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Schwalbe!

The Messerschmitt Me262

It can be stated with some justification that no other aircraft before or since has equaled the impact of the Messerschmitt Me262 on air combat and aviation as a whole.  In fact, the subject airframe in this feature, W.Nr. 500571 was flown by a man who has recently put the 262 back in the spotlight (more about which shortly...).  On 25 April 1945, Stabsfw. Hans Guido Mütke landed this 262 at Dübendorf, Switzerland as he was almost out of fuel after combat with US aircraft.  The Swiss authorities impounded the pilot and the aircraft, and ultimately returned the aircraft to Germany in 1955.  For over thirty years, the 262 remained in its original camouflage until it was "refurbished" in the late 1980s.  Herr Mütke actually attempted to make a case for ownership of the aircraft (which was rejected, naturally) and just this past week (22 February 2001), articles began circulating around the world concerning Herr Mütke's claim that *he* was the first to break the sound barrier and survive, not Chuck Yeager.  Now, I'm as big a fan of Luftwaffe aircraft as you're likely to find, but I find this claim to be ridiculous, as do many other serious aviation historians.  Having said that, however, I'm very pleased to see the 262 getting positive press 58 years after it first flew.

This selection of photos was taken and submitted by Steven Eisenman, aka "steven-modeldad" as he's known over on the Hyperscale discussion board.  I would like to thank Steven for submitting these great pictures, and I'm sure modelers everywhere are as happy as I am that he has decided to share these shots.