Messerschmitt Me-262-1a/U3 Schwalbe in Flight

Messerschmitt Me-262-1a/U3 Schwalbe reconnaissance jet aircraft. T-2-4012 can be seen under the tail. It's werk nummer is unknown, but it is stated that this particular machine was originally produced as a reconnaissance variant, and later flew with Kommando Braunegg carrying a white number '25' in service. She was surrendered to American Forces at Lechfeld, Germany in May 1945. Originally one of the machines captured in Germany by Air Technical Intelligence Group (TAIC) crews under Colonel Harold E. Watson. The plane was given the number 444 by "Watson's Whizzers" Operation Lusty (Luftwaffe Secret Technology) brought captured German aircraft to the United States for flight testing aboard escort carrier HMS Reaper in July 1946. T-2-4012 was flight tested at Wright Field in through 1946 and then handed over to the Hughes Aircraft Company for maintenance. Howard Hughes considered the airframe for the 1947 Bendix Air Races, but since the plane performed better than the American P-80 Shooting Stars that were also competing, the government disallowed the Me-262 from competition. The airframe was shipped to the Glendale Aeronautical School to train mechanics. In 1954 the plane was rescued from being scrapped by the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California, where it resides now. It has inaccurate camouflage and the incorrect werk nummer of 111617.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Thursday, August 15, 1946
United States