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Blohm & Voss BV 141
Role Reconnaissance monoplane
Manufacturer Blohm & Voss
Designed by Richard Vogt
First flight 25 February 1938
Primary user Luftwaffe
Number built 38

The Blohm & Voss BV 141 was a World War II German tactical reconnaissance aircraft prototype. It is best remembered as the most asymmetrical aircraft to have ever flown.

Contents

Design and development

In 1937, the German Air Ministry - the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) - issued a specification for a single-engine reconnaissance aircraft with optimum visual characteristics. The preferred contractors were Arado, but the request prompted the Focke-Wulf company to work up the alternative idea of the Focke-Wulf Fw 189, a twin-boom design with two smaller engines and a central crew gondola, while Blohm & Voss proposed something far more radical. The proposal of chief designer Dr. Richard Vogt was the unique asymmetric BV 141.

The perspex-glazed crew gondola on the starboard side strongly resembled that found on the Fw 189, and housed the pilot, observer and rear gunner, while the fuselage on the port side led smoothly from the 746 kW (1,000 hp) Bramo 123 radial engine to a tail unit (which was symmetrical in the BV 141 V1 prototype).

It would seem that the displacement of lift vs weight, and thrust vs drag, would have induced tendencies to yaw and roll requiring continual trimming to control, but the aircraft proved very stable and maneuverable. Indeed, Dr. Vogt had calculated that the greater weight on one side of the aircraft could be cancelled out by the torque of the propeller.

Testing

Bundesarchiv bild 101I-602-B1227-08A, Aufklärungsflugzeuge Blohm - Voß BV 141.jpg

The aircraft's design prompted a mixed response from the RLM and had no impact on their decision to build the Fw 189. Indeed, an urgent need for BMW 801 engines for use in the Fw 190 fighter aircraft further reduced any chance that the BV 141 would see production.

Three further prototypes and an evaluation batch of five BV 141As were produced, but the assessment was that they were underpowered. By the time a batch of 12 BV 141Bs were built with the more powerful BMW 801 engines, they were too late to make an impression, as production of the Fw 189 was already well along. The BV 141B had the starboard tailplane virtually removed to improve the rear gunner's field of view.

Several wrecked BV 141s were found by advancing Allied forces. One was even recovered by British forces and returned to England for examination. None survive today. Contrary to much that has been written, all BV 141s ordered were produced and delivered. Following is the complete record of BV 141 production, either a German civil registration or pre-military, four letter Stammkennzeichen radio code.

  • Prototypes
    • BV 141 V1 ; WNr 141-00-0171 ; D-OTTO then GL+AG
    • BV 141 V2 ; WNr 141-00-0172 ; D-ORJE then PC+BA
    • BV 141 V3 ; WNr 141-00-0359 ; D-OLGA then BL+AA
  • Preseries BV 141 A-0
    • BV 141 A-01 (V4) ; WNr 01010360 ; D-OLLE then GL+AH
    • BV 141 A-02 (V5) ; WNr 01010361 ; BL+AB
    • BV 141 A-03 (V6) ; WNr 01010362 ; BL+AC
    • BV 141 A-04 (V7) ; WNr 01010363 ; BL+AD
    • BV 141 A-05 (V8) ; WNr 01010364 ; BL+AE
  • Preseries BV 141 B-0
    • BV 141 B-01 (V9) ; WNr 0210001 ; NC+QZ
    • BV 141 B-02 (V10) ; WNr 0210002 ; NC+RA
    • BV 141 B-03 (V11) ; WNr 0210003 ; NC+RB
    • BV 141 B-04 (V12) ; WNr 0210004 ; NC+RC
    • BV 141 B-05 (V13) ; WNr 0210005 ; NC+RD
    • BV 141 B-06 (V14) ; WNr 0210006 ; NC+RE
    • BV 141 B-07 (V15) ; WNr 0210007 ; NC+RF
    • BV 141 B-08 (V16) ; WNr 0210008 ; NC+RG
    • BV 141 B-09 (V17) ; WNr 0210009 ; NC+RH
    • BV 141 B-010 (V18); WNr 0210010 ; NC+RI
  • Series BV 141 B-1
    • WNr 0210011 ; GK+GA
    • WNr 0210012 ; GK+GB
    • WNr 0210013 ; GK+GC
    • WNr 0210014 ; GK+GD
    • WNr 0210015 ; GK+GE
    • WNr 0210016 ; GK+GF
    • WNr 0210017 ; GK+GG
    • WNr 0210018 ; GK+GH

The source of this information is the files of the Hamburger-Werke.

The Blohm & Voss team came up with several other asymmetric designs, but none were actually built.

Specifications (BV 141B)

Blohm und Voss Bv141 rear.jpg

Data from

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3, pilot, observer and rear-gunner.
  • Length: 14 m (45 ft 9 in)
  • Wingspan: 14 m (45 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 3.6 m (11 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 53 m² (570 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 4,700 kg (10,363 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 5,700 kg (12,568 lb)
  • Powerplant:BMW 801 radial piston, 1,160 kW (1,560 hp)

Performance

Armament

See also

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

References

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Notes

Bibliography

  • Green, William. Warplanes of the Third Reich. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 4th impression 1979, p. 81-86. ISBN 0-356-02382-6.
  • Smith J.Richard and Kay, Anthony. German Aircraft of the Second World War. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 3rd impression 1978, p. 66-71. ISBN 0-370-00024-2.
  • Taylor, Michael. The World's Strangest Aircraft. London: Grange Books plc, 1999. ISBN 1-85627-869-7.

Jet & Prop Magazine, Article Lars Kambeck

  • Wood, Tony and Gunston, Bill. Hitler's Luftwaffe: A pictorial history and technical encyclopedia of Hitler's air power in World War II. London: Salamander Books Ltd., 1977, p. 135. ISBN 0-86101-005-1.

External links


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