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So ... who is really behind everything that you see at Stormbirds?  It's a question that we hear fairly often, and these days the answer all depends upon which area of the site you are referring to.  This page has been designed to give you an idea of who we are, where we came from, and where we're going.

Stormbirds was originally envisioned and developed by Charles Petrie, an assault helicopter pilot then-stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  Petrie began with a decade-long research interest in the experiences of surviving American pilots who had flown the Me 262.  Intended largely as a tribute to these men, he designed and released the site's first feature -- the Watson's Whizzers section -- just prior to Christmas of 1998.

While the new site incorporated more than 50 pages of all-new material, it was evident from the onset that the Whizzers feature did not even begin to cover every area of interest relative to the Me 262.  If anything, it simply whet the appetite for more information on this extraordinary airplane.  

An intensive search was soon mounted for a partner in the effort; someone who could meet the highest standards of design and aesthetics while providing some of the key historical and technical material that the site was lacking.

The missing ingredients were quickly found in Jamie Iverson, and his superb Unofficial Me 262 Stormbird Website.  This small, but well-designed site had been launched about a year earlier, and the two efforts complemented each other perfectly. 

 It was immediately apparent that these two men shared a common synergy that guaranteed a progressive and cooperative future for the site at large.  When Stormbirds officially opened it's doors on the 21st of December, it marked the permanent integration of the old and new sites under one dedicated domain:

No list of site credits could possibly be considered complete without a tip of the hat to our technical wizard and resident troubleshooter, James Bradley. During the early days of the site, then-sergeant Bradley, a fellow paratrooper in Petrie's unit, devoted considerable time and expertise to the development of our scripts, discussion boards, and interactive databases. He now works as a senior programmer and systems developer on the east coast, and continues to serve as a key site consultant and administrator for the entire Stormbirds effort.






From these modest beginnings, the site began a steady cycle of growth which has continued to the present day.  Classic Fighter Industries Inc. selected Stormbirds to serve as the official site of their new production Me 262 Project, and an expansion boom followed soon thereafter as several discussion board features (the Stormbirds Forum) and other Me 262 related resources were added.

Web sites for Flugzeug Publications North America and Experten Decals Inc. entered the picture in the first and second quarters of 1999, as did the ground-breaking Werknummer Resource Center in early fall.  Still later, the Stormbirds ANNEX was unleashed, offering an e-commerce capability that underwrites the operating costs of the site. 

In 2000, we were pleased to welcome two new colleagues to the Stormbirds web development team: Jim Hatch from the United Kingdom and Andreas Brekken from Norway.  

Jim's Die Schwalbe site -- on the web since late 1998 -- was vastly expanded and given new life on the Stormbirds server as Die Schwalbe 2000 -- or as we call it, DS2K This site contains some of  the most comprehensive information available online on the Me 262's systems and armament.   

Similarly, Andreas contributed an excellent research tool with his Eagles Over Norway site.  Andreas also serves as the co-webmaster for the Luftwaffe Archives Group (LWAG).  LWAG is a separate, but clearly related, project which was originally hosted here on the Stormbirds server.  

In terms of major developments, the newest sections of the site are the Photo Recon Center (an open-source repository of late-war aircraft images), and the Luftwaffe Archives Group (a clearinghouse for information on archival holdings around the world) .  While conceived primarily as tools for the research community, both of these sites have already generated wide interest among aviation enthusiasts as well.

Currently, we are in the process of developing new material on several of the Me 262's late-war Luftwaffe contemporaries, including such aircraft as the Focke Wulf 190 D-9 and Arado 234.  We are also making plans to include our first German language site additions with the help of colleagues in Germany.  More news to follow!

Much of the growth you see at Stormbirds can be attributed to the men who make up our advisory body.  The site was developed with an intentional bias toward meeting the needs of the serious archivist and historian, and you'll find that the names behind our effort read a bit like a "Who's Who" in the field of serious Luftwaffe research.

Specific contact information for each of these individuals is available upon request.





   RICHARD LUTZ          


Authors David E. Brown and Dave Wadman from Experten Historical Aviation Research / Experten Decals Inc.

Project Manager Bob Hammer and Production Coordinator Jim Byron from the Me 262 Project.*

*  Formerly under the direction of the late Stephen L. Snyder.

Aviation historians Dan O'Connell and Richard T. Eger of the Werknummer Resource Center.

Luftwaffe and Restoration Specialist Richard P. Lutz of Flugzeug Publications..

Luftwaffe historian Gordon Permann of the Photo Recon Center.

Researchers Walt Morgan and Norman Malayney.

The fact remains that no one reference tool will ever meet the needs of every inquirer; however -- when it comes to the Me 262 -- we feel rather confident that if you cannot find the leads you seek among this group, the odds are that you won't find them anywhere.

We lost one of our dearest friends with the death of Robert C. Strobell in January 2001. Strobell was a legendary aviator who led the U.S. effort to recover flightworthy Me 262s during Operation LUSTY (1945). In truth, this web site grew out of an effort to pay tribute to the self-effacing Strobell, and he was among our greatest supporters, both on and off-line.

Until his untimely passing in mid-1999, Stephen L. Snyder was THE driving force behind the Classic Fighter Industries, and it was at his behest that the Me 262 Project web site here at Stormbirds was created.  Steve was a good friend, and during the months that followed the creation of the site, he was a regular contributor, reviewer and proponent of the effort.  His mentorship and enthusiasm have been sorely missed. 

Likewise, the late Jeff Ethell was a trusted research colleague for many years.  Jeff had a special interest in the Messerschmitt Me 262, and was an ardent supporter of the research effort that resulted in the creation of  His imprint is evident on our efforts throughout the site.

In an uncanny coincidence, the latter two of these men met their fate doing what they loved to do best: flying a favorite warplane.  For Steve, it was the incomparable F-86 Sabre, for Jeff, the vintage P-38 Lightning.  It is never an easy thing to lose a fellow aviator, but the blow is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that their final moments were spent "slipping the surly bonds" of this earth.


We strive to honor the memories of these men in our administration of this online resource.


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