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Although no more than around 1,430 Me 262s were made during WWII, many of which never even entered into service, this plane had a considerable influence on the development of military aviation: the Me 262 was the first widely operational military plane equipped with jet propulsion.

Development of the low-wing twin-jet began in 1938, but development of the new powerplants delayed its first turbojet test flight until 1942. It wasn't until mid 1944 that the German Luftwaffe was able to successfully deploy the new jet aircraft at the front. The Messerschmitt 262 served as both a fighter ("Schwalbe", English: “swallow”) and a fighter-bomber ("Sturmvogel", English: “assault bird/storm bird”). It was capable of 827 km/h at sea level, making it the fastest aircraft to serve in World War II. The huge technical advantage afforded by the ME 262 made these aircraft highly sought-after spoils of war. All four of the Allied powers - in particular the USA - subjected the Me 262 to thorough examination after the war. What they discovered was quickly channelled back into aircraft development.

At AIRPOWER16 a Me 262 B-A1 ("D-IMTT", serial number 501244) will be showcased. It is one of five replicas constructed in Texas from 1993 with the aid of an original Me 262 B two-seater trainer aircraft on loan from the US Navy. The "TangoTango" made its maiden flight in Seattle in 2005 before being dismantled and transported to Germany. It is part of the historic aircraft collection of the Flugmuseum Messerschmitt, a cooperation of Airbus Defence and Space and the Messerschmitt Foundation. At AIRPOWER16 the Me 262 can be seen in the Flying Display.

© Andreas Zeitler
© Andreas Zeitler

Facts & Figures

Manufacturer Messerschmitt AG
Version Me 262 B1-A (Nachbau)
Registration D-IMTT
Length 10.60 m
Height 3.60 m
Wingspan 12.56 m
Max. take-off weight ca. 5,500 kg
Max. speed 800 km/h
Powerplant 2 x GE CJ-610-9
Thrust 2 x 13.8 kN
Display Flying