Realistic max speeds WW2 fighters / Speeds of the late 109s

Discussion in 'Flight Test Data' started by kettbo, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. kettbo

    kettbo Member

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    So much for factory test data...
    Were the P-51s and Erla G-10s really having it out at 440mph? Polished, fresh engines vs stuff seldom delivers as advertised!
    (I know ACM speeds are lower)

    What max speeds would one really see a P-51D or Bf 109G-10 fly at 20k, 25k, 30k ft after a few typical combat operations?
    Not limiting the scope of this conversation to these altitudes or even the P-51B/C/D or Gustav

    The MUSTANG was not the best dogfighter but having good overall performance plus good speed allowing one to pull away or to pursue.


    I have seen reference to the Bf 109G-10s by Erla being the fastest of the Hundert Neuns, at least this is what I remember from last night. Where does this info come from? Build quality? Any comments appreciated with your listing.

    With all the old info floating about, could someone KINDLY list the late 109s in some order of performance and give some ballpark basic/sustained max speed number/realistic emergency power speed Real hodge-podge of info over many threads has me confused
    Ks and G-10s with DB605D, then some with DB605AS etc
     
  2. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #2 GregP, Oct 29, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
    I'll take a stab at it a bit later. For right now, I can tell you that speeds above 400 mph were possible, but not in a fight. All WWII fighters lack the power to sustain much over 3 - 4 g, and lose speed rapidly in a turning fight. The only reason the Reno Racers in the USA can lap at 500+ mph is an excess of power coupled with lighter weight and extreme aerodynamic modifications.

    The Mustang (P-51D) was quoted at 437 mph at critical altitude. If at low altitude, and if in a turning fight, it was probably a 290 - 340 mph airplane, and so were all the others ... or slower.

    The Me 109 (Elra K's) were quoted at 441 mph, but the Me 109 was WELL KNOWN as a 180 - 300 mph fighter. The 441 mph speed was a straight line intercept or fleeing from death speed. The Me 109 could barely roll or turn at 400+ mph and the leg was VERY tired due to no rudder trim. They were slow to medium speed dogfighters, no bull, and were not much of a factor if going faster than 330 mph because they were fleeing or arriving before configuring to fight. If in their envelope, the Me 109 was formidable. If outside the envelope, it was either accelerating, running, or trying desperaley to slow down to fight. To be fair, most other fighters were also not good at fighting at 400+ mph. They were basically ALL 200- 350 mph fighters with the ability to sprint when required for sruvival or attack.

    Basically WWII fighters cruised at anywhere from bomber crusing speed if on escort to 200 - 270 mph normally, and went faster when they wanted to or HAD to to survive. 460 mph + was usually in a dive or when they wanted to flog the engine and damn the consequences because there was something important ahead or right behind.
     
  3. kettbo

    kettbo Member

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    Greg,
    Please take all the time you need to post up some good numbers.
    I understand cruise speed to get you to the destination/target area while Max and WEP are limited duration.

    While a Bradley Fighting vehicle 'could' exceed 40mph, some did this easily, some not so easily. So looking for realistic numbers vs Pie in the Sky stuff.
     
  4. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #4 vanir, Oct 29, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
    Mate whole books have been written extrapolating the late series 109 variants and configurations, it's a gigantic can of worms. What you're going to hear from me and places like this, without detailed and exhaustive model and development history, is just a simple, not entirely accurate guideline that is very loose and rough and can't be used as an information base. Feller you really need to look up detailed extrapolation of the late 109s from specialist bookshops, in publications that use documented and primary sources.
    Some of the authors of those books you'll find over at LEMB so there's a good place to inquire as well. Luftwaffe Experten Message Boards, it is better to go there than for me to write out a bunch of stuff on memory.

    Very roughly speaking, in typical combat performance respectively in order:

    clean fighters for freijäger Erla G-10, then Erla/clean K-4

    reported as the fastest, cleanest, lightest Messers of the late war, Erla lightened and cleaned up their airframes and are different to those produced elsewhere, an Erla G-10 is as fast at 5000 metres that a Mustang is at 6500 metres, in other words at combat height it is much quicker than most Allied fighters despite similar reported maximum performance at higher altitudes. It accelerated faster than any other 109 at higher airspeeds (eg. 580-700km/h you're probably not going to beat one in an air race). The Erla G-10 was considered by Luftwaffe pilots as the ultimate performing 109 of the entire war, though the 109F was the nicest to fly. But while I was over at LEMB there were photos of K-4 clean hotrod fighters also built by Erla in 1945. Delivering any clean 109 without an ETC rack at the least at this time was highly unusual, these were very special 109s with the sole purpose of being Allied fighter killers.
    These are the ones people really mean when they talk about realistically cracking 700km/h or more in combat trim (claimed max goes up to 750km/h-calculated for Erla G-10, check out Kurfürst's site I think). They're very clean and slippery due to tiny frontal mass (one of the smallest in the sky), flying clean the Mustang, Spit and Erla 109 are all pretty similar in high speed qualities, with character differences and similar powered engines at the combat settings (DB motor in Erla does 1600-1850PS military/wer at combat height with teensy frontal mass, that's powerful). They can all do similar sustained BFM at 6000 metres say, they'll bleed at similar rates, have individual strengths/weaknesses to balance them with each other (eg. Mustang wing wanted more alpha than the stall could handle in some low alt BFM, so was smarter to be at 3000m upwards for dogfights for some recover room, the 109 gave plenty of stall warning but if you didn't listen and you were anywhere near the ground it plummeted like a rock and wouldn't recover, they were all a bit quirky and all had similar upper envelope performance really, Mustang emphasis on cruise performance, Messer on climb/dive, Spit on initial rates).

    are well ahead of..

    fighter-bombers for jabo K-4, then G-10, then G-14/AM, then G-6

    most 109s being built from Nov43 not used in bomber-interception were fitted with ETC racks at the very least, sometimes gondolas for schacht style jabo work, but mostly bomb trucks. This followed on from the common Gustav mod of a wet ECT for the droptank on any stationed in the Med/Italy.
    The jabo doctrinal shift for traditional Luftwaffe fighters was absolutely required for German survival following the collapse of the Eastern Front. All through 1944 production concentrated on pushing as many fighters roughly slapped together and slung with bombs as their industry could possibly manage. These were not well made, high performing fighter vs fighter craft, not by intention. They were to support ramped Fw Anton production in the schnellbomber/schlacht role. A G-14 built in October 1944 might have a surplus year old DB-601A-1 fitted, big panel gaps and rough finishing, the K-4 radio sets and the instrument panel update, with an ETC rack and a 250kg bomb (the long tailgear was to give better bomb clearance on roughly prepared forward strips, the longer G-10/K-4 one was to provide this clearance for a 500kg bomb). By 1944 most 109s that weren't intercepting bombers, were bomb trucks or in training conversion squadrons.

    are well ahead of...

    bomber-interceptors with zerstörer support 1945 G-14/ASB-C, then Messer standard G-10, then 1944 G-14/ASM, then G-6/AS, then G-1, then G-5/6.
    These are very heavily laden with 300kg or 150kg boost kits, 300 litre drop tanks and cannon gondolas. They are not high performing in contemporary fighter vs fighter combat. RAF comparative testing quoted a difference on the G-6 which is the lightest out of this bunch with interceptor equipment as some 30km/h or so slower in practise and much less handy to pilot than a clean G-6 and a clean G-6 as no longer equivalent in performance to newer Allied contemporaries except in sustained climb, turn performance and initial dive.


    see how complicated this is getting? and I might've just started half a dozen arguments with what I just wrote. You're asking questions like why the sunrise and expecting a simple explanation?
    To get anything like a handle on late war 109 models you need to open that can of worms in the form of a personal research project, not a discussion subject really perhaps? There's just so much to tell and many points of view and tons of documentation to slap each other with along the way.
     
  5. kettbo

    kettbo Member

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    Great post, lots of food for thought here.
    Looking to get some of the latest info into one post...so much info, some dated.
    Appreciate the thought and time composting your remarks above
     
  6. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #6 vanir, Oct 29, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
    This is easier to comment on. Transition to combat settings are an important consideration in European air warfare. The Daimler has a wonderful loping, high speed cruise at low engine speed and good power, it transitions to combat trim seamlessly, immediately. It's a huge strength. Another quality from the Daimler is that tractor like sustained climb, it's not fast, but it just won't quit pointing upwards when everybody else is stalling out. You needed to have a higher airspeed start to attack one on the climb in anything, I mean even the RAF report for Tempest pilots stressed this for any 109 encountered, and it even said don't start a dive alongside one, start from a long way off if attempting to escape combat (and rely on eventually superior dive acceleration) or survival chances are low, in a Tempest V. That's pretty impressive for the old G-6 in anyone's language, despite the obvious superiority of aircraft like the Tempest overall. It was still very dangerous to them.

    By comparison most other engines require a slight workup to go from cruise to combat trim, takes about a minute no kidding. That minute could kill you, or whatever you were trying to escort. Wildcat pilots in Solomons reported on this, Zeros came up with the idea of using their tremendous range to follow them back to base at high altitude then attack near the final waypoint, the Wildcats got caught working up to combat settings and in that amount of time, bombers were destroyed, there is a very emotional description by a Wildcat ace on documentary footage describing one such incident.
    I feel this is a very important thing to consider here.

    Now the Mustang achieved this excellent transition by airframe qualities and the double blown Merlin. It cruised low and slow like all Merlins...in the upper stage, so it was still a really nice cruise altitude. That and the laminar-style design, the drag-minimising thrust style radiator design, its overall cleanliness for drag, it cruised fast, at economical engine conditions, at good altitude, so you could literally fight whilst working up the engine to combat even when you're bounced.

    Things like this, I think coming at it along these lines starts to give us a pilots eye view of comparative performance qualities, the real world stuff you're after.
     
  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The Daimler may very well have a wonderfull high-speed cruise, but the Me 109 does not. Yes, it CAN cruise there, but is not maneuverable when doing so, and that is very well documented by ALL sides and test pilots. As I stated, it is a 180 - 300 mph fighter. Above that speed it is at a severe maneuvering disadvantage and in danger of being shot down.

    Of course, the Me 109 driver can climb (very well), slow down, and turn to attack, but the enemy is not sitting still waiting to be shot down when he does this maneuver, unless the enemy is blissfully unaware of the attack. Beware of the Hun in the Sun!

    To be frank, many kills were first shot kills, when the victim was unaware that he was being stalked. Kills at 420+ mph were VERY infrequent in piston fighters since neither the victim nor the attacker were likely both going that fast.

    A Mustang today, in 2011, cruises mostly below 250 mph below 14,500 feet. That tells me a lot. The rest of the warbirds I am aware of do the same. Yes, regulaton and fuel economy have something to do with it, but they don't run them much harder when they CAN, unless there is a reason to do so ... such as a mock dogfight or a race. Mock dogfights rarely get above 350 mph. Racing is another story. 500+ mph can be seen when racing, but NOT by stock aircraft. The best Reno speeds for stockers are about 370 mph or so, about 10 - 25 mph faster than they were in WWII at 5,000 feet, mostly due to no armament.

    Ergo, they cruise at those speeds most of the time for engine reliability and fuel economy which, after all, was important in WWII for range considerations s well as engine life.
     
  8. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    Greg there is extensive and detailed documentation describing things like Mustang escorts at 7000 metres on a ca.8hr mission. Nobody said it was ideal if you wanted to preserve the aircraft in a private collection for 30+ yrs of airworthiness, plus the fact it's near priceless property. In wartime it's a tool, and what you do is you break your tools to break your enemy, given his tools are usually as good as yours.

    You're right about the Me-109 sweet spot in handling, 400-500km/h although dive speeds could reach as high as 700km/h IAS with good comparative handling against other types in the same condition, surpassing most. There's plenty of reports about this around.
    Energy retention is better in the clean later models, ie. with the cleaner Friedrich lines. Emils capped their average level speeds with more drag, but so do laden later versions. Seyringer says the laden G-6, with 300 litre tank and gondolas (probably also a 150-300kg boost kit) was unstable, dangerous near airfields or pilot recruits and upped the 109 accident rate significantly. He said it was dangerous to the pilot and I don't think he liked this configuration very much.

    But still there are many details you haven't accounted for mate. I do appreciate the guts of what you're saying, plus the fact you like to call it simple and straight. But this is a technical issue of more detail than sweeping statements, even if they hold a bit of water.
     
  9. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    #9 Siegfried, Oct 29, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
    A good correlation of test reports is at

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3RNeIzE1jU
    Go to about 6.25 into the video (6 minutes 25 seconds) and also to 9.00 in the video (pilot appreciates he wasn't dealing with a normal 109)
    Also see:

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4glVNX3XsI
    at 30 secs into the video.

    Power is very important to turning circle, not just wing loading.

    Some Me 109's made by WNF had spring servo tabs to lower aileron forces. These were also
    used in Ar 234, Me 262 and He 177 but they are hard to find.

    There was still room to improve the Me 109 for instance
    1 Thin blade prop about 12mph
    2 Scimitar prop about 20mph.
    3 DB605L engine with two stage supercharger: 15mph at much higher altitude (Me 109K14)
    4 Spring servo tabs on ailerons.

    The Germans however were switching to jets and the FW 190D13/Ta 152 but I suspect the 109 would have hung in there a bit longer.

    I don't actually place too much stock in the claims of hopeless manouverabillity at high speed. It's not going to roll like a FW 190 or Mustang
    but airleron stiffening doesn't prevent the aircraft being rolled at all. Despite the lower aileron versus deflection forces of the Spitfire whatever deflection
    that was achieved was taken away by the resultant wing twist, at least untill the Mk.20/22 came along with its new wing structure.

    Of course the Me 109 had some serious deficiences

    1 No rear vision mirrors
    2 Rear vision wasn't great but the pilot had armoured glass behined his head rest rather than steel and this helped.
    3 Range was poor.
    4 Armament was limited by the need to keep weight down, the Gondalla weapons were not liked when escorts had to be dealt with.



    However by late 1944 Me 109s were being built in 2000 hours, who knows about 1945?
     
  10. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I don't hav charts or pie charts or graphs but what I do know from listening to the old geezers that flew them and filing the flight plans is that Greg P is pretty much spot on , the sppeds that these birds operated at was far lower then the maximun speed . The Lanc and Fort were 180 , C47 was 120-130. Catalina !05 and most of the fighters were about 240. 240 is a very easy to use especially for flight planning as it works out to 4 miles a minute a very handy thing when sitting in a cramped single seat and map reading
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I think that about sums it up, with late war jets being the exception to the rule.

    Accceleration and climb were far more important in a fight. That's where the Me-109s high power to weight ratio really made a difference. It could extend away from an unfavorable tactical situation and then gain a position of superior altitude before returning to the fight.
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #12 tomo pauk, Oct 29, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
    Having a good acceleration is a good thing, indeed. Having a good turn of speed - even better?
    Let's take a look at two planes - pehaps Zero F4U? Zero is flying at 280 mph, can really accelerate, but it 'hits the wall' at 340 mph. F4U is perhaps not that good at acceleration, but it's flying already at 320 mph, for example, while looking for trouble. Is Zero able to make any gain vs. F4U, before the later is accelerated at, say, 350 mph?
    Of course, with Zero approaching 340 mph, how well it's control surfaces are going to respond, compared with F4U (or any other 400mph+ plane)?

    added: Then, there was not such thing as an 'universal climber' - a plane that is excellent climber at 10K, is not necessarily such at 20K, let alone at 30K. We can again look at US birds, for 1942 - F4F-4 ( with 2-stage 'charger) was to outclimb P-39D at 25K, but not at 10K.
     
  13. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    I am sure this is a typo but the P-51B flew its first mission over Europe in December 1943.
     
  14. kettbo

    kettbo Member

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    Thank you very kindly for the replies!

    Will update the library with the Prien book and any that you can suggest. Looking for 'nuts and bolts' type information.
    I have researched pictures and drawing for modeling purposes. Performance research more for miniatures gaming. If I read my game data card correctly, I was using mid 43 Gustavs vs my brothers summer-fall '44 P-47D-RE25s. I should have had some AS types available and better rules in support of the center mount weapons and the lethality of the Mk-108.

    Gathering info here for my 1/144 Gustav, trying to decide on which version to complete the build
    No stranger to 109 modeling. Here are the Bf-109G-6 with tall tail/G-14 seen with the K-4 in 1/285.
    I made these masters for Raiden several years ago.
    the K-4 features the large tire bulge and other later features. I will add some color to these in the upcoming days.

    006.JPG 007.JPG
     
  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #15 GregP, Oct 30, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
    I don’t care much about individual Me 109 models as far as the dash number or the maker goes. The Me 109E was a great fighter in its time. It was superseded by the Me 109F, touted by its own pilots as the best of the breed. The G was the most produced and the K models were the fastest and touted by the 109 supporters as “superior to everything else.”

    Regardless of claims to the contrary, the Me 109 was a slow to medium-speed dogfighter that could, in later versions, sprint a bit, but was not maneuverable when doing so. It was always a strong climber … rarely as strongly as the contemporary Spitfire, but strongly. The Me 109 rolled better than the Spitfire at some speeds and less well at others.

    Basically, the Me 109 was probably better at 180 – 220 mph and the Spitfire was probably better at 280 – 350+ mph, with the speeds in between being more or less equal. That being the case, the pilot probably decided the outcome most of the time unless the encounter physics favored one or the other through height, speed, numbers or a combination of all three.

    You may agree or disagree, I don’t much care to argue because it is what I believe despite any rhetoric in here. I believe that because of the pilots I know and have spoken with, both German and Allied. I had a 30-minute conversation with Herr Rall once, and was impressed with his forthcoming personality. He was a great speaker and a good person to talk with. He agreed the Messerschmitt was better at slower speeds and the Spitfire was better at higher speeds. I respect his opinion and the thing that makes me think hard was his statement that people who test fly planes don’t necessarily fight them. He believed the Messerschmitt was better at attack and the Spitfire was better at defense … that was because he was attacking and the Spitfires were defending. But, if pressed, he would choose the Messerschmitt mostly due to familiarity and training. He felt sure that if he were as familiar with the Spitfire as he was with the Messerschmitt, he would fight either one and expect the same result. The message was that the pilot made the difference, then as well as now ... not the plane. Of course, he didn't fight Spitfires, but he was very familiar with them, performance-wise.

    I spoke with Saburo Sakai (early 1980’s) , Bud Mahurin, and Ralph Parr (about Korea). Once I met Pappy Boyington (early 1980’s) , but never got a chance to talk about fighter operations with him due to airshow activities. Later, they took him for a Mustang ride.

    Saburo Sakai had great respect for his American opponents, and was very nice. He had praise for the Zero as well as the Wildcat and Hellcat. They took him for a Mustang ride and he was very thrilled about it. He said he never ever expected to get to fly in a Mustang, especially after 40 years after the war. That was about 1984 or so. Bud had respect for his opponents but was typically sure he was better than any opponent, as was his mount. He said if you were NOT sure you were better, then you were definitlely WORSE. He could be right, or he could have simply survived the war. The same could be said of the other WWII pilots I have met casually. The common theme seems to be to keep your eyes open and see the enemy first. If you did THAT, you could survive. If you didn’t, you probably couldn’t.

    Let’s face it, most Allied test pilots were not planning an attack in the Messerschmitt they were test flying, they were evaluating it. Most German test pilots were not planning an attack in the Spitfire or Mustang they were evaluating, they were test flying it. The point was to see what the enemy was flying and do some evaluation before the example they had became non-operational due to lack of spare parts or poor piloting technique.

    The real speeds these things flew were 180 – 330 mph, with a typical cruise at 220 -240 mph. Some radial fighters cruised at 180 mph or so, but could sprint at 400+ mph when required.

    In the jet era, the F-4 Phantom was widely known as a Mach 2.5 airplane. If you followed a specific flight profile and did EXACTLY what was required, you could actually get to Mach 2.5 in a clean airplane. If you didn’t, it was a Mach 1.6 airplane. In a turning dogfight at 5+g, it was subsonic with a lot of extra thrust.

    WWII fighters were 3 – 4 g airplanes that could sustain 8 g for a short duration, but bled speed badly when doing it. So, they didn’t pull 8g for long, ever. Did they pull 12g? Yes, once in awhile when they encountered “compressability” and had “experiences” that were survivable. Anything over 4g was a momentary load. Yes, they could go fast, but mostly didn’t due to wanting to get home on the engine that was currently running in the plane.

    Would You want to drive your Chevelle 396 to a dragstrip 400+ miles away, drag race it, and then drive it home 400+ miles?

    Could you do it? Yes. Would it possibly break? Yes, probably … sometime. If you had to do that 25 – 40 times, would you flog it hard every time and expect to get home alive? If you said, “Yes,” you are not being realistic. Pilots treated their aircraft with a lot of respect and care because it got them there and back. If they were defeiding over home airfields, they could afford to flog the equipment and not worry about it. Otherwise, it was fight and get home.
     
  16. kettbo

    kettbo Member

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    Greg,

    Great post! Yes, most of the flying at around 240 sounds reasonable. And yes, other traits are important.

    FYI, my 70 El Camino with 454 drives one hour to the track, I install the drag radials or slicks, have at it, put the street rubber back on, then drive home an hour.
    Alas, only running 11.7s. Good frame of reference....appreciated your comment! One advantage for the home team is that you CAN flog your engine if you are over the homeland.
     
  17. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    i've just the impression that Gregp talking of IAS and the ask was for TAS
     
  18. jim

    jim Banned

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    Whatever Mr Greqp is talking of is in contrast with Bf 109 pilots like Lipfert,Obleser,Hartmann, to name a few , that manouvered their aircrafts at all speeds. Lipfert reports a diving spped of 850 km/h above which aircrtaft did not respond . He does report heavy controls at high speeds but never preventig him to engange.
    Mr Rall was an exceptional pilot , a brave soldier , a good officer and a superb DIPLOMAT . Thats why reached the highest leves of post war Lw and NATO. He knew the way to be pleasant to everyone,especially americans and british. (In contrast Hartmann did not posses that art ,forced out of Lw early and today is accused by the anglosaxons as a lier. Lockheed never forgets...)
    The posts in this thread confirm that accerlaration in medium speeds (were prectically dogfights took place) is very important. Also as P51s speed was because mainly of excellent aerodymanics in level flight,, in a dogfight would be practically slower than a 109 because of poorer accelaration . (Not important anyway, numbers prevented dogfights on equal terms.)
     
  19. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    I do not think maxim speed is very important. This achieved with many minutes of straight acceleration - 2-3 minutes for example. It is not practical knowledge.

    Soviet measured realistic combat speeds of aircraft - that is speed fighter can realistically achieve in combat, maintain it, the avarage it actually travels in combat. Acceleration is very important for this. Genarally Me 109G was rated highly in this regard because it accelerated high, and keep up speed high during all times, even shortly after manouvers, it regain speed quick. Other factor for satisfaction was speed. Cruse speed was high for 109 and also 190, but latter was generally slower to pick up speed because of greater weight.

    manouver speed, I understand instrument speeds are important here, not true absolute speed. Me 109K could achieve 710 kpmh nominal in level flight, but this is true speed, not instrument speed... instrument speed of 710 kph at 7 km is impossible in level for any Me 109 or any fighter. 109G datasheet says aircraft is capable achieve 410 mph true speed, but this is only 280 mph IAS, at 7-8 km. So I do not think manouver was problem at altitude for 109, IAS speed are low there even for high true speeds. I understand control force is dependant on IAS, not TAS.
     
  20. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #20 GregP, Oct 30, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
    Just to put what I said above in perspective, there used to be a museum at Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona, U.S.A. called the Doug Champlin Fighter Museum. He had a great collection of WWII fighters and it was the home of the American Fighter Aces Association for many years. They sometimes had meetings there, and sometimes they had a get-together that included foreign Aces. That's where I met the guys I spoke with ... at a gathering of Fighter Aces in Arizona in the early 1980's.

    Everyone was firendly, and everyone said the same thing ... they were fighting for their country, but had no hate of the enemy. They were just fighter pilots doing their jobs. I attended such meetings twice in the 1980's and got to speak with some aces there. My questions were thought out well in advance. The aces were perhaps more friendly than their real opinions .... perhaps not. Yes, they were being polite to the public, but they also seemed to have genuine friendship for one another, regardless of nationality.

    I do not believe I ever said the factory test data was wrong; it was carefully collected and probably was as true as could be ascertained at the time.

    I find it very interesting that people are thinking the Mustang could not dogfight with the Me 109 since we have flying examples of both at the Planes of Fame. Our president, Steve Hinton, has flown the Me 109E, Me 109G-10, several other dash numbers, and several Hispano Ha.1112's as wells as MANY P-51 Mustangs, and almost all WWII warbirds including a real, live Fw 190 with the BMW 801 radial engine running quite well in it.

    He feels the Me 109 was unmaneuverable at high speed when compared with other warbirds. Since he feels that way and has flown most of the warbirds in existence, I am inclined to credit his opinion more than most, if due only to experience in said aircraft. He also has no need for an agenda that favors any particular aircraft. The last person to believe is someone who flies one type of fighter and then tries to compare it with a type he has fought against or flown with but has never flown it himself. He has no frame of reference if he never flew the other bird ... just his own experience in the type he trained in. I've met several American fighter pilots who flew only the P-51 and said it was the best ever, but they never flew another fighter type. Ergo, they have no real frame of reference.

    Our museum's chief pilot is Kevin Eldridge and he also has flown multiple types of WWII fighters and bombers, approcahing Steve Hinton's experience as far as WWII types goes. His opinion mirrors Steve Hinton's. We basically have about 5 people who fly almost all our warbirds and about 3 have both Me 109 and P-51 time, and can thus make a comparison from the vierwpoint of a modern warbird pilot. They've even engaged in mock dogfights ... naturally at reduced power from combat during a war. They all have simllar opinions regarding the Me 109. That's three similar opinions from three guys who have flown both types.

    I am inclined to believe the best German fighter of the war was the Fw 190. However, the most effective, by far, above all others, was the Me 109. I think that due its war record. There have been arguments about fighter kill ratio and people argue very hard that kill ratio is not a good indicator of the real poential of a fighter. Mostly these people are not fans of the Hellcat, which has the best kill ratio of WWII. By extension, I suppose it could be argued that war record is also not the best measure of a fighter's potential, either.

    I disagree and feel that kill ratio and war record are the ABSOULTE BEST indicators of a fighter's potential, with war record being first. In this regard, the Me 109 is clearly on top of the heap. Just the top three German aces alone shot down almost 1,000 aircraft with their Me 109's. Yes, they were mostly obsolete Soviet types, but the record still stands as almost 1,000 planes shot down by the top three German aces. With Allied aces rotating out of action after a certain number of mission and ALlied kill tallies being usually less than 40, it takes the top 25 - 30 Allied aces or more to get to 1,000 victims.

    That alone says a lot about the combination of the Me 109 and the top German aces. Notwithstanding the combat record of the Me 109, I still believe the opinions of the people I know who have flown both types. They universally prefer the Mustang for overall performance, ease of ground handling, and flight characteristics. Of course, lack of sufficient spare parts makes flying the Me 109's today a rare event compared with the availability of time in a P-51. Maybe that has something to do with the opinions of the pilots, too. I can't really say.

    What I can say is that the Me 109 exhibits the traits I said it does, if you believe the guys who fly the few Me 109's left aviating on occasion today. if you don't then you don't and your opinion is as valid as mine. I have no disdain for a dissenting opinion ... people think the way they think due to their experiences, just like I do. I DO wish we had more running Daimler-Benz V-12's because I love the sound, love to see the Me 109 fly every once in awhile, and I wish it were more often.
     
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