Category Archives: Glider


Gotha Go 242A-1 (Huma Models)

TYPE: Assault and transport glider

ACCOMMODATION: One or two pilots + 23 troops or equivalent freight



COMMENT: The Gotha Go 242 was designed in response to a ReichsLuftfahrt Ministerium (RLM) requirement for a heavy transport glider to replace the DFS 230 then in service. The requirement was for a glider capable of carrying 20 fully laden troops or the equivalent cargo.
The aircraft was a high-wing monoplane with a simple square-section fuselage ending in clamshell doors used to load cargo. The empennage was mounted on twin booms linked by a tail plane. The fuselage was formed of steel tubing covered with doped fabric. The flight characteristics of the design were better than those of the DFS 230. Cargo versions of the glider featured a hinged rear fuselage loading ramp that could accommodate a small vehicle such as a “Kübelwagen” (Jeep) or loads of similar size and weight.
Two prototypes flew in 1941 and the type quickly entered production. At the end of 1942 253 Gotha Go 242A-0 and A-1A have been delivered primarily used for freight transportation. For take-off a two wheel jettisonable landing gear and for landing three landing skids were provided. In total 1,259 Gotha Go 242A-0 and A-1 were produced.
In service, Go 242s were towed into the air by Heinkel He 111s or Junkers Ju 52s. Most saw service in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Aegean. Occasionally, Junkers Ju 87D-2 were used as tow plane. These had strengthened rear fuselage and combined tailwheel and hook for towing the Gotha Go 242.
Furthermore, the glider was tested with rockets for overloaded take offs. A jettisonable rack of four 48 kg Rheinmetall RI 502 solid fuel rockets each developing at 153 kp thrust for six seconds was attached to the rear of the cargo compartment. These were ignited in sequence to provide a continuous 153 thrust for 24 seconds.
A second rocket assisted system called the “R” (Rauch) Gerät (“Smoke” Decice)  was also used with the glider. This was a liquid-fuel Walter KG R I-203 (HWK 500A) “Starthilfe” (Take-off Assist) monopropellant, RATO podded rocket engine which was mounted beneath the wing on either side of the body and was jettisoned after takeoff, parachuting down to be recycled (Ref.: 24).

Lippisch DFS 194 (Frank Airmodel, Vacu-formed)

TYPE: Rocket-powered experimental glider aircraft


POWER PLANT: One Walter R I-203 liquid-fuel rocket engine, rated at 500 kp


COMMENT: The DFS 194 was a rocket-powered aircraft designed by Alexander Lippisch at the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (DFS – “German Institute for Sailplane Flight”).The DFS 194 was based on the Alexander Lippisch “Delta” series of tailless designs. As originally conceived, it would have been a tailless aircraft similar to his DFS 40, powered by a conventional piston engine driving a pusher propeller. The airframe was completed in this configuration in March 1938.
Lippisch’s designs had attracted the attention of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM, Reich Aviation Ministry) who believed that tailless aircraft were the best basis for a rocket-powered fighter. On January 1939, Lippisch and his team were transferred to the Messerschmitt Company to begin work on such an aircraft, under what was known as “Project X”. The DFS-194 was modified to accept a Walter R I-203 rocket engine designed by Hellmuth Walter, and by October 1939, the aircraft was undergoing engine tests at Peenemünde.
These were followed by glide tests in early 1940 leading to the first powered flight in August with Heini Dittmar at the controls. The flight went well, the DFS 194 reaching 340 mph, bettering the speed of the earlier, Walter rocket powered Heinkel He 176.
The aircraft proved to have excellent flying characteristics and proved safe to fly at nearly twice the anticipated speed. These results paved the way for the next stage of the project, which now received priority status from the RLM. The Messerschmitt Me 163 “Komet”, a considerably refined design along the same basic lines, flew the following year (Ref. 24).

Gotha-MMW Ka 430A-0 (Huma)

TYPE: Medium Assault and Freight Glider

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two + 12 troops or 1,600 kg freight



COMMENT: The Gotha Ka 430 was a medium assault and freight glider, first built in 1944. The glider was designed by A. Kalkert and Gotha design team as a potential successor of the Gotha Go 242 glider. Somewhat smaller than the earlier glider, the new design introduced a rear loading ramp, some armor protection for the crew and a manually-operated gun turret.
The Ka 430 had a conventional structure with a wing of laminated plywood construction and plywood and fabric cowering, and a welded steel-tube fuselage covered by fabric aft of the cockpit, the nose being a moulded plywood shell fitting over the metal frame work and bolted in place. The undercarriage was of fixed, levered-suspension tricycle type, and the cargo hold extended from the cockpit to just aft of the mainwheels and terminated in a loading ramp hinged  at the point where the rear fuselage swept upwards to merge with the tail-carrying boom, a section of the decking aft of the ramp hinged upwards to enlarge the opening. Slatted airbrakes were provided in the wings to steepen the glide angle and provision was made in the extreme nose for the installation of a battery of braking rockets.
To evaluate the rear fuselage and integral loading ramp a Go 242A-2 was modified to serve as a Ka 430 prototype, and the successful trials led to the placing of an order for 30 pre-production Ka 430A-0 gliders which were to be built by the Mitteldeutsche Metallwerke (MMW) at Erfurt.
The first Ka 430 A-0 (without gun turret) were completed late in 1944, successful towing trials being performed with Heinkel He 111H and Junkers Ju 88A as tugs, but only 12 of the pre-production gliders had been completed when the war situation necessitated the abandoning of the construction program (Ref.: 7)

Arado Ar 234R-1B (Dragon, Parts from Unicraft, Parts scratch-built

TYPE: High-speed, high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. Project


POWER PLANT: One Walter HWK 509C liquid-fuel rocket engine, rated at 2,400 kp thrust (main chamber: 2,000 kp thrust, auxiliary chamber 400 kp thrust)

PERFORMANCE: 569 mph (estimated)

COMMENT: In 1944 the Arado design team proposed two liquid-rocket engines powered reconnaissance versions of the Arado Ar 234 “Blitz” (Lightning) high-speed bomber. The Arado Ar 234R, as it was designated, would consist of a regular Ar 234C frame but without turbojet engines. Instead two pods were installed under the wing, each containing a Walter HWK 109-509A bi-fuel rocket engine (project Ar 234R-1A). The second project Ar 234R-1B was to be powered by a Walter HWK 109-509C two chamber liquid-fuel rocket engine mounted in the rear section. Therefore a cowling would have been installed in the rear fuselage underneath the rudder. The upper rocket engine called “Steigofen” (Accelerate chamber) delivered 2,000 kp and was to be used for climbing to altitude while the lower rocket engine, “Marschofen” (Cruising chamber) delivered 400 kp thrust and was used to power the aircraft during horizontal flight. During return flight – over a distance of more than 155 miles ­– the aircraft flew as a glider without power. The wing had a laminar profile with its maximal thickness at 50 to 60% chord. The glide ratio was calculated to 1:14.
Because of the limited fuel capacity and short endurance of the rocket engines the Ar 234R-1b was to be towed by a Heinkel He 177 “Greif” heavy bomber. A possible reconnaissance mission in the London area was calculated as follows: After take-off from a Luftwaffe base near Paris the aircraft was towed to the operational altitude of app. 26,247 ft, reached near Calais. After release of towline with “Steigofen” at full throttle the aircraft was powered at a speed of app. 506 mph to an altitude of app. 55,775 ft. This height was reached in a few minutes app. near the coast of Dover. During horizontal flight intermittent ignition of the “Marschofen” accelerated the aircraft with 569 mph to the target (i. e. London). After photo mission the aircraft flew back to the coast of England at a speed of 541mph and the descent back to the home base was flown as a glider. The mission was estimated for 21 minutes.
Although the Arado Ar 234R-1B project was promising it was abandoned in favor of the DFS 228 reconnaissance rocket-driven glider giving even better ceiling of 75,460 ft (Ref: 16).

Lippisch DM-1(Huma)

TYPE: Test glider for Lippisch P. 13a supersonic ramjet project




COMMENT: During work on the Lippisch P.13a supersonic ramjet project the Lippisch team proposed to build a test glider in order to study the flight characteristics of this revolutionary design. So a test glider was built by students from technical universities of Darmstadt and Munich, designated DM-1 (Darmstadt-München 1). At the end of the war the prototype of this test glider had not been finished when it was captured by US forces at the Prien airfield in Bavaria. Prof. Theodore von Karmann, a high capacity in aerodynamics in supersonic airflow, (native Hungarian, worked in Germany, later in the US) proposed to complete the test glider by Lippisch’s team. The aircraft was then shipped to the USA where it was test flown. According to NACA the results were positive and lessons learned were incorporated into NASA’s research as well as service aircraft of the 1950s. Mainly the Convair Company recognized the advantage on the Lippisch P.13a design and built the delta-aircraft XF2Y-1, XF-92, F-102, F-106, and B-58 (Ref. 19, 23)

Horten Ho IX V-1 (A + V Models, Resin)

TYPE: Test glider for the turbojet powered Gotha Go 229



PERFORMANCE: Not available

COMMENT: During summer 1943 the RLM interest in a pure flying wing had waned. Despite this loss of official interest, the Horten brothers continued to work on their jet fighter project which they had designated Horten Ho IX, and although entirely unauthorized by the RLM, construction work on a prototype had already started at Göttingen. To explore the aerodynamic characteristics of the revolutionary fighter thoroughly before attempting powered flight trials, the first prototype, the Ho IX V-1, was intended from the outset for testing as a glider before the installation of the planned BMW 003 turbojets, and was provided with a fixed tricycle undercarriage, the legs of the aft members being enclosed by swept aerofoil-section fairings. It was not until early 1944 that the RLM became aware of the existence of the Horten prototype and issued instructions that powered trial should be initiated. During spring 1944 the Ho IX V-1 had performed its first successful gliding trials and showed highly favourable results. But further trials terminated abruptly when the prototype crashed during a landing attempt. Meanwhile work began on the construction of a second prototype, Horten Ho IX V-2. The center section, accommodating the cockpit, power plants and undercarriage wells, was of conventional welded steel-tube construction with plywood skinning. Powered by two Junkers Jumo 004B turbojet engines, the Horten Ho IX V-2 made its test flight in January 1945.