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It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A Komet???

My Messerschmitt Aircraft Pages:

Birds of War: The Messerschmitt's Effect on World War II
Willy Messerschmitt: A Short Biography
The Messerschmitt Bf109
The Messerschmitt Me262
The Imporatnce of the Messerschmitt
500 Word Essay
The Bibliography Page

    "The Me163 was a rocket powered interceptor designed to attack bomber formations. Its liquid fueled motor gave the aircraft vastly greater performance than anything in the air at that time." The Me163 was named the Komet (also know as Comet). The difference between the two names is that 'C' is used in America and the 'K' is used in Germany. The Me163 was the worlds first rocket propelled aircraft in the world. It was a tailless glider designed by Alexander Lippisch in the 1930's. The glider was fitted with two solid-fuel rockets which had also been designed by Lipisch."

    The Me163 was a very effective craft used by the Luftwaffe in 1944. "The Komet was almost impossible to shoot down. On the approach of the enemy bombers, the Me163 was lauched on a trolley, which was then jettisoned once airborne. Due to its immense fuel consumption rate, the Komet was restricted to only 5 to 10 minutes of actual air travel. The Komet would climb rapidly and then swoop down through the bomber formation. This procedure was repeated until the fuel was spent and then the aircraft would glide back to earth landing on a skid runner fixed under the fuselage. Only during this non-powered descent was the Komet vulnerable from attack by enemy craft."

    Besides its short airtime, the Komet's other problem was in landing. "When the pilots landed, it had to be absolutely perfect" and that was not so easy to do! If a pilot made any mistakes during the landing procedure, his craft could crash and the pilot risked the chance of inhaling toxic fuel odors. With the development of the Komet, the world's knowledge for high-speed craft began to increase. The Germans won many victories in World War II when the Komets were used. With new information, tests, and results that this craft provided, aircraft designers would later construct the world's first jet-propelled aircraft, the Me262.

Specifications of the Me163 Komet:

    "Length: 19'4" (5.90M). Height: 9'2" (2.80M). Wingspan: 30'6" (9.30M). Wing Area: 199.00Sq.Ft. (18.50Sq.M). Empty Weight: 4200.00lbs. (1905.00kg). Gross Weight: 9502.00lbs. (4310.00kg). Propulsion No. of Engines: 1. Powerplant: Walter KWK 509A-2. Thrust (each): 3748 (1700). Performance Cruise Speed: 575.00mph. (925.00km/h) (500.00Kt). Max Speed: 593.00mph. (955.00km/h) (516.22Kt). Climb: 16000.00Ft./Min. (4875.00M/Min). Ceiling: 40000.00Ft./Min. (12190.00M/Min)."