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 On the whole, its construction is outdated both technically and morally.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, work on the project was entrusted to the company Arado Flugzeugwerke, which once developed the first combat biplanes of the Luftwaffe. The most famous Arado aircraft was the Ar 196 flying boat, which became the standard seaplane of the Imperial Naval Forces carrier-based aircraft since 1938. But the German aviation ministry never hesitated to order more than needed, 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 the design of a light reconnaissance aircraft. But only the four mentioned models were approved by the top management at the drawing stage and “allowed” to manufacture working 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.

Proposals from Focke-Wulf and Blohm & Voss turned out to be much more elaborate and competent. Focke-Wulf proposed a compact twin-engine Fw 189. The small aircraft's light wings could not serve as a supporting structure for the engines, and designer Kurt Tank got out of the situation by making a double tail section; the tail booms became an extension of the engine nacelles of the power units. This significantly increased the rigidity of the structure and made it possible to place a teardrop-shaped, fully glazed cockpit with 360-degree visibility between the fuselages.

Vogt Goat Curve

But the designer of the Blohm & Voss firm, Richard Vogt, approached the solution of the visibility problem radically. He basically did not want to use a twin-engine scheme - and managed to find a way to install a drop-shaped glazed cockpit on a single-engine aircraft. The solution was as obvious and simple as it was ridiculous. On the basis of one of his patents in 1935, Vogt proposed an asymmetrical aircraft. The fuselage with the engine and bomb hatches was to be located on the left, and on the right, at the same distance from the plane's axis of symmetry, the cockpit.

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 very first copy of the BV 141 aroused the crazy interest of both the superiors and rank-and-file officers of the backlash. People who have nothing to do with Blohm & Voss were eager to get to the plant 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 modifications of the BV 141 B continued actively until 1941. The engine power was now enough with a margin (especially since the forced version was delivered to the last experimental batch of eight aircraft), but some other shortcomings were revealed. Test pilots, including the famous Erich Klöckner, praised the flight characteristics of Blohm & Voss, but everyone scolded the landing of the aircraft with one voice. Hydraulic failures in the chassis system plagued the design from the very first prototype, and the increased weight due to the heavy engine only exacerbated 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, it was 1941. The Focke-Wulf Fw 189 existed in several hundred copies, and the BV 141 was still in the prototype stage. In addition, the war was in full swing and it became increasingly difficult to find money for new projects. And the BMW 801 engines were originally developed not for a reconnaissance aircraft at all, but for the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Wurger fighter and were always in short supply. The odious project Blohm & Voss was neatly shut down.

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 projects of asymmetrical aircraft, but failed. However, many of Vogt's original projects were not implemented primarily because of their extravagance. For example, the Blohm & Voss BV 40, a non-motorized fighter glider of 1943, was worth it.

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

          Asymmetric Aircraft

  2. Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 09: 37
    This "freak"
    1. Che
      Che 29 June 2013 22: 38
      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
        And I am a pro, too, comrade CH! If you have already chosen such a "rattle", you have to figure it out in many ways! Do you want to develop the topic of submarines?
      2. Alex
        Alex 8 September 2013 19: 07
        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, science fiction writers did it better than designers. And after the war. We have already flown a satellite, and a man in space, and all Wernher von Braun's creations explode regularly at the start. Or is it possible to take seriously the Internet ravings 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
    There was also such a project
  4. Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 09: 50
    Richard Vogt's article for Flight magazine, July 16, 1942, where he writes that the weight of the cockpit on the wing balances the propeller torque.
    1. Argon
      Argon 29 June 2013 12: 16
      In my opinion, a very, very successful scout turned out, he was even accepted for supply (into service, I will not say there is no such information) of naval aviation, a reconnaissance squadron of at least 7 vehicles was formed. On the eastern front, it did not appear and operated mainly in the interests of the "Kriegsmarine". The failures of the car were least connected with some technical aspects, just as a result of the "mouse fuss" K.Tank removed the competitor. I will not undertake to compare this reconnaissance aircraft with the FW-189 (a rather successful car), But the fact that The BV was at least cheaper (one engine) and less laborious in operation, in my opinion it does not cause any doubts. Regarding the armament in the article, complete nonsense - K. mentions being already a citizen of the usa) BV and hoisted it on his 4th, after a number of remarks about the lack of visibility and the cramped crew seats. There were problems with hydraulics, the German industry was just switching to the use of hydraulic The system in the control channels (previously airborne) and at the general level, this is a completely resolvable issue for the Germans. But it turned out how it turned out that the FW-5 went into the series, in which the Germans always experienced some "deficit" (which, in general, is not surprising given the fact what kind of hunts the Red Army Air Force arranged for them), and this made my grandfathers very happy.It is worth recalling that we did not create our own reconnaissance spotter, throughout the war his role was performed by the converted Il-189, two-seat Harikeins, and the Su-189 (most successful) but at the beginning of 2g production was stopped. recourse
  5. Denis
    Denis 29 June 2013 10: 51
    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
    Cabin BV-141
  7. Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 11: 17
    More cab BV-141
  8. Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 11: 18
    And she’s the same
  9. EDW
    EDW 29 June 2013 17: 36
    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
    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
      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
        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
          Just this is an indicator that German engineers were far from stupid people!
          1. ramsi
            ramsi 29 June 2013 22: 19
            but who doubts ?! Perverts
            1. Argon
              Argon 29 June 2013 23: 37
              Dear ramsi, every technical solution (in the field of weapons) is due to an objective necessity (and thank God, not aesthetics), in this case they were chasing the largest sector of view for the observer (we are not talking about enjoying the views, although not without this, but about the convenience of working with devices , an optical rangefinder, for example), in my opinion, this arrangement allows you to give the largest sector of unobstructed view, with a single-engine power plant. There are disadvantages of such a scheme associated with balancing, but they lie in the velocity zone <0.6M, some problems may arise as a result of irreversible deformations of the structure, however, the spotter is not characterized by evolution with an overload close to maximum. There are some issues of maintaining balance in case of combat damage, but the control system was duplicated (the same hydraulic system) Considering all of the above, it can be noted that not only the general layout is optimally matched to the purpose, also the weight "range" of the design was chosen very well.
              1. ramsi
                ramsi 30 June 2013 08: 12
                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
                  Not when I did not claim that it was not blocked, I said that the panorama of the view has only one "dead" sector, on FW-189 \ Su-12 there are two such sectors, about the classic layout, we will say that there is no talk about a circular view at all, rather, about several visible areas (in front of the engine, behind the fuselage beam on the sides of the structural elements). I did not understand what about the coaxial propellers? but they brought the coaxial gearbox for a mono installation only in the middle of 45g. piston engine ("Griffon"), and does not allow to create an installation with the required specific power. They did not receive distribution on piston machines.
                  1. ramsi
                    ramsi 30 June 2013 12: 41
                    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
                      If you calculate the sum (in degrees) of the "blind" sectors of the FW from the beams, stabilizer, engines, then I assure you, it will be 15% (at least) more than that of the BV. Maneuvering around the airfield is dangerous on any two-post aircraft, this is a separate topic. About tight formation, in general, what's the difficulty? aircraft with much worse visibility flew in formation, I-153 for example. What kind of bombing are we talking about, in the "backlashes" the intelligence-elite (do not pay attention to local illustrations, FW is not at all here place) suspension for lighting, marker bombs, this is the work of individuals.
                      1. ramsi
                        ramsi 30 June 2013 15: 03
                        And, for the life of me, I don’t understand how thrust can compensate for the changing centering of the aircraft in the transverse plane, as the fuel depletes and bombs are dropped. With a single-rotor scheme, the course "floats" from a change in thrust, the car turns more or less in the direction of the propeller rotation, and then a roll will be added. And how will he, interestingly, behave with the engine turned off altogether?
                      2. Argon
                        Argon 1 July 2013 00: 37
                        Dear ramsi, you went into an unfamiliar door, supposing that there is a WC, the light is off, you take your first steps, trying to bang on the wall to feel the switch, and you don't even suspect, you are in the gym. (Sorry for the allegory, and do not be offended) I am happy to answer all your questions about flight theory, but the format of this resource and the volume of comments do not allow you to do this, if you are interested, we can "tie up" via Skype.
                      3. ramsi
                        ramsi 1 July 2013 09: 02
                        thank you, buddy, for the generous offer, but not at all interested. As for a specific model, with all Dr. Vogt's "quirks" with a single-engine scheme, it would be better if he used his abilities somehow more sanely, would make, for example, two symmetrical cockpits with duplicated controls around the fuselage - you look, and would jump competitor
  • Day 11
    Day 11 29 June 2013 22: 29
    And something we do not see on this thread of people, "experts" in the Air Force! Caught me on the British? I never spoke for VAF and the English. As for the backlashes, who is ready to "pull fuel"?
    1. Day 11
      Day 11 30 June 2013 22: 55
      Ssykuny !!!
  • Dr. Ido
    Dr. Ido 30 June 2013 17: 37
    Very informative article. The idea of ​​asymmetric abruptly will be tailless projects wink
  • Dr. Ido
    Dr. Ido 30 June 2013 17: 39
    Interesting idea, NON-STANDARD wink
  • Starover_Z
    Starover_Z 1 July 2013 22: 26
    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
    This article about asymmetric aircraft was in Popular Mechanics (July 2010)