YouTube – Me-262
4 x 30mm
24 x 55mm air-to-air
2 x 1,984 lbs. ea.
34 ft. 9.5 in.
40 ft. 11.5 in.
The first operational jet fighter ever to fly was the Me-262 produced by Messerschmitt, known as the Schwalbe (Swallow). Had it been deployed earlier in the war and used as a bomber interceptor, it could possible have been a war winning aircraft. The revolutionary aircraft was actually conceived in 1938 and was not a late World War II development as many believe. The jet aircraft was made possible through the ground breaking development of jet turbine engines, primarily by BMW.
The first flight of the Me-262 took place before the jet engines were ready. It was finally flown as a pure jet on July 18, 1942. Its first test flight was made using a single Jumo piston engine in the nose on April 18, 1942. Some subsequent flights were made using jet engines in combination with a piston engine as a safety measure. This turned out to be a good idea because the prototype jet engines used proved extremely unreliable. Test aircraft often had to land on propeller power after jet engine failures. On the very first test flight, using jet engines in combination with a propeller engine in front, the engines seized. The pilot used the piston engine to bring the aircraft down to a safe landing. It was found that the engines had to be redesigned. The program eventually resumed with power by heavier Junkers jet turbine engines.
The development of the jet was not a priority of the German High Command. Even the Messerschmitt Company placed a higher priority on proven existing aircraft needed for the war effort. One of the greatest boosts to the Me-262 program came in May of 1943 when legendary Luftwaffe ace General der Jagdflieger (fighter general) Adolf Galland flew the aircraft for the first time. He pushed for production of the aircraft as quickly as possible.
Numerous delays followed before production of the aircraft began. They were caused by Allied bombings of the Regensburg factories housing the production facilities, development delays, and a Luftwaffe leadership uncertain about the future of jet aircraft. Messerschmitt moved its production line to Bavaria. However a shortage of skilled labor further delayed production.
Hitler finally agreed to begin mass production of the jet in November of 1943, but as a fighter / bomber rather than a pure fighter. Retooling for this change further delayed the project. However another factor causing development delays were the unreliability and poor performance of the new engines.
Once the more reliable Junkers Jumo 004 engines were installed on the aircraft, the new jet showed that it was much faster than propeller driven aircraft of the time. In 1944 a Me-262 set an unofficial speed record of 624 mph.
On July 25,1944 the jet first saw combat when one attacked a photo reconnaissance aircraft flying over Munich. The Luftwaffe eventually deployed the jet as an interceptor, as a fighter bomber, and as an unarmed photo reconnaissance aircraft.
The first dedicated Me-262 interceptor unit first saw action on October 3, 1944. The jet was a formidable bomber killer, equipped with 24 rockets and four 30 mm cannons. Between March 18th and March 21st 1945, the Lufwaffe was able to put up some 40 sorties a day against enemy bombers. However, it was a case of too little, too late. Before the end of the war, Me-262 aircraft downed an estimated 150 Allied aircraft, with a loss of approximately 100 of their own. Many were destroyed by Allied aircraft while on the ground, either awaiting conversion to bombers, or lacking fuel, parts, or trained pilots.
Although faster than Allied propeller aircraft, the Me-262 wasn’t as maneuverable at slow speeds. Its engines were relatively unreliable, its cannons tended to jam during high-g turns, and its gear collapsed on hard landings. Many pioneer jet pilots lost their lives in the aircraft without ever seeing combat.
Although the full potential of the jet was never fully realized, the design of the aircraft was reflected in American, British, and Soviet aircraft designs during the early jet age.
Over 1,400 Me-262 aircraft were eventually produced, but it is estimated that less than 300 actually saw combat.
The RC Me-262 from Airworld Modellbau is of glass fibre construction, has a 78 3/4 in. wingspan with a 69 in. length. It can be retract equipped. It needs your Mega 22/20/3 motors and 90 mm fans.
The PNP RC Me-262 from Freewing has a 59 in. wingspan and a length of 50 in. It comes with two 3048-2150 kV motors turning 70 mm fans, flaps and retracts. Weight is around 6 1/4 lbs.
The Me-262 by GWS is a foamy with a wingspan of 41 in. that is 33 in. long. It uses GW/EDF64-300H fan units.