World War II saw airpower come of age…the predictions of Mitchel, Douhet and Trenchard came true. Their theories were tested…some were proven correct and some flawed. One theory which held that great fleets of bombers would devastate enemy homelands was proving true. To counter the fleets of bombers, German technology responded with truly revolutionary designs. One was the Me-163 “Komet” rocket powered interceptor. Komet pilots literally rode a bomb as their unit emblem depicts. The Me-163 had only minutes of highly volatile fuel with which to streak to altitude, attack incoming bombers, and then glide to a landing on a skid.Jagdgeschwader 400, the only unit to become operational in the Me-163, was commanded by a combat veteran with 99 victories on the eastern front…Wolfgang Spate. He would not only command the unit…he flew the first combat mission in the aircraft. With him in JG 400 was Rudolf Opitz, who first saw combat in the famous glider assault on Fort Eben Emael in Belgium during the initial attack on the western front. Opitz was next assigned to “Project X” and soon became the chief test pilot in the development of the Komet. Although the Me-163 came too late to stop the bomber assault on Germany, it provided technology that today can be seen in the space shuttle - a craft, which also streaks to altitude and then glides unpowered back to earth.EDITION: limited edition of 1000 prints, signed/numbered by Mike Machat, Wolfgang Spate and Rudolf Opitz. SIZE 18” x 24”
Aviation Autographs is the premier collection of items autographed by some of Aviation’s legendary aviators includes personal memoirs, definitive histories and compelling stories along with limited edition prints and the famed Gathering of Eagles Collection.
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