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Microsoft's Paul Allen's Me-262 Landmark Restoration

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  • octane130
    Rank 5 Registered User

    Microsoft's Paul Allen's Me-262 Landmark Restoration

    Here is an interesting story of a super-rare, original Messerschmitt Me-262 jet fighter that is currently owned by Mr. Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft Corporation). This aircraft was formerly owned by the Planes of Fame museum (Chino, California) since before its inception in 1957. It was sold to Mr. Allen in 2000. Hated to see this aircraft go from the Planes of Fame, but fortunately this aircraft is currently undergoing what amounts to a total restoration in England. Few people in the world are able or willing to undertake such a task, but Mr. Allen is really on an all-out mission to preserve and restore various WWII aircraft to the most original condition as possible. Mr. Allen intends to restore this aircraft to flying condition using the original Jumo engines! However, by practical necessity, many of the original engine parts will be reproduced with modern materials. Technology had not progressed to the point that truly suitable materials for a jet engine were available by the time this aircraft was in production. The engine life was utterly abysmal. Most of these modernistic aircraft were hand-built with slave labor out in the woods, hidden from allied bombing raids. Just as an aside, German aircraft production reached its peak just 6 months before the end of the war, despite the utter ravaging of Germany's factories by allied bombing.

    I was priviledged enough to view this ultra-rare aircraft for a number of years at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino since I live just a few miles away. I was surprised to see how much of the airframe (including skinning) was built with steel. This was obviously a late-war necessity. By the late 1970s, there was a lot of corrosion visible. As weathered as this aircraft was, the cockpit remained in pretty good condition.

    Ed Maloney, founder of the Planes of Fame Museum, obtained this aircraft in the mid-1950s from the Cal-Aero Technical Institute at Grand Central Airport in the Los Angeles area where it was used for mechanic training.

    The aircraft was originally captured in Germany and then shipped to the United States aboard the H.M.S. Reaper. It was then sent to Freeman Field in Indiana where it was used for extensive flight tests. In late 1947, the aircraft was sent to the Hughes Aircraft Company where it was overhauled and returned for further tests at Wright Field.

    The first photo below is of the aircraft at Grand Central Airport in the late 1940s or early 50s. The second photo was taken at the Planes of Fame in Chino in 1980.

    I have some really neat and amusing stories regarding original Me-262 operations as related by an actual "Schwalbe" (Me-262 "Swallow") Luftwaffe pilot at seminars held at the Planes of Fame museum earlier this decade, so check back to this posting again soon, OK?

    Best,
    - octane130 -

    Last edited by octane130; 5th February 2012, 00:07.
  • CSheppardholedi
    Rank 5 Registered User

    #2
    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to hearing more. Recently read an article on the team tasked with "acquiring" high tech aircraft as the war was winding down. Find, ground check em and fly them West! Crazy and dangerous! Pilots were impressed with the smooth POWER of the 262, though lining up to land again was a different matter!. I will look for the article and give info on where to find it. Believe it was Smithsonian Air and Space.
    Chris
    Images and Illustrations at
    http://www.printroom.com/pro/ShepArtStudio

    Comment

    • DocStirling
      A frame of two halves?

      #3
      Is the location of this 'funding-unlimited restoration in England' in the public domain?

      DS
      Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

      Comment

      • TEXANTOMCAT
        Rank 5 Registered User

        #4
        Well I know someone on the forum who knows....

        TT
        Our Beech 18 & T-6@www.beechrestorations.com
        Visit Sywell Aviation Museum @
        www.sywellaerodrome.co.uk/museum.php
        Sywell Airshow 17.8.2014

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        • paulmcmillan
          Rank 5 Registered User

          #5
          Originally posted by DocStirling View Post
          Is the location of this 'funding-unlimited restoration in England' in the public domain?

          DS
          I wonder if there is Hope or NORFOLK-ing Hope in the location being revealed?
          Weather - Fair with cloudy patches, clear by early evening.

          Comment

          • jagdtiger
            Rank 5 Registered User

            #6
            JME Aviation Ltd, located at
            Cess Road,
            Martham,
            Great Yarmouth,
            Norfolk, NR29 4RF
            (Eastern), UK.

            ......they are also restoring Paul Allen`s Fw 190A

            JT
            "For all things Jerry!"

            Comment

            • MRP
              MRP
              Rank 5 Registered User

              #7
              There was an article in Aeroplane Monthly last year about the restoration, so it would be public domain.
              I think you will find that the FW190 has flown to another warmer location, in the US to be finished- Gosshawk Unlimited Case Grande, Arizona.There were recent pictures of it in Warbirds International.

              MRP
              Mark

              Comment

              • octane130
                Rank 5 Registered User

                #8
                As promised, here is one of several amusing tales from an original Me-262 pilot, Mr. Hans Busch, as related to the audience at one of the Planes of Fame Museum's (Chino, Calif.) monthly seminars (2001). I audio-recorded many of those fascinating seminars and still have the recordings.

                Hans stated that he was definitely not a fighter pilot, but rather a bomber pilot in the Me-262. Hitler's ridiculous utilization of many of these advanced aircraft as "bombers" proved futile, as this aircraft had no bomb sight at all and carried only a tiny ordnance load. Bombing with a 262 was totally a blind, hit or miss proposition, no technology involved.

                Tale No.1: Hans related an amusing story regarding routine fueling operations in the Me-262. An obvious late-war shortage of men to perform ground operation duties resulted in a number of German women assisting in these activities. One activity was the refueling of the advanced Me-262 jets. One day, Hans was having his Me-262 refueled (as he sat in the cockpit) by a particularly attractive, blonde, buxom, young Luftwaffe airwoman. The airwoman, per prescribed procedure, began the fueling of the aircraft with the forward fuselage tank and, at the same time, Hans and young airwoman making eyes at each other. When the forward fuselage tank was full, aforementioned blonde, buxom airwoman proceded to transfer the fueling hose nozzle to the rear fuselage tank, and due to not shutting off the fuel flow, soaked the following items in noxious German WWII jet fuel in this order: front fuselage, windscreen, Hans, rear cockpit, canopy and rear fuselage, all in one, smooth, fluid motion. Not one change in the airwoman's cheerful expression was noted by Hans during this wayward procedure .

                Apparently, according to Hans, this German jet fuel was terribly noxious. You simply threw away any clothes that came in contact with it. Interestingly, Hans stated that there was NEVER a shortage of jet fuel, just a shortage of aircraft and pilots. Whatever hydrocarbon fuel cracking process being used by the Germans in late war (whether synthetic, coal-derived fuels or conventional), the process or processes yielded an abundant quantity of jet-suitable fuel.

                More Me-262 stories to come!

                Best,
                - octane130 -

                Comment

                • JDK
                  JDK
                  Mr Tweed

                  #9
                  Fascinating stuff, thanks.
                  Originally posted by octane130 View Post
                  Mr. Allen intends to restore this aircraft to flying condition using the original Jumo engines! However, by practical necessity, many of the original engine parts will be reproduced with modern materials. Technology had not progressed to the point that truly suitable materials for a jet engine were available by the time this aircraft was in production. The engine life was utterly abysmal.
                  To be fair, part of the problem was 'there was a war on' as you've noted in other contexts. 'We' were working quite hard to deny 'them' (the Germans) all sorts of high technology materials; and part of the German wartime jet problems were to do with having to make do with inferior metals or find work-rounds. Some of the enforced solutions were of great use in later jet development, as an incidental extra.

                  Simplistically, it would've been better for the Germans to have tried to get the (then-) British style centrifugal flow jets to work with their lower requirement of higher technologies and materials, while the Allies were better placed to get the (then-) German style axial jets to work well.

                  Better and more technical explanations and corrections from the knowledgeable engineers here most welcome!

                  Cheers,
                  James K

                  Looking and thinking...
                  Vintage Aero Writer: Blog & Details

                  Comment

                  • go4b17
                    Rank 5 Registered User

                    #10
                    Octane - i like that saying "Super Rare" - my pal from Long Beach Dave W says that also - you know him ?

                    Comment

                    • Wessex Fan
                      Rank 5 Registered User

                      #11
                      As always the figures quoted for engine life vary a bit, but 8 hours seems about right. As James rightly says the allies were working hard to deny Germany the materials required to withstand the temperatures generated in Jet engines.

                      Eric

                      Comment

                      • DOUGHNUT
                        Senior Member

                        #12
                        I am sure that this has been said before, but returning an original aircraft to airworthy condition will most certainly mean removing and replacing many of the original parts. Surely a better solution, indeed a cheaper one, would be the purchase of one of the resent Me262 reconstructions. I have no problem with Mr Allen owning and restoring his collection of aircraft, and I hope that he continues to invest in aviation hertiage, but the work being carried out on the Me262 will probalbly make it less valuable.

                        DOUGHNUT

                        Comment

                        • Yak 11 Fan
                          Rank 5 Registered User

                          #13
                          Originally posted by DOUGHNUT View Post
                          I have no problem with Mr Allen owning and restoring his collection of aircraft,
                          DOUGHNUT
                          Thats good then, seeing as they are actually his.....

                          Originally posted by DOUGHNUT View Post
                          but the work being carried out on the Me262 will probalbly make it less valuable.
                          Now you have lost me, at the end of the day this will still be an original Me262, admitedly with some new parts built to manufacturers drawings or replicated from pattern parts, but then this would happen during its time in service, so it would never be as original as it was the day it rolled out of the factory... This process is brining life back into a once proud warbird as opposed to it sitting silently in the corner of a museum gathering dust. As for market value, this is such a specialist machine that it will only ever be worth what someone is prepared to pay for it. The new build 262's are a great achievement but they will always be replicas (with modern engines)
                          www.hardwickwarbirds.com

                          Comment

                          • DaveM2
                            Rank 5 Registered User

                            #14
                            Originally posted by DOUGHNUT View Post
                            I am sure that this has been said before, but returning an original aircraft to airworthy condition will most certainly mean removing and replacing many of the original parts. Surely a better solution, indeed a cheaper one, would be the purchase of one of the resent Me262 reconstructions. I have no problem with Mr Allen owning and restoring his collection of aircraft, and I hope that he continues to invest in aviation hertiage, but the work being carried out on the Me262 will probalbly make it less valuable.

                            DOUGHNUT
                            I don't think you have to be too concerned when it comes to Mr Allen, the Fw190 is close to 90% original, (Bruce can correct me here) so no doubt the 262 will be finished in a similar way ( although as a fighter, not a recce bird as it was when captured))

                            Dave

                            Comment

                            • JgerMarty
                              Plastic Pilot

                              #15
                              More pics or links for this restoration please

                              Comment

                              • octane130
                                Rank 5 Registered User

                                #16
                                Originally posted by MRP View Post
                                There was an article in Aeroplane Monthly last year about the restoration, so it would be public domain.
                                I think you will find that the FW190 has flown to another warmer location, in the US to be finished- Gosshawk Unlimited Case Grande, Arizona.There were recent pictures of it in Warbirds International.MRP
                                Yes, apparently this completed FW190 restoration has also been recently purchased by Mr. Paul Allen. This means that there are good things to come regarding this aircraft's future display/flying status. Mr. Allen is really, really low-key regarding his WWII aircraft acquisitions/restorations, but his unique and heartfelt "deep pockets" dedication to WWII aircraft preservation demands high commendation from us warbird enthusiasts .

                                - octane130 -
                                Last edited by octane130; 13th October 2007, 04:40.

                                Comment

                                • DaveM2
                                  Rank 5 Registered User

                                  #17
                                  Not completed and owned by FHC for some years. They have however purchased the D-13 recently which was on display at the Museum of Flight, I was referring to the A-5

                                  Dave

                                  Comment

                                  • Newforest
                                    Rank 5 Registered User

                                    #18
                                    Some more information on Paul Allen's collection.

                                    The Flying Heritage Collection is in the middle of moving their operation to Paine Field Airport, Everett, Washington, so this would be their priority at this time. It is interesting to note that reports say the Collection have TWELVE aircraft under restoration and a further TWELVE waiting to be restored. Waiting to be restored is a Mosquito and as the majority of restorations are to FLYING condition, this would be a very welcome addition.
                                    Last edited by Newforest; 27th December 2007, 08:43.
                                    http://www.flightmemory.com/ I have been round the world 11.83 times!

                                    Comment

                                    • bazv
                                      olde rigger

                                      #19
                                      JDK is absolutely correct in what he says about the 262 engines,the germans really were trying to run before they could walk.In this country Whittle had already foreseen all the logical developments in gas turbines but he was a very practical engineer(ex Halton brat of course!!) and realised the pitfalls of rushing into axial flow engines.
                                      I also think there was more than one reason for the engines short life,obviously lack of advanced alloys etc,possible(actually probable!!) sabotage by slave labour,also these engines were very complicated to operate with no automatic limiters or protection devices and the extra control for the 'sliding cone' must have made engine handling 'interesting'
                                      I always puzzled why the 262 did not have Airbrakes/Speedbrakes....very slippery airframe which surely would have been a tactical disadvantage and also tricky for slowing down to Flap/Gear speed for the circuit.

                                      Comment

                                      • bazv
                                        olde rigger

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by CSheppardholedi View Post
                                        Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to hearing more. Recently read an article on the team tasked with "acquiring" high tech aircraft as the war was winding down. Find, ground check em and fly them West! Crazy and dangerous! Pilots were impressed with the smooth POWER of the 262, though lining up to land again was a different matter!. I will look for the article and give info on where to find it. Believe it was Smithsonian Air and Space.
                                        On www.stormbirds.com/squadron there is some history on 'Watsons Whizzers' the US team tasked with 'aquiring' the 262's,there will be i am sure loads of other stuff on the net about them.
                                        Last edited by bazv; 13th October 2007, 10:53.

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