He-162 vs Meteor MK-III

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Tech Sergeant
Mar 2, 2005
Berlin (Kreuzberg)
Both planes got operational in early 45 and represented attempts to
place a jet fighter in service. They could -hypothetically- meet in combat, because both were operating over northern Germany in the same timeframe. Both planes only barely saw combat, the Meteor participated in ground attacks, the He-162 in fighter sweeps. The differences in these two designs are overwhelming: Twin engined vs single engined, long range vs. short range, small vs. big. What are Your thoughts?
mosquitoman said:
I'd take the Meteor- why would anybody fly a wooden jet?
Also, the pilots of the Heinkels were rookies from JG400 if I remember correctly

Why would anyone fly a wooden airplane.

JG1 was not a rookie unit.

The Vampire was most constructed of wood.
I would for sure go with the He-162. Built with wooden components yes, and it only had one engine and was less heavily armed (when armed with the two Mg151/20 and not the MK-108). But being small and powered by a powerful turbojet engine, it could climb like hell, had a decent turning radius so ive heard. Its main shortcomings again being the contruction, about 27minute flying time, and snaking originally when high speeds or angles of attack were used. The downturned wing tips were a temporary solution, and worked, but later redesign would be incorporated into the mass production later on.
I will post some statistics for the -162, maybe someone can back up for the Meteor-III?
Dimensions He-162 A2:

spanwidth: 7,2m
aspect ratio: 4,65
wing area:11,16 m²

Weight fullyloaden---fight endurance(100%)He-162 A2:
2634 Kg (5800 lbs) ---20 min at sea level
2889 Kg (6361 lbs) ---30 min at sea level
wingload: 240 Kg /lbs per m²

Armor: 70 Kg (154 lbs) in front of the cockpit
Ejection seat for the pilot
sustainable G-forces: 6.5g -serial planes
max G-forces: 8.5g -serial planes
max stick forces at 1000 Km/h (617 mp/h): 8,5 Kg / 18,7 lbs

Revi 16B or -16D:
most prototypes and all serial planes
EZ 42computing gunsight:
He-162 M30 and M31, later probably at JG-1

2 MK 108/30 mm with 50 rounds each (He-162 A1) or
2 MG 151/20mm with 120 rouns each (He-162 A2)

Poerplants----thrust output

BMW-003 A1/2----800 Kp (1761 lbs) _He162 M1-M10
BMW-003 E1----800 Kp (1761 lbs), 923 Kp (2032 lbs at 30 sec. overrew)
installed from He-162 M18 onwards into all serial planes
Jumo-004D4---932 Kp (2052 lbs) He-162 M11 and M12
He-S011A-----1300 Kp (2862 lbs) He-162 M14 and M15 (not completed)
As 014------2* 400-500 Kp He-162 M 42

(lifetime BMW-003A/E: 200+ hours, Jumo-004D: around 50 hours,
He-S011A: unknown, AS-014: unknown)

Service seiling: 11.700 m (around 38.500 ft)
Top speed at sea level: 790 Km/h at 100%
---------------------------820 Km/h at 115 % (30 sec.)
Top speed at 6000 m (nearly 20k ft): 840 Km/h at 100%
---------------------------880 Km/h at 115 % (30 sec.)
Top speed at 11.000 m (36.500 ft): 780 Km/h at 100%
---------------------------810 Km/h at 115% (30 sec.)
highest recorded speed: 905 Km/h at 6.800m (at 115%)
limiting Mach speed: 0.845
critical Mach speed: 0.867

flight endurance at 6.000m: 33 min (at 2634 Kg)
"---100%--------at 11.000m: 57 min (at 2634 Kg)
"-----"------------at 11.000m: 85 min (at 2889 Kg)
Range at sea level: 265 Km (at 2634 Kg)
-------"--------------: 390 Km (at 2889 Kg)Range at 11.000m: 660 Km (at 2634 Kg)
--------"------------:1000 Km (at 2889 Kg)
take off distance: 800 m
take off distance with jettisonable rocket assistance: 380 m
The Meteor III had all sorts of artificial limitations placed on it when it entered service. Higher than normal alieron forces were needed to manoeuver it, as a deliberate foil to pilots performing aerobatics in what was still a 'experimental' airframe. Apparently they were worried about overstressig the wings. As a result it was very slow in the rolling plane.

Similarly, there were also some limitations placed on the operation of the Derwent I turbojets. IIRC they were operationally limited in the temperature and RPM they could put on the turbine, something that they got rid of with the Derwent 5 fitted to the F. 4. I think this was just a wear and tear issue (like the "5 minute limit" for the Merlin) instead of anything seriously wrong with the engine, but I could be wrong. The Derwent I put out about 2000lbs thrust though, so it was at least as good as any service jet engine at the time.

Problems with buffeting from the nacels and snaking at high speeds (475 mph +) were still present, although they had been reduced from the Mk I, with the short nacel Welland engines. These problems were finally redressed later in MK III production, when the nacels were lengthened again. The aircraft also had balance issues, and had to have quite a large amount of balast added to eliminate them. There were a few other bits and bots that were adjusted in the first 20 or so production airframes and also in the last production batches in 1946.

As it stood in service, the MK III was a good aircraft, but nothing special. It was fast, but probably not manouervable enough to make a good fighter.

If the British had fitted lengthened nacels (which would of eliminated the high speed buffet and partially solved the snaking problem) , allowed full power for the Derwents and reinstated proper alieron control, THEN the Meteor III would of been an excellent fighter. As it stood, it was a fast, well liked airframe, but it really didn't have the potential to go toe-to-toe with the German jets, mostly due to the restraints placed upon it.
Interesting to read, Jabberwocky.

I think the Dervent I was comparable to the BMW-003 or Jumo-004 in terms of performance but it´s huge diamter would only hardly allow a mid wing fitting (inside the fuselage could be wiser). The comparably low crit Mach figure of the Meteor originates partly because of the very thick airfoil, also.
I also think that the Meteor, while a large target to hit, can take a good deal of punishment, esspeccially because fuel tanks hits -unlike the P-80- would rarely result in destruction of the airframe.
I can't remember the source, but I do remember reading that the Derwets were supposed to be putting out 2,200 lbs thrust initially, but were 'de-tuned' by about 10%, because of some operational concerns.

The Meteor, while admittedly having a thickish wing section, was still very fast. The Mk. III could do 495 mph. The wing did provide very good slow speed handling and turn performance, perhaps at the expense of top end speed.

The Meteor really only hit its stride with the development of the F4, from July 1945. The first, and most obvious, improvement was fitting the Derwent V. The Derwents I-IV made between 2,000 and 2450 lbs thrust. The Derwent V was something different. It was smaller and lighter than its older brothers, but it was also more fuel efficient and put out 3400 lbs thrust (a 70% improvement over the Derwent I :shock: ).

Concurrent with the Derwewnt V installation, a number of other important cahnges were made. Firstly, new nacells were wider and longer, and tested with Derwent I/IIs fitted, they improved both speed and handling and removed the need for the large amounts of ballast sitting in the Meteor. The new Derwents and larger nacells also cured most, but not all, of the high speed issues. It actually wasn't until Gloster fitted a revised tail sction to the F.8 in the late 1940s that these completely disappeared.

Clipping the wings improved speed and roll and also stopped the designers worries about wing stress, so that the control imitations were resciinded. In 1945 a F.4 prototype did 606 mph, so the wing couldn't of been that bad at near supersonic speeds. Later F.4s went up to 616 mph
I read it too, but You cannot -even with pure force- accelerate
the Meteor F4 to higher speeds than 620 mp/h at sea level.
Keep an eye on the altitude of these tests, that´s what I call treetop altitude!
At higher level the plane hits its critical Mach sooner and becomes uncontrollable.
The F-4 really was agreat advantage. Let´s asume that a Meteor F-4 has to fight against an improved He-162 (He-S011 or BMW-003D engine), what do you think?
An He-162 could take the meteor, Being smaller, faster, better climb and roll and turning radius. The two lack luster things were the armament and the range, not to mention the wooden construction. The Meteor was big and lumbering compared to the -162, and just wouldnt be able to manouever or hit something so small, at high speeds due to snaking and being an unstable gun platform, or at low speeds it would just be outturned and shot down. Being as big and heavy as it was, it would most likely be slow to accelerate. The Meteors would have to catch the -162's landing, and to counter that, the germans would have to launch swarms, in waves, when one group lands, the next takes off, but they had neither the fuel, pilots, or planes at the time.
delcyros said:
I also think that the Meteor, while a large target to hit, can take a good deal of punishment, esspeccially because fuel tanks hits -unlike the P-80- would rarely result in destruction of the airframe.

You know I've got to disagree with the assessment of the P-80s fuel tank. I don't care if it got hit in the fuel tank, wing, or tail, chances are if one the the HE-162s cannon shells hit the P-80 it was not a good thing....

Case in point 5 years later in Korea. Out gunned and totally out classed the only combat the P-80 (F-80) saw was in Korea. About 15 P-80s were lost to Mig-15s, the P-80 destroyed about 9 MiG-15s. There were never any reports of those P-80s exploding or turning into massive fireballs no different than any other aircraft being hit by a 37mm. Even in the ground support role, if the fuel tank was that detrimental to its survivability, there would of been massive stories of how the P-80 was a death trap, and from I read the opposite seems to be the norm as the F-80 flew more operational sorties than any other aircraft deployed in Korea. Pilots who flew it in the ground support role loved it! Bottom line, If a HE-162 achieved a few hits on any aircraft, P-80, Meteor, etc., they were done, If the HE-162 was hit in the same manner, the result would be the same....

Yeah, no question the Hee-162 would be easy to take down with a few hits. Thats why its small, fast, and manouverable, so it doesnt get hit. The Meteor, unless flown by an excellent fighter pilot, or against completely inferior adversaris (very very likely scenario considering it was intended to be piloted by hitler youth with glider training only, or sent straight into combat) the Meteor wouldnt stand too much a chance, especially if the -162 would have been a later model armed with the Mk-108 30mm cannon with minenschlusse rounds.
The He 162 suffered many of the drawbacks of the Meteor at high speed, as well as others based around its light, wooden construction.

There was a marked tendency for lateral instability and snaking at high speeds, traced to the incidence of the wing dihedral. The A2 version had enlarged span tail surfaces in an attempt to alleviate this. They plane also suffered from yaw instability, which was partially corrected by fitting those characteristic downward angled wing extensions.

The A1 and A2 variants were both too lightly constructed to allow a Mk 108 cannon to be used in the nose. There were problems with the recoil and vibration from the cannon. A proposed A3 variant would of had a reinforced nose section to deal with this, but the CoG issues probably would of been interesting. They might have had to balast the plane, much like they did with the Meteor Mk. III.

I'd give the advanatage to the He-162, mostly because its anywhere from 10-50 mph faster depending on altitude. It's maximum R.o.C seems to be only about 200 feet/ minute better than the Meteor Mk III though and I have no data to compare in the turn, but i'd assume the He-162 is better; higher wingloading, but much better powerloading and aerodynamics. Roll would favour the He 162, but mostly because the alierons were wired heavy in the Meteor.

From an operation standpoint, the Meteor Mk III is a better plane. It's more reliable and has better range and endurance. Its also more heavily armed.

The Meteor F. 4 is proably better than the He 162, but that is a different kettle of fish, and 6 months further down the track. Still, it would provide a much more challenging cmparison. Similarly, the Vampire Mk I might also make an interesting "compare and contrast" piece.
Undoubtedly the He-162 did have some draw backs, one of them being the two Mg151/20 used in the subsuquent aircraft produced after the a few built with the MK-108. The -162 had a metal fuesalgue. Also it was as manouverable as the pilot was comfortable. If they had more experience they could have been more confident and pushed the aircraft more, but they didnt like the weak tail structure, because you could only stay stable and not shear it off with 3/4 rudder applied smoothly. Hitler youth and fighter pilots from a -109 wouldnt know how to handle it right, and it would be a flame out, breake up death trap. But if someone had proper conversion training, in an aircraft with an engine, not a glider, it could have been an exceptional aircraft to fight against.

Flyboy, right we have discussed the P-80 issue, but in Korea, the F-84, F-86 and even the Mig-15 was designed in the same manner (fuel tanks in front of the engine), so they indeed have shown little differences. The enforced structure around the tanks couldn´t prevent a 20mm hit from holing. If fuel goes out it will - narly automaticly- inflame by the engine. Bad thing. The He-162, Me-262 and Meteor are designed otherwise. I also think that the Meteor- while outclassed by the Mig´s did perform very well in the ground attack role in Korea.

It should be noted that the He-162 isn´t a wooden plane. Most of the fuselage and the rudders are of Dural, the wingtips made of Pantal, some parts even made of steel, the wings (without rudders), the nosecap, the gearcoverings and a small section behind the canopy are made of wood.
The wooden wings have a small area and a tiny spanwidth, that´s why they are capable to high G-forces (I suspect, but I am not sure, that the He-162 has a higher destruction limit than the Meteor MK III).
Actually it is the same basic construction which we see in the Me-109K and Me-163. Nobody ever wanted these planes bad because they are wooden/Dural composites. Check the construction manual for these details. It cannot be denied that the M1-M13 prototypes had problems with bad glues, even later some serial planes had shown bad quality due to lack of a proper glue agent or simply bad working.

The heavy recoil forces of twin 30mm MK108 were unsuited for the A-1/A-2, the bow section would need structural reeinforcements. I don´t think the plane would need some kind of ballast, because the guns were placed almost at the CoG and the CoG could widely differ from 19.0% to 26.0% according to the operating manual (page 3). Generally I suspect that the 20mm MG151 are the better weaponry for this fighter because the rounds allow a higher effective shooting range than the low muzzle 30 mm rounds.

The rudder forces were limited to 3/4 at high speeds only (500+mp/h), it indeed had the problem of a very light stick. The roll rates of the He-162 are even superior to the Fw-190 at all but very low speeds, esspeccially at high speeds.
The low speed turnrate would probably go to the Meteor because of it´s lower wingload.
The Meteor -III operating over Germany in early 45 carried a white camouflage in order to prevent them from beeing shot down by allied forces mixing it up with a Me-262. This undoubtly would result in a problem if seen by a He-162 (big and white target).
There is little proof that the pilots of JG-1 were rookies. Indeed the only pilots to fly the He-162 were veterans but with little training for the jet engine. On the other side the BMW-003 is easier to operate than was the Jumo-004, it simply wasn´t that sensitive throttle changings and flame outs.
According to the thrust to weight ratio, the acceleration of Meteor-III and He-162 don´t differ much: 0.29 vs. 0.28 (at 100%) or 0.32 (at 115%).At half fuel load, the He-162 is somehow superior in acceleration.

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