English version
German version

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.


Major Frederic 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.

Major F. A. Borsodi
... 47           


Office of The Commanding General

Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio
1 March 1944

To:                Chief, Fighter Flight Test Branch

Subject:   Pilot's Comments on ME 109G, AAF No. EB-102

A. Purpose

   The purpose of this report is to submit preliminary pilot`s observations on a captured ME-109G fighter airplane.

B. Factual Data

   1.    Introduction.

         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, 
rudder and ailerons which are fabric covered. The landing gear retracts completely into the wing, the tail wheel is non-retractable.

         The engine is a twelve cylinder, inverted vee, liquid cooled, Daimler-Benz DB rated at             HP.

   2.    The airplane was assembled by North American Aircraft and was
flown briefly at the factory before being ferried to Wright Field by the undersigned pilot. The only changes made at North American were installation of American radio and oxygen equipment. The armour plate behind the pilot`s head was removed. As flown, the airplane weighed          pounds, c.g. location at          % MAC. With the exception of ammunition and the single piece of armour plate behind the pilot`s head, the weight should be approxi-
mately that of the standard combat model.

   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
to the left of the pilot which is difficult to reach and awkward to operate.

         b.    Taxiing and Ground Handling

               The airplane is very difficult to taxy primarily because it
is so blind in the three-point position. In addition to this the canopy must be closed while the engine is running and it is impossible for the pilot to get his head out the window to improve vision. The brakes must be
used almost constantly while taxiing.

         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
straight course during the take-off by use of the rudder alone. The initial run is rather uncomfortable because the vision ahead is so restricted in the three point position. No specific climb checks were made but the climb characteristics seem to be very good. The initial rate of climb is excellent.

         d.    Handling and Control at Various Speeds.

               The aileron and rudder control is good. The aileron forces
are light and the airplane gives the impression of having a very high rate
of roll at cruising speeds. The forces increase at high speed becoming
very heavy around 500 kph indicated. The elevator force is extremely high
at the higher speeds and is one of the most objectionable features of the airplane. There does not seem to be sufficient backward elevator travel,
even with the stick full back the control does not feel adequate.

         e.    Trim and Stability.

               The only trim provided is on the horizontal stabilizer which
is effective and easily trimmed. Considerable rudder force is required at
low speeds and high power to keep the ship trimmed. The ship is directionally and longitudinally stable and seems to have neutral stability.

         f.    Stalls and Stall Warning.

               Automatic Handly-Page 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
stall with wheels down and full flaps is about 150 KPH indicated.

         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
high speeds. At cruising speeds the controls are very light and all normal aerobatics may be performed easily.

         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.

         j.    Comfort.

               As mentioned previously, the cockpit is quite cramped. The chief complaint being the lack of adjustment in the foot pedals.

         k.    Vision.

               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
air the visibility over the nose does not appear sufficient for deflection shooting.

         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
excessive throughout the entire speed range. The best feature of the
engine is the acceleration. There is no appreciable lag even when the engine is accelerated from idling speeds.

               The propeller may be operated in either manual or automatic.
In the automatic position the engine speed is controlled by the throttle position, the engine is held at constant RPM for any throttle position. Prior to landing it is advisable to switch over to manual operation as the engine RPM tends to fall too low in a power off glide with the propeller control in the automatic position.

         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.

   5.    Performance.

         No performance 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.

C.      Conclusions.

        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.

D.      Recommendations.


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


Last updated 13 July 2008.
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