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Posted on Jul 8, 2005 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Hendon RAF Museum

Armchair General

I’m going to be self-indulgent and set this whole page aside for German fighters. Readers of my previous pieces for ACG will know that I have a curious obsession with war machines produced by the Third Reich, and I can only apologise for this. However, since it was my birthday treat, I can do what I like, so please feel free to skip on a page if you like. :-)

First up, a magnificent Messerschmitt Bf109G painted in Desert colours. Planes of the 109 series were the mainstay of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force during the entire war. Although not as sleek or elegant as the Spitfire, it’s a marvellous looking machine and in immaculate condition. This particular plane was flying until just a few years ago and looks ready to leap into the air at a moment’s notice.

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The ubiquitous shot of me stood next to something interesting. Actually, looking at me next to this Bf109, I realise why I never could have been a fighter pilot – I’m much too tall to fit into one of these things. Notice the narrow undercarriage on this model. With the wheels so close together, landing a 109 could be tricky and many 109s were lost during the war due to simple pilot error on landing.

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Two more pictures of the 109 – just because I think it looks so lovely.

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Moving on from the 109, albeit reluctantly, we find a new wonder to behold – a complete Me262 Jet Fighter. The 262 was the first Jet fighter to see service in the world and was actually under development before the start of the war in April 1939. Despite proving itself to be a superb weapon during the period it saw service, engine reliability was an issue and many times 262s had to land due to engine troubles with one or both engines out. In addition, slow acceleration meant that it took some time for the 262 to get up to speed, but once it had reached its full potential, no Allied plane could touch it.

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[continued on next page]

BATTLE OF BRITAIN HALL

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