Could the slats be the landing problem on the 109

This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules

The Storch's LE slats were fixed, they didn't move.

The Bf 109G onwards' slats deployed with changes of airflow and when on the ground you can pull them out of their indent. They weren't interconnected between the wings. The slats actually improved some characteristics on the 109, including its stall, which was for an aeroplane with such a high wing loading quite benign. Where the Bf 109's slats were troublesome was at high angles of attack and in a steep turn, they tended to deploy asymmetrically, which caused the ailerons to snatch, which had the effect of destabilising the aeroplane.


The issue with its undercarriage was as Steve stated, not necessarily to do with track, but several factors; they were wide, but being attached to the fuselage, not the wings, they start out narrow at the upper end and splay outwards, not only that, but they are quite long. At the wheel, the tread of the tyre against the ground is toed outwards.


The trouble doesn't end there, the castoring tail wheel on a tail heavy aeroplane tends to cause the machine to swing on the ground owing to the tail wheel 'leading'. Of course the pilot has little or no rudder input and taxiing is carried out using the aircraft's brakes. All-in-all a handful.
I believe the Storch did have fixed slats

They were fixed on production aircraft. I don't have a picture to show this, but I used to work at an airfield where there was a flyable Storch and I got to look around it a numerous occasions. Here's the office; it's a Morane Saulnier Criquet.


Next to the seat on the pilot's left hand is a wheel, (not visible here, which drives a chain that runs up to the wing and operates the flaps - the ailerons also droop to provide extra surface area on landing.
Just for a bit of info, here's the Late Great mark Hanna discussing flying a Buchon, most likely G-BOML, the aircraft he suffered the accident in that took his life.

"Talk to people about the '109 and all you hear about is how you are going to wrap it up on take-off or landing! As you walk up to the '109 one is at first struck by the small size of the aircraft, particularly if parked next to a contemporary American fighter. Closer examination reveals a crazy looking knocked-knee undercarriage, a very heavily framed sideways opening canopy with almost no forward view in the three point attitude, a long rear fuselage and tiny tail surfaces. A walk-round reveals ingenious split radiator flaps which double as an extension to the landing flaps, ailerons with a lot of movement and rather odd looking external mass balances. Also independently operating leading edge slats. These devices should glide open and shut on the ground with the pressure of a single finger. Other unusual features include the horizontal stabilizer doubling as the elevator trimmer and the complete absence of a rudder trim system. Overall the finish is a strange mix of innovative and archaic."

"The '109 needs a lot of power to get moving so you need to allow the engine to warm a little before you pile the power onto it. Power up to 1800 RPM and suddenly we're rolling... power back... to turn, stick forward against the instrument panel to lighten the tail. A blast of throttle and a jab of brakes. Do this in a Spitfire and you are on your nose! The '109 however is very tail heavy and is reluctant to turn - you can very easily lock up a wheel. If you do not use the above technique you will charge off across the airfield in a straight line! Forward view can only be described as appalling, and due to the tail/brake arrangement this makes weaving more difficult than on other similar types."

"Power gently up and keep it coming smoothly up to +8 (46")... it's VERY noisy ! Keep the tail down initially, keep it straight by feel rather than any positive technique... tail coming up now... once the rudders effective. Unconscious corrections to the rudder are happening all the time. It's incredibly entertaining to watch the '109 take off or land. The rudder literally flashes around ! The alternative technique (rather tongue in cheek) is Walter Eichorn's, of using full right rudder throughout the take-off roll and varying the swing with the throttle!

The little fighter is now bucketing along, accelerating rapidly. As the tail lifts there is a positive tendency to swing left - this can be checked easily however, although if you are really aggressive lifting the tail it is difficult to stop and happens very quickly. Now the tail's up and you can see vaguely where you are going. It's a rough, wild, buckety ride on grass and with noise, smoke from the stacks and the aeroplane bouncing around; it's exciting!"

"Another peculiarity is that when you have been in a hard turn with the slats deployed, and then you roll rapidly one way and stop, there is a strange sensation for a second of so of a kind of dead area over the ailerons - almost as if they are not connected ! Just when you are starting to get worried they work again!"

"Pitch is also delightful at 250 mph and below. It feels very positive and the amount of effort on the control column needed to produce the relevant nose movement seems exactly right to me. As CL max is reached the leading edge slats deploy - together if the ball is in the middle, slightly asymmetrically if you have any slip on. The aircraft delights in being pulled into hard manoeuvering turns at these slower speeds. As the slats pop out you feel a slight "notching" on the stick and you can pull more until the whole airframe is buffeting quite hard. A little more and you will drop a wing, but you have to be crass to do it unintentionally. Pitch tends to heavy up above 250 mph but it is still easily manageable up to 300 mph and the aircraft is perfectly happy carrying out low-level looping manoeuvers from 300 mph and below. Above 300 mph one peculiarity is a slight nose down trim change as you accelerate. This means that running in for an airshow above 300 mph the aeroplane has a slight tucking in sensation - a sort of desire to get down to ground level ! This is easily held on the stick or can be trimmed out but is slightly surprising initially. Manoeuvering above 300, two hands can be required for more aggressive performance. Either that or get on the trimmer to help you. Despite this heavying up it is still quite easy to get at 5G's at these speeds."

"The '109 is one of the most controllable aircraft that I have flown at slow speed around finals, and provided you don't get too slow is one of the easiest to three point. It just feels right! The only problem is getting it too slow. If this happens you end up with a very high sink rate, very quickly and absolutely no ability to check or flare to round out. It literally falls out of your hands!*

"Once down on three points the aircraft tends to stay down - but this is when you have to be careful. The forward view has gone to hell and you cannot afford to let any sort of swing develop. The problem is that the initial detection is more difficult. The aeroplane is completely unpredictable and can diverge in either direction. There never seems to be any pattern to this. Sometimes the most immaculate three pointer will turn into a potential disaster half way through the landing roll. Other times a ropey landing will roll straight as an arrow!"

"When we first started flying the '109 both my father and I did a lot of practice circuits on the grass before trying a paved strip. Operating off grass is preferred. Although it is a much smoother ride on the hard, directionally the aircraft is definitely more sensitive. Without doubt you cannot afford to relax until you are positively stationary. I would never make a rolling exit from a runway in the '109. It is just as likely to wrap itself up at 25 as it is at 80 mph. Another problem is that you have to go easy on the brakes. Hammer them too early in the landing roll and they will have faded to nothing just when you need them ! The final word of advice is always three point the aircraft and if the wind is such that it makes a three pointer inadvisable it's simple: the aeroplane stays in the hangar!"
Here is an excellent reference to the slats during a T/O by Skip Holm:
"I also find it advisable to let the airplane fly itself off, and to consciously not hurry the take-off. If the aircraft is pulled off too soon, the book says the left wing will not lift, but I have found that the downwind wing may not lift, and on applying aileron the wing lifts and falls again, with the ailerons snatching a little. If no attempt is made to pull the airplane off quickly, thetake-off run is short, and the initial climb is good. Additionally, I always use lots of aileron into the wind on both takeoff, landing, and roll-out. I hold aileron into the wind until I am sure that the aircraft is in control, for if you see one slat come out asymmetrically, the wing may soon follow, and if a wing ever comes up on takeoff or landing, the excitement is just starting."

A reference to asymmetrical slat activity in flight:
"Pitch control is also delightful and very positive at 250 mph and below. As pitch and accompanying G is increased, the leading edge slats start to deploy. I have not found either aircraft to have any problems with asymmetrical slat deployment, as we see in other aircraft such as an A-4 for instance."

You can see Skip's entire overview and some history about the Bf109/HA-1109 he's flown here:
Skip Holm
Good info on the '109/Buchon handling.

Dave, the Storch certainly does have incredible STOL capabilities. The one in those photos I posted took of and landed in what looked like virtually its own length. In the side-on shot, it was almost standing still - fantastic to watch.

Users who are viewing this thread