Sunday, March 29, 2009

Boyne on Luftwaffe advanced aircraft

The new issue of Aviation History includes a fascinating article by aviation historian Walter J. Boyne on "Radical Luftwaffe Weapons." In an authoritative (if much too short) article, Boyne separates fact from the wild semi-fictional speculation that often accompanies this topic. The Luftwaffe, given a couple more years, could have deployed some very advanced designs, although it's not at all clear which ones would have survived the difficult transition from paper to operational machine. The VTOL Focke-Wulf Triebflugel rotary jet on this issue's cover, for example, is really cool, but it's hard to imagine the slender wing/pylon structures connecting the fuselage to the jets could have been built to the necessary reliability and durability with the metallurgy and construction techniques available in wartorn Germany the 1940s. (And it it was such a great idea, why did the Allies who seized the plans never copy it?) There's so much craziness surrounding tales of German breakthroughs that it's refreshing to read a factual analysis, which is every bit as fascinating as the countless myths.

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