The captured Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6/trop, WNr. 16 416, in USAAF colors. The fighter was captured by American soldiers on 8th May 1943 at Soliman airfield. Originally it belonged to the 4. Staffel of JG 77.
The aircraft was dis-assembled, shipped to the U.S.A., re-assembled by the North Amerian Aircraft company, and subsequently flown to Wright Airfield.
Note the tropical filter, the re-painted surfaces and the missing head armor.
Photographs of Bf 109G-6/trop WNr. 16 416 via Messerschmitt Bf 109G/K, Vol. II, by Krzysztof Janowicz, Kagero Publishing, Lublin, 2005. ISBN 83-89088-92-4.
Borsodi served from 1941 to 1943 as a second
lieutenant in the African, Sicilian, and Italian campaigns,
completing 130 missions as a P-40 pilot. His flying experience with the
P-40 in the M.T.O. probably formed his basis of comparison of the Bf
109G-6/trop and the US Army Air Forces fighters.
He became chief of fighter testing from 1943-45 at Wright Field in Ohio. He was the first man to witness the compressibility shock wave on an aircraft wing while diving a P-51 plane from 40,000 feet. He was killed on January 28, 1945 while demonstrating the first US jet-propelled fighter, the P-80, in RAF Burtonwood, England. The tail of the plane wasn't properly insulated and the plane blew up. As a result theYP-80A was temporarily grounded.
Flight Test Branch
Subject: Pilot's Comments on ME
109G, AAF No. EB-102
The purpose of this report is to submit preliminary pilot`s observations on a captured ME-109G fighter airplane.
B. Factual Data
The ME-109G, AAF No. EB-102 is a single
engine, low wing, German fighter. Construction is all metal with the
exception of the elevator,
The engine is a twelve cylinder, inverted vee, liquid cooled, Daimler-Benz DB rated at HP.
2. The airplane was assembled by North
Aircraft and was
3. Flight Characteristics.
a. Cockpit layout.
The cockpit is
very small and cramped.
The canopy is heavy, awkward to operate, and restricts the vision to a
marked extent. The general instrument layout is good, the flight and
engine instruments are well grouped and easy to read in spite of the
cramped quarters. The seat and rudder adjustment is insufficient. The
flaps are mechanically operated by a wheel
b. Taxiing and Ground Handling
The airplane is very
difficult to taxy
primarily because it
c. Take-off and Climbs.
The airplane seems to
give the best
take-off with 15 to 20 degrees of flap. The torque is high but the
airplane can be held on a
d. Handling and Control at Various Speeds.
The aileron and rudder
good. The aileron forces
e. Trim and Stability.
The only trim provided
is on the
horizontal stabilizer which
f. Stalls and Stall Warning.
type slots are
provided on the outboard leading edges of the wing. They extend at
about 240 KPH indicated. The airplane`s stall characteristics are good
with little tendency to fall off on either wing. No specific stall
checks were made but it is believed the
g. Maneuverability and Aerobatics.
The radius of turn is
very poor in
this airplane and is probably due to the poor elevator control. It
is very hard to maneuver at
h. Changes in Trim when Operating Landing Gear and Flaps.
There is very little change in trim with the landing gear up or down. The airplane becomes increasingly nose-heavy as the landing flaps are lowered but there is sufficient travel in the stabilizer trim to provide for any condition.
i. Noise and Vibration.
On this particular airplane both the noise and vibration were excessive. The propeller is being re-balanced to see if some of the vibration may be eliminated.
As mentioned previously, the cockpit is quite cramped. The chief complaint being the lack of adjustment in the foot pedals.
This airplane is as
blind as any
fighter I have seen. Vision in all directions is restricted and no
rear-view mirror is provided. In the
l. Approach and Landing
The approach and landing characteristics of the airplane are quite normal. Three point landings are easily made. With full flaps the approach can be comfortably made at 190 KPH with power off.
4. General Functioning
a. Power plant and Associated Equipment.
The engine runs rough
below 1000 RPM
and vibration is
The propeller may be
either manual or automatic.
b. Hydraulic, Pneumatic, and Electric Systems.
All systems seem to operate satisfactorily.
c. Emergency Systems.
An emergency system is provided for the landing gear which merely releases the lock pins and allows the gear to drop under its own weight. The ship must be slowed down and yawed from side to side in order to fully extend the gear.
tests have been run to date.
The rate of climb seems very good and under cruising conditions (30"
Hg., 2200 RPM, 9000 ft. P.A.) the airplane indicated 420 kph. None of
these instruments have been calibrated.
The ME-109G has a high rate of climb and good level flight performance. Its range is very limited as only 105 gallons can be carried internally and flights of over 300 miles leave little gasoline for reserve.
It is very light on all controls below 400 KPH but the turning radius is poor compared to our fighters. At high speed the controls become very heavy. The airplane is stable and should be a good gun platform but the vision is very poor under all conditions.
The cockpit is cramped but would not be too bad if the visibility were better.
E. General Comparisons
1. Advantages over U.S. AAF Aircraft.
The airplane has a higher rate of climb than most of our fighters. The automatic propeller control is good as it automatically gives the proper RPM for a given throttle setting thus relieving the pilot considerably. The gun sight is small, more compact than ours, and far easier to change a bulb.
2. Disadvantages over U.S. AAF Aircraft.It is not as maneuverable, does not have the range, and has inferior visibility to practically all our first line fighters.
FREDERICK A. BORSODI
Major, Air Corps