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Thread: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

  1. #1
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    Default Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109


    Thoughts and impressions from different sources about flying the aircraft.






    RAE Evaluation
    On May 4, 1940, a Bf 109E (Wn: 1304) was flown to RAF Boscombe Down, where it was appraised by the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment (A & AEE); then later flown to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) at Farnborough for handling trials, and allocated the serial number AE479. The results of the RAE's evaluation were discussed on Thursday, March 9, 1944 at a meeting of the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, at which M.B. Morgan and R. Smelt of the RAE lectured on 'The aerodynamic features of German aircraft'. About the Bf 109E they had this to say:




    Photo of what is believed to be Bf 109E (W/nr. 1304)


    Take-off
    This is best done with the flaps at 20 degrees. The throttle can be opened very quickly without fear of choking the engine. Acceleration is good, and there is little tendency to swing or bucket. The stick must be held hard forward to get the tail up. It is advisable to let the airplane fly itself off since, if pulled off too soon, the left wing will not lift, and on applying aileron the wing lifts and falls again, with the ailerons snatching a little. If no attempt is made to pull the airplane off quickly, the take-off run is short, and initial climb good.


    Approach
    Stalling speeds on the glide are 75 mph flaps up, and 61 mph flaps down. Lowering the flaps makes the ailerons feel heavier and slightly less effective, and causes a marked nose-down pitching moment, readily corrected owing to the juxtaposition of trim and flap operating wheels. If the engine is opened up to simulate a baulked landing with flaps and undercarriage down, the airplane becomes tail-heavy but can easily be held with one hand while trim is adjusted. Normal approach speed is 90 mph. At speeds above 100 mph, the pilot has the impression of diving, and below 80 mph one of sinking. At 90 mph the glide path is reasonably steep and the view fairly good. Longitudinally the airplane is markedly stable, and the elevator heavier and more responsive than is usual in single-seater fighters. These features add considerably to the ease of approach. Aileron effectiveness is adequate; the rudder is sluggish for small movements.


    Landing
    This is more difficult than on the Hurricane I or Spitfire I. Owing to the high ground attitude, the airplane must be rotated through a large angle before touchdown, and this requires a fair amount of skill. If a wheel landing is done the left wing tends to drop just before touchdown, and if the ailerons are used to lift it, they snatch, causing over-correction. The brakes can be applied immediately after touchdown without fear of lifting the tail. The ground run is short, with no tendency to swing. View during hold-off and ground run is very poor, and landing at night would not be easy.


    Taxiing
    The aircraft can be taxied fast without danger of bucketing, but is is difficult to turn quickly; an unusually large amount of throttle is needed, in conjunction with harsh braking, when manuevering in a confined space. The brakes are foot-operated, and pilots expressed a strong preference for the hand operation system to which they are more accustomed.


    Lateral Trim
    There is no procounced change of lateral trim with speed of throttle setting provided that care is taken to fly with no sideslip.


    Directional Trim
    Absence of rudder trimmer is a bad feature, although at low speeds the practical consequences are not so alarming as the curves might suggest, since the rudder is fairly light on the climb. At high speeds, however, the pilot is seriously inconvenienced, as above 300 mph about 2 1/2 degrees of port (left) rudder are needed for flight with no sideslip and a very heavy foot load is needed to keep this on. In consequence the pilot's left foot becomes tired, and this affects his ability to put on left rudder in order to assist a turn to port (left). Hence at high speeds the Bf 109E turns far more readily to the right than to the left.


    Longitudinal Trim
    Five three-quarter turns of a 11.7 in diameter wheel on the pilot's left are needed to move the adjustable tailplane through its full 12-degrees range. The wheel rotation is in the natural sense. Tailplane and elevator angles to trim were measured at various speeds in various condition; the elevator angles were corrected to constant tail setting. The airplane is statically stable both stick fixed and stick free.


    'One Control' tests, flat turns, sideslips
    The airplane was trimmed to fly straight and level at 230 mph at 10,000 feet. In this condition the airplane is not in trim directionally and a slight pressure is needed on the left rudder pedal to prevent sideslip. This influences the results of the following tests:


    Ailerons fixed central - On suddenly applying half-rudder the nose swings through about eight degrees and the airplane banks about five degrees with the nose pitching down a little. On releasing the rudder it returns to central, and the airplane does a slowly damped oscillation in yaw and roll. The right wing then slowly falls. Good baned turns can be done in either direction on rudder alone, with little sideslip if the rudder is used gently. Release of the rudder in a steady 30-degree banked turn in either direction results in the left wing slowly rising.


    Rudder fixed central - Abrupt displacement of the ailerons gives bank with no appreciable opposite yaw. On releasing the stick it returns smartly to central with no oscillation. If the ailerons are released in a 30-degree banked turn, it is impossible to assess the spiral stability, since whether the wing slowly comes up or goes down depends critically on the precise position of the rudder. Excellent banked turns can be done in either direction on ailerons alone. There is very little sideslip on entry or recovery, even if the ailerons are used very harshly. In the turn there is no appreciable sideslip.


    Steady flat turns - Only half-rudder was used during this test. Full rudder can be applied with a very heavy foot load, but the nose-down pitching movement due to sideslip requires a quite excessive pull on the stick to keep the nose up. When flat turning steadily with half-rudder, wings level, about half opposite aileron is needed. The speed falls from 230 mph to 175 mph, rate of flat turn is about 110.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Steady sideslip when gliding - Gliding at 100 mph with flaps and undercarriage up the maximum angle of bank in a straight sideslip is about five degrees. About 1/4 opposite aileron is needed in conjuction with full rudder. The airplane is faily nose-heavy, vibrates and is a little unsteady. On release of all three controls the wing comes up quickly and the airplane glides steadily at the trimmed speed. With flaps and undercarriage down, gliding at 90 mph, the maximum angle of bank is again five degrees 1/5 opposite aileron being needed with full rudder. The nose-down pitching movement is not so pronounced as before, and vibration is still present. Behaviour on releasing the control is similar to that with flaps up.


    Stalling Test
    The airplane was equipped with a 60 foot trailing static head and a swiveling pitot head. Although, as may be imagined, operation of a trailing static from a single-seater with a rather cramped cockpit is a difficult job, the pilot brought back the following results:


    Lowering the ailerons and flaps thus increases CL max of 0.5. This is roughly the value which would be expected from the installation. Behaviour at the stall. The airplane was put through the full official tests. The results may be summarized by saying that the stalling behaviour, flaps up and down, is excellent. Both rudder and ailerons are effective right down to the stall, which is very gentle, the wing only falling about 10 degrees and the nose falling with it. There is no tendency to spin. With flaps up the ailerons snatch while the slots are opening, and there is a buffeting on the ailerons as the stall is approached.. With flaps down there is no aileron snatch as the slots open, and no pre-stall aileron buffeting. There is no warning of the stall, flaps down. From the safety viewpoint this is the sole adverse stalling feature; it is largely off-set by the innocuous behaviour at the stall and by the very high degree of fore and aft stability on the approach glide.


    Safety in the Dive
    During a dive at 400 mph all three controls were in turn displaced slightly and released. No vibration, flutter or snaking developed. If the elevator is trimmed for level flight at full throttle, a large push is needed to hold in the dive, and there is a temptation to trim in. If, in fact, the airplane is trimmed into the dive, recovery is difficult unless the trimmer is moved back owing to the excessive heaviness of the elevator.


    Ailerons
    At low speeds the aileron control is very good, there being a definete resistance to stick movement, while response is brisk. As speed is increased, the ailerons bevome heavier, but response remains excellent. They are at their best between 150 mph and 200 mph, one pilot describing them as an 'ideal control' over this range. Above 200 mph they start becoming unpleasantly heavy, and between 300 mph and 400 mph are termed 'solid' by the test pilots. A pilot exerting all his strength cannot apply more than one-fifth aileron at 400 mph. Measurements of stick-top force when the pilot applied about one-fifth aileron in half a second and then held the ailerons steady, together with the corresponding time to 45 degrees bank, were made at various speeds. The results at 400 mph are given below:


    Max sideways force a pilot can apply conveniently to the Bf 109 stick 40 lbs.
    Corresponding stick displacement 1/5th.
    Time to 45-degree bank 4 seconds.
    Deduced balance factor Kb2 - 0.145.


    Several points of interest emerge from these tests:


    a. Owing to the cramped Bf 109 cockpit, a pilot can only apply about 40 lb sideway force on the stick, as against 60 lb or more possible if he had more room.
    b. The designer has also penalized himself by the unusually small stick-top travel of four inches, giving a poor mechanical advantage between pilot and aileron.
    c. The time to 45-degree bank of four seconds at 400 mph, which is quite escessive for a fighter, classes the airplane immediately as very unmanoeuvrable in roll at high speeds.


    Elevator
    This is an exceptionally good control at low air speeds, being fairly heavy and not over-sensitive. Above 250 mph, however, it becomes too heavy, so that maneuvrability is seriously restricted. When diving at 400 mph a pilot, pulling very hard, cannot put on enough 'g' to black himself out; stick force -'g' probably esceeds 20 lb/g in the dive.


    Rudder
    The rudder is light, but rather sluggish at low speeds. At 200 mph the sluggishness has disappeared. Between 200 mph and 300 mph the rudder is the lightest of the three controls for movement, but at 300 mph and above, absence of a rudder trimmer is severely felt, the force to prevent sideslip at 400 mph being excessive.


    Harmony
    The controls are well harmonised between 150 mph and 250 mph. At lower speeds harmony is spoiled by the sluggishness of the rudder. At higher speeds elevator and ailerons are so heavy

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    that the word 'harmony' is inappropriate.


    Aerobatics
    These are not easy. Loops must be started from about 280 mph when the elevator is unduly heavy; there is a tendency for the slots to open at the top of the loop, resulting in aileron snatching and loss of direction. At speeds below 250 mph the airplane can be rolled quite quickly, but in the final stages of the roll there is a strong tendency for the nose to fall, and the stick must be moved well back to keep the nose up. Upward rolls are difficult. Owing to elevator heaviness only a gentle pull-out from the dive is possible, and considerable speed is lost before the upward roll can be started.


    Fighting Qualities
    A series of mock dogfights with our own fighters brought out forcibly the good and bad points of the airplane. These may be summarised as follows:


    Good Points:
    High top speed and excellent rate of climb.
    Engine does not cut immediately under negative 'g'.
    Good control at low speeds.
    Gentle stall, even under 'g'.


    Bad Points:
    Ailerons and elevator far too heavy at high speeds.
    Owing to high wing loading the airplane stalls readily under 'g' and has a relatively poor turning circle.
    Absence of a rudder trimmer, curtailing ability to bank left in the dive.
    Cockpit too cramped for comfort.


    Further Comments
    At full throttle at 12,000 feet the minimum radius of steady turn without height loss is about 890 feet in the case of the Bf 109E, with its wing loading of 32 lb/sq ft. The corresponding figure for a comparable fighter with a wing loading of 25 lb/sq ft, such as the Spitfire I or Hurricane I, is about 690 feet. Although the more heavily loaded fighter is thus at a considerable disadvantage, it is important to bear in mind that these minimum radii of turn are obtained by going as near to the stall as possible. In this respect the Bf 109E scores by its excellent control near the stall and innocuous behaviour at the stall, giving the pilot confidence to get the last ounce out of his airplanes turning performance.


    The extremely bad maneuvrability of the Bf 109E at high speeds quickly became known to our pilots (RAF). On several occasions a Bf 109E was coaxed to self-destruction when on the tail of a Hurricane or Spitfire at moderate altitude. Our pilot would do a half-roll and quick pull-out from the subsequent steep dive. In the excitement of the moment the Bf 109E pilot would follow, only to find that he had insufficient height for recovery owing to his heavy elevator, and would go straight into the ground without a shot being fired.


    Pilots verbatim impressions of some features are of interest. For example, the DB 601 engine came in for much favourable comment from the viewpoint of response to throttle and insusceptability to sudden negative 'g'; while the throttle arrangements were described as 'marvellously simple, there being just one lever with no gate or over-ride to worry about'. Suprisingly though, the manual operation of flaps and tail setting were also liked; 'they are easy to operate, and being manual are not likely to go wrong'; juxtaposition of the flap and tail actuating wheels is an excellent feature.


    Performance by 1940 standards was good. When put into a full throttle climb at low air speeds, the airplane climbed at a very steep angle, and our fighters used to have difficulty in keeping their sights on the enemy even when at such a height that their rates of climb were comparible. This steep climb at low air speed was one of the standard evasion maneuvres used by the German pilots. Another was to push the stick forward abruptly and bunt into a dive with considerable negative 'g'. The importance of arranging that the engine whould not cut under these circumstances cannot be over-stressed. Speed is picked up quickly in a dive, and if being attacked by an airplane of slightly inferior level performance, this feature can be used with advantage to get out of range. There is no doubt that in the autumn of 1940 the Bf 109E in spite of its faults, was a doughty opponent to set against our own equipment'.


    Mark Hanna




    Just Imagine...
    Track around the canopy though Nine, Eleven and now Twelve O'clock. Rolling out gently and now the specks are becoming objects and I can see wings and start to discern fuselages and engines. We're at five miles and closing at 420 knots and greater than seven miles a minute. Less than 50 seconds to go. There's the '51 escort high and behind the bombers... Good.... they're not a factor for the initial attack, but we will need to worry about them on the egress. 20 seconds and two miles. I've picked my target - the lead ship... I've misjudged the attack slightly, just missed the dead 180 so I've got a slight crosser which is going to foul up my sighting solution. 10 seconds to run... The B-17's light up ! Flashes from all over the airframes and smoke trails streak behind as the gunners let rip and fill the skies with lead. They're out of range buts its still frightening. The lead ship is filling my windscreen and closing rapidly. Now.... Fire ! Two second burst.... flash... flash... flash... HITS ! all in his cockpit and fuselage area... pull slightly on the control column to just clear the port wing, the fin slicing past just by me and roll hard left. World. B-17s gyrating round, stop inverted... pull 5 G's, nose down, down, down. Streamers pouring from the wingtips. I've lost the P-51's, I can't see them but I know they'll be after us. I'm out of here vertically down with a windscreen full of ground, rolling as I go to miss any pursuing Mustangs' sighting solutions - straight towards the Fatherland... only it isn't - it's Suffolk and Ron's calling... "Jimmy says can we do that one again Mark.. ". This is David Puttnam's Memphis Belle and we are airborne with five B-17's, seven P-51s, three '109's and a B-25. I'm

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    leading the '109 formation. We're short on gas, it's cold at 12,000 feet and this is fantastic, tremendous fun. The Bf 109 is, without doubt, the most satisfying and challenging aircraft that I have ever flown.


    Mark Hanna of the Old Flying Machine Company relates his experiences flying the OFMC Messerschmitt Bf 109J (export version to Spain).
    To my eye, the aircraft looks dangerous, both to the enemy and to its own pilots. The aircrafts difficult reputation is well known and right from the outset you are aware that it is an aeroplane that needs to be treated with a great deal of respect. Talk to people about the '109 and all you hear about is how you are going to wrap it up on take-off or landing ! As you walk up to the '109 one is at first struck by the small size of the aricraft, particularly if parked next to a comtemporary American fighter. Closer examination reveals a crazy looking knocked-knee undercarriage, a very heavily framed sideways opening canopy with almost no forward view in the three point attitude, a long rear fuselage and tiny tail surfaces. A walk-round reveals ingenious split radiator flaps which double as an extension to the landing flaps, ailerons with a lot of movement and rather odd looking external mass balances. Also independently operating leading edge slats. These devices should glide open and shut on the ground with the pressure of a single finger. Other unusual features include the horizontal stabilizer doubling as the elevator trimmer and the complete absence of a rudder trim system. Overall the finish is a strange mix of innovative and archaic.


    Climbing on board you have to be careful not to stand on the radiator flap, then lower yourself gently downwards and forwards, taking your wight by holding onto the windscreen. Once in you are aware that you are almost lying down in the aeroplane, the position reminicent of a racing car. The cockpit is very narrow and if you have broad shoulders (don't all fighter pilots ?), it is a tight squeeze. Once streapped in, itself a knuckle wrapping affair, you can take stock. First impressions are of simplicity and straight forwardness.


    From left to right, the co-located elevator trim and flap trim wheels fall easily to hand. You need several turns to get the flaps fully down to 40 and the idea is that you can crank both together. In practice this is a little difficult and I tend to operate the services separately. Coming forward we see the tailwheel locking lever. This either allows the tailwheel to castor or locks it dead ahead. Next is the throttle quadrant, consisting of the propeller lever, and a huge throttle handle. Forward and down, on the floor is an enormous and very effective ki-gass primer and a T shaped handle. DIrectly above this and in line with the canopy seal is the yellow and black hood jettison lever. Pulling this releases two very strong springs in the rear part of the canopy, causing the rear section to come loose and therefore the whole main part of the hood becomes unhinged and can be pushed clear away into the aiflow. Looking directly forwards we have clustered together the standard instument panel with vertical select magnetos on the left, starter and booster coil slightly right of center and engine instruments all grouped together on the right hand side. Our aeroplane has a mixture of British, Spanish and German instruments in this area.


    The center console under the main instrument panel consists of a 720 channel radio. E2B compass and a large placard courtesy of the Civil Aviation Authority warning of the dire consequences if you land in a crosswind equal to or greater than 10 knots, or trim the aircraft at speeds in excess of 250 knots. Just to the left of the center console, close to your left knee is the undercarriage up/down selector and the mechanical and electrical undercarriage position indicator. On G-BOML this is a rotary selector with a neutral position. Select the undercarriage up or down then activate a hydraulic button on the front of the control column. This gives 750 psi to the system instantly. Immediately beneath the undercarriage selector is the control for the Radiator flaps. These are also hydraulically controlled with an open/close and neutral position, and activated by the trigger on the stick at 375 psi. If you leave the radiator flap control in anything other than neutral and then try to activate the undercarriage you will not have enough pressure to enable the gear to travel.


    Right hand side of the cockpit sees the electrical switches, battery master boost, pumps, pitot heat and a self contained pre-oil system and that's it ! There is no rudder trim, or rudder pedal adjust; also the seat can only be adjusted pre-flight and has the choice of only three settings. If you are any bigger than 6 feet tall, it's all starting to get a bit confined. Once you are strapped in and comfortable close the canopy to check the seating position. Normally, if you haven't flown the 109 before you get a clout on the head as you swing the heavy lid over and down. Nobody sits that low in a fighter ! The OFMC aeroplane has the original flat top ot it - however the Charles Church aircraft has a slight bulge to the top of the canopy - about an inch or so. This is practically indescernable externally, but gives a very helpful lift to the eyeline over the nose.


    It's getting dangersously close to going flying now ! OK, open the hood again (in case we catch fire and have to get out in a hurry!). To start, power ON, bost pumps ON. Three good shots on the very stiff primer. Set the throttle about 1/2 inch open. "CLEAR PROP". Push the start button, a few blades and boost coil and mags together. It's a good starter and with a brief snort of flame the '109 fires up immediately. Checking oil pressure is rising right away... Idle initially at 700 RPM, then gently up to 1000 to warm up. Less than 1000 RPM and the whole aeroplane starts to rock from side to side on the gear with some sort of harmonic. This is a most unusual sensation and is quite good fun ! One is immediately aware after start that the aeroplane is "Rattley"; engine, canopy, reduction gear all provide little vibrations and shakes transmitted directly to the pilot.


    Close the rad flaps with the selector, and activate the hydraulic trigger. Check the 375 psi and that they close together. Reopen them now to delay the coolant temperature rise. The '109 needs a lot of power to get moving so you need to allow the engine to warm a little before you pile the power onto it. Power up to 1800 RPM and suddenly we're rolling... power back... to turn, stick forward against the instrument panel to lighten the tail. A blast of throttle and a jab of brakes. Do this in a Spitfire and you are on your nose ! The '109 however is very tail heavy and is reluctant to turn - you can very easily lock up a wheel. If you do not use the above technique you will charge off across the airfield in a straight line ! Forward view can only be described as apalling, and due to the tail/brake arrangement this makes weaving more difficult than on other similar types. I prefer to taxy with the hood open to help this a little. By the time we are at the end of the strip the aircraft is already starting to get hot. So quickly on with the run-up. Hood closed again with a satisfying thud. I'm sitting as high as I can and my head is touching the canopy. I am not wearing goggles as they scratch and catch the hood if they are up on your head. A large bonedome is out of the question and in my opinion is a flight safety hazard in this aircraft. Hood positively locked... and push up on to it to check, Oil temperature is 30, coolant temperature is greater than or at 60. Brakes hard on (there is no parking brake), stick back and power gently up to 0 boost (30") and 2300 RPM. Exercise the prop at least twice, RPM falling back to 1800 each time, keep an eye on the oil pressure. The noise and vibration levels have now increased dramatically. Power back down to 1800 RPM and check the mags. Insignificant drop on each side. We must hurry as the coolant temperature is at 98C and going UP - we have to get rolling to get some cooling air through the radiators. Pretake off checks... Elevator trim set to +1, no rudder trim, throttle friction light. This is vital as I'm going to need to use my left hand for various services immediately after take-off. Mixture is automatic, pitch fully fine... fuel - I know we're full (85 gallons); the gauge is unserviceable again, so I'm limited to a maximum of 1 hour 15 minutes cruise or 1 hour if any high power work is involved. Fuel/Oil cock is ON, both boost pumps are ON, pressure is good, primer is done up. Flaps - crank down to 20 for take off. Rad flaps checked at full open; if we take off with them closed we will certainly boil the engine and guaranteeed to crack the head. Gyro's set to Duxford's runway. Instruments; temps and pressures all in the green for take off. Radiator is now 102. Oxygen we don't have, hood rechecked down and locked, harness tight and secure, hydraulics select down in the gear and pressurise the system check 750 psi. Controls full and free, tail wheel locked. Got to go - 105. There's no time to hang around and worry about the take off. Here we go... Power gently up and keep it coming smoothly up to +8 (46")... it's VERY noisy ! Keep the tail down initially, keep it straight by feel rather than any positive technique... tail coming up now... once the rudders effective. Unconcious corrections to the rudder are happening all the time. It's incredcibly entertaining to watch the '109 take off or land. The rudder literally flashes around ! The alternative technique (rather tongue in cheek) is Walter Eichorn's, of using full right rudder throughout the take-off roll and varying the swing with the throttle !

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    The little fighter is now bucketing along, accelerating rapidly. As the tail lifts there is a positive tendancy to swing left - this can be checked easily however, although if you are really agressive lifting the tail it is difficult to stop and happens very quickly. Now the tail's up and you can see vagualy where you are going. It's a rough, wild, buckety ride on grass and with noise, smoke from the stakcs and the aeroplane bouncing around it's exciting !


    Quick glance at the ASI - 100 mph, slight check back on the stick and we're flying. Hand off the throttle, rotate the gear selector and activate the hydraulic button. The mechanical indicators motor up very quickly and you feel a clonk, clonk as the gear comes home. Relect Neutral on the undercarriage selector. Quick look out at the wings and you see the slats fully out, starting to creep in as the airspeed increases and the angle of attack reduces. 130 mph and an immediate climbing turn up and right onto the downwind leg just in case I need to put the aeroplane down in a hurry. Our company S.O.P. is to always fly an overhead orbit of the field to allow everything to stabilize before setting off - this has saved at least one of our aeroplanes.


    Start to frantically crank the flap up - now up the speeds, increasing through 150, power back to +6 (42") and 2650 for the climb. Plenty of airflow through the narrow radiators now, so close them and remember to keep a careful eye on the coolant gauge for the next few minutes until the temperature has settled down. With the rad flaps closed the aircraft accelerates postively. I'm aware as we climb that I'm holding in a little right rudder to keep the tail in the middle, but the foot loads are light, and it's no problems. Level off and power back to +4(38") and 2000 RPM. The speed's picked up to the '109 cruise of about 235-240 mph and now the tail is right in the middle and no rudder input is necessary.


    Once settled down with adrenalin level back down to just high, we can take stock of our situation. The initial reaction is of delight to be flying a classic aeroplane, and next the realization that this is a real fighter ! You feel agressive flying it. The urge is to go looking for something to bounce and shoot down !


    The roll rate is very good and very positive below about 250 mph. This is particularly true of the Charles Church's Collection clipped wing aircraft. Our round tipped aeroplane is slightly less nice to feel. With the speed further back the roll rate remains good, particularly with a bit of help from the rudder. Above 250 mph however the roll starts to heavy up and up to 300 or so is very similar to a P-51. After that it's all getting pretty solid and you need two hands on the stick for any meaningfull roll rates. Another peculiarity is that when you have been in a hard turn with the slats deployed, and then you roll rapidly one way and stop, there is a strange sensation for a second of so of a kind of dead area over the ailerons - almost as if they are not connected ! Just when you are starting to get worried they work again !


    Pitch is also delighful at 250 mph and below. It feels very positve and the amount of effort on the control column needed to produce the relevant nose movement seems exactly right to me. As CL max is reached the leading edge slats deploy - together if the ball is in the middle, slightly asymmetrically if you have any slip on. The aircraft delights in being pulled into hard manuevering turns at these slower speeds. As the slats pop out you feel a slight "notching" on the stick and you can pull more until the whole airframe is buffeting quite hard. A little more and you will drop a wing, but you have to be crass to do it unintentionally. Pitch tends to heavy up above 250 mph but it is still easily manageable up to 300 mph and the aircraft is perfectly happy carrying out low-level looping maneuvers from 300 mph and below. Above 300 mph one peculiarity is a slight nose down trim change as you accelerate. This means that running in for an airshow above 300 mph the aeroplane has a slight tucking in sensation - a sort of desire to get down to ground level ! This is easily held on the stick or can be trimmed out but is slightly surprising initially. Maneuvering above 300, two hands can be required for more aggressive performance. EIther that or get on the trimmer to help you. Despite this heavying up it is still quite easy to get at 5G's at these speeds.


    The rudder is effective and if medium feel up to 300. It becomes heavier above this speed but regardless the lack of rudder trim is not a problem for the type of operations we carry out with the aeroplane. Initial acceleration is rapid, particularly with nose down, up to about 320 mph. After that the '109 starts to become a little reluctant and you have to be fairly determined to get over 350-360 mph.


    So how does the aeroplane compare with other contemporary fighters ? First, let me say that all my comments are based on operation below 10,000 feet and at power settings not exceeding +12 (54") and 2700 rpm. I like it as an aeroplane, and with familiarity I think it will give most of the allied fighters I have flown a hard time, particularly in a close, hard turning, slow speed dog-fight. It will definitely out-maneuver a P-51 in this type of flight, the roll rate and slow speed characteristics being much better. The Spitfire on the other hand is more of a problem for the '109 and I feel it is a superior close in fighter. Having said that the aircraft are sufficiently closely matched that pilot abilty would probably be the deciding factor. At higher speeds the P-51 is definitely superior, and provided the Mustang kept his energy up and refused to dogfight he would be relatively safe against the '109. Other factors affecting the '109 as a combat plane include the small cramped cockpit. This is quite a tiring working environment, although the view out (in flight) is better than you might expect; the profuseion of canopy struts is not particularly a problem.


    In addition to the above the small cockpit makes you feel more a part of the aeroplane and the overall smaller dimensions make you more difficult to spot. There's no doubt that when you are flying the '109 and you look out and see the crosses on the wings you feel aggressive; if you are in an allied fighter it is very intimidating to see this dangerous little aeroplane turning in on you !


    Returning to the circuit it is almost essential to join for a run and break. Over the field break from 50 feet, up and over 4G's onto the downwind leg. Speed at 150 knots or less, gear select to DOWN and activate the button and feel the gear come down asymmetrically. Check the mechanical indicators (ignore the electric position indicators), pitch fully fine... fuel - both boost pumps ON. If you have less than 1/4 fuel and the rear pump is not on the engine may stop in the three-point attitude. Rad flaps to full open and wings flaps to 10 to 15. As the wing passes the threshold downwind - take all the power off and roll into the finals turn, cranking the flap like mad as you go. The important things is to set up a highish rate of descent, curved approach. The aircraft is reluctant to lose speed around finals so ideally you should initiate the turn quite slow at about 100-105. Slats normally deploy half way round finals but you the pilot are not aware they have come out. The ideal is to keep turning with the speed slowly bleeding, and roll out at about 10 feet at the right speed and just starting to transition to the three point attitude, the last speed I usually see is just about 90; I'm normally too busy to look after that !


    The '109 is one of the most controllable aircraft that I have flown at slow speed around finals, and provided you don't get too slow is one of the easiest to three point. It just feels right ! THe only problem is getting it too slow. If this happens you end up with a very high sink rate, very quickly and absolutely no ability to check or flare to round out. It literally falls out of your hands !


    Once down on three points the aircraft tends to stay down - but this is when you have to be careful. The forward view has gone to hell and you cannot afford to let any sort of swing develop. The problem is that the initial detection is more difficult. The aeroplane is completely unpredictable and can diverge in either direction. There never seems to be any pattern to this. Sometimes the most immaculate three pointer will turn into a potential disaster half way through the landing roll. Other times a ropey landing will roll thraight as an arrow !


    When we first started flying the '109 both my father and I did a lot of practice circuits on the grass before trying a paved strip. Operating off grass is preferred. Although it is a much smoother ride on the hard, directionally the aircraft is definitely more sensative. WIthout doubt you cannot afford to relax until you are positively stationary. I would never make a rolling exit from a runway in the '109. It is just as likely to wrap itself up at 25 as it is at 80 mph. Another promlem is that you have to go easy on the brakes. Hammer them too early in the landing roll and they will have faded to nothing just when you need them ! The final word of advice is always three point the aircraft and if the wind is such that it makes a three pointer inadvisable it's simple: the aeroplane stays in the hanger !


    Having said all this, I like the aeroplane very much, and I think I can understand why many of the Luftwaffe aces had such a high regard and preference for it. Our intention is to eventually re-engine our aeroplane with a Daimler-Benz 605 and convert it to a late '109G or perhaps even a 'K'.


    Copyright: Warbirds Worldwide - Mark Hanna


    Additional Comments




    Selected comments from the men who flew and fought in the Bf 109 make interesting footnotes to the foregoing 'enemy' opinions.

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    Hauptmann Gunther Schack, 174 victories:
    'In March 1941, as a Gefreiter, I joined Jagdgeschwader Molders, JG 51, stationed at St. Over, France. By then I had only taken off with the 109 straight into wind, and never from a concrete runway. On April 4th, during a cross-wind take-off on the concrete runway, the 109 swung so much to the left that I feared it would crashinto some other machines parked along the edge of the field. I closed the throttle and my first crash began. The machine swung left even more, the left undercarriage leg broke, and the 109 dropped on its left wing. This happened to me twice - the second time on April 10th - and my future as a fighter pilot seemed sealed.... In all, I was shot down 15 times.... On one occasion I saw the right wing of my 109 flying right alongside me ! During an attack on a bomber formation, I was hit by an enemy fighter, right in one of the main spar attachment lugs. Luckily, I was over 2,000 metres high, but even then I only succeeded in getting out of the crazily-spinning machine close to the ground. I crashed against the tailplane, and for the next two weeks I could only walk bent in two....'


    Major Gunther Rall, 275 victories:
    'The 109? That was a dream, the non plus ultra. Just like the F-14 of today. Of course, everyone wanted to fly it as soon as possible. I was very proud when I converted to it.'


    Generalleutnant Werner Funck, Inspector of Fighters, 1939:
    'The 109 had a big drawback, which I didn't like from the start. It was that rackety - I always said rackety - undercarriage; that negative, against-the-rules-of-statistics undercarriage that allowed the machine to swing away.'


    For more comments, read the Site Article about Franz Stigler

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    Captured Aircraft Report
    Me109G-14 W.Nr. 413601

    Thanks to George Hopp, we have this highly detailed examination of a 109G-14 which was conducted in July 1944, shortly after this model began reaching frontline units. The report is dated 5 August 1944, and the aircraft was only captured on 22 July... this gives an excellent indication of how efficient the Allied intelligence teams were. There are some very interesting points in here, the most alarming of which are the lack of armor and the completely unprotected main fuel tank...

    A New Sub-Type of the Me. 109G

    At 09:30 hours on 22nd July, a Me.109G-14 was shot down by light A.A. fire near Fontenay-le-Poesnel, making a good belly-landing in a grass field, only 800 yards away from the enemy lines. An obstruction post was hit before the aircraft came to rest, and severe damage was done to the starboard mainplane.
    This aircraft is the first of its sub-type to be identified, and presents a number of interesting features. at the present stage of the war the most interesting are, perhaps. those which point to the very short time elapsing between its leaving the factory and its destruction. Technically the aircraft is of interest as it was carrying a special tank containing a fluid known to the Germans as "MW50". The power boosting qualities of this fluid will be described under the heading of "Engine" below.
    Apart from the fitting of this tank and the installation of FuG 16 ZY, this aircraft is almost identical with the Me.109 G-6/U2.

    Identification Markings

    + 7 (black outlined yellow)
    Call sign: VW+HO
    Works No.: 413601
    Maker: Mcu. (ed.note: Erla?)

    Camouflage

    Light and dark grey upper surfaces, light blue lower surfaces. The lower half of the fuselage sides mottled with patches of grey and green. The spinner is black with a white spiral.

    Engine

    DB605 A-1 Tp.
    No. 01104968.
    Maker: hsr. (ed.note: Henschel?)
    Painted on the crankcase cover is: 605 A/m.

    This engine has the normal small supercharger and both engine bearers are of light alloy. C-3 (100 octane) fuel is used but additional power for short periods is obtained from an apparatus known as the "MW 50", in conjunction with a boost pressure of 1.7 ata (equals British boost of +9.5). This is a system of delivering methanol and water to the eye of the supercharger from a light alloy tank (probably of 35 gallon capacity) situated behind the normal fuel tank. The methanol tank is built in during manufacture and cannot be removed for servicing. The pressure side of the supercharger is tapped by a pipe which leads via a relief valve to the top of the light alloy tank, so supplying the pressure for feeding the mixture to the engine. A supply pipeline from the tank to the eye of the supercharger carries the methanol and water mixture. In this pipeline there is a solenoid operated valve and a pressure gauge connection. A switch on the port side of the cockpit beading, marked "MW 50" operates the solenoid valve and is a simple On/Off switch. The pressure gauge, reading from 0 to 3 kgs./sq. cm. (0 to 42 lb./sq. in.) is located lower down on the port side of the cockpit. The actual pressure used is between 1.2 and 1.8 kgs./sq. cm. (17 lb/sq. in. -25.6).
    It is estimated that the power at sea level, when using "MW 50" with a 1.7 ata boost (equals British boost of +9.5) and 2,800 r.p.m. is 1,770 h.p. The D.B. 605A without the "MW 50" develops 1,450 h.p. at 1.42 ata boost (equals British boost of +5.5) and 2,800 r.p.m. at sea level.

    The boost gauge is marked with a series of red lines on the glass, as follows: -

    d opposite 1.02 ata. = British -0.2.
    30 opposite 1.3 ata = British +3.8.
    3 opposite 1.42 ata = British + 5.5.
    MW 50 opposite 1.7 ata = British +9.5.

    The figures on the glass refer to the time in minutes for the use of the respective boost pressures, the d8 meaning maximum continuous. The rev. counter is also marked opposite the respective r.p.m.
    The sparking plugs are of a type not previously fitted to D.B. 605 engines but they were found recently in the Jumo 213. They are Bosch D.W. 250 E.T. (10/1) and are stamped 5Z (this is the manufacturer's date code and indicates May, 1944).
    The magneto is marked 9/4040E, Serial No. 453864. Manufacturer cxo under license from L.Z.U.
    The flange bears the following markings: BA 13402 cxo 4Z.

    Armament

    1 x MG151 20 mm. calibre, firing through propeller hub.
    2 x MG131 over the engine.
    Loading order 20 mm. gun- 1 AP/I, 1 HE/I/T (S.D.)(M. Geschoss) repeating. This order changed later in the belt to- 1 AP/I, 1 I/T, 2 HE/I/T (S.D.)(M. Geschoss) repeating.
    Loading order for 13 mm. guns- 1 AP/T, 1 HE/T repeating. Nearly all tracer rounds were night trace, although the aircraft was on a daylight operation.
    None of the guns had been fired and its was found that the ammunition tanks had not been completely filled.

    Tank capacity Rounds carried
    20 mm. ... 200 per gun ... 150
    13 mm. ... 300 per gun ... 275
    The Revi 16B gunsight was used.

    Armour

    Pilots bullet-resisting glass screen. The cockpit cover was jettisoned before the crash and could not be recovered. No other armour is fitted to this aircraft.

    Internal equipment

    Radio: FuG 16 ZY fitted. "Y" aerial mounted on underside of the port wing, 7 ft. 2 in. from wing root and 9 in. back from the leading edge. The aerial itself, which consists of a tapering streamlined light alloy tube 24 1/2 in. long with a semi-flexible stranded wire tip 12 1/2 in. long projects through a "Plexiglass" disc set in the wing surface. The aerial matching unit, A.A.G. 16 E-3, Gerat No. 124-1508 E-1. Anfz. Ln. 27185-6 Manufacturer dmr., was mounted immediately above the aerial inside the wing. A single concentric aerial feeder, marked F.143, connected the matching unit to the set via a small box, mounted on the base panel, immediately above it. It was not possible to examine this box without removing it, but it is believed to contain a relay. The FuG 16 ZY itself has no aerial ammeter fitted, a blanking plate covering the vacant spot. Four spot frequency selectors were fitted on both receiver and transmitter. The click stop settings were:

    Receiver: - I- blank. II- 41.85 39.7 40.9
    Transmitter: - I- blank. II- 41.85 39 40.9

    When found both units were on 40.9 mc/s.
    No Z.V.G.16, navigational unit, was installed. Bracket for FuG 25, but no units fitted. The four-spot frequency switch in the cockpit was mounted on the lower right of the instrument panel.
    The layout of the instruments has not changed, but they were mounted in a wooden panel. Compared with the Me.109 G-6/U2 the following items had been moved: -
    Battery 24 V. 7.5 amp., from the rear of the fuselage to a point immediately behind the pilot's head. (From the servicing point of view, the battery is badly placed, as it is wedged between the top of the petrol tank and the top of the fuselage, and is extremely difficult to take out.)
    The master compass has been moved from the position immediately behind the petrol tank to its original place at the rear of the fuselage.
    Oxygen bottles. - These are now in the port wing instead of in the rear of the fuselage.
    Tankage. - The petrol tank was non-self=sealing, being made of light alloy. It appeared to be protected only by a box of 7-ply wood. On the other hand, the small priming fuel tank which is fitted in the upper part of the fuselage on the starboard side, some 4 ft. forward of the base of the fin, is self-sealing.

    Points of Interest.

    The two hand wheels controlling the landing flaps and the tail incidence, as well as the FuG 25 mounting panel, were made of ply-wood.
    It is usual for both sides of the landing wheels and oleo leg fairing to have coats of finished paint, but on this aircraft the inner sides were finished in a red primer coat only.
    There was wiring for wing guns and also the mountings for ammunition tanks, so that the two wing M.G. 151/20's could rapidly be fitted to this sub-type.
    The wiring in this aircraft is almost entirely unscreened.
    In previous Me.109's examined, the breech of the gun firing through the propeller hub has projected into the cockpit, but has not been covered. In this machine, however, there is a neat fairing round the breech, and on it are painted instructions concerning engine revs. for delivery flights or test flights after an engine change. These state: -

    (1) On deliver flights or test flights after an engine change, after take-off do not exceed 2,100 r.p.m. and 1.05 ata of boost. If possible duration of flight should not exceed one hour. Watch oil pressure.
    (2) For the first five hours, if possible do not exceed 2.300 r.p.m. and 1.15 ata boost.
    (3) For the second five hours, if possible do not exceed 2.600 r.p.m. and 1.30 ata boost
    (4) After ten hours, the aircraft may be flown if necessary without limitations other than those laid down in current instructions.


    In conclusion, tribute must be paid to the excellent co-operation of the salvage party, the Army, and the Royal Navy, which enabled this aircraft to be delivered to R.A.F. Farnborough in less than three days after it was shot down in Normandy.

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    TECHNICAL REPORT
    Report No. F-TR-1138-ND

    HEADQUARTERS
    AIR MATERIAL COMMAND
    WRIGHT FIELD DAYTON

    TECHNICAL REPORT ON JU-388 L-I AIRCRAFT

    Gene F. Mc Connell, Cpl, Air Corps

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    I. INTRODUCTION
    II. DESCRIPTION
    III. FACTUAL DATA
    IV. PILOT'S OBSERVATIONS
    V. CONCLUSIONS
    VI. Appendix I/1
    a. Pilot's Operating Handbook
    b. Maintenance Handbook

    1/ To be published at future date with the same distribution as this report.

    I. INTRODUCTION

    First in this category of Junkers airplanes was the JU-88, which has been credited with twenty-two different functions in the German Air Forces, including fighting, bombing, dive-bombing, night-fighting, and reconnaissance. Similar in many ways to the JU-88, the JU-l88 may be regarded as a subsequent development and was used for essentially the same purposes. The JU-288 was a completely redesigned aircraft, not related to either of the first two in this series - the purpose of it being an attempt to combine firepower with a large bomb load.
    The JU-388 was the latest of the "88" series to reach the production stage. It was first test-flown in l943 and was included in the restricted production program that was in force when hostilities ended. Although various subtype were found in Germany after the capitulation, the JU-388 L-l version was found to be the most representative model, and this model was selected for examination and analysis.
    II. DESCRIPTION

    The JU-388 aircraft is a modification of the JU-88 series and retains many of the salient features of the JU-88 and JU-188 aircraft. It is a twin-engine, low midwing airplane fitted with BMW-80l-TJ engines and exhaust-driven turbosuperchargers integrally mounted in the nacelles. Air led in through the air scoop located underneath the engine, flows through the compressor side of the turbosupercharger to the engine-driven supercharger on the accessory section, from there passes through a ring-type intercooler to an annular manifold, and is led into the cylinders by intake pipes.
    a. Landing Gear

    The landing gear is hydraulically operated, incorporating an emergency air system in case of failure of the hydraulic system. Bomb-bay doors and flaps are also hydraulically operated. Electrically-actuated valves are an unusual feature of the hydraulic system in that conventional designs maintain one system rather than a combination of two.
    b. Fuel capacity

    Two outboard wing tanks, two inboard wing tanks, one forward fuselage tank, and one rear fuselage tank are installed for a total capacity of 1020 U.S. gal. Increased range is obtainable by substituting drop tanks for external bombs. The fuel and oil tanks are the leakproof type.
    c. Armament

    For flight testing, the armament was replaced with equivalent ballast but it merits description in passing. The remotely controlled tail turret (2 x MG 13l/13 mm) has a radius of action of 45 from the horizontal up or down and l80 in azimuth. There is one control for azimuth movement and one for elevation - the latter being a small joy stick that can be depressed or elevated. The control mechanism consists of two cylinder servos that operate two small gears. These gears turn rods that are connected by universal joints to the turret proper, one rod causing changes by mechanical transfer to a worm gear.
    d. Accomodation

    The crew of three includes pilot, observer, and radio operator/gunner. Each member is provided with electric plug-in boxes for heating flying suits.
    e. Communication and Radar Equipment

    The JU-388 L-l was fitted with the latest radio equipment and considerable radar was installed for interception of night fighters as well as for protection.
    f. High-Altitude Flying

    The cabin-is pressurized from a turbosupercharger. An air scoop is located in the nose of the aircraft for ramming air into the cockpit up to the 28,000-ft level, to diminish the load on the mechanical blower system.
    De-icing for the wing is provided by hot air fran The engine exhaust, and the horizontal tail is similarly de-iced by a heater located in the fuselage. The propellers are fitted with conventional slingers for ice prevention.
    III. FACTUAL DATA

    (1) Dimensions
    Span 72 ft 2 in.
    Length 48 ft 10 in.
    Height 15 ft 5 in.
    Wing Area 602 sq ft.

    (2) Weights

    Normal all-up 30,450 lb
    Maximum take-off 32,350 lb

    (3) Power Plants

    Two BMW-801-TJ air-cooled, 14-cylinder, radial engines with a take-off rating of 1810 hp at 2650 rpm. "Kommandogerat" units were incorporated for automatic adjustment of fuel mixture, propeller pitch, and supercharger shifting.

    (4) Performance
    The maximum speed is 383 mph at 40,300 ft, and the range with maximum fuel load of 1020 gal is 2160 miles at 36,000 ft.

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    IV. PILOTS' OBSERVATIONS


    a. Purpose


    To forward pilot's comments on handling characteristics of JU-388.


    b. Factual Data


    (1) Introduction.


    The German JU-388 is a three-place, all-metal, midwing, twin-engine, high- altitude, reconnaissance airplane. The JU-388 power plant consists of two BMW-801-T-l-L engines rated at 1750 hp each. Supercharging is provided by an exhaust-driven turbo and a gear-driven, two-stage impeller.


    A total of ten hours was flown in the airplane by various flight-test pilots to determine its handling characteristics and to obtain the pilots' com- ments.


    On the first flights, some trim and weight and balance difficulties were encountered, although these were finally eliminated, and subsequent flights were accomplished with little difficulty.


    The majority of pilots agree that the JU-388 does not have handling characteristics equal to the JU-88. In general, the stalling speeds are too high, the controls have excessive play and the power-off approach angle is too steep to afford a good flare for landing.


    (2) Weight and CG Information.


    Flights were made with a take-off weight of 27,835 pounds and a CG location of 26-7/l0%.


    (3) Flight Characteristics


    (a) Cockpit Layout - The cockpit of the JU-388 is built to accommodate three crewmen: one pilot, one observer and a radioman navigator. Entry to the cabin is made by climbing up a ladder mounted on the access door in the cabin floor.


    The pilot's seat is located on the left side of the fuselage and the observer's seat which is stowed behind the pilot's seat, swings out and down - locking into position to the right side and aft of the pilot's seat. The radio- man's seat is located aft of the access hatch.


    Due to the cramped space and awkward seat location, the crewmen have some difficulty in seating themselves; once seated, however, little difficulty is encountered by crew members in handling the controls and otherwise carrying out their duties.


    The pilot's seat is adjustable fore and aft in flight, although the rudders are adjustable only before take-off. All engine controls and primary engine instruments are located on a control panel at the pilot's left side, and the flight instruments are suspended to the right and in front of the pi lot approximately at eye level. The temperature, pressure and fuel gages together with the wheel and flap control, are located on the right wall of the fuselage opposite to and within easy reach of the pilot.


    As in other German airplanes, the automatic engine control and the push button system for operating the flaps, wheels, trim, etc., are incorporated in the JU-388 and contribute greatly to its convenience of operation.


    (b) Taxiing and Ground Handling - The JU-388 is somewhat difficult to taxi due to very poor brakes and the lack of a steerable tailwheel. Directional control can be maintained only by using a combination of power and brake application. Much discomfort was experienced by the crew members due to excessive cabin temperatures, especially in ground operation. Take-off and initial Climb - The take-off run is short and directional control is not difficult to maintain. Initial climb is fair; although most pilots found that the longitudinal trim changes rapidly after take-off. The gear and flaps retract rapidly, but necessitate rapid trim correction.


    (d) Climb - The JU-388 has a good rate of climb and gives the pilot no difficulty of control or restricted vision.


    (e) Handling and Control at Various Speeds - The controls are fairly effective at most speeds. Control feel is good and forces are well balanced except for the rudder forces, which seem somewhat light for this type of plane.


    (f) Trim and Stability - Trim changes are easy to accomplish, although when lowering flaps or wheels it is found that the electric stabilizer trim device is not rapid enough to compensate for resulting trim changes. Ample trim control is provided by aileron, rudder and stabilizer trim devices located on the pilot's control panel. In addition to the manual stabilizer trim control, there is an electric trimmer switch on the pilot's control stick. Stability of the JU-388, as nearly as could be determined by pilot observations, was found to be satisfactory.


    (g) Stalls and Stall Warning -The airplane has a gentle stall, characterized by relatively little warning before the stall and by an abrupt pitching moment following the stall; recovery from stalls in any configuration is rapid with little loss in altitude.


    (h) Maneuverability and Aerobatics - The Ju-388 was round to be quite maneuverable and it displayed desirable flying characteristics for its particular type.


    Although no aerobatics were attempted, it was evident that the airplane has a good rate of roll and a relatively short turning radius.


    (i) Control on reduced Number of Engines - although no tests were made with one propeller feathered, it was obvious from flying with one engine idling and the other at cruising power that the JU-388 has excellent single engine performance and handling characteristics.


    While flying with the conditions at stated above, it is possible to trim the plane to fly hands-off, and control in turns, etc., is easily maintained.


    (j) Changes in Trim when Operating Landing Gear, Flaps, etc. though trim changes resulting from the operation of landing gear and flaps, or changes in power are excessive, the aileron, rudder and stabilizer trim controls provided are adequate to restore the airplane to a stable trim condition.


    (k) Noise and Vibration - The noise level of this airplane is somewhat less than is found in the JU-88, due to the sound deadening effect of the pressurized cabin and the sponge rubber insulation provided.


    Vibration of the power plant and airframe is at a minimum in flight; however, while idling the engines on the ground, an excessive amount of power plant vibration and control shake is evidenced.


    (l) Comfort - In general, the crew members experience little discomfort in operating the airplane. Seats are well designed and located; although somewhat small by our standards. Ample shoulder, head and leg room is provided all crewmen.


    (m) Vision -Vision is excellent downward and forward, although somewhat restricted laterally and to the rear. The web members of the "Greenhouse" type cabin obstructs the pilot's vision to an undesirable extent, although only slight distortion is caused by the many double surfaced windows incorporated in the "Greenhouse" structure.


    (n) Approach and Landing - This airplane displays poor power-off approach characteristics in that its angle of descent with power off is so great that a complete flare cannot be accomplished at normal approach speeds. It was found that by using a slight amount of power throughout the approach and a very shallow flare just before touching down, good three point landings can be made.


    Directional control after landing is easy to maintain even in a fair cross wind.


    (4) General Functioning.

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    (a) Power Plant and Associated Equipment - The BMW 801 engines functioned well throughout all flights and most pilots expressed utmost confidence in the power plant and its accessories.


    It is believed that the unified engine control, which automatically selects the correct propeller pitch and fuel mixture for any power settings, is well adapted to the power plant, and is a desirable feature since it relieves the pilot of individual attention to these items.


    (b) Hydraulic, Pneumatic and Electric Systems - Operation of the electric-hydraulic flap- and landing-gear systems was very satisfactory; however, the hydraulic brake system left much to be desired.


    The automatic electric fuel transfer system gave some trouble on one flight when it failed to transfer fuel properly. Other electric systems functioned satisfactorily.


    (c) Emergency Systems - An emergency handle is provided to jettison the top hatch of the radioman's compartment. The floor entrance hatch is provided with a hand operated hydraulic system which may also be used to open the bomb-bay doors, and lower the wheels and flaps. All emergency systems operate satisfactorily.


    (5) Performance


    None obtained.


    c. Conclusions


    It is believed that the JU-388, while possessing fair performance characteristics for a reconnaissance type, is somewhat deficient in excellent handling traits so necessary in this type. It is assumed that the excessive trim changes and the light rudder forces would be more detrimental at operational altitudes of 35,000 to 40,000 ft.


    d. Recommendations


    None.


    V. CONCLUSIONS


    (l) As far as ease of maintenance is concerned, this aircraft is on a par with comparable American aircraft.


    (2) The extreme compactness of the engine and turbosupercharger instal lation retards servicing but does provide for quick nacelle changes- estimated by the Germans at one-half hour for three or four men.


    (3) The "Kommandogerat" or "master control" units functioned well throughout testing and point up the need for further American development along the automatic control idea.


    (4) The remotely-controlled, twin-gun tail turret is a novel feature in that it is mechanically controlled by servo motors unlike the electronically controlled remote turrets of the AAF.


    (5) An overall analysis of the airplane leads to the conclusion that it could be employed well in its design function of long-range reconnaissance.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    I've never flown the real thing, but I have flown the BF109, the Foch Wolfe 190 and the Spitfire as models; 70"wingspan, 30 cc gas motors.

    The BF109 was a twitchy beast to fly and with it's narrow landing gear took quite a bit of skill to land safely. I got about 20 flights on it before I crashed it. The FW190 is a joy to fly and to land because of it's wide landing gear. Very maneuverable plane and would pull out of a spin quite dependably. I still have the plane. My all time favorite WWll plane is the Spitfire. It is a joy to fly and has no really bad tendencies - at least in model form. Though the landing gear is narrow it is very stable at low speed so landings are generally less stressful than the BF109. That big elliptical wing on the Spit really generates a lot of lift. I have two Spitfire models, one a 65" wingspan and the other 72".

    regards,
    Waddie

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Have you ever considered simply posting the url?
    http://www.pilotfriend.com/flight_re...reports/33.htm

    Saves time on the old C&P.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    I saw a very interesting BBC documentary last week on PBS called The Battle of Britain. I have known the basic facts for years, but this was interesting in that the host went on for some length regarding the merits of the 109 versus Spitfire, and the Spit came up lacking. Contemporary comments from captured Luftwaffe pilots showed that they were absolutely not afraid of the Spit, and old RAF pilots lauded the 109. The decisive image was when the host showed, side by side, the bullet from one of the .303 machine guns in the Spit versus the 20mm shell from the 109- a staggering visual difference. Too, the 109 had 55 seconds of firing time, whilst the Spit only had 14 seconds!

    Pierre Clostermann, in the appendix of The Big Show, noted that "all the great German aces, with the exception of Walter Nowotny and Hermann Graf, always preferred the Me109 to the Fw190, probably because of its speed and rate of climb".
    Gerard>
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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    I do know that the Spit had a regular carb which would cut out under negative G's, while the 109 had fuel injection. The 109 cannon would have been far better than the 303 machine guns. The FW190 could really take punishment and hang together. So I guess different planes/different strengths and weaknesses.

    regards,
    Waddie

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by Waddie View Post
    I do know that the Spit had a regular carb which would cut out under negative G's, while the 109 had fuel injection. The 109 cannon would have been far better than the 303 machine guns. The FW190 could really take punishment and hang together. So I guess different planes/different strengths and weaknesses.

    regards,
    Waddie
    C'mon... everyone knows that Miss Shilling's orifice fixed that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Shilling's_orifice
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Recent reviews have suggested that the Bf was the superior craft, but that at least in respect to the Battle of Britain, the foolish tactics imposed on them to "fly with the bombers" was devastating to their kill ratios. The practical problem afforded by the carburetor's inability to function upside down is no small matter, anymore than the difference between a 20mm projectile and a 30 caliber bullet is.

    The Spit is a beautiful plane but what recent yakkity yak seems to suggest is that the Messerschmidt had only two significant disadvantages: range/time over target and Hermann Goering's orders to stay with the bombers. Otherwise, it had enough going for it that plane to plane, it is hard to support it's inferiority to the Spitfire, or any other Allied fighter for that matter. A very good design that was, like early Porsche 911's, best used by experts who had the skills to exploit it's performance and deal with it's quirks.

    Well, that's what I am told, anyway. Way, way to long a post to read here, I agree a few well chosen paragraphs and the link would have been easier to digest. Interesting topic though.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    In for a Penny, in for a Shilling eh?
    Xanthorrea

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by Waddie View Post
    I've never flown the real thing, but I have flown the BF109, the Foch Wolfe 190 and the Spitfire as models; 70"wingspan, 30 cc gas motors.

    The BF109 was a twitchy beast to fly and with it's narrow landing gear took quite a bit of skill to land safely. I got about 20 flights on it before I crashed it. The FW190 is a joy to fly and to land because of it's wide landing gear. Very maneuverable plane and would pull out of a spin quite dependably. I still have the plane. My all time favorite WWll plane is the Spitfire. It is a joy to fly and has no really bad tendencies - at least in model form. Though the landing gear is narrow it is very stable at low speed so landings are generally less stressful than the BF109. That big elliptical wing on the Spit really generates a lot of lift. I have two Spitfire models, one a 65" wingspan and the other 72".

    regards,
    Waddie
    I've flown the FW190 in flight sims and have never been able to recover from a flat spin. Did you ever encounter a flat spin and how did you recover?
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    I've flown the FW190 in flight sims and have never been able to recover from a flat spin. Did you ever encounter a flat spin and how did you recover?
    Assuming right hand flat spin; full left rudder...down elevator...full power as soon as the nose drops (even a little). Of course this is a model so I don't know if it would have ever worked on the real thing. As I said I have 2 Spits; a Kyosho 120 size with a 30 DLE gas engine. The other is a Jamara 90 size with a Saito 100 on 15% nitro glow fuel.

    Is your flight sim on your computer? Real Flight?

    regards,
    Waddie

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    During the Italy campaign Dad and another pilot were restoring a couple of captured 109's to have some fun with between their own missions. The other guy got his in the air first - and last since he managed a fatal crash and the general forbad further screwing around with captured planes.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    Have you ever considered simply posting the url?
    http://www.pilotfriend.com/flight_re...reports/33.htm

    Saves time on the old C&P.
    i no longer have the link

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    During the Italy campaign Dad and another pilot were restoring a couple of captured 109's to have some fun with between their own missions. The other guy got his in the air first - and last since he managed a fatal crash and the general forbad further screwing around with captured planes.
    Expert's aircraft with a notable tendency for ground loops as AMPLY discussed above. Bites novices, and was not a trifle to play with sans a great deal of experience. High performance machinery tends to be like that. Once in the air, the equal or superior to any of it's contemporaries with the noted exceptions. It could simply be that he wasn't properly checked out in the plane; transitions to new machines are a formal aspect of pilot training. I didn't read all of Wardd's post but if I recall early versions also had a marked tendency not to give much warning in a stall, which was later addressed in the wing design with slats. From memory, not recent research.....


    Waddie:

    How much does flying a typical home built scale model relate to the real deal? I remember my few tries at RF control "feeling" very different
    than my expectations, and of course, they use(d) scale machines all the time in development phases but how that relates to a unique scale model being compared to a production airplane causes me to ask. 1:2 or maybe even 1:6 is one thing but when you get to 1:12 and beyond, things start to change in respect to how we experience reactions. The human is still scaled at 1:1. I'm not at all clear that much can be inferred about the real deal from flying the model without a lot more controls (science) built in. Take the effects of relative winds, for instance.........
    Last edited by Lew Barrett; 08-07-2012 at 05:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    As many guys died in training accidents as in combat in some of the areas I've looked at. My uncle was investigated after one fatal training accident.... the tug towing the target he was to shoot at crashed into the sea. My uncle had just radioed "fly straight you bastard or I'll shoot you down".... Fortunately it was shown his guns hadn't been fired when he landed.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by Waddie View Post
    Assuming right hand flat spin; full left rudder...down elevator...full power as soon as the nose drops (even a little). Of course this is a model so I don't know if it would have ever worked on the real thing. As I said I have 2 Spits; a Kyosho 120 size with a 30 DLE gas engine. The other is a Jamara 90 size with a Saito 100 on 15% nitro glow fuel.

    Is your flight sim on your computer? Real Flight?

    regards,
    Waddie
    Il 2 Stormovik
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post
    As many guys died in training accidents as in combat in some of the areas I've looked at. My uncle was investigated after one fatal training accident.... the tug towing the target he was to shoot at crashed into the sea. My uncle had just radioed "fly straight you bastard or I'll shoot you down".... Fortunately it was shown his guns hadn't been fired when he landed.
    High performance machines are like that. Here, drive my Lotus 35 really, really fast and let me know how it worked out for you!

    Towing a target straight and level is probably more challenging that it might first seem. The plane has two tails now; one is going to try and wag the other one, and leverage does come into play.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    The hurricane was reckoned to be a better fighter than the spit, just not so pretty.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    The hurricane was reckoned to be a better fighter than the spit, just not so pretty.
    It's my favourite to fly in the sim, very stable.
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

    John Welsford

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    The hurricane was reckoned to be a better fighter than the spit, just not so pretty.
    I think cannon make a huge difference. The tactic for the Famous Battle (I believe) was that the Hurricane was the interceptor and the Spitfire played more or less the "offensive" role, that is going after the Bf109s and 110s. The Hurricane was a stable gun platform; good for knocking down bombers. Cannon came too late, just at the end of 1940, for either aircraft to have any effect in the Battle of Britain. After that, the Hurricane became a tank buster, ground support and interceptor where applicable. It was effectively obsolete on introduction, but I am guessing the pilots who flew it loved it for it's stability and sweetness, and many were transitioning from biplanes. That must have made the Hurri seem like a Ferrari. But on this topic, I mainly just like to talk! Mine is a pretty old fashioned view of the thing.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by Lew Barrett View Post
    Waddie:
    How much does flying a typical home built scale model relate to the real deal? I remember my few tries at RF control "feeling" very different
    than my expectations, and of course, they use(d) scale machines all the time in development phases but how that relates to a unique scale model being compared to a production airplane causes me to ask. 1:2 or maybe even 1:6 is one thing but when you get to 1:12 and beyond, things start to change in respect to how we experience reactions. The human is still scaled at 1:1. I'm not at all clear that much can be inferred about the real deal from flying the model without a lot more controls (science) built in. Take the effects of relative winds, for instance.........
    My son-in-law is a pilot for Frontier airlines, his wife, my daughter, also has her private pilot's license, and I can compare a model Cessna 175 with the real Cessna 175, as I have flown them both. So have they, so I also asked them. Of course the model is waaay overpowered compared to the real thing. The controls are the same (elevator/ailerons/flaps/rudder/throttle) but the model has very little control feedback (resistance to movement) like the real plane has. Your perspective is also quite different; from the ground looking up on the model bit from inside the cockpit on the real deal. Things happen much faster with the model; perhaps because the bigger something is the slower things tend to happen; think dingy sailboat compared to 38 footer. And just like dingy sailing; it's good preparation for bigger boats later. My son-in-law flew model planes growing up, later in high school got his license and towed banners part-time, and still later moved to airliners. He still spends a certain number of hours in the sim each year practicing emergency flying techniques.

    regards,
    Waddie

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    I also have a license, but very little experience flying models (my specific question). My sense is that smaller scale models do not reliably predict the performance of the real deal. I think you've more or less confirmed that for me. They are of interest to aviation enthusiasts but not necessarily predictive. I suppose another way of looking at it is that you could say a lot "depends." Thank you.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by Lew Barrett View Post
    I think cannon make a huge difference. The tactic for the Famous Battle (I believe) was that the Hurricane was the interceptor and the Spitfire played more or less the "offensive" role, that is going after the Bf109s and 110s. The Hurricane was a stable gun platform; good for knocking down bombers. Cannon came too late, just at the end of 1940, for either aircraft to have any effect in the Battle of Britain. After that, the Hurricane became a tank buster, ground support and interceptor where applicable. It was effectively obsolete on introduction, but I am guessing the pilots who flew it loved it for it's stability and sweetness, and many were transitioning from biplanes. That must have made the Hurri seem like a Ferrari. But on this topic, I mainly just like to talk! Mine is a pretty old fashioned view of the thing.
    The Hurricane fitted with 4 cannon was quite a beast, one problem though was the nose would drop when they were all fired together.
    Two cannon tank buster version.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ix5xN8hlGLo
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

    John Welsford

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Quote Originally Posted by Lew Barrett View Post
    I also have a license, but very little experience flying models (my specific question). My sense is that smaller scale models do not reliably predict the performance of the real deal. I think you've more or less confirmed that for me. They are of interest to aviation enthusiasts but not necessarily predictive. I suppose another way of looking at it is that you could say a lot "depends." Thank you.
    I do think the model aircraft can provide comparisons vis-a-vis one another that does relate to the full scale aircraft. My DR1 Fokker Triplane is the twitchiest and most difficult to land model plane (drop a wing and prone to ground loops) but my British SE5 has much better manners. This was also true of the full size aircraft. They also use models for wind tunnel and other testing, so they must have at least a limited correlation.

    regards,
    Waddie

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    Default Re: Flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Those Dogfight episodes were way cool, especially the WWI ones.
    Gerard>
    Everett, WA

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