Me 262 B-1a 'Vera' Nacelle Cowling Panel

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by ColesAircraft, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    A huge 'thank you' to Legend Flyers of Everett, Washington for sending me a large original section of Messerschmitt Me 262 B 'Vera' - which arrived today in a big crate!

    The exterior (shown here) was repainted many times while this rare aircraft sat on display at NAS Willow Grove, but the interior is still in its original finish. This panel is made of steel, which surprised me.

    I intend to sand down the exterior to find evidence of the original paint, and will likely refinish it to precise wartime Luftwaffe standards, with applicable stencil markings and camouflage.

    This Me 262 was operated by Nachtjagdgeschwader 11 to familiarize new pilots to fly the 262 B-1a/U1 two seat night fighter.


    [​IMG]
    Me 262 B-1a 'Vera' Original Nacelle Panel by ColesAircraft, on Flickr


    Does anyone know how to tell if this panel is from the inside port nacelle, or outside starboard nacelle???


    - Ron Cole
     
  2. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    Good news: The steel under layers of paint (and 1/8" of Bondo) was well protected and in good condition!



    IMG_4316.JPG



    Does anyone have any suggestions regarding how it would be best to restore it? There is some corrosion through the panel in a few areas. I can repair it and make it look 100% from the outside. Or would it be better to leave the damage in favor of originality?
     
  3. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    That's awesome!
     
  4. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I would contact the NASM and ask their restoration experts. I would only move on their suggestion. IMHO this is too rare an item to be handled otherwise. May I ask how you got it from them?
     
  5. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    Legend Flyers retained a few parts of the original 'Vera' to be used as patterns for future new-builds. They wanted me to do some artwork for them and offered this panel, which is redundant as they have a second, in trade. Thus I'm presently working on a composition of 'Vera' as she would have looked in Luftwaffe camouflage and US markings. Originally I planned to acquire metal from 'Vera' to cut up for small displays with my artwork - but in light of receiving this whole panel it would be an unforgivable travesty to cut it up into little 3 x 4 inch pieces. I will keep it intact, even though by so doing I give up on what would have been a great line of displays.

    The panel should display really well if refinished and painted in the correct colors and markings, as the demarcation between upper and lower-surface colors runs right along it, and it'll have some colorful stenciling which I have patterns for. I'm just not sure what to do about the areas of corrosion. I can use Duraglass to glaze over the holes, and once painted it'll look perfect. If it were the NASM guys, they would remake the panel from scratch - I know that. But I want to keep it as original as possible.


    Thanks!


    - RC
     
  6. norab

    norab Well-Known Member

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    IIRC the original agreement was that the Navy 262 was on loan to be used to make patterns for the building of modern replicas, in return it was to be restored. I wonder what right Legend Flyers has to dispose of US Navy, and therefore US Government property? I am sure some government museum somewhere would have loved to have it.
     
  7. pattern14

    pattern14 Member

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    As an original part, regardless of condition, I would suspect it would be far more valuable as is. The Me 262 'Black X" at the Australian War memorial is the ONLY example of an original example of this aircraft, but they had to remove the post war paint very carefully to reach the authentic Luftwaffe finish. Like so many irreplaceable icons of the past, refurbishing detracts from the originality. By all means it is yours to decide with, so I'm sure you will consider everything.
     
  8. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    #8 ColesAircraft, Dec 3, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
    I doubt it. Legend Flyers retained this and an identical panel for further use as patterns. Everything else - the entire disassembled aircraft less these two panels - was returned to the Navy. The Navy has done nothing with them to anyone's knowledge. None of the parts have surfaced anywhere, and the fear is that they were just dumped. They were in poor condition. But I suspect that they probably remain in a warehouse someplace - being studied by top men, no doubt (sarcasm).

    Legend Flyers is very cautious and professional regarding these matters in any case. I have to believe that the retention of the two panels was negotiated with the Navy. I think it's a bit unreasonable of you to accuse very good people of theft on a public forum, considering that even as a for-profit business they have probably done more for the aviation enthusiast community in recent years than about anyone else. Certainly more than the government! Where were their air traffic controllers this year at Oshkosh???

    Don't mean to call anyone out, but I just think we should in general avoid accusing people of crimes against society unless we know the facts.
     
  9. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    I'd say 95% of the time that would be true. But in 1946 the Navy stripped this aircraft to bare metal. It was later painted blue/black. Sometime later, as the steel panels started to rust outdoors, everything was coated with a Bondo-like substance - from 1/16 to a full 1/2 inch thick. Then several coats of bizarre paint atop that, then partially stripped down again to reveal the various layers of putty and paint . . . it just looked terrible, like some bad Indie artist's attempt at some abstraction.

    Anything short of all this and I would have left it as is. But under the mess is a reasonably intact Me 262 panel. It'll be highly display-worthy when it's done, but I will leave the inside of the panel, which is rusty but original, as is.

    - RC
     
  10. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    Thought I'd share my painting of 'Vera' commissioned by Legend Flyers, autographed by Lt. Roy Brown, the last surviving member of the original Watson's Whizzers and who flew 'Vera' in 1945:

    G-262-RB-1.jpg

    Lt. Roy Brown (and my son, who got extra credit in Social Studies for this encounter - how cool is that?):

    roybrown-2.jpg

    - RC
     
  11. norab

    norab Well-Known Member

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    Pensacola_Naval_Aviation_Museum_075.jpg

    yep, sure looks like a dusty warehouse somewhere, what was it you said, oh yes (sarcasm)
     
  12. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #12 stona, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
    Well that's most of the original 'Vera/Willie, Whizzer's 555, W.Nr. 110639. The entire nose was replaced following a nose gear failure (a very common problem) landing in Cherbourg, 6th July '45.
    The current nose came from Lechfeld and is very probably from the V10, W.Nr. 130005.

    Which aircraft the panel that is the subject of this thread came from I have no idea. The relevant parts appeared to be still attached during this airframes long stay at Willow Grove. Since Legend Flyers were the ones doing the new builds I'm sure that they can provide the relevant provenance for the original part(s).

    I lose track of these things. I assume that the aircraft is still at the NNAM, Pensacola or has it moved again? :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  13. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    #13 ColesAircraft, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
    That aircraft is almost entirely a new build, by Legend Flyers.

    I was referring to the majority of original material that could not be utilized in the restoration because it suffered from severe corrosion - and that's a lot of material as much of this aircraft was made of unpainted steel and it was stored outside in Pennsylvania for 60 years.
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I'd say extensively rebuilt. I remember following some of it a few years ago.

    When you consider what passes for an original aircraft sometimes :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There were problems and bits missing from that Me 262 when it came in from the cold, but nothing like that!

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  15. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    Thanks for the info, Steve!

    Now I wish that I'd asked Lt. Roy Brown about some of these details when I was over at his home just two weeks ago! He did talk about 'Vera' and the other 262 aircraft that he flew in Germany and from Germany to France. He did say that 'Vera' had a landing accident in Cherbourg, but he didn't know if just the nose was replaced or the nose and its nacelles (a photo I have shows 'Vera' with nose damage and damage to its nacelles). They quickly repainted all of the aircraft in France and renamed them, as the name 'Vera' and others originated from crews in Germany that came before the 'Whizzers' took control - or so he described.

    In a somewhat related story: Roy told me that nobody wanted to fly the Do 335 because they didn't trust the German crews and there was no reassuring method to bail out of one. Col. Watson was the first American to fly the Do 335, and in fact he lost one engine right after take off, and the other was failing when he managed to bring it around for an emergency landing. They drew straws after that to see who would get stuck flying the Dornier.
     
  16. ColesAircraft

    ColesAircraft Member

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    #16 ColesAircraft, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
    They described it to me as "essentially a new build". But I agree with you. Virtually any other historic item that is rebuilt to the extent that many WWII warbirds are today, would be called a reproduction. When we build a Sopwith Camel from scratch, even when we put an original engine in it and other hardware, it's still a "repro".

    Similar things happen w/ historic automobiles. Cut an Alfa Romeo chassis in half, rebuild a new half for each end, and you get two 'original' Alfas with the same serial number!

    Oh, well. I'm just overjoyed that we have so many of these machines in the air and in museums today, no matter how much of them is 'new'.
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Yep. That Spitfire still retains the original aircraft data plate. I believe it's called a frame something or the other restoration (can't remember which frame number).
    Cheers
    Steve
     
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