Tuesday, February 10, 2009
MESSERSCHMITT ME 262 “SWALLOW/STORMBIRD”
|STANDARD DATA: Seats 1-2. Gross wt. 14,110. Empty wt. 8,378. Engines one BMW 003 turbojet.
PERFORMANCE: Max cruise 540 mph. Range 652 nm. Ceiling 37,565'.
The ME 262 holds the distinction as the first turbojet aircraft to ever fly in combat. Developed by the Nazis beginning in 1939 and first flown in 1941, the new concept showed remarkable promise. The ME 262 had significant limitations. Huge fuel burns severely limited mission lengths, and the early jet engines were forever troublesome. As amazing as the new jet aircraft was, however, it was too little, too late. The Allied Air Force had been developed to incredible strength, and the war crippled Germany could not make enough ME 262s for the airplane to have much impact in the war. Only 1,433 ME 262s were built, 500 of those destroyed during Allied bombings, leaving less than 300 jets to enter into the final days of combat.