A World War II Messerschmitt has a narrow escape

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter was always known for precarious ground handling and tricky takeoffs and landings, due to its narrow landing gear.  Few of these aircraft survive today.  One of them is this Bf 109G-4 model flown by the Messerschmitt Foundation in Germany.

It was performing at this year’s ILA Berlin Air Show earlier this week when it had a narrow escape on landing.  Its wing touched the ground, and it rolled off the runway onto the grass before the pilot was able to regain control.

That certainly illustrates the difficulties caused by the aircraft’s narrow undercarriage, especially in what looked like a crosswind.  Kudos to the pilot for getting it down in one piece.



  1. Looked like he might have flared it a bit high, too. Anyway, just glad the aircraft wasn't seriously damaged. Damned shame that we didn't preserve more of them after the war. So many survivors were scrapped just because.

  2. Ya Murph,

    So many great, perfectly functional planes from every country went to the scrap heap.

    I read somewhere you could buy a P-51 Mustang in 1947 for $1,500.

  3. I read many years ago that the Me109 should operate from a grass field, not pavement. That pavement exacerbates the touchy ground handling of the aircraft. Supposedly, the Germans had a noticeably higher damage rate when this plane was operated from "improved" airfields. This came from one of the surviving pilots of ww2. Can't recall who.

  4. Looks like this pilot shut down the engine when his landing looked questionable. Smart move. In case he groundlooped that would save the engine and lessen damage to the prop. I'm sure engines and props foe ME 109s are very difficult to find.

  5. BTW, that was grass field, not strip. That was so you could avoid crosswinds by picking the correct heading.

    It did look like he was floating high. He was in trouble even before he touched. IIRC, that plane rewards tentative handling with vicious, uncontrollable responses.

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