Messerschmitt 262 new build #3
Photographed in 2007 in the Paine Field, WA project hangar. This is a single-seat version which was expected to fly very soon after the picture was taken. Two of these new builds were flying already.
The Me 262 Project was launched in 1993 with a single objective: to reproduce flying examples of the legendary Me 262. Classic Fighter Industries, Incorporated (CFII) was incorporated specifically to administer this effort, and exercised direct control over the project from 1993 until early 2001, when all assets were transferred to the owner's group in preparation for final assembly, the test flight programs, and delivery.
Production has been strictly limited to five aircraft: once these five are complete, no more will ever be produced, now or in the future.
The aircraft are being manufactured as a continuation of the basic Me 262 design, and have even been assigned factory serial numbers drawn from the werknummern sequences used on the original 1945 production lines.
Great pains are being taken to produce aircraft which are not simply replicas, but rather true serial production representative aircraft in every possible respect. Virtually rivet for rivet, the new aircraft are duplicates of the original Me 262.
Of course, the original design suffered from some well-known weaknesses, most notably concerning the engines and landing gear. These areas were studied carefully, and certain subtle modifications have been directed for operator safety and reliability. A cursory visual inspection would never reveal them, however, as these internal modifications have been tightly integrated into the original design characteristics of the aircraft.
In essence, the new Me 262s are simply representative of a natural evolution of the airframe. They are being manufactured using many of the same techniques as the originals (by hand from raw materials), and are to be precision duplicates, even down to the four nose-mounted Mk 108 cannons. The only noteworthy concession will be in the area of engine selection.
Clearly, an engine change was necessary to make this project viable, as the original Jumo 004B powerplants were decidedly temperamental and prone to frequent failure. After careful consideration of a wide variety of available engines, the General Electric J-85 / CJ-610 was selected as the replacement for the vintage Jumo powerplants.
Thanks to an innovative engine mounting concept, the J-85s are to be buried deep inside carefully-engineered castings of the original engine, so that correct visual appearance will be retained. The Jumo housings are also necessary to maintain the correct nacelle weight since the J-85 is a much lighter engine than its German predecessor.
Picture added on 16 January 2008