the operational version, the Me-163B 'Komet', were hardly less.

These pilots belonged to the Luftwaffe's first rocket interceptor unit, and were flying a plane powered by a literally explosive fuel: T-Stoff (hydrogen peroxide) mixed with C-Stoff (alcohol/ hydrazine). Many were killed when their aircraft blew up on landing after the last of their fuel ignited in the tanks. Operationally, the great drawback of the Me-163 was that full power duration lasted only about eight minutes. However, the diminutive, gnat-like jet, which had a wing-span of 30 ft 7.5 ins (9.33 meters), length of 19 ft 2.5 ins (5.85 meters) and height of 9 ft (2.76 meters), could go spearing up on its Walter HWK508-A-1 or -2 bi-fuel rocket motor (thrust-rating 3,748 lbs or 1,700 kgs) at a then phenomenal rate of 29,370 ft (8952 meters) in three minutes 25 seconds.

This remarkable little plane, nicknamed 'the Powered Egg' did not enter combat until 16th October 1944, and when the war ended was still being developed towards the efficiency it would certainly have reached given more time. However, an increase to 12 minutes' endurance was as far as its designers got, in the Me-163C.

Debs McCaffrey