“The jet’s design set a precedent for modern jet aviation,” Hunter Chaney, marketing director of the foundation, said Tuesday. “It was the first plane with swept wings and automatic slats, which are still incorporated in jet design today.”
More than any aircraft of its day, the Me 262 “was a fighter of unrivaled potential,” according to information on the The Collings Foundation website.
According to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum website, the Messerschmidt Me 262 surpassed the performance of every other World War II fighter. The Me 262 was faster than the P-51 North American Mustang by 120 miles an hour, the website stated.
The Me 262 appeared in only relatively small numbers in the closing year of World War II. Messerschmitt factories produced 1,443 Me 262s, but only about 300 saw combat. The others were destroyed in training accidents or by Allied bombing attacks, according to the Smithsonian website.
Only nine of the jets survive in museums around the world, according to the website.
Tyler Pounds Regional Airport will be the first stop to debut of the touring German jet nationwide, Chaney said.
World War II veterans will welcome the German jet, an exact replica of that jet with a more modern engine, along with other vintage aircraft from the World War II and the Vietnam eras when the Wings of Freedom Tour lands its fleet at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport on March 15.
The B-17 & B-24 were the backbone of the American effort during the war from 1942 to 1945 and were famous for their ability to sustain damage and still accomplish the mission, the release from the Foundation said.
Despite the risks of anti-aircraft fire, attacking enemy fighters, and the harrowing environment of sub-zero temperatures, many B-17s and B-24s safely brought their crews home. The P-51 Mustang was affectionately known as the bombers “Little Friend” – saving countless American crews from enemy fighters, according to the Foundation.
After the war, many aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum to rebuild a nation in post-war prosperity and very few were spared, according to the release. The rarity of the B-17, B-24 & P-51 - and their importance to telling the story of WWII is why the Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide, the press release stated.
“We have visited Tyler about six times with the tour, but we didn’t visit last year,” Chaney said on Tuesday. “Tyler has always been a great stop for us,” he said.
The tour travels the nation as a flying tribute to the flight crews who flew them, the ground crews who maintained them, the workers who built them, the soldiers, sailors and airmen they helped protect, and the citizens and families that share the freedom that they helped preserve, according to the press release from the Foundation.
Visitors can find more information at www.collingsfoundation.org.