ACE-262NF MESSERSCHMITT ME 262 B-1a/U1(WNr 111980), Red 12, 10./NJG 11, Reinfeld, May 1945
Not yet released! Pre-order period open until November 11, 2022. Airplane is expected to be shipped in May 2023.
Although chronologically speaking the Messerschmitt 262 was not the first jet powered aircraft in the history of flying, it was nonetheless the first jet plane to be mass produced and used intensively in operations and with undeniable success during the last year of the war. It could have been even more successful if its strategic use hadn’t been at the beginning at least, subject to the illogical decisions of Hitler himself who saw the plane as a fast bomber rather instead of an air superiority fighter, a kind of fighter for which the allies did not yet have a counterpart.
The Me-262 single-seater was such a handful for most pilots who were familiar with piston-powered aircraft to operate, that it was considered crucial to create a 2-seat conversion trainer so that pilots could get used to the slow throttle response of early jets with someone there to demonstrate in flight what they needed to do. Messerschmitt had suggested development of such a trainer as soon as the Me-262A-1a was approved for production.
Although the Me 262 was not a problem for an experienced pilot to master, but like any other aircraft, it had its own characteristics, which caused difficulties in training beginners who had limited flight time even on piston aircraft. Pilots needed to get used to the slow throttle response of early jets with someone there to demonstrate in flight what they needed to do.
The 262nd test team in Lekfeld was just responsible for the development of new technology. However, it was obvious that the training would go easier when using a two-seat aircraft, and the Messerschmitt developed such a variant – the Me 262V-1a. The Me 262 two seater was obtained by converting a single seater, (replacing one of the fuselage tanks with the second cockpit, and fitting a new canopy.) Although 65 two seaters were planned, only 15 examples were produced.
The work to create a night fighter version of the Me 262 began as early as spring 1943. At that time the RAF De Havilland “Mosquito” ruled the skies and was practically beyond reach for the crews of Bf 110’s or JU 88’s. Even after single-seat types (Bf 109G and FW 190 A) were pressed into service with the Wilde Sau units the situation did not improve. In September 1944 while waiting for the first real night fighter version to be produced, which would have been approximately five feet longer, it was decided to change a few two-seater trainers into night fighters. The aircraft was to be based on the Me 262 B-1a airframe and designated Me 262 B-1a/U1 Behelfsnachtjager (provisional night bomber). It appears that only six examples of the Me 262 B-1a/U1 version were ever built.
Leutenant Herbert Altner surrendered this two seater to the allies on 6th May 1945. The plane was recovered by the British and put on static display in several exhibitions before it was destroyed in a storm.
Acrylic stand sold separately.