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Me 163 BS back in Manching

75-year Jubilee: First flight with jet engines
On July 18 1942 the first operational mass-production jet-engine fighter plane took off – the Me 262. An exact copy of the original is now on show in the Messerschmitt Museum of Flight at the Airbus facility in the Bavarian town of Manching.
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In 1942, this aircraft was forward-looking high technology. Firstly, due to the aircraft concept itself and secondly, due to the new jet engines that had been developed in parallel with the aircraft and were production-ready. By the middle of 1932, discussions and developments had taken place concerning a new form of propulsion without piston engines and propellers, and also around an aerodynamically optimized aircraft frame with the goal of achieving higher inflight speeds.
On July 18, 1942, as Fritz Wendel, an experienced test pilot, first undertook several fast taxiing maneuvers and was preparing to take off at around 180 km/h, things did not go as well as expected. Wendel came to the conclusion that the missing propeller backwash, in conjunction with the large takeoff incidence angle, prevented effective airflow to the elevator behind the wing. Calling on all of his experience, he very briefly applied the brakes just before liftoff, thus lifting the tail into its flying position and bringing elevator pressure and effect into play. The plane took off successfully, landing without incident some 12 minutes later.
An important step towards today’s jet fighter had been taken. All of the development and design results that culminated in the first flights, as well as the following research and test flight results, continue to shape aviation today.
As well as non-flying original Me 262s in museums, three copies capable of flying have been built: two of these are in privately-owned hands in the USA, while the third flight-capable Me 262 is flown from, and on show in, the Messerschmitt Museum of Flight in Manching.

Team / Messerschmitt Museum of Flight
Picture: Me 262 B1-A / Fighter aircraft / Replica
Picture by Markus Zinner

Me 163 BS back in Manching

Me 163 BS back in Manching
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The “red power egg”, as the Me 163 BS is also known, has returned after an absence of more than seven months to its home in the Flugmuseum Messerschmitt (Messerschmitt Air Museum) in the grounds of the Airbus Defense and Space facility in the Bavarian town of Manching. The red rocket-powered aircraft – a replica of the 1937 sailplane originally developed as a wooden glider – has been out and about since the middle of 2016. Its first stop was at the Premium Aerotec aviation supplier in Augsburg. This company put on a family day during the celebrations marking 100 years of aircraft construction in Augsburg. As well as the Me 163 on static display, the Me 109 and the Me 262 – two further Flugmuseum Messerschmitt machines – treated spectators to a fly-past at the Premium Aerotec premises.
The Me 163 was then transported south by special trailer to the Dornier Museum in Friedrichshafen. Suspended under the roof of the museum hall for seven months, this is also the location where the plane celebrated its 75th speed record jubilee on October 2, 2016. It was in 1941 that an Me 163 A achieved a speed of 1003.67 km/h (623.65 mph), corresponding to a Mach number of 0.84. This was the first time in history that a machine exceeded a speed of 1000 km/h.

Team / Messerschmitt Museum of Flight
Left / The Me 163, suspended above an Alpha Jet. Photo: Dornier Museum Friedrichshafen.
Right / The Me 163 BS, Photo: Flugmuseum Messerschmitt.
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Messerschmitt Museum of Flight

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