Military Review

Asymmetrical plane

Asymmetrical plane
The tender for the production of light reconnaissance aircraft won the company Focke-Wulf. The Fw 189, built on a two-beam scheme, proved to be more reliable, more comfortable and easier to manufacture than the original asymmetric design of Richard Vogt. Fw 189 was put into service in 1940 year and in the USSR received the nickname "frame". "The frame arrived - wait for the bombing," soldiers joked

Have you ever seen an asymmetric car? Of course! For example, a mining truck with an offset cabin. And the irregularly shaped ship? Naturally, remember any aircraft carrier. But asymmetric aircraft in stories there were very few. Let's say even more precisely: only two. The first of them was created in 1937 by the gloomy Teutonic genius, aircraft designer Richard Vogt.

In the 1930s, the air forces of the young Reich grew by leaps and bounds. Reich ministry aviation regularly held tenders for the development of new aircraft models between leading German enterprises. In an effort to outperform competitors, designers offered completely insane-looking designs - and sometimes they were put into practice. However, this concerned not only aviation: the project of a giant railway with a gauge of 4000 mm, the titanic Mouse tank, miraculously preserved to this day in Kubinka, and many other outlandish projects were born.

In 1937, there was a need for a light reconnaissance aircraft. The widely used Heinkel He 46, put into service as early as 1931, was a rather unsuccessful model due to poor visibility. On the whole, its construction is outdated both technically and morally. The main requirement for the new car was good visibility from the cab. Aircraft 1930-ies seriously suffered from the small area of ​​the glazing of the pilot's seat and the presence of a significant number of "blind zones" (in particular, under the plane). In principle, the “full-size” cabin glazing was already used at that time, but only on heavy aircraft, where engines with propellers could be placed on the wings. The nose of a small and light single-engine aircraft could not be made glass. A plane with a pusher propeller could be a way out of the situation, but designer Richard Vogt suggested going the other way.

Blohm & Voss BV 141
The most surprising thing was not even the fact that Vogt was allocated serious funds for the project, but the fact that they were used “for business”. BV 141 was built and successfully flown


Initially, the work on the project was entrusted to the company Arado Flugzeugwerke, which once developed the first Luftwaffe combat biplanes. The most famous Arado aircraft was the Ar 196 flying boat, which became the standard seaplane of carrier-based aircraft of the imperial naval forces since 1938. But the German Ministry of Aviation never hesitated to order more than necessary, so requests were sent to other leading design bureaus - Focke-Wulf, Blohm & Voss and Henschel. In fact, the order was all-German - all aircraft factories, without exception, undertook to design a light reconnaissance aircraft. But only the four models mentioned were approved by top management at the drawing stage and “approved” to the production of existing prototypes.

The first to respond to the call of the party were the designers Henschel, who presented the Hs 1937 model at the beginning of 126. She had only one drawback: the design is monstrously outdated at the development stage. Henschel worked for speed, getting a finished plane when competitors did not even have complete calculations. In fact, it turned out a normal monoplane. But there was no way out for the game - and Hs 126 went into the series. However, the tender was not withdrawn because the visibility problem was not resolved.

Arado constructors also failed to cope with the task. They proposed a model Ar 198 - a traditional layout monoplane, but with two cabins. At the top were a pilot with a gunner, and at the bottom - an observer. Because of the specific glass “belly”, the aircraft received the nickname “Flying Aquarium”. In practice, the plane was unsuccessful. It was too expensive and difficult to manufacture and - which is especially unpleasant - unstable when flying at low speeds. For the scout it was unforgivable. No upgrades helped: Arado did not receive approval for mass production.

The proposals of the companies Focke-Wulf and Blohm & Voss turned out to be much more developed and literate. Focke-Wulf offered the compact twin-engine Fw 189. The light wings of the small aircraft could not serve as a supporting structure for the engines, and the designer Kurt Tank stepped out of the situation by making a double tail; tail beams were a continuation of the power nacelles of power units. This markedly increased the rigidity of the structure and made it possible to place a drop-shaped, fully glazed cabin with 360-degree visibility between the fuselages.

Vogt Goat Curve

But the designer of the company Blohm & Voss, Richard Vogt, solved the problem of visibility radically. He basically did not want to use a twin-engine scheme - and managed to find a way to install a drop-shaped glazed cabin on a single-engine plane. The decision was as obvious and simple as it was ridiculous. Based on one of his patents 1935, Vogt proposed to make an asymmetrical aircraft. The fuselage with the engine and bomb hatches was to be on the left, and the crew cabin was to the right, at the same distance from the plane’s symmetry axis.

The aircraft was built in 1937 year and received the name BV 141. Installed on the machine 1000-strong star-shaped engine Bramo 323 Fafnir. By the way, this was one of Vogt’s few mistakes - the engine was low-powered and unreliable. In the 1910-ies, Bramo was a major aircraft manufacturer (called Siemens-Schuckert), then switched to engine manufacturing, but by 1930, its shares fell seriously, and in 1939, it was bought with BMW giblets. At the same time, competitors from Focke-Wulf have ordered a new 12-cylinder Argus 410 engine for their development - simple, easy and reliable.

A serious issue was the balancing of an unbalanced aircraft. In the first prototypes, the tail was ordinary, but rather quickly Vogt came to the conclusion that it was necessary to develop asymmetrical tail. It appeared on the first working copy of the aircraft, which flew 25 February 1938 of the year, four months earlier than the Focke-Wulf. Surprisingly, asymmetry did not lead to any problems in flight. Dr. Vogt calculated everything quite correctly. The change in the weight of the fuselage (for example, when dropping bombs) was immediately compensated for by the torque of the weighted propeller. None of the test pilots complained, the BV 141 proved to be a maneuverable and effective reconnaissance aircraft. The task was completed - and before the competition.

But here, as already casually mentioned, there was a problem with the engine. Bramo simply did not "pull" the car, and it lacked speed. On the third prototype, another engine was installed - this time the BMW 132 N. It was equal to Bramo in power, but it was much cheaper and produced in much larger industrial batches. Nevertheless, the aircraft required a more powerful power unit. The German industry did nothing suitable.

Only in January, the 1939-th engine appeared, suitable for the revolutionary Vogt aircraft - the powerful BMW 801 with the power of the 1539 hp. By this time, two BV 141 A aircraft with a Bramo engine were made, and another six with the BMW 132 N. The new version was given the name BV 141 B and showed itself well in testing. It was also built 10 asymmetric aircraft.

The first copy of the BV 141 aroused the crazy interest of both bosses and ordinary officers of backlash wffe. People who had nothing to do with Blohm & Voss tried their best to get to the factory in order to get a better look at the amazing car.

Untimely genius

But time flew fast. Focke-Wulf Fw 189 has already been mass-produced, and the need for a reconnaissance aircraft with the largest possible glazing area has practically disappeared.

Nevertheless, tests and improvements BV 141 B actively continued until the 1941 year. Engine power is now enough with a margin (especially since the last experimental batch of eight planes put a forced version), but revealed some other shortcomings. Test pilots, including the famous Erich Klöckner, praised the flight characteristics of Blohm & Voss, but they all cursed the landing of the plane. Hydraulic failures in the chassis system pursued the design from the very first prototype, and the increased mass due to the heavy engine only aggravated this problem. One of the prototypes was even forced to make an emergency landing - on the belly. The pilot was not injured.

Tests of weapons also passed not to "cheers". It turned out that the cabin was completely unsuitable for the installation of machine guns (although initially such a task, of course, was). Powder gases due to unsuccessful layout penetrated into the cockpit and seriously interfered with the pilots. True, the plane dropped bombs perfectly - without a hitch without a hitch.

But, as already mentioned, was the 1941 year. Focke-Wulf Fw 189 already existed in several hundred copies, and the BV 141 was still in the prototype stage. In addition, the war was in full swing and finding money for new projects was becoming increasingly difficult. Yes, and the BMW 801 engines were originally developed not at all for a scout, but for the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Wurger fighter and were always in short supply. The odious project Blohm & Voss was neatly folded.

None of the 26 made by BV 141 has been preserved to this day (some sources indicate the number of 28, but it is reliably known about the 26 numbered copies of the aircraft). In 1945, the Allies got three asymmetrical Vogt creations - the rest were probably sent to be melted down for the army. One of them was taken to England for research - there his tracks are lost.

During the war, Vogt tried to promote several more asymmetrical aircraft designs, but failed. However, many of Vogt’s original projects were not implemented in the first place because of their folly. What cost, for example, Blohm & Voss BV 40 - the non-powered glider-fighter 1943 of the year.

Like many other German designers and scientists, after the war, Richard Vogt emigrated to the United States, where he worked as a leading engineer in the Curtiss-Wright and Boeing corporations. But in history, he remained primarily as the creator of insane designs that could seriously change the face of modern aviation. For better or for worse, this is a completely different question.


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  1. Ivan79
    Ivan79 29 June 2013 07: 47 New
    Precisely gloomy German genius.
    1. Apologet.Ru
      Apologet.Ru 29 June 2013 16: 40 New
      I agree with you, colleague, cool dad ...
      1. sub307
        sub307 29 June 2013 19: 50 New
        Some kind of non-standard, angular all. "True, the plane dropped bombs perfectly - without a hitch." Straight amazing.
      2. Apologet.Ru
        Apologet.Ru 29 June 2013 20: 47 New
        Especially when compared with the infamous -
        1. Bad_gr
          Bad_gr 29 June 2013 21: 33 New
          "... But there were very few asymmetric planes in history. Let's even say more precisely: only two. .."

          Asymmetric Aircraft

  2. Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 09: 37 New
    Here is this "freak"
    1. Che
      Che 29 June 2013 22: 38 New
      The Germans then were ahead of many in the development of aviation, and indeed of weapons. On their development, the entire post-war industry around the world worked. And space, and submarines, the UFO theme is still not understood.
      1. Day 11
        Day 11 29 June 2013 22: 52 New
        And I’m also a comrade CHE! If you have already chosen such a “rattle”, then you have to deal with it yourself in many ways! Do you want to develop the topic of submarines?
      2. Alex
        Alex 8 September 2013 19: 07 New
        Quote: Che (1)
        The Germans then were ahead of many in the development of aviation, and indeed of weapons. On their development, the entire post-war industry around the world worked. And space, and submarines, the UFO theme is still not understood.

        Submarines - I don’t argue, a lot of interesting and even progressive (this is understandable, they fought at sea with them, and fought seriously).

        Space - sorry, what space? In the forties, one could only dream of space, for science fiction writers it turned out better than for designers. Yes, and after the war. We have already flown a satellite, and a man in space, and all the creations of Werner von Braun regularly explode at the start. Or can you take seriously the ravings of the Internet about the "cosmonaut of the Third Reich"? Yes, there is not even a consensus on the name of the pilot and the type of aircraft!

        As for UFOs ... Here, as they say, comments are superfluous, since this is already from the field of clinical psychiatry, and not history.
  3. Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 09: 40 New
    There was also such a project
  4. Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 09: 50 New
    An article by Richard Vogt for the magazine Flight on July 16, 1942, where he writes that the weight of the cockpit on the wing balances the action of the rotor's torque.
    1. Argon
      Argon 29 June 2013 12: 16 New
      In my opinion, a very, very successful reconnaissance was obtained, it was even accepted for supply (for armament, I will not say no such information) to naval aviation, a reconnaissance squadron of at least 7 aircraft was formed. On the eastern front, it did not appear and acted mainly in interests of the Kriegsmarine. The machine’s failures were least related to some technical aspects, just as a result of the “mouse fuss” K. Tank removed the competitor. I will not undertake to compare this scout with the FW-189 (a rather successful machine), But what The BV was at least cheaper (one engine) and less time-consuming to operate, in my opinion there is no doubt. Regarding the weapons in the article, complete nonsense - K. Tank simply stole the crew gondola from the unfinished (4th or 5th, which Vogt repeatedly mentions being already a citizen of the USA) BV and hoisted it on his 189th, after a series of remarks about insufficient visibility and cramped crew seats. There were problems with hydraulics, the German industry then only switched to the use of hydraulic system in control channels (previously used air) and at a general level, this is a completely solvable question for the Germans. But it turned out how it turned out went into the series FW-189, in which the Germans always experienced some "deficit" (which in general is not surprising at the same time what hunts the Red Army Air Force arranged for them), and it was very pleasing to my Grandfathers. It is worth recalling that we did not create our reconnaissance spotter, the entire war was played by the converted IL-2, two-seat Harikeyns, and Su-2 (the most successfully) but at the beginning of 42g its production was stopped. recourse
  5. Denis
    Denis 29 June 2013 10: 51 New
    None of the test pilots complained
    If you do not take into account
    high levels of vibration and frequent hydraulic failures, but they were not related to the aerodynamic design
    -World aviation
    It didn’t happen
    fuselage with engine and bomb hatches
    He carried 4 * 50 kg on the suspension under the wing
    In general, the article is interesting
  6. Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 11: 15 New
    Cabin BV-141
  7. Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 11: 17 New
    More cab BV-141
  8. Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 11: 18 New
    And she’s the same
  9. EDW
    EDW 29 June 2013 17: 36 New
    Interesting information, thanks to the author.
    Only this plane reminds me of a motorcycle with a sidecar? smile
  10. ramsi
    ramsi 29 June 2013 20: 27 New
    no, I refuse to understand both the logic of the creator and the logic of the receiver
    1. Day 11
      Day 11 29 June 2013 20: 41 New
      Exact calculation, and nothing more! If this scheme works, then let it work for the thousand-year Reich!
      1. ramsi
        ramsi 29 June 2013 21: 53 New
        poorly expressed: calculations apparently allow - a freak can fly, but an engineer respecting himself should not have such, if not conceived, then at least put on public display
        1. Day 11
          Day 11 29 June 2013 22: 06 New
          Just this is an indicator that German engineers were far from stupid people!
          1. ramsi
            ramsi 29 June 2013 22: 19 New
            but who doubts ?! Perverts
            1. Argon
              Argon 29 June 2013 23: 37 New
              Dear ramsi, every technical solution (in the field of armaments) is due to objective necessity (and thank God, not aesthetics), in this case we were chasing the largest viewing sector for the observer (it is not about enjoying the views, although not without it, but about the convenience of working with devices , an optical range finder, for example), in my opinion, this arrangement allows you to give the largest sector of an unobstructed view, with a single-engine EC. There are drawbacks to this scheme related to balancing, but they lie in the velocity range <0.6M, some problems may arise as a result of irreversible deformations of the structure, however, the spotter is not characterized by evolution with overload close to maximum. There are some issues of maintaining balancing during combat damage, but the control system was duplicated (the same hydraulic system) Considering all the above, it can be noted that not only the general layout is optimally matched to the destination, also the weight "range" of the structure is chosen very well.
              1. ramsi
                ramsi 30 June 2013 08: 12 New
                How is this field of view not blocked? Yes, he does not see a nicherta except his own fuselage to his left. If it was necessary to confine it to a single-engine scheme, then two cabins should be made: on top for the pilot and below for the observer. Much easier? ..
                About the balancing moment - in general I am silent, as far as I know, the coaxial screws at that time were already known
                1. Argon
                  Argon 30 June 2013 12: 02 New
                  Not when I didn’t say that it wasn’t blocked, I said that the panorama of the review has only one “dead” sector, there are two such sectors on the FW-189 \ Su-12, we’ll say about the classic layout that there’s no round-robin view at all, Rather, it’s about several viewing areas (in front of the engine, behind the fuselage beam there are structural elements on the sides) .I don’t understand what about the coaxial screws? But they brought the coaxial gearbox for mono installation only in the middle of 45 g., and it turned out that the power loss on the gearbox is too large for piston engine ("Griffon"), and does not allow you to create an installation with the required specific power. On piston machines, they have not received distribution.
                  1. ramsi
                    ramsi 30 June 2013 12: 41 New
                    One dead sector - but what a! Yes, in this miracle, even maneuvering around the airfield is dangerous. And do you imagine flying in tight formation for bombing, in the traditions of that time? It’s not surprising that the frame won, although a highly placed wing would be better for the spotter
                    1. Argon
                      Argon 30 June 2013 14: 35 New
                      If you calculate the sum (in degrees) of the “blind” sectors of FW from beams, stabilizer, engines, then I assure you that it will be 15% (at least) more than BV. Maneuvering around the airdrome is dangerous on any two-post aircraft, this is a separate topic. About tight formation, in general, what is the difficulty? planes with much worse visibility flew in formation, I-153 for example. What kind of bombing are we talking about in the backlash of the intelligence elite (do not pay attention to local illustrations, FW is generally not here place) suspension for lighting, marker bombs, this is the work of singles.
                      1. ramsi
                        ramsi 30 June 2013 15: 03 New
                        And, now, at least I don’t understand how traction can compensate for the changing alignment of the aircraft in the transverse plane, as fuel is generated and bombs are dropped. In a single-rotor circuit, a course “floats” from a change in traction, the machine turns more or less in the direction of rotation of the screw, and then a roll is added. And how, interestingly, will he behave with the engine turned off altogether?
                      2. Argon
                        Argon 1 July 2013 00: 37 New
                        Dear ramsi, you went into an unfamiliar door, assuming that there is a WC, the light is off, take the first steps, trying to slam the wall to find the switch, and do not even suspect you are in the gym. (Sorry for the allegory, and do not be offended) I’m happy to answer all your questions about flight theory, but the format of this resource and the amount of commentary do not allow you to do this, if you are interested we can “get started” on Skype.
                      3. ramsi
                        ramsi 1 July 2013 09: 02 New
                        Thank you, my friend, for the generous offer, but absolutely not interested. As for the specific model, for all Dr. Vogt’s oddities with a single-engine scheme, it would be better if he used his abilities somehow more sanely, for example, he would make two symmetrical cockpits with duplicated controls around the fuselage - you look, and jumped competitor
  • Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 22: 29 New
    And something we don’t see on this branch of people, “specialists” in the Air Force! Caught me in the British? I never spoke for VAF and the English. Who is ready to “pull the ointment” about backlash?
    1. Day 11
      Day 11 30 June 2013 22: 55 New
      Ssykuny !!!
  • Dr. Ido
    Dr. Ido 30 June 2013 17: 37 New
    Very informative article. The idea of ​​asymmetric abruptly will be tailless projects wink
  • Dr. Ido
    Dr. Ido 30 June 2013 17: 39 New
    Interesting idea, NON-STANDARD wink
  • Starover_Z
    Starover_Z 1 July 2013 22: 26 New
    Well, the Germans are amazing techies. As soon as it was possible to establish normal control of the rudders on this asymmeter so that it would fly like that ?!
  • raddy13
    raddy13 2 July 2013 17: 54 New
    This article about asymmetric aircraft was in Popular Mechanics (July 2010).