The world's only operational rocket-powered interceptor, the unique Me 163 was the fastest aircraft of WW2. Its wheels dropped off after take-off, and on landing the aircraft would glide on a retractable skid. Seen here at the Museum of Flight, East Fortune.
This Komet was fortunately captured intact when Husum airfield in Schleswig-Holstein was overrun by Allied troops towards the end of WWII. It was transported to the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield in 1947 for evaluation and subsequently donated to the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune where it is now on display.
This Komet was delivered to JG/400 in 1945 but captured intact at Husum and sent to the UK for testing. It was shipped to Montreal as a war prize in 1946 and subsequently placed into storage in a number of different locations. It underwent restoration by staff from the Canada Aviation & Space Museum during 2000-2001 and is now on display wearing JG/400 markings once again.
This Komet served with JG400 at Husum during WWII but it is unknown if it ever flew in combat. At the end of the war it was shipped to the RAE in England and now is on display at the Flying Heritage Collection.
The operational history of this Komet, on display in unrestored condition at the Udvar-Hazy Center, is unknown. It was one of five brought to the US after WWII for evaluation, receiving the foreign equipment code FE-500 that is still visible. Gliding tests were completed but powered tests were abandoned after delamination of the aircraft's wooden wings was discovered. It was then stored at Norton AFB until 1954 when it was transferred to the Smithsonian. Note the Walter rocket motor in the foreground
Production Komets were not ready for operational use until July 1944 and only 279 had been delivered by the end of the war. The sole operational Komet group, JG 400, scored nine kills while losing 14 of its own aircraft. This example never flew and was most probably deliberately sabotaged by the French forced labourers that built it. The hulk was restored by the Canadian National Aviation Museum and acquired by the National Museum of the USAF for display in 1999.
One of the real stars of the superb Museum of Flight. The Komet was a rocket powered interceptor aircraft with a performance far better than any allied aircraft of the time though it was hampered by a very short flight time. It entered service in May 1944. The wheeeled undercarriage dropped away on take-off with the aircraft landing on a skid in a similar way to that which most gliders do.