German aircraft design.

Author:Boyes, John
Position:Letters - Letter to the editor

The article on German aircraft design [vol. 61, No. 2, pp. 28-39] made interesting reading, however, may I make some observations.

Unfortunately no mention is made of the author's empirical basis for assessing an aircraft's superiority. Was one better than the other because of speed, armament, handling etc., or a weighted balance of a number of criteria. or was it that some were worse than others? It would have been useful to know the basis for his conclusions.

Nor is mention is made in the comments on German four-engined designs of the Fw 200 Condor which was certainly feared by the convoys and called by Winston Churchill, 'The Scourge of the Atlantic'. The Spitfire V became outclassed until the Spitfire IX appeared. These are surely the vagaries of war. Consideration surely also needs to be given to the opposition aircraft and the relative quality of the aircrew. Erich Hartmann may well have been in a Bf 109 considered by the author to have had shortcomings, but he still achieved 352 aircraft shot down. Were these victims' aircraft even more inferior or were they just bad pilots in good aircraft?

The Me 262's jet engines may only have lasted 25 hours but was the aircraft itself likely to survive in combat that long? Why invest in designing an engine to last 120 hours if its airframe was only likely to achieve a fraction of that? Its speed and armament alone, according to Eric 'Winkle' Brown, placed it in a different category of its...

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