Wings of Fire The Messerschmitt Me 163 First Look
|Date of Review
|Me 163 Komet
In this latest release from rocket.aero, the producers have compiled a number of test and propaganda videos to tell the story of the famous rocket-powered Me 163 Komet.
Most folks assume by the name that the Me 163 was a Messerschmitt fighter. The aircraft was actually designed by Alexander Lippisch, famous for his work with tail-less gliders and the integration of rocket motors with these gliders.
Gliders? Yes indeed - the Me 163 spent more time in the air gliding than it did under power. The Me 163A was the development design which was smaller and shaped a little differently than the Me 163B. While both aircraft types could be towed aloft during test or training flights, both were equipped with rocket motors for powered take-offs.
The Me 163B was the fighter version of the Komet. Larger than the Me 163A, the Me 163B was armed with a pair of 20mm canons in the wing roots, armor-plated glass ahead of the pilot and a little more power and fuel. From a standing start, the aircraft could reach 40,000 feet in just a few minutes. It had fuel enough for roughly eight minutes of flight, enough to climb head-on through a bomber formation for one firing pass, then a single diving pass back through the formation before gliding back to the airfield.
While not operationally significant in terms of its combat effectiveness, the work of Alexander Lippisch would go on to influence the family of Convair fighters like the F-102 and F-106.
This DVD release contains over 90 minutes of footage from captured archives as well as a US Army Air Force orientation film discussing the aircraft. The producers have assembled a valuable timeline and history from the post-World War I developments in glider technology through the application of rocket motors to an interesting array of applications (and associated early Darwin Award candidates) before its successful integration by Lippisch into the only operational rocket-powered fighter in World War II.
As with previous releases from rocket.aero, this title also has alternative audio tracks which have useful information for the historian as well as for the modeler who wishes to get a better result out of their next Komet project. Take for instance the rather unique way for the test pilot to collect images of the instrument panel without having to take his hands off of the flight controls. That alone would make for an interesting vignette on a contest table!
This video is recommended to all aviation modelers and historians alike! You can order this video directly from rocket.aero by visiting their website at www.rocket.aero
My sincere thanks to rocket.aero for this review sample!