Flying Characteristics of the Me 163



Flying Characteristics of the Me 163


The report discusses the take-off, flying and landing are discussed and not very favourably.
Photo 1 and 3 are port side views.
Photo 2 is a starboard view.



One printed sheet and three b/w photographs on an album page


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[Underlined] FLYING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ME 163 [/underlined]

Although the ME 163 was a definite operational threat, due to it’s [sic] rate of climb and speed which were very much greater than those of any contemporary aircraft. The pilots who flew them had no enviable task, as may be gathered from a report by an unnamed German test pilot.

“The aircraft is extremely difficult to hold straight on take-off, due to the lack of slipstream on the rudder; the tailwheel is however steerable. The extremely narrow landing gear and the high centre of gravity cause a high degree of lateral instability; further, there is a tendency to nose over. The weight of fuel carried makes the take off speed extremely high.

For take off, the airfield has two marks placed on it. If the aircraft is not airborne when the first mark is reached the throttles are closed and the aircraft stopped. If the second mark is reached before airborne drastic measures are called for. The hood must be jettisoned and the pilot must climb on the wing and pull his ripcord in order to be dragged away from the aircraft. When the crash occurs at the far end of the airfield T and C-Stoff mix with the inevitable explosion.

Once in the air, however, the pilot’s troubles are only beginning. The very steep angle of climb renders most of the flying instruments inaccurate and puts the compass completely out of action. In high speed flight – 590 m.p.h. and over – the aircraft becomes unstable about the lateral axis. It begins to ‘gallop’ so violently that after many pilots had suffered sprained backs a spring seat tensioned to 8g was installed. Engine failure occurred with depressing frequence [sic], while the cockpit tended to fill with steam, besides blinding the pilot naturally did not add to his piece [sic] of mind.

Landing like take off, climb and level flight call for considerable skill and the area surrounding the airfield must be well known. Pilots preferred to expend all fuel and make deadstick landings rather than chance the explosion which always followed a crash with fuel on board, there being a strong tendency to nose over when landing on the skid.

JJH. From the foregoing it will be seen that the operation of such an aircraft as the ME 163 was no simple matter. – and we thought we had troubles????

[Page break]


Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet.
Remarkable both for the audacity of its concept & the design innovations that it displayed, the rocket propelled Me 163 interceptor fighter, provided one of the most dramatic developments in wartime aircraft design. Promising to pose the Allies near insurmountable problems in defending day formations of aircraft, the operational debut of the Me 163 was awaited with trepidation by R.A.F. and U.S.A.A.F. alike. In the event, so limited were the numbers of 163’s available to the Luftwaffe, & such were the shortcomings in the basic concept that Allied alarm proved unfounded once the Komet appeared on operations.





“Flying Characteristics of the Me 163 ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed September 28, 2023,

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