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FW190 Better Or Just Different Than BF109?


US63_SpadLivesMatter
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F/JG300_Gruber

Just my opinion but I think that overall the Fw190 is just better from an engineering point of view.

 

The 109 was clearly a superior fighter at the time it entered service and managed to held some noticeable advantages troughout the war.

It was a slim aircraft with a small frontal section meaning it was harder to nail, and its high power to weight ration gave it a solid climb rate that most contemporary designs had trouble to match. 

Also the Daimler Benz engines were quite reliable and offered a good serviceability which is always good from a logistical point of view.

 

But the airframe was not that great and a large number of flaws weren't corrected before the last years of war, or at all.

 

- Control surfaces weren't balanced dynamically, that is something Willy Messerschmitt wasn't competent in when he drew the airframe. This resulted in bad harmonization of control forces and severe lock up at high speed. Up to the E series, the ailerons tended to stall when the stick was thrown vigorously meaning a loss of reactivity on the roll axis. This last one was corrected with the F series airframe, but the adjunction of the rounded wingtips without extending the ailerons to the end of the wing resulted in a loss of roll rate. 

- Another thing to consider regarding control forces is that as the cockpit is very narrow, the pilot can't lean sideways much and the maximum force one can apply sideways on the stick. So at high speed, the roll rate is even more limited than if the cockpit had been designed larger. Not to mention the field of view in the rear, limited by the same problem.

- The slats were a good idea on the paper, much less in reality. Yes they increased lift at low speed and gave it a higher stall AoA but as they were spring loaded, during a tight turn they tended to open unevenly and cause aileron snatching that completely spoils your aim. (Something that is not modelled in BoS) The Bf110 suffered from the same problem. Another thing with these slats is that the junction with the wing was adjusted poorly and so created a lot of airflow disturbance on the upper wing surface at all speeds, causing a noticeable increase in drag, and lift reduction. I've read from a wind tunnel report that if these slats were once and for all welded or even taped in place flush with the wing, the 109 could have gain 20 or 30 km/h of maximum speed and an even greater rate of climb. 

- Speaking of drag, I'm still wondering why they waited all the way up to the K version to put complete doors for the landing gear...

- The tailfin and rudder were good for the E series but were too small for later variants (F4 and upward I would say), again bad balancing meant that countering the engine torque was straining your leg a lot, and made take off even more dangerous with DB605 powered aircrafts.

- Structuraly it was kind of weak (but that is more of a side effect of having a light airframe) the single spar wing design is really bad for your health if you get a canon shell at the wrong place... And pilot protection is minimalist with only the backplate and armored windscreen (if available).

 

 

Compared to this the Fw190 came up with a sturdier airframe, with carefully designed wings that gave it an optimal lift all the way up to the stall point (a dangerous thing if you are not aware of though). Fast roll rate, dynamically balanced control surfaces to keep the hand on the airplane at high speed, better endurance, a wide and armored cockpit with a clear side and rear view, electric flaps and trim with little need for trimming the airplane with speed change... 

 

It have some disadvantages compared to the 109 : climb rate is inferior, as is high altitude performance, it is trickier to fly at low speed. This is where the high wing loading hits hard.

 

Until it received the BMW801-D engines (from memory more or less at the point where the A4 was introduced) it suffered from a bad engine reliability and serviceability. Quite a few pilots were lost, noticeably in the channel, due to sudden engine failures.

Also the production was spread on several small factories to avoid shortage in case one of them was destroyed. Good on the paper but in the field they often found out that some spare parts would not fit on certain aircrafts due to differences in gauges used and machining tolerances. It took some significant efforts to counter this. 

 

But despite these shortcommings, most pilots of that time said that the airframe itself was truly excellent and pleasant to fly. 

 

 

To me it is a better design without any doubts but I do keep in mind that there are certain missions where the 109 was still better at the job. 

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- Speaking of drag, I'm still wondering why they waited all the way up to the K version to put complete doors for the landing gear...

 

 

That was actually planned right back from at least the E-series, but it was dropped I think because they could not get the doors to operate reliably. Then on the F-series they reverted back to circular wheel wells and then on the G-series back again to squared-off ones in anticipation of wheel well doors that only materialized on the K.

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The FW-190 air frame was just so much more adaptable and for a much wider variety of roles than the 109.

 

From the A-series through to F/G series ground attack variants - on to the Dora 9 and eventually the TA-152A and C air frames....that thing was adaptable for every use imaginable for a SE fighter and it excelled at all of them. Simply one of the finest and versatile all-around designs produced by any nation during WWII...even though there were only a handful of old hares left to survive in them.

 

Ironically enough - the one other contemporary aircraft I would really worry about fighting against would be...the 109.

 

You can cry about it all you want but it happens in every sim as it happened IRL - the best of the best of the best will be in a 109 as far as fighter vs fighter goes.

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Personally I would have hated to fly a 109 in combat, especially if the Fw 190 was available. The ergonomics and field of vision in that cramped pit would just be a real detriment to combat performance, even if the 109 is better on some margins in fighter vs. fighter combat.

 

The Fw 190 being much more pilot-friendly - better ergonomics, better field of vision, better avionics, much longer endurance, better ground handling, even simpler controls - all of it would just come together to make it a better machine to fight in. At least IMHO.

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6./ZG26_Klaus_Mann

Small and Cramped in the Perspective of People who weren't used to this: And BTW, as a German Male in that Period you'd only have been 160-175 and no more than at most 80kg. 

 

162532.jpg

 

Pretty much every Pilot would have been used to fit snugly into his Airplane and the 109 offered a lot more room. Compared to that Baby a german Pilot would have been lost in Space in a 109 Cockpit, especially around the Arse and Feet. 

 

And to be honest, having sat in both, the 190 and 109 I didn't find the 190 to be much more Roomy, it actually felt tighter around the Shoulders than the 109, and the Seating in the 109 was more Agressive, compare it to the Seating of a Normal Bike and a Sportsmachine. And you feel that the 109 was in almost every sense of the Word a Fighting Machine, built to get into Combat and back out and Home. There is abolutely no Leasure about it. 

 

You sit in a 109, and on a 190. That's how I felt and frankly, I prefer the 109 in that Respect. 

I don't know which German Experte flew the Mustang Post-War and felt that the Cockpit was too large and everything was too far away from him? Stigler I think. 

Edited by 6./ZG26_Klaus_Mann
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Yogiflight

A lot of space around the feet? Can it be, that the 109 cockpit you were sitting in, didn't have an enginegun between the rudderpedals?

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6./ZG26_Klaus_Mann

A lot of space around the feet? Can it be, that the 109 cockpit you were sitting in, didn't have an enginegun between the rudderpedals?

The Laatzen 109 is Original. 

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I have never actually sat in a 190, but the one time I tried to get into a 109 cockpit, my 190cm just couldn't fit at all, and I was relatively skinny at the time. 

 

I'm not a pilot, but honestly I think I'd prefer the feeling of sitting "on" a fighter aircraft rather than "in" it.

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6./ZG26_Klaus_Mann

I have never actually sat in a 190, but the one time I tried to get into a 109 cockpit, my 190cm just couldn't fit at all, and I was relatively skinny at the time. 

 

I'm not a pilot, but honestly I think I'd prefer the feeling of sitting "on" a fighter aircraft rather than "in" it.

The Seat is fully Adjustable. I don't fit in my Car after a Girl's been driving it, but at 190 you are in the upper 1% of Germans in the 30s. 

 

But at Yogiflight: In the Grunau Baby and Hütter, as well as most other old Gliders your Heels are almost touching in the Pedals, so you have to bow open your legs for the Stick, which interferes with your Stick Movements. 

The 109 feels almost like a Gynecology Seat in Comparison. That is a Ton of Space for someone used to something as small as a Baby in that you actuallly have somewhere for your legs to go. 

 

pit109.JPG

 

1111831.jpg

Thumbs up for that sexy Grip.

 

Edited by 6./ZG26_Klaus_Mann
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Yogiflight

With that pic I understand what you mean. I never saw a photo of the 109 cockpit from that angle. It, indeed looks like more space, than I had thought.

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6./ZG26_Klaus_Mann

With that pic I understand what you mean. I never saw a photo of the 109 cockpit from that angle. It, indeed looks like more space, than I had thought.

You'd be surprised how little Space you can fit a Man in. It's all about what you are accustomed to. 

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Yogiflight

Hi Klaus, I also know a little about small space. I was in armoured infantry, and sitting on the gunners seat of the SPz Marder with 1.89m is not that funny, too. The advantage is, you don't need any belts, when driving through terrain.

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6./ZG26_Klaus_Mann

People don't even know what "cramped" means. Yes, the 109 had one of the smallest Cockpits of WWII, but it was also among the smallest, fastest and lightest Fighters throughout. 

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