Planes of Fame Air Museum
 
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Home »  Collection »  Flying & Static Aircraft »  Messerschmitt Me 163 'Komet'

HISTORY

  • On 28 July 1944 a group of U.S. B-17 bombers near Merseburg, Germany encountered the world's first operational rocket-powered fighter. It would be the first of many encounters, which would not result in an Allied fatality until August, 1944 when Leutnant Hartmut Ryll piloted his Me 163 near Brandis. His victory was short-lived after a pair of P-51 's shot him down following his attack on the lone B-17.
  • The Me 163 story begins in 1926 when Dr. Alexander Lippisch's tailless glider first took to the air. Lippisch later became involved in rocket propulsion. By 1940 Lippisch was working for Messerschmitt, and an all-wood version of the rocket-powered aircraft was successfully tested. Controlling the speed was difficult but critical. Under power, at speeds up to 624mph, an Me 163 pilot would have only 3 seconds to fire a burst into the targeted bomber before he would pass it by with little hope of a second attack.
  • Only 279 Me 163 Komets were built, from May 1944 thru February 1945, and relatively few saw combat. Although the aircraft was simple and relatively easy to build it was plagued with technical and operation problems. This must have been a relief to Allied air forces as the small and nimble Me 163 was armed with twin 30mm cannons that could have wreaked havoc with allied bombers whose escort fighters' average speed was half the speed of the little Komet's.
  • The Me-163 Komet on display at Planes of Fame Air Museum is a replica of the world's first operational rocket powered fighter, built by George Lucas of Dunda, NY.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Status: Replica
Manufacturer: Messerschmitt AG
Year: Replica based on 1944 aircraft
Model: Me 163B Komet
Registration Number:
Serial Number: 
Crew: 1
Max T/O Weight: 9,500 lb.
Span: 30 ft. 7 in.
Length: 18 ft. 8 in.
Height: 9 ft. 0 in.
Maximum Speed: 596 mph
Cruise Speed: 575 mph
Rate of Climb: 31,500 ft/min
Power Plant: 1 x Daimler Benz 6050 inverted V-12 liquid-cooled engine, 1,775 hp.
Range: 8 min. duration
Service Ceiling: 39,700 ft.
Armament: Two 30-mm MK 108 cannon

 

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