Aircraft test flights following manufacturing

Discussion in 'Flight Test Data' started by alejandro_, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. alejandro_

    alejandro_ Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Some information:

    Undercarriage tests followed before the aircraft was lowered onto its wheels and rolled out of the final assembly hall. It was then led to the firing stand to test its weapons and also for centring the compass on the rotable compass adjustment stand. After fuelling, and a last check of all functions, the engine was subjected to a test run, whereafter the Bf-109 stood ready for a works flight. In the initial test flight it was climbed to 8,000m (26,250ft), the aircraft and the engine was thoroughly checked out and performance data compared with that required. In the event that faults were found, these would be recorded and eliminated after the landing. This was then followed by a works test flight in which it could be established how many of the faults had been rectified. Where no further faults were determined on this flight, the aircraft was then release for acceptance by the BAL. In Regensbug, several pilots (Obermeier, Lohmann and others) were authorised by the RLM to carry out Bf 109 acceptance flights for the BAL. After their acceptance by the BAL, the aircraft were then taken over by the Luftwaffe.

    Pag 56-

    In 1944 alone, and up to 14 October, a total of 82 Bf-109s on ferry flights from Regensburg to front line units either crashed or made emergency landings.

    Even the front line units had problems with aircraft that arrived, since for Bf 109 flight trials, only sufficient fuel was available for a 15 minute test-flight from mid 1944, and it was naturally not possible to conduct a comprehensive test-flight within 15 minutes.

    Pag 77

    Nest of Eagles: Messerschmitt Production and Flight-testing at Regensburg 1936-1945", de P. Schmoll, Classic Publications (2010).

    Japan had similar problems. At the beginning of the war trial flights were 2-3 hours and involved several landings. Towards the end the tests were reduced to the ferry flight. The same happened with engines. At the start of the war 1 out of 10 engines produced was diassembled and tested. Army engines were subjected to 7 hours of testing, Navy to 9 hours. This was reduced to 2 hours 11 minutes.

    The Japanese Aircraft Industry, Aircraft Division (1947).

    It would be good if tests performed in other countries are also covered. How were the aircraft in USA, USSR and UK tested?
  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Not specifically production testing but some good info here explaining how the various establishments worked.

    Spitfire Performance Testing.

    Alec Henshaw was chief test pilot at castle Bromwich. Here's how he and his team of pilots put a Spitfire through its paces.

    "After a thorough pre-flight check I would take off and, once at circuit height, I would trim the aircraft and try to get her to fly straight and level with hands off the stick ... Once the trim was satisfactory I would take the Spitfire up in a full-throttle climb at 2,850 rpm to the rated altitude of one or both supercharger blowers. Then I would make a careful check of the power output from the engine, calibrated for height and temperature ... If all appeared satisfactory I would then put her into a dive at full power and 3,000 rpm, and trim her to fly hands and feet off at 460 mph IAS (Indicated Air Speed). Personally, I never cleared a Spitfire unless I had carried out a few aerobatic tests to determine how good or bad she was. The production test was usually quite a brisk affair: the initial circuit lasted less than ten minutes and the main flight took between twenty and thirty minutes. Then the aircraft received a final once-over by our ground mechanics, any faults were rectified and the Spitfire was ready for collection."

    I remember an interview with Henshaw in which he said of all the Spitfires he had tested (more than 2000!) he had only been forced to abandon one.

    I've got Jeffrey Quill's book at home but I'm away and can't remember what he had to say about the flight testing done at other facilities.


Share This Page