Aviation of World War II
Me-262 A-1 Schwalbe
The Me-262 turbojet fighter was the most advanced aircraft of all combat machines produced during World War II. Back in 1943, Willy Messerschmitt's new aircraft was ready for serial production, but Hitler approved the launch of the aircraft in a series - but only as a high-speed bomber, although some people from the design team tried to prove that the Me-262 was most important just as a fighter. The commander of fighter aviation, the illustrious ace General Galland, believed that it was the Me-262 that was desperately needed to organize reliable air defense.
A month after taking office as head of the Luftwaffe headquarters, Lieutenant General Werner Kreipe made attempts to convey to Hitler the importance of strengthening the Reich's air defense through the use of Me 262 and, therefore, canceling the order for the priority release of the bomber version. On August 30, 1944, he managed to get some concessions from Hitler - every 20th Me 262 was allowed to be produced as a fighter. On September 19, Kreipe repeated his request, and on November 4, he finally got Hitler to allow the production of the Me 262 fighter version, although still with one condition - "... each aircraft must, if necessary, carry at least one 250-kg bomb. " This condition was ignored during production.
The first production version of the Me 262A-la fighter, informally known as the "Schwalbe" (Swallow), entered the test team "262" in Leckfeld in July 1944. It practically did not differ from the pre-production Me 262A-0. The construction used conventional alloys. It was practically all riveted, the weight of the structure was deliberately overestimated - everything was done to achieve maximum manufacturability. As practice has shown, the airframe of the Me 262 aircraft turned out to be quite durable. One of the Meeserschmitt test pilots managed to get out of a dive at a speed of 850 km / h at an altitude of 1500 m with an overload equal to 8 g. The absence of any residual deformations on his plane was the best confirmation of the strength of the machine.
The Jumo 004B-1 engine (later B-2 and B-3) was equipped with a small two-stroke Riedel starter. A supply of B4 gasoline of 17 liters was used as fuel for the starter. In addition to this reserve, all the fuel was placed in the fuselage. For this, there were two main and two additional tanks. The capacity of the main tanks was 900 liters, the front auxiliary - 170 liters, the rear auxiliary - 600 liters.
One of the main problems in the development of Me 262 pilots was the high sensitivity of the Jumo 004B motor to fuel supply. The ore should have been moved very slowly up to 6000 rpm, when the engine automatically switched from the starting fuel - gasoline B4 to diesel - J2, after which the rpm increased to 8000. The rpm was reduced to 5000 when removing the pads from the wheels of the chassis and increased to 7000 at the start of the run. During the takeoff, the speed was increased to 8000 - the minimum required for the flight. The sharp movement of the throttles led to engine failure. It was necessary to install an additional fuel supply regulator, which controlled the supply regardless of the position of the throttle at a speed of more than 6000 per minute. But then this regulator was adapted to control the fuel supply over the entire speed range at any position of the throttle. This regulator provided the necessary engine operation and precise speed control depending on the throttle setting.
Radio equipment included a FuG 16zy radio (later replaced by a FuG 15) and a FuG 25a transponder.
Total were built 1433 airplanes of different modifications.
The Me 262A-1 No. 110426 at the Soviet Scientific Research Institute. By late summer 1945, the Air Forces Scientific Research Institute managed to test a Jumo 004 turbine engine burning domestic low-octane gasoline and another BMW 003 turbojet engine burning tractor kerosene. For the first time, there was success in determining the thrust, fuel consumption, and optimal rpm of the most developed German engines.
Red Army soldiers had arrested Hitler's chief technical adviser and plenipotentiary on jet aircraft. General F. F. Kuznetsov, Chief of the Red Army General Staff Intelligence Directorate, informed A. I. Shakhurin of the following: "Prisoner E. Puruker is of great interest to You, since he is well informed on production of jet engines for aircraft in Germany. The prisoner is in Moscow and can be presented for special questioning by your representative".
Puruker described Hitler's decision in early 1945 to concentrate all aircraft industry efforts on producing the Me 262, the most developed aircraft compared to the He 162, Ar 234, and Me 163. Drawings of these aircraft and their engines, as well as serviceable examples, in his opinion, most probably were to be found in territory Soviet troop units occupied: in Ceske-Budejovice, Wiener-Neustadt, and Bergkristall east of Linz. The high-ranking engineer also said that about 60 machines had been concentrated near Prague. Interestingly enough, the most difficult thing the Germans had faced was the development of engine turbine blades, because thermal loads were very high. Only after special heatproof "Chromadur" and "Trinadur" steels were introduced were they able to ensure engine operability. The Germans had reached the peak in Me 262 production in March 1945 when they took delivery of 237 such machines.
Numerous pieces of information received from German pilots, engineers, and top aviation officials heightened Soviet interest in the jet Messerschmitt. The plan was to test Me 262A-1 No. 110426 that had been dismantled and brought to the Air Forces Scientific Research Institute from the town of Schweidemuehle on 30 March 1945. Evidently the aircraft had made a gear-up forced landing judging from the damage it sustained. It was reconditioned at the experimental plant in Chkalovskaya. Our pilots knew that more than once jet Messerschmitts had tucked-under and the Germans fliers crashed along with their machines. Therefore, special care was taken in selection of the test pilot.
On 15 August 1945, a memorable day in our aviation history, leading test pilot Engineer-Lieutenant Colonel A. G. Kochetkov took the machine into the air. But, on the very next day, testing had to be stopped for almost a month and a half, because the port engine malfunctioned and had to be replaced. During 12 sorties, Kochetkov managed to gather the main flight characteristics of the aircraft. Engineers V. A. Berezin, V. A. Ivanov, Yu. Z. Manyshev, and S. S. Fradkov led by a lead engineer I. G. Rabkin compiled a report on the Me 262 Schwalbe.
Those sorties did not come easily. The last was the most difficult for Kochetkov. At the cost of tremendous physical tension and self-control, he managed to pull the aircraft out of a dive at a high altitude. In a similar situation on 17 September 1947 while flying another Me 262, test pilot F. F. Demida was killed, thus becoming one of the first victims of jet technology. General P. M. Stefanovskiy also flew the Schwalbe.
Under the Schwalbe's influence, the first domestic jet fighter designs looked very much like Me 262, but, later on, our designers went their own way. From the very beginning, despite Stalin's orders, the People's Commissariat of the Aviation Industry (it later became a ministry) was in no hurry to fulfill the enactment on series production of the "Soviet Messerschmitts" and allowed it to become engulfed in red tape. Appearance of the new, naturally "better designed," Yak-15 and MiG-9 is the reason. Besides, German production technology clearly was oriented toward the capabilities of the "Thousand-Year Reich" in the final months of the war, which stipulated wide use of wood and steel. In 1947, there was no necessity for the USSR to copy the German solutions. A.S. Yakovlev rememred:
At one of Stalin's conferences addressing the efforts of the aviation industry, People's Commissar Shakhurin's suggestion concerning series production of the captured Me 262 jet fighter was considered. In the course of the discussion, Stalin asked whether I knew this aircraft and what my opinion of it was. I answered that I knew the Me 262 aircraft, but came out decisively against putting it into series production, because it was a bad airplane, unstable in flight, and difficult to handle. Quite a few of them had crashed in Germany. If it enters service in our country it would scare our pilots away from jet aviation. They would soon see that it was a dangerous aircraft and, in addition, it had bad takeoff and landing qualities.
I also noted that, if we copy the Messerschmitt, then all the attention and all resources would be mobilized for this machine and we would do a lot of harm to the work underway on domestic jet aircraft. 900 kgp / 1,980 lbf
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