none on board
27 ft. 5 in.
17 ft. 8 in.
V-1 Buzz Bomb
Click on the picture to hear the wav sound.
Although most commonly known as the V-1 Buzz Bomb, the official name of the vehicle was Fieseler Fi 103. The V-1 Buzz Bomb was also known as the flying bomb, and the doodlebug, due to the sound its engine made.
The V-1 Buzz Bomb was the world's first successful cruise missile. Rather than being powered by a rocket
motor, it used a pulse jet for propulsion. This gave it greater ranger for its size than rocket motors were capable of at the time.
The V-1 Buzz Bomb had a fuselage which contained a 1,870 lb. warhead, guidance system, fuel tank, an engine mounted to the top rear, attached to
relatively short wings made from wood.
The concept of a guided missile originated in the early 1900's when British movies fictitiously portrayed such
vehicles used against German aircraft attacking their country.
In Germany, during 1915, gliders were flown by radio control. In the United States it was 1916 when an unmanned biplane carrying explosives was guided towards its target by
an autopilot. Great Britain experimented with an early anti-shipping cruise missile in the 1920's. The Soviet Union was also
experimenting with internally guided gliders, with rocket motors powering them, in the mid 1930's. By the late 1930's, Germany had
flown a remote control reconnaissance airplane and began work developing cruise missiles. By 1939 the German government proposed a
cruise missile that could fly some 300 miles with a 2,000 lb. warhead. Fiesler answered the proposal with what was to become the
Fi 103, V-1 Buzz Bomb. Its first flight was by launch from an aircraft on Dec. 10, 1942. Although it could only fly approximately half the distance proposed, and with a smaller warhead, the German Air Ministry allowed the missile to go into production.
The Argus pulse jet powering the V-1 Buzz Bomb was of relatively simple construction. To start it, high pressure air was forced through the engine intake along with
acetylene gas. This was ignited by a glow plug that in turn ignited the gasoline fuel of the engine. Once the fuel ignited and
operating temperature was reached, the glow plug was turned off and the high pressure air and acetylene gas no longer used.
The V-1 Buzz Bomb was launched from catapults and from aircraft by Germany against Allied targets. It had a very high stall speed, due to its heavy wing loading. With relatively low engine thrust it was unable to take off from a runway. Due to the lack of accuracy of its primitive guidance system, it was used as
a weapon against large populations, rather than as a battlefield weapon for tactical purposes.
The V-1 Buzz Bomb had an autopilot with a compass which controlled its speed and altitude, with a gyroscopic system providing stability. Compressed air, rather than batteries,
operated the aircraft's systems and flight controls. A wind driven odometer was used to control flight distance to target. The V-1 Buzz
Bomb did not have ailerons, using its rudder alone for turning. When the odometer ran out, explosive bolts were used to put the V-1 Buzz
Bomb into dive towards its target.
The V-1 Buzz Bomb was especially difficult to bring down. It generally flew at altitudes between 2,000 and 3,000 feet at about 400 mph. This was a speed at relatively low
altitudes matched by few aircraft of the time.
Even when intercepted by an aircraft, the V-1 Buzz Bomb had few vulnerable areas where hits would bring it down. There was no
pilot, the engine housing and fuel tank were well armored, and the engine itself could take a great deal of punishment before being disabled. A number of the missiles were brought down by "wing tipping" An aircraft would catch up with the V-1 Buzz bomb, flying parrallel to it, slowly putting its wing under the wing of the missile. It would then raise that wing, tipping the V-1 Buzz bomb until its gyroscope could no longer control its attitude, bringing down the missile.
The V-1 Buzz Bomb flew under the altitude where most large anti aircraft guns were effective, and
just high enough so that it was at the maximum range of most smaller weapons. About 2,400 were said to have fallen on London, England.
Only about one in four V-1 Buzz Bomb missiles completed their flights. The majority were lost due to
guidance system and mechanical failures, as well as anti aircraft defenses.
Great Britain used aircraft, anti aircraft guns, and barrage balloons to counter the V-1 Buzz Bomb threat. About 1,000 of the missiles were downed by aircraft.
Approximately 30,000 V-1 Buzz Bomb missiles were produced.
Today's cruise missiles can trace their origins back to the German V-1 Buzz Bomb. Modern avionics including computers now accurately
guide cruise missiles to their targets.
Christer Landberg and his V-1 Buzz Bomb.
Pictured above is the rc V-1 Buzz Bomb rc airplane from a Ron Daniels kit held by its builder, Christer Landberg. It is 1/9 scale with a 27" wingspan and a 34" length.
Christer powers his V-1 Buzz Bomb with an O.S. 10 engine. The radio control airplane can also be powered by a Speed 400 size motor. All up weight is 22 1/2 oz.
The first picture below is of a rc V-1 Buzz Bomb built from Traplet Publications plans. Wingspan is 25". Traplet recommends that it is powered with a K&P EDF fan unit. Upon
completion it should weigh about 13 1/2 oz. The rc airplane is listed under Plan no. MW2928.
The second picture below is of the K & A Models rc V-1 Buzz Bomb. It has a wingspan of 37". K & A tells us best power comes from either a Mega 1615-3 or Hacker B 40 motor driving a Mini 480 or 505 fan. Weight is around 2 1/2 lbs. all up.
The bottom picture on this page is of a rc V-1 Buzz Bomb built from My Uncle Willies plans. The plans call for it to have a wingspan of 47" and a length of 56". The V-1 Buzz Bomb is
described as "fun scale." The airplane pictured on this page has been scaled down to 75% of plans. Power can come from an EDF or engine and prop.
Traplet Plans V-1 Buzz Bomb.
K & A Models V-1 Buzz Bomb.
Uncle Willies V-1 Buzz Bomb.
If you have built a V-1 Buzz Bomb or know of one that you can recommend, please email us.