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Messerschmitt Bf 109

Messerschmitt Me109 …. hardly any other aircraft is as famous as this world war ii-seater. Few people know that the Me109 is correctly called Bf109, most people who get to see the plane say “a Me ! “.

Willy Messerschmitt began designing this revolutionary aircraft as early as 1934 at the Bavarian Aircraft Works (hence the Bf) in Haunstetten. The all-metal aircraft first flew in May 1935. The construction stood out in many respects from the hunting single-seaters of the time; there was a retractable landing gear and a closed pilot’s pulpit. From 1937, the aircraft was the standard fighter of the air force. The aircraft was built until the end of the Second World War, and around 33,000 units of all series left the various factory halls.

Messerschmitt had extensive experience in the construction of all-metal aircraft at an early stage, a design that was not taken for granted at the time. Messerschmitt was also able to inspire Richard Bauer, an Arado designer, for his ideas. In 1934 Messerschmitt presented the BFW Bf108, a design that was sensational at the time. This fast passenger aircraft with retractable landing gear should be the basis for a new fighter aircraft. Not an easy task for Richard Bauer and his team.

The plan was simple. A powerful engine as possible should be installed in a cell that is as light as possible, virtually an aircraft around the engine. The typical Messerschmitt half-shell construction was the key to success. Self-supporting half-shells with longitudinal profiles proved to be very stable with the lowest possible weight. The structure also had to be very light. The single-bar all-metal construction was kept quite small, so rather buoyant, but fast. In order to obtain balanced properties, it was a long time that the aerodynamic trick box had to be reached. Revolutionary at the time, the structure was equipped with automatic forewings and split-landing flaps.

At the time of development, closed pilot pulpits were not the standard. The pilots wanted to be able to leave the driver’s room as soon as possible in an emergency, because a closed hood was rather unhelpful. Here, too, the design team found a remedy with a right-hand hinged, hinged cabin hood. The pilot only had to unlock and hit the hood in an emergency, the rest was taken over by the wind.

Messerschmitt and his team were not only thinking about flying this fighter plane, he was thinking further logistically. Modular design is the magic word. Messerschmitt disassembled the aircraft into individual modules that could be assembled independently of each other, a step into decentralized production. The modular design also facilitated maintenance and repair work for the flying units on site. Quick replacement of damaged parts was the goal.