Background


Inspiration

Around 1990, Jeffrey Ethell's book sparked my interest in the Komet. I found the Komet highly interesting from an engineering viewpoint, and I also happened to visit Brandis airfield a few times between 1990-1992, while chasing Russian aircraft in the former German Democratic Republic. I started building a 1/72 model and picked a particular aircraft to model: 'White 05' of Erprobungskommando 16. The colors of this aircraft were very puzzling, and I started to do some research. To organise this research I decided to try to make a few web pages, inspired by a site on the Dornier Do 335 I had seen before. This was in late 1997, early 1998, and since then I continuously expanded the site. If you want to see how it looked in December 1998, took a look at the page stored by the Wayback Machine.

My interest in the Messerschmitt 163 is three-fold. As a modeler, I'm always looking for details and subtle differences, camouflage colors and schemes, markings, and of course new models and accessories. As an aerospace engineer, I'm fascinated by the technical side of the Komet: the tailless design, the rocket engine, the extremely high performance, the short powered flight duration, all of it makes it a highly interesting subject to study. As a former aircraft spotter, I'm keen to build a complete serial number list, and to research the operational use of the aircraft.


Servers and HTML

Initially the site was hosted by the 'Kolibri' server of the faculty of aerospace engineering of the Delft university of technology. The Wayback Machine has 21 copies. In 2001 it was moved to the 'SML' (Structures and Materials Laboratory) server of the same faculty. The Wayback Machine made 51 copies. In 2005 it was moved to the Dutch internet provider XS4ALL. Currently the site is close to 1200 pages in size, and shows some 150 wartime and 550 museum photos, most of them contributed by other Komet enthusiasts. Research still continues, and the site will continue to grow slowly.

This site is made with rather basic HTML langauge. I'm still doing it by hand, avoiding the use of web page editors. Therefore, these pages will be simple, and may even look old-fashioned. On the other hand, your browser will never crash because of my pages, and you won't get dizzy because of animated GIF's running at hypersonic speed. And as long as I'm way behind in adding all the material I receive from all over the world, the focus will remain on the content instead of the looks.


Site scope

This site is strongly focussed on the B model of the Messerschmitt 163 in all its aspects. The A model is partly covered, but you will find very little on the post-B models like 163C, 163D, 163S and Me 263. This is partly due to the very limited information available on these models, and because my interest in them is not very strong (but that could change). Two aircraft I decided to leave out completely are the Japanese Me 163B offspring J8M1 Shusui and the Russian Me 263 development I-270.


Mailing list (discussion group)

Since 1997, a Komet mailing list runs more or less in parallel with the site. Through the YahooGroups mailing list service, e-mails are exchanged between the list members. The mailing list is a great way of discussing all Komet-related subjects: historical research, models, camouflages, building a replica, construction details, performance, etcetera. It is simply very helpful to have an audience when you're researching some aspect, and the combined knowledge has already resulted in some very interesting discoveries. The list has grown to some 50 members. Quite a few members only read the postings, and don't participate in the discussions; this is fine too. If you want to join, the easiest option is to ask to be added; you can do it yourself at the YahooGroups website (list name is '163'), but sometimes it's a hassle. It's free by the way.


Contributors

A very large part of this site was contributed by Komet fans from all over the world. The 'contributors page' already contains nearly 100 names. Again, my thanks to all these people! Often I receive so much material that I can't keep up. There have been delays of many months in some cases. And I have lots of megabytes still waiting to be processed. In case you're planning to contribute something, please keep this in mind.


Future plans

The flow of material for this site has been so large over the past two years that I've had little time to spend time on a number of new subjects, such as the Komet's technology, performance, combat techniques, medical aspects (climb speed, altitude), the dangers facing the pilots and crews, etcetera. I still hope to find time to work on these new pages in the future.


Linking to this site

Please feel free to link to this site. However, I will generally not add a return link to this site, unless your site has Komet or Komet-related content, since I want to keep the Links page dedicated to the Komet only.


Political statement

This site does not have a political statement. The Komet served the Nazi government and war system, and slave labour was used to build the aircraft and support the airfields. I don't like Nazis, nor any other political or religious radicals, but that does not mean that this piece of history should be hidden. The swastika, prime Nazi symbol, is therefore shown on this site without further remarks.



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