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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Dornier Do 335A-1 Pfeil (Arrow)
Image by Chris Devers
Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Dornier Do 335 A- Pfeil (Arrow):
The Do-335 was a single of a small group of aircraft marking the pinnacle of international piston-engined development. It was the fastest production piston-engined fighter ever constructed, attaining 846 kilometers per hour (474 mph) in level flight at a time when the official globe speed record was 755 kph (469 mph). Powered by two 1800-hp engines in a distinctive low-drag configuration and weighing 9600 kg (21,000 lb) loaded, it was an exceptional heavy fighter. This really revolutionary style also featured an ejection seat, for pilot safety, and a jettisoning fin.
The unconventional layout of the Do-335 — one engine "pulling" in the nose and yet another "pushing" in the tail – was patented by Claudius Dornier in 1937. The configuration provided the power of two engines, but with decreased drag and greater maneuverability. The German Aviation Ministry (RLM) was interested in the design and style, but initially wanted Dornier only to generate bombers. By 1942, Dornier was nevertheless continuing design and style function and the war scenario was worsening. The Luftwaffe now needed a multi-goal fighter, and the prototype Do-335V-1 ("V" indicating "versuchs" or "experimental") flew in fighter type in September, 1943 – six years after its conception. Orders have been quickly placed for 14 prototypes, 10 A- preproduction aircraft, 11 production A-1 single-seaters, and 3 A-10 and A-12 two-seat trainers.
The aircraft was quite massive for a single-seat fighter, with a cruciform tail and a tricycle landing gear. The two huge liquid-cooled Daimler-Benz DB-603 engines have been utilized in 4 diverse versions, each displacing 44.5 liters (2670 cu in) and weighing 910 kg (2006 lb). The engine made 1750 hp from 12 cylinders in an inverted V layout utilizing fuel injection and an eight.three:1 compression ratio. The rear 3-bladed propeller and dorsal fin were jettisoned by explosive bolts in an emergency, to let the pilot to bail out safely making use of a pneumatic ejection seat. The seat, inclined 13 degrees to the rear, was ejected with a force of 20 times gravity. The ventral fin could be jettisoned for a belly landing.
As opposed to a typical twin-engined aircraft, with wing-mounted engines, loss of an engine on the Do-335 did not lead to a handling dilemma. Even with 1 engine out, speed was a respectable 621 kph (348 mph). Since of its look, pilots dubbed it the "Ant eater" ("Ameisenbar"), though they described its efficiency as exceptional, particularly in acceleration and turning radius. The Do-335 was extremely docile in flight and had no unsafe spin characteristics. Several Do-335 prototypes had been built, as the Reich strained desperately to offer day and evening fighters and fast reconnaissance aircraft to the failing war work. A single of the many RLM production plans, issued in December 1943, known as for the production of 310 Do-335s by late 1945. Initial production was at the Dornier Manuel plant, but this factory was bombed heavily in March-April, 1944, and the Do-335 tooling was destroyed.
Ten Do-335A- preproduction aircraft have been then developed at Dornier’s Oberpfaffenhofen plant in July-October 1944, by which time the Allied bombing campaign was delaying arrivals of engines, propellers, radios, and structural subcomponents. This had a serious effect, since the Do-335 was not a easy aircraft: installation of the electronics alone took 60 hours of assembly, and the electrical parts list was 112 pages lengthy. Production of Daimler-Benz engines, for example, was switched to factories set up in underground salt mines and gypsum mines, but high humidity caused corrosion problems and production dropped 40 percent. Although a number of preproduction aircraft were issued to combat conversion units some ten months ahead of the war ended, no Do-335s really entered combat. Deliveries started to the 1st Experimental Squadron of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe ( I/Versuchsverband Ob.d.L.) in late July 1944 for operational trials.
The very first of the Do-335A-1 production version left the Dornier line at Friedrichshafen early in 1945, 1 of only four produced in 1945. It was armed with a single 30 mm MK-103 cannon (70 rounds were carried) firing by way of the propeller hub and two 15 mm MG-151/15 cannon (200 rounds per gun) firing from the top of the forward engine. Even with the fighter circumstance as desperate as it was, these aircraft were nevertheless equipped to carry 500 kg (1100 lb) of bombs internally. Additional operational testing, which includes use of air-to-ground guided missiles, began in Spring 1945 with Trials Unit (Erprobungskommando) 335.
The Do-335A-six was to be a two-seat night fighter version with the advanced FFO FuG-217J Neptun radar getting triple "trident"-like antennas (therefore the name "Neptun") on the fuselage and wings, but only a prototype was completed. A total of 37 prototypes, ten A-0s, 11 A-1s and 2 A-12 trainers have been built, despite the fact that nearly 85 extra aircraft have been in assembly when U.S. troops overran the Friedrichshafen factory in late April, 1945. The Vienna-Swechat plant of the Ernst Heinkel AG was also scheduled to develop the Do-335 beginning in February, 1945, but production in no way began.
The NASM aircraft is the second Do-335A-, designated A-02, with building number (werke nummer) 240102 and factory registration VG+PH. It was built at Dornier’s Rechlin-Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, plant on April 16, 1945. It was captured by Allied forces at the plant on April 22, 1945. After checkout, it was flown from a grass runway at Oberweisenfeld, near Munich, to Cherbourg, France. For the duration of this flight, the Do-335 very easily outclimbed and outdistanced two escorting P-51s, beating them to Cherbourg by 45 minutes. Beneath the U.S. Army Air Force’s "Project Sea Horse," two Do-335s had been shipped to the United States aboard the Royal Navy ship HMS "Reaper" together with other captured German aircraft, for detailed evaluation. This aircraft was assigned to the U.S. Navy, which tested it at the Test and Evaluation Center, Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland. The other aircraft, with registration FE-1012 (later T2-1012), went to the USAAF at Freeman Field, Indiana, where it was tested in early 1946. Its subsequent fate is unknown, and this is the only Do-335 recognized to exist.
Following Navy flight tests in 1945-48, the aircraft was donated to the Smithsonian’s National Air Museum in 1961 but was stored at NAS Norfolk until 1974. It was then returned to Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, where the Dornier organization restored it to original situation in 1975. The return trip to Germany needed an exemption below U.S. laws regarding the export of munitions. The Dornier craftsmen carrying out the restoration – several of whom had worked on the original aircraft — were astonished to uncover that the explosive charges fitted to blow off the tail fin and rear propeller in an emergency had been nevertheless in the aircraft and active, 30 years after their original installation! The Do-335 was place on static show at the Might 1-9, 1976, Hannover Airshow, and then loaned to the Deutsches Museum in Munich, where it was on prominent display till returned to Silver Hill, MD, for storage in 1986.
Nation of Origin:
Twin engine, pusher / puller, fighter / bomber grey/green, green late Planet War II development.