Stephen

Aircraft Review : Messerschmitt 262 A-1a Schwalbe by MLADG

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Aircraft Review : Messerschmitt 262 A-1a Schwalbe (Swallow) by MLADG

 

 The Messerschmitt 262 Schwalbe (Swallow) was the first operational jet-fighter in history, It was also the first jet-bomber as well, but nothing heavy in 2 × 250 kg (550 lb) bombs or 2 × 500 kg (1,100 lb) loads. Other uses for the Me 262 were for reconnaissance, and even a few experimental night fighter versions. There was no doubt this was an aircraft before its time, as the aircraft itself was a vision of the future for fighters. But the engines were not in the same category as the requirements for high quality alloys (and materials in short supply in the war) kept the aircraft on the ground instead of in the air for most of WW2. 

 

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The Me 262 was conceived well before the Second World War as for the potential for aircraft that used the jet engine, that was constructed by Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain in 1936. After the successful test flights of the first jet of the world, the Heinkel He 178, they adopted the jet engine for an advanced fighter aircraft. The result was the Me 262 which was already under development as Projekt 1065 (P.1065).

The jet engine program was also initially lacking as many high-ranking officials thought the war could easily be won with conventional fighters Among those were Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe, who cut the engine development program to just 35 engineers in February 1940, But the Luftwaffe's finest pilot Major General Adolf Galland who had supported Messerschmitt through the early development years, and was then flying the Me 262 himself on 22 April 1943.

By that time the problems with engine development had slowed production of the aircraft considerably. One particularly acute problem arose with the lack of an alloy with a melting point high enough to endure the high temperatures involved. Construction for time was highly evolve in the the project aerodynamicist on the design of the Me 262 was Ludwig Bölkow. He initially designed the wing using NACA airfoils modified with an elliptical nose section. Later in the design process, these were changed to AVL derivatives of NACA airfoils, the NACA 00011-0.825-35 being used at the root and the NACA 00009-1.1-40 at the tip. The elliptical nose derivatives of the NACA airfoils were used on the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces. Wings were of single-spar cantilever construction, with stressed skins, varying from 3 mm (0.12 in) thick at the root to 1 mm (0.039 in) at the tip. As a conservation measure, late in the war, wing interiors would not be painted. And the wings were fastened to the fuselage at four points, using a pair of 20 mm (0.79 in) and 42 8 mm (0.31 in) bolts. 

 

The first test flights began on 18 April 1941, with the Me 262 V1 example, bearing its Stammkennzeichen radio code letters of PC+UA, but since its intended BMW 003 turbojets were not ready for fitting, a conventional Junkers Jumo 210 engine was mounted in the V1 prototype's nose, driving a propeller, to test the Me 262 V1 airframe. When the BMW 003 engines were installed, the Jumo was retained for safety, which proved wise as both 003s failed during the first flight and the pilot had to land using the nose-mounted engine alone. The V1 through V4 prototype airframes all possessed what would become an uncharacteristic feature for most later jet aircraft designs, a fully retracting conventional gear setup with a retracting tailwheel — indeed, the very first prospective German "jet fighter" airframe design ever flown.

 

On 19 April 1944, Erprobungskommando 262 was formed at Lechfeld just south of Augsburg, as a test unit (Jäger Erprobungskommando Thierfelder, commanded by Hauptmann Werner Thierfelder) to introduce the 262 into service and train a corps of pilots to fly it. On 26 July 1944, Leutnant Alfred Schreiber with the 262 A-1a W.Nr. 130 017 damaged a Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft of No. 540 Squadron RAF PR Squadron. It was the first victory for a turbojet fighter aircraft in aviation history. The Me 262 was difficult for its opponents to counter because its high speed and rate of climb made it extremely hard to intercept. As with all other early jets, the Me 262's engines did not provide a lot of thrust at low air speeds (a key criterion for good turn performance at low speeds), and throttle response was slow. Another disadvantage all early jet engines shared was a relatively high risk of flameout if the pilot used the throttle too aggressively (as is common in a dogfight). Luftwaffe pilots eventually learned how to handle the Me 262's higher speed, and the Me 262 soon proved a formidable air superiority fighter, with pilots such as Franz Schall managing to shoot down 12 enemy fighters in the Me 262, 10 of them American P-51 Mustangs.

 

Pilots soon learned that the Me 262 was quite maneuverable, despite its high wing loading and lack of low-speed thrust, especially if attention was drawn to its effective maneuvering speeds. The controls were light and effective right up to the maximum permissible speed and perfectly harmonized. The inclusion of full span automatic leading edge slats, which was something of a "tradition" on Messerschmitt fighters dating back to the original Bf 109's outer wing slots of a similar type, helped increase the overall lift produced by the wing by as much as 35% in tight turns or at low speeds, greatly improving the aircraft's turn performance as well as its landing and take off characteristics. And as many pilots soon found out, the Me 262's clean design also meant that it, like all jets, held its speed in tight turns much better than conventional propeller-driven fighters, which was a great potential advantage in a dogfight as it meant better energy retention in maneuvers. Luftwaffe test pilot and flight instructor Hans Fey stated, "The 262 will turn much better at high than at slow speeds and, due to its clean design, will keep its speed in tight turns much longer than conventional type aircraft."

 

About 1,400 Me 262s were produced, but a maximum of 200 were operational at the same time. According to sources they destroyed from 300 to 450 enemy planes, with the Allies destroying about 100 Me 262s in the air which is a good ratio. The Czechoslovak aircraft industry continued to produce single-seat (Avia S-92) and two-seat (Avia CS-92) variants of the Me 262 after World War II. From August 1946, a total of nine S-92s and three two-seater CS-92s were completed and test flown. They were introduced in 1947 and in 1950 were supplied to the 5th Fighter Squadron, becoming the first jet fighters to serve in the Czechoslovak Air Force. These were kept flying until 1951. 

 

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Messerschmitt 262 Schwalbe by MLADG

This is a very well conceived design by MLADG of the iconic Me 262. It is quite a change to sit in and just feel a Pre-WW2 fighter, but to understand on how much as well this aircraft was very advanced for its time.

 

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The proportions and shape is excellent, Highlights are the excellent engine pods with their authentic Jumo 004B yellow fans showing through the inlets, cockpit design and those four lethal 30mm MK 108 cannons with short barrels and low muzzle velocity of 540 m/s. The undercarriage is of similar design, very good even if those tyres do look a little huge. The canopy can be opened or ejected completely, inside the view is excellent upwards but restricted forwards by the high panel. It is important to note the setting "draw per pixel lighting" which if not switched on in your render settings menu page can make the aircraft over shiny, worse you lose the great panel effect over the aircraft's exterior and the excellent riveting, which is very much of the period. Still there are a few shiny areas that should not throw spots of light.

 

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The aircraft is strangely dark, and very hard to get any light or colour into the design... the cockpit is a blackhole.

 

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Which is a shame because the cockpit is really well done, all the instruments are all recreated (in German script, so you will need to read the manual), It is very well done and as authentic as they come. You need time in here to understand all the instruments and dials. and the throttle levers are a work of art. So basically you have your levers and handles on the left and and fuel and electrics with the starter buttons on your right. Note - the wide set rudder pedals. Main panel includes Clock/ Timer Display - Altimeter Shows - Airspeed indicator - Artificial Horizon - Gyro compass - Gun rounds with remaining rounds in white, the switch on the instrument is used to arm the guns. blank here is if pressurization is used (on the knee-board option) - Vertical speed indication - ASN display which is used to display the bearing to a radio station. Radios can be tuned on the knee-board - Engines RPM displays and Differential Pressure indications Show difference between engine inlet and outlet pressure. The knee-board is a checklist and options panel all in one. 

 

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 MLADG has created a system in to recreate the venerability of the era's poor reliability...   In other words the aircraft breaks down all the time. So you get failure after failure that lights up your X-Plane "Equipment Failures" menu like a Christmas Tree, you can rectify the situation by the options panel in resetting the repair work which is all noted in the knee-board. In theory it is a great idea, but it got to point of head scratching and few non-printable words, of where the engines just would not run?...  I reset everything again and again for 20 minutes until I gave up and reloaded the download file to get in the air. oddly the aircraft has a habit of plonking its tail on the ground as well? 

 

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On the options you have - Blocks: Remove the control surface blocks - Riedel fuel: Required to start the engines - RATO: May be used on short fields - Oxygen supply: use this to “refill” the oxygen bottles - Pressurized Cabin: option to use a pressurized cabin instead of oxygen-bottles - Head movement: Head will move according to accelerations - I checked my plane.  I checked and rechecked items but nothing seemed to work?  except the Pressurized Cabin option. Just me...  maybe. But I found it frustrating. It is explained in the manual, but I feel not enough. ditto to change the armaments on the X-Plane (Aircraft/Weight & Balance & Fuel) menu in "Ordnance", I found I could change anything except it would trail the aircraft and not fit under the wings so gave up there also. 

 

Flying the Me 262

 

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 You can't see much looking forward out of the Me 262, it is a very restricted view forward and the gunsight takes up a lot of the space. You can thankfully tip it out of the way. The artificial horizon is virtually unusable, As I actually can't see the actual artificial horizon in there?

The engines are pre-war which means you have fly them with care. If you push the power way up you are going to simply make them fail, so 8500 rpm is about as Max as you dare. Let off the brakes and you are not going anywhere very fast, and you are going to need a long runway or the RATO option. 

 

But then the power builds, and builds and builds...  very authentic and you are soon going at quite a pace. Once in the air you can't just hit the undercarriage lever to retract the gear, if you do you will blow the tyres! ( you can fix that in "Equipment Failures"). The trick is to brake the wheels until they stop turning and then retract them, only you can't do that either? There is a metal plate stop on the buttons that retracts the undercarriage and lets you also drop the flaps (yes buttons and not levers), so my usual "gear up" on my Saitek x52 Pro buttons don't work...  I lied they do, but you have to move that bar and then get it right in that the gear retracted and then they didn't and then did again?But once in the air aircraft is gorgeous, you can see why it was so lethal and a good weapons platform. 

 

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The Me 262 is so smooth and jelly in your hands. Climbs really well, but the low speed handling is exceptional and stable...  you could easily swan (or swallow) around the sky all day twisting this way and that looking for victims. And mine were now coming into focus... 

 

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I was after FedEx trucks!  Stopping brand world domination of companies by taking their trucks out one by one (a tough job but someone has to stand up and stop this diabolical world mastery plan). It was easy pickings as I found and swooped and took out seven to nine trucks (some I missed and I lost count) but with the fire power of the Me 262, it was just like a lone survivor on an empty road that had no chance when attacked from the air. In liveries you have four liveries with the Green6 as the default, with the Green4 and White5 (belly) There is a gaudy aerobatic livery that is noted as the paint? 

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Out of ammunition it was time to go home, I cruised back at 8,500ft (max 11,500ft) to take in the scenery and enjoy the aircraft. 

 

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Ready for landing and I had a fight again to get the undercarriage to drop down (it is a double switch flick B, but hard to do with external switches), fixed that and another fight to get the flaps down as well. I did both but it can't be this hard can it?  Once sorted though the Me 262 was superb on the approach, the Me 262 had those really advanced full span automatic leading edge slats and the flaps work well in lowering the speed and still giving you the correct lift. The design work is very good in the leading edge slats and the excellent flap work. Although noted in Kilometer's Per Hour (250kph), your speed is only 135 knts, and the Me 262 is as stable as a rock. Again you can do anything with the aircraft and a slight downward glide and curved approach to the runway is very nice to fly. Once on the hard stuff there is not much to slow you down except for a long runway. But the speed falls off easily till you brake the rest off and come down to taxi speed. Note - the RATO pack that was not there when I took off? 

 

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Summery

The aircraft in the Me 262 is a great aircraft to fly, really great. You get to feel this excellent WW2 era machine and how good it really was. Could have Me 262 turned the tide in the war if it had been available in the earlier years is a debate for the historians. But this was really an 50/60's era aircraft in the 30's and 40's...  so yes it could have made an interesting impact overall.In design the Me 262 is very well done but comes with some odd bits that annoy you.

 

I will admit that a few weeks to sort the niggles out or get them sorted properly would have changed a few views in this review, however it is noted here as I approached the aircraft in that the way anyone would for the first time. Things changed around for no reason? The RATO pack was there and then wasn't... and then it was there again?  Ditto the aim-cross in the gunsight, it came and went? Trying to change around the armaments did not work and I gave up there as well...  RATO, I gave that six or seven goes and gave that one away as well.

 

The aircraft was dark in the light and the aircraft felt dark, but there is very good texture work and detailing. It stopped and stayed dead until I replaced the complete aircraft folder? So... yes the manual needs to be more though in explaining how these systems operate to get more out of the aircraft earlier and get it into the air. 

 

But get past that and the aircraft is simply excellent in the operation and has the feel of the iconic aircraft, And it was simply a great aircraft to fly and the Me 262 was really good at slow speeds. Ultimately its flying abilities is the lasting impression, and you do want to climb back into that cockpit and go up and hunting again (DHL trucks this time?), and that is a great thing and in that context the Me 262 is one of the really great aircraft of the past. 

 

The Messerschmitt 262 A-1a Schwalbe is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store

 

Price is currently US$18.00 : Get the - Messerschmitt 262 A-1a - Here. 

 

Documents and Install, Download is 78.90mb, that is unzipped into your fighter folder of 127mb. There is one pdf manual (25 pages) 

 

Support forum for the - Me262

 

Review By Stephen Dutton

 

17th May 2014

 

Technical Requirements:

Windows, MAC or LinuxX-Plane 10.25 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. (X-Plane 9 not supported)

(frame-rates no issues, well within normal limits, if very high frame-rates)

Current version: v1.01 Last updated: May 10th, 2014 Review System

 

Specifications:Computer System:    

- 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”

- 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3

- ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb

 

Software:   

- Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.2

- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.25 (final)

Addons

- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

 

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Hi Stephen,

 

Thanks for the great review with all that details! For sure will include all the feedback that i receive into a new version, after some time collecting it and probably after doing an update for the Mig-15. 

 

One point that i dont get is the shading of the plane in your screen shots. I think you mentioned it and I mean the same. If you have a look at the pictures in the X-Plane.org store or ASN, you will see that they look completely different. I was able to reproduce your pictures by going to the rendering options and disable "draw per pixel lighting" only. The normal-maps used for the 262 are pure X-Plane and for me it looks like you may need to have a look into this setting on your installation.

 

Thanks again,

Matthias (MLAeroDG)

 

 

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