PHOTO GALLERY 4

The project in transition -- from Fort Worth to Seattle.

 

In early 1999, the Me 262 Project was "peacefully recovered" from the Texas Airplane Factory after repeated efforts to restart the production line (idle throughout 1997) failed. The net result of this action was that Classic Fighter Industries Inc., was forced to physically relocate the project, in it's entirety, for completion elsewhere.

The incomplete fuselages -- and all related materiel to include special tools, subassemblies and parts -- were transferred to a holding facility in Fort Worth, pending overland shipment to a pair of CFII-leased hangars at Paine Field, Washington.

Located just outside of Seattle, Paine Field (a.k.a. Snohomish County Airport) provides the perfect setting for project completion and flight-testing. The field's proximity to the Boeing production facilities also means that the team with have a wealth of local expertise and subcontracting options.

The logistics of relocating the entire production line required careful preparation and planning, as the process involved not only the movement of the five main fuselages, but also a number of wing assemblies, engine castings, fuel cells, seat frames, horizontal and vertical stabilizers, landing gear components and literally thousands of related parts. Many of these components were still in their support frames and specialized jigs, and presented unique challenges as the loadout began.

In Seattle, the project has been entrusted to the capable hands of Bob Hammer. Hammer has experience in building and/or restoring a number of exceptional aircraft, and will coordinate all aspects of the effort, to include engineering support and actual construction on the shop floor.

The airframe shown in the third and fourth photos (at right) is the original pattern machine, captured in Germany in 1945, and flown by the American team of "Watson's Whizzers. This plane has been undergoing concurrent duplication and restoration and will be returned to U.S. Navy control upon completion in late 1999. Prior to this effort, this was the only unrestored Me 262 left in the United States, and one of only two non-preserved examples of the type in the entire world (the other being in Australia).

Also shown is a two-seater jet that has progressed to the joining of wing and fuselage assemblies.  It is resting on its landing gear, waiting to be towed to the loading point.

The next view shows an incomplete wing, awaiting transport in its supporting structure.  Construction of the wing assembly constitutes nearly 50% of any airplane building effort, and completion of the wings will be among the most important tasks to be performed in Seattle. As noted above, compounding the transportation difficulties is the fact that these wings-in-progress must be shipped within the jig assemblies.

The camera has captured a number of subassemblies and components in the succeeding image.  Included among the parts are a pair of fuel cells, a Mk-108 cannon mockup and several seat frames (in the background). There are literally thousands of such parts associated with this production effort.

In the last photograph, one of the Jumo 004 engine castings is shown mounted to a frame which duplicates the actual wing mounting points.  This impressively engineered shroud will contain a GE J-85 / CJ-610 engine, allowing a completely authentic appearance to be maintained when the cowlings of the engine nacelle are opened for display.

More importantly, these housings will insure that the wing moments and weight distribution of the original Me 262 design are preserved with the new powerplants, which are far smaller and lighter. For additional information on the design and engineering of these castings, see the technical pages.

 

2001 Sabre Design Group. All rights reserved.