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Flying the Messerschmitt Me-262 "Schwalbe"
What was it like to fly the 262?
Here are three contemporary accounts of flying the Me-262 that offer unique insights into the strengths and weaknesses of this amazing plane, including combat tactics and all around performance.
The Luftwaffe's Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1 "Schwalbe" (Swallow) fighter, the world's first operational combat jet aircraft, achieved legendary status during World War II, a reputation that has only grown over the years. With a top speed well in excess of 500 m.p.h., she was at least 100 m.p.h. faster than Allied piston engine planes. With her revolutionary swept wings, twin jets, and sleek fuselage, the 262 is still a very striking aircraft. "The Swallow" sounds less forbidding than the 262 fighter/bomber version's name, the "Sturmvogel" ("Stormbird"), but is a more apt description of her graceful lines.
Me-262 A-1 Pilot's Handbook
by F.D, Van Wart, 1st Lt., Air Corps, Jan. 10, 1946
28 pages (433 kb .pdf Abobe Acrobat 6.0 file)
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, surviving Me 262s were eagerly sought for jet aircraft R&D.  This Me-262 pilot's handbook was put together by US test pilots based on captured documents, German pilots accounts, and their own experience flying captured "Swallows."
(Supplemental cockpit photos from the Me 262 handbook are broken out here to keep the download manageable. The originals are blurry, but still convey the basic Me-262 control layout.)

Prepared by Major Ernst Englander, Spring, 1945
9 pages (73 kb .pdf Abobe Acrobat 6.0 file )
On March 30, 1945 Messerschmitt test pilot Hans Fey, an anti-Nazi, intentionally landed his Me-262 at the American held Rhein/Mein airdrome and handed it over in full working condition. (This was the first functional 262 obtained by the Americans.) Just as important, he brought his testing and development experience, including 80 hours in jets. US Army intelligence officer Ernst Englander put together this report based on his debriefings of Fey to get much needed information to Allied pilot's who still faced these fearsome aircraft in the skies over Germany. (A side note: Major Englander later interrogated Reichsmarschall Herman Goering for the Nuremburg trials.)
5 pages (46 kb .pdf Abobe Acrobat 6.0 file))
These notes on flyingthe Me-262, written during the war by Messerschmitt test pilot Fritz Wendel, were obtained from the Messerschmitt factory files in Augsburg and translated by the RAF in May, 1945.

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