Messerschmitt Me 262 captured at dawn with my Canon Rebel at Grayson County Airport (formerly Perrin Airforce Base) in Sherman, Texas, USA while there for the Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom Tour.
Corel Paintshop Pro x4
Loaded Weight: 15,720 lbs.
Power Plant: 2 x Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojets, 8.8 kN (1,980 lbf) each
Range: 652 miles
Max Speed: 541 mph
Ceiling: 37,565 ft.
Guns: 4 × 30 mm MK 108 cannons
Bombs/Rockets: 2 × 550 lb. bombs (A-2a only), 24 × 2.2 in. R4M rockets
Design & Development:
Though best known as a late-war weapon, design of the Messerschmitt Me 262 began prior to World War II in April 1939. Known as Projekt P.1065, the aircraft that would become the world’s first jet fighter received mixed support as many influential Luftwaffe officers felt that the approaching conflict could be won by piston-engine aircraft alone. In 1939 and 1940, Messerschmitt completed the initial design of the aircraft and began building prototypes to test the airframe. Originally possessing a conventional landing gear design, this was changed to a tricycle arrangement to improve control on the ground.
On April 18, 1941, the prototype Me 262 V1 flew for the first time powered by a nose-mounted Junkers Jumo 210 engine turning a propeller. This use of a piston engine was the result of delays with the aircraft’s intended twin BMW 003 turbojets. The Jumo 210 was retained on the prototype as a safety feature following the arrival of the BMW 003s. This proved fortuitous as both turbojets failed during their initial flight, forcing the pilot to land using the piston engine. Testing in this manner continued for over a year and it was not until July 18, 1942, that the Me 262 (Prototype V3) flew as “pure” jet.
Streaking above Leipheim, Messerschmitt test pilot Fritz Wendel’s Me 262 beat the first Allied jet into the skies by about nine months. As the aircraft was refined, the BMW 003 engines were abandoned due to poor performance and replaced by the Junkers Jumo 004. Though an improvement, the early jet engines possessed incredibly short operational lives, typically lasting only 12-25 hours. Faster than any Allied fighter, production of the Me 262 became a priority for the Luftwaffe. Due to Allied bombing, production was distributed to small factories in German territory, with around 1,400 ultimately being built.