Me 262

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Demosthenes
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Me 262

Post by Demosthenes » 06 Nov 2002 13:14

I was at Deutscher Museum here in Munich last week, and as I was looking at an Me 262 I realized I did not know what the lights on the wingtips was for. They're pretty small and inside a plastiv hull placed on the wingtips of the plane. I also would like to know what colour they were. My guess would be that they were red and used for recognition in nocturnal combat, but my gues is as good as any. Does anyone know this?

I did not notice these on the Bf 109, Bf 108, Me 163 or Fiesler Storch. I might have missed them though.

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Scott Smith
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Re: Me 262

Post by Scott Smith » 06 Nov 2002 15:27

Demosthenes wrote:I was at Deutscher Museum here in Munich last week, and as I was looking at an Me 262 I realized I did not know what the lights on the wingtips was for. They're pretty small and inside a plastiv hull placed on the wingtips of the plane. I also would like to know what colour they were. My guess would be that they were red and used for recognition in nocturnal combat, but my gues is as good as any. Does anyone know this?

I did not notice these on the Bf 109, Bf 108, Me 163 or Fiesler Storch. I might have missed them though.
There should be a green one on the right wing and a red one on the left.
:)

gabriel pagliarani
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International rules

Post by gabriel pagliarani » 06 Nov 2002 17:12

Exactly, Sir Scott!
Germany is a former member of IATA and ICAO\OACI till 1930: any member of these Int'l Associations is obliged to build airplanes following the international standard rules for navigation. A plane, no care if it was a nazi or allied, must be equipped with the same lights used on ships with the only big difference that ships have no lights on bottom side. Therefore the white lamp on the neck of planes is a strobe-light, instead of a yellow steady one. Naturally during war-time ops nobody was so mad to use them.....with the only exception I know of allied refuelling ops during the Coral Sea naval battle, during which a Navy torpedo sqdn was obliged to use nav-lamps in the extreme attempt to avoid friendly fire while approaching american carriers.

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Demosthenes
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Post by Demosthenes » 07 Nov 2002 12:41

What is IATA and ICAO/OACI?

And if the lights were so useless during the war, why was they included in a plane that was researched and built solely during the war?

And why not on earlier planes?

gabriel pagliarani
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International regulators

Post by gabriel pagliarani » 07 Nov 2002 14:52

During 30s the former "Society of the Nations" actually UN/ONU regulated the rules of navigations by air between Nations. Also countries like Germany, Italy and Japan subscribed those rules and IATA and ICAO regulated those rules about air navigations. Those institutions still exist under UN egida. Before those rules, obviously there were no rules...as you stated rightly. The next time you'll purchase a ticket for a flight, watch the rules are written in it: (f.e. metallic mercury free in the luggage is forbidden, avoid thermometers etc.) these rules are stated by IATA. Also warships have position and navigation lights, but obviously they were used only a few during war times...the same thing also for cars! I am not sure that someone produced military cars like jeeps or kubelwagens completely without position lights!

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Post by LockJuls » 07 Nov 2002 21:58

Hi Demosthenes,
The lights are presents in the Bf 109's too, but, in the rocket Me 163 they dont exist. Perhaps it was not used at night? :wink:

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Demosthenes
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Post by Demosthenes » 08 Nov 2002 10:27

I must have missed them on the Bf109

No, Me 163 was not used at night. In fact, it was hardly used at all in the war, as the short in-air time resulted in complete uselessness when the allied bombers came.

My question was: Why include positioning lights in a plane when you know it'd be both stupid and dangerous to use them?

Also the role of Me 163 was not clear when the relatively few planes were built. Thus, if the Nazis were in fact using the positioning lights on the other planes, why were these excluded on the Me 163?

gabriel pagliarani
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Hard question

Post by gabriel pagliarani » 08 Nov 2002 11:35

Hard question. Probably Me 163 was not considered an airplane like others...no matter about long range navigation, exactly as per Bachem Natter. F.e. I am not sure that actual Space Shuttles are equipped with ordinary position lights...and a Shuttle is the only existing manned rocket having a mission profile similar to the primitive Me 163. Soundly, Me 163 was not considered an ordinary "aero-mobile". But this is only an opinion of mine....

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Hanski
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Post by Hanski » 11 Nov 2002 20:08

How about this explanation:

Unlike Me 262, Me 163 was a rocket plane - not a jet plane. Thus there was no way of generating electricity via any kind of power transmission from the turbine axis. Me 163 only had a small air propeller on its nose, to spin a generator which could produce only so little power that it could not be wasted for something unnecessary like navigation lights.

Hanski

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Demosthenes
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Post by Demosthenes » 12 Nov 2002 09:49

hnomen wrote:
Unlike Me 262, Me 163 was a rocket plane - not a jet plane. Thus there was no way of generating electricity via any kind of power transmission from the turbine axis. Me 163 only had a small air propeller on its nose, to spin a generator which could produce only so little power that it could not be wasted for something unnecessary like navigation lights.

Sure, sounds plausible. You don#t happen to have any scources with specifications for the Me 163?

But anyway, we've just more or less agreed that the Me 262 didn't use the nav lights even though it had them. this is still the main question.

Gabriel: I do not know, that sounds a bit far fetched.

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Scott Smith
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Nav lights...

Post by Scott Smith » 12 Nov 2002 12:12

Demosthenes wrote:But anyway, we've just more or less agreed that the Me 262 didn't use the nav lights even though it had them. this is still the main question.
The lights are used except in combat zones, especially during night landings when enemy aircraft are not present, and this would be particularly important for a heavy-fighter which might be considered less expendable in the first place, and commonly was used in longer-range rolls requiring instrument navigation. The Me 262 had an IFF (Indentify Friend or Foe) radar transponder so that Flak batteries would not fire at it, and air-controllers demanded strict rules from aircraft to avoid collisions and minimize friendly-fire. In some of these operations, especially the Wildesau missions (day-fighter aircraft like the Bf 109 used to supplement the night-fighters), pile-ups on the airstrips and friendly-fire from Flak batteries caused as many casualties as the enemy. Nav lights are going to be used when the aircraft are not in combat. One version of the Me 262 even had a radar altimeter as well as other electronic navigation instruments and could fly blind.

The Me 163 was a very short-hop interceptor aircraft used for point-defense and it did no night operations or blind navigation that I know of. The theory of the power-consumption on the Me 163 windmill generator mounted on the nose is a good one but I don't think that explains the problem. There was adequate power for the radio, and lights use comparatively a lot less power, I think. (Maybe Gabriel will know.)

The Bf 109 without the navigation lights is probably a restoration, and restorations might not always be authentic. However, it is also possible that the aircraft was produced during the Fight Staff emergency from February, 1944 on and simply cut corners.
:)

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Hanski
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Post by Hanski » 12 Nov 2002 18:53

Would anyone have access to the book The Rocket Fighter, by Mano Ziegler? I would expect it explains the systems of Me 163, but unfortunately it is too long ago since I read it to remember details.

Hanski

gabriel pagliarani
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Let me see...

Post by gabriel pagliarani » 15 Nov 2002 16:35

idea: easy solution! Komet was a glider: it had wingtip bumpers exactly as any other glider and its wingtips were usually brushed and damaged during landing. No lights on wingtips of any glider, therefore! ..Why did I never thing at that before?.. :oops: ...I am getting old.. About the 24V lead- sulphuric acid battery-pack used as "buffer source" on Me 163 B, it was locked behind the feet of the pilot, just over the dynamo gear. A dynamo (a simple DC source having internal rotating coil )generates power only trespassing a "threshold" r.p.m. value, under this threshold the dynamo "absorbs" powerinstead of giving by magnetic drag force exerted on primary coil. As consequence the small 2-bladed "no-pitch adjustable" propeller on the nose of Me 163B moved a dynamo charging a "buffer" lead battery very close to it by mean of short and wide diam.copper cables...exactly how it worked on my old and rough car FIAT127 a lot of time ago...
Last edited by gabriel pagliarani on 16 Nov 2002 16:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Demosthenes
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Post by Demosthenes » 16 Nov 2002 21:31

idea: easy solution! Komet was a glider: it had wingtip bumpers exactly as any other glider and its wingtips were usually brushed and damaged during landing. No lights on wingtips of any glider, therefore!
Thanks a lot, Gabriel. I have learned a lot. Great post. Sounds extremely plausible. Is this fact or a guess?

It seems to me the German engineers were in many ways very practical and often went for the easy solutions.

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Erich
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Post by Erich » 17 Nov 2002 00:38

Scott :

Just to clear the air with kmod Welter or 10./NJG 11. The unit never flew Wilde Sau missions, they were all Helle-nacht with the useage of searchlight lanes and radar from several two seater units in the last two month of the war. All losses by this unit were through accidental take off and landing incidents caused by pilot unfamiliarity with the use of the jet at night.

E

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