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Me 163 B-1 Komet

The Messerschmitt 163 Komet was one of the most radical and truly futuristic aircraft of the world war two. The idea of a local-defensive fighter driven by a rocket-engine was indeed a good idea and could have given the allied's a tough nut to crack. The endurance of the aircraft was only 8 minutes and that included 2 minutes of propulsion before the fuel ran out. The unconventional shape without a tail-plane and an amazing short fuselage did not cause any major difficulties in handling the aircraft. The production version was in fact considered to have the best and safest flight-handling of all the aircrafts within the Luftwaffe. The tail-less design was choosed to save some weight and to minimize the drag. The selection of two different rocket-fuels that reacted violently when they came in contact with each other, solved the ignition-problem in the combustion-room, but brought a great hazard-moment. The Komet didn't have an undercarriage instead it took off on jettisonable carriage and landed on a skid. But the impact caused by the landing often ignited the fuel-leftovers and it cased an explosion. Many of the aircrafts were lost in the landing and also many pilots were injured including the first test-pilot. The first version (163 V1) flew in the spring of 1941 as a glider, and in August 1941 with propulsion. In May 1944 the Me 163 B went into service with the I/JG 400. The tail-less aircraft flew like a bird and sometimes the plane kept on flying instead of landing were the pilot wanted. The final production-version was 163 C with a fully retractable tail-wheel, a longer fuselage and a new improved engine with the ability for the aircraft to cruise, it was from this version that the Me 263 was produced.

Specifications for Me 163 B-1 Komet

Length 5.69 m 19 ft 4 1/4 in
Weight Empty 1905 kg (4200 lb), MTOW 4110 kg (9500 lb)
Powerplant One Walter HWK 109.509 A-2 rocket-engine rated at 1700 kg (3748 lb)
Armament Two 30 mm MK 108 cannons
Ordnance No ordnance
Top speed 960 km/h (593 mph)
Range Less than 100 km
Ceiling 16500 m (40000 ft)
Climb rate 5000 m/min (16000 ft/min)