Dornier MS 406

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2nd Lieutenant
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
From Flight Journal. I did not know anyone had one of these flying, although it is the Dornier built version with a more powerful engine.

Screenshot 2023-05-26 at 16-53-45 “Phony War” Fighter Morane Saulnier 406.png
Screenshot 2023-05-26 at 16-54-03 “Phony War” Fighter Morane Saulnier 406.png
Dornier built them?
Indeed? Big Question is WHY? Why not a D520 or even a Hawk 75? Perhaps that it used construction materials that were less scarce? Meanwhile, French factories were building German aircraft.
They had to put a tailwheel on rather than a skid because the more powerful engine required a larger radiator and the skid would not do for that.
The Swiss bought the licence in 1938. In 1940 the Morane D-3800 variant was introduced to squadrons. At the end of 1940 the version D-3801 with an engine of more power started being delivered. The production was continued until 1948. So ... IMHO the reason the Dornier kept assembling of the aircraft type was the economic one.
So someone was fool enough to keep buying them. Even in an era when cheap P-51's were available.
The P-51 didn't exist when Dornier was manufacturing the D-3801.

After Germany tossed out the Versailles treaty, Dornier moved back to Germany.

I don't recall who took over Dornier's Switzerland plant, but they didn't manufacture the MS.406 copy for long, I believe just over 200 aircraft were made.
So someone was fool enough to keep buying them. Even in an era when cheap P-51's were available.
They did buy P51s for the interim until their licenced home production of Vampires was in action, but the Moranes were a quick fix in the meantime. The rest of the Moranes and Me109s were well worn out from years of neutrality patrols. By 1947 the Swiss had tried out and decided to standardise on DeHavilland Vampires which were delivered. See Swiss Mustangs
I think there were 3 levels of engines?
And/or 3 different airframes.

Last of the series. DOFLUG D-3803

These had a single 20mm in nose/prop and a single 20mm in each wing and the engines (depending on source) had 1400-1600hp at 4600-4800 meters,
The engines weighed over 1500lbs and had direct fuel injection,
The DOFLUG D-3802 was similar but with a razor back.
The Engines gave a lot of trouble which helped with the decision to go to the P-51s.

These were all metal aircraft unlike the DOFLUG D-3801 (licensed MS. 412) .
MS.406 series were tube frame fuselages with metal and Plymax (aluminum skinned plywood) skinning. The MS.450 (which begant the MS.540/D-3802/D-3803) had a monocoque fueselage with Plymax covered wings. The MS.540/D-3802/D-3803 were all metal and much modernized. And indeed, engine issues (trying to milk the last out of the Hispano-Suiza 12Y like the Soviets did with the Klimov M105 and later engines) and simple cost/benefit made it appealing to buy P-51s and later DH Vampires when they could get their hands on them.

The Mustangs and Vampires replaced a motley assortment of Doriner MS.406 developments and early and even later Me-109s.

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