Aeroplane Monthly 1983-07
R.Olejnik - Messerschmitt's Mighty Midget (1)
The prototype Me163 V1(A), KE+SW, taking off on a test flight from Kallshagen, Peenemunde, with Heini Dittmar at the controls, in September 1941. The Walter rocket motor has just ignited and the steam visible is the exhaust from the turbine of the fuel pump
A somewhat anxious looking Luftwaffe airman fuels a pre-production Me163B at Bad Zwischenahn. The man’s apparent concern is justified. He is handling T-Stoff, hence the rubber clothing. The two fuels T-Stoff and C-Stoff were explosively incompatible. The former could only be put into aluminium containers - anything else was corroded - and C-Stoff could only be put into glass or thickly enamelled containers since it corroded anything else - especially aluminium. Since the two fuels were colourless all vessels had to be painted in different colours and the two fuel tankers were not permitted to come within half a kilometre of each other!
A pilot climb into his Komet at Bad Zwischenahn. He wears a one-piece flying suit and overboots made from acid-resistant material which was supposed to protect the occupant from the corrosive T-Stoff, in the likely event of a bad landing - assuming that the aircraft did not explode! Note the long pitot tube and VHF antenna beneath the wing. The small airscrew turned a 28 V generator to power the VHF radio.
AUSTIN J. BROWN'S plate depict the Me163B-Ia, 191904, currently on display at the Historic Aircraft Regional Collection at RAF St Athan.
A photograph of the Me 163 V1 taken during the record flight. For this flight the Me 163 V1 was towed to 13,000ft by a Bf110, the rocket engine being ignited on release.
An early Me 163A, essentially similar to the record breaking KE+SW, but later used solely for training, is seen on the left, with an operational Me163B, Werke Nr.440188 on the right.
A Walter engine is run up and the rocket shock waves can be seen. The one virtue of the unstable bi-fuel used by the Me 163 was that it was water soluble; every part of the engine and all fuel tanks had to be flushed out before and after engine running. Even the concrete hard-standing had to be washed down to neutralise any unburnt or spilled fuel which could spontaneously ignite.
Heini Dittmar pictured just after touchdown of the record breaking flight in the Me 163 V1 on October 2, 1941. During this flight a level speed of 623-85 m.p.h. was attained during which Dittmar experienced compressibility problems.
A Luftwaffe groundcrewman helps a pilot into his Komet. The gloves were made of the same acid-proof material as the rest of the pilot’s clothing. The visibility offered by the "blown” canopy was excellent. The 90mm armoured glass screen almost conceals the Revi reflector sight. The small clear vision panel at the top of the canopy was essential since Komets’ cockpits often filled with steam.
The DFS 194 takes off on its first flight in August 1940 with Dittmar at the controls. In level flight this aircraft reached 342 m.p.h.
The Delta I, powered by a Bristol Cherub. First powered flights were made early in 1931.
The DFS 39 “Delta IVc”, the basis for “Projekt X”, was fully certificated in 1936.
Stummel Habicht glider used in the initial training of Me 163 pilots. A series of Habicht gliders were used with progressively shorter wing spans. Some of these gliders had a landing speed of more than 60 m.p.h.
The DFS 40 “Delta V” was lost during the summer of 1939 after pilot Rudolf Opitz lost control of it in an unintentional spin. Opitz bailed out successfully but the DFS 40 was written off.
Dr Lippisch’s Storch V made its first powered flight on September 17, 1929.