Heinkel 162 - (scan - 1984)

Late in 1944, the Luftwaffe decided to build 162 to gain air parity with a lightweight single-engine jet fighter built from non-strategic materials (wood for wings) in quantities of 4000/mo. After go-ahead, only 10 weeks to first flight. In such projected quantity, repairs and maintenance unnecessary. Pilots to come from Hitler Jugend after brief training in gliders. Simultaneously with design effort, massive development and production program started. Light metal fuselages to be furnished by Junkers and Heinkel plants; wings and other parts to be built by smaller subs. Entire program orchestrated under systems management concept with final assembly in three factories: Heinkel at Marienehe and Junkers at Berburg and Nordhausen. First demo flight killed pilot when bonding of the wooden wing failed. Despite simple concept, had the complexities of a jet fighter in problems of high speed aerodynamics, harmonization of controls, testing of armament packages, etc. Original 30 mm cannons shook nose apart and 20 mm cannons were substituted; other changes also made. Test pilots soon discovered would not be suitable for anyone but an accomplished pilot. No matter, there were plenty of pilots from the bomber and transport squadrons grounded due to fuel shortages. Whole squadrons of pilots became available for retraining into jet fighter program; but too little too late. Recent findings among personal logs of German pilots show a few were in dogfights with Allied aircraft.

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