Dornier Do 335 Pfeil

The Dornier Do 335 Pfeil (Arrow) was a World War II heavy fighter built by the Dornier company. The Pfeil's performance was much better than other twin-engine designs due to its unique "push-pull" layout and the much lower drag of the in-line alignment of the two motors. The Luftwaffe was desperate to get the design into operational use, but delays in engine deliveries meant only a handful were delivered before the war ended.

There are many advantages to this design over the more traditional system of placing one engine on each wing, the most important being power from two engines with the frontal area (and thus drag) of a single-engine design, allowing for higher performance. It also keeps the weight of the twin powerplants near, or on, the aircraft centerline, increasing the roll rate compared to a traditional twin. In addition, a single engine failure does not lead to asymmetric thrust, and in normal flight there is no net torque so the plane is easy to handle. The choice of a full "four-surface" set of cruciform tail surfaces in the Do 335's design, allowed the ventral vertical fin–rudder assembly to project downwards from the extreme rear of the fuselage, in order to protect the rear propeller from an accidental ground strike on takeoff.

First flew on 26 October 1943 under the control of Flugkapitän Hans Dieterle, a regular and primary Heinkel test pilot, were surprised at the speed, acceleration, turning circle, and general handling of the type; it was a twin that flew like a single.

French ace Pierre Clostermann claimed the first Allied combat encounter with a Pfeil in April 1945. He describes leading a flight of four Hawker Tempests from No. 3 Squadron RAF over northern Germany, when he intercepted a lone Do 335 flying at maximum speed at treetop level. Detecting the British aircraft, the German pilot reversed course to evade. Despite the Tempest's considerable low altitude speed, the RAF fighters were not able to catch up or even get into firing position.

At least 16 prototype Do 335s were known to have flown on a number of DB603 engines. The first preproduction Do 335, were delivered in July 1944. Approximately 22 preproduction aircraft were thought to have been completed and flown before the end of the war, including approximately 11 A-0s converted to A-11s for training purposes.

General characteristics
  • Crew: 1, pilot
  • Length: 45 ft 5 in (13.85 m)
  • Wingspan: 45 ft 1 in (13.8 m)
  • Height: 15 ft (4.55 m)
  • Wing area: 592 ft² (55 m²)
  • Empty weight: 11,484 lb (5,210 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 19,500 lb (8,590 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2× Daimler-Benz DB 603A 12-cylinder inverted engines, 1,287 kW, 1,726 hp (1,750 PS) each

  • Maximum speed: 474 mph (765 km/h)
  • Combat radius: 721 mi (1,160 km (half load))
  • Service ceiling: 37,400 ft (11,400 m)

  • 1 × 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 103 cannon
  • 2 × 20 mm MG 151 cannons
  • 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) bombload

** Dornier Do 335 Pfeil - Warbird Fare

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