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Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet

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        Primary Function:
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Walter HWK509
3,750 lbs.
4,200 lbs.
9,500 lbs.
2- 30 mm
18 ft. 8 in.
30 ft. 7 in.
596 mph
16,400 fpm
54,000 feet
60 miles

Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet
Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet

The Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet was the only operational rocket-powered interceptor and the fastest flying aircraft of World War II.

In the 1920's Professor Alex Lippisch developed the first successful tailless gliders. In 1938, Professor Lippisch became responsible for the German rocket test program. This was to become the Me-163 program. When Lippisch was transferred to Messerschmitt in 1939 the aircraft was modified into an interceptor.

The rocket engine propelling the Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet was fed from two tanks containing fuels that, when combined, would ignite. By careful metering the combination of fuels, a controlled reaction was produced that could drive the aircraft forward.

The Me-163 did not have landing gear. It took off on a wheeled dolly that fell to the ground once the aircraft was in the air. A single sprung skid was used for landings.

The first non rocket prototype Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet flew on Sept. 1, 1941. The aircraft flew under power on June 23, 1943 and were first deployed as interceptors in 1944.

The Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet first saw action on July 28, 1944. With the best rate of climb of any World War II aircraft, it would quickly climb to intercept altitude where it would glide while waiting for the bomber formations.

Original armament of the rocket powered aircraft consisted of two 30 mm cannons in the wing roots. Although it had exceptional speed, the Me-163 could not be used to its advantage while making passes at bomber formations. At approximately 600 mph, it closed on a B-17 so fast that, at best, it could only fire its cannons for 2 or 3 seconds. Most passes were therefore made in a diving glide.

A few Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet aircraft were eventually equipped with ten air to air rockets. Five were carried in each wing root. All ten rockets would be fired while making a full power pass under the Allied aircraft. There is a record of a single B-17 being downed in this manner on April 10, 1945.

Maximum powered flight duration for the aircraft was about 7 to 8 minutes. Allied fighter escort pilots found the Me-163 an easy target once it ran out of fuel and had no choice but to land.

Other casualties resulted from bad landings on their single skid, and the explosion of volatile rocket fuel. We are told, however, that the percentage of bad landings for the Me-163 was no worse than that of other fighter aircraft.

The last Me-163 aircraft produced were equipped with a bubble canopy, additional fuel tanks for extended range, cruising auxiliary rockets, and a pressurized cockpit.

The Japanese obtained partial plans for a Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet. They were being carried to Japan in two submarines, but only one made it to its home port. Nevertheless, a single Japanese prototype did fly a single unsuccessful flight in 1945.

A total of approximately 450 Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet aircraft of all types were built. Of those about 300 were deployed. Due to their short endurance while under power, they accounted for the downing of only nine Allied bombers.

Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet
Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet - Bob Chubb

Pictured above is the Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet built by Bob Chubb from a kit for sale from Joe Saitta. It has a gas engine in the nose and weighs around 12 lbs.

Pictured immediately below is the Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet from Voster. The ARF has a wingspan of 27". Recommended power is a Speed 480 race motor and a 5 x 5 propeller.

The next picture below is of a Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet built from a kit from Topp, built by Emile van Essen. It is 1/10 scale with a 37" wingspan and features an epoxy/glass fuselage with obechi sheeted foam wings. Topp recommends a 3.5 cc engine for their rc airplane, however Emile powers his rc Me-163 with a rocket engine.

The third picture is of the Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet from Fly Boy Models. It has a 60 1/2" wingspan and a fuselage that is 40" long. Recommended power for the ARF comes from .46 to .53 two stroke or .53 to .61 two stroke engines.

The bottom picture is of the Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet from RC Warbirds. Its wingspan is 37" and length is 25". For power the ARF needs a Speed 400 size brushless motor up front. Weight is around 35 oz.

Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet
Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet - Voster

Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet
Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet - Emile Van Essen

Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet
Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet - Flyboy Models

Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet
Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet - RC Warbirds

Aerographics has a 1/23 scale Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet with a 16" wingspan. It can use Napier L2 or Jetex power.

Gus Morfis has plans for a 31" wingspan Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet. You may power it with a .12 to .15 engine.

Aviation Models Magazine will sell you plans for a slope soaring Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet. It has a 44.5" wingspan and 2 channel control.

We found a Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet on eBay. Wingspan is is 40" and it is powered by a pusher prop Speed 400 engine.

Aviation Models Magazine has plans for a slope soaring Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet. It has a 44.5" wingspan and 2 channel control.