Building the First
of the Last
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 airplanes are being manufactured as
a continuation of the basic Me 262 design. In fact, they have
even been assigned factory serial numbers drawn from the werknummern
sequences used on the original 1945 production lines.
Authentic and Airworthy
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. With the ability to examine and copy components from a vintage
source, the standard of authenticity has been exactingly maintained.
Of course, the original design suffered from
some well-known weaknesses, most notably dealing with the engines and
landing gear systems. 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.
From the Jumo 004
to G.E.'s J-85
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
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.