Joachim Beh works at the University of Stuttgart, institute of aircraft design, and he is involved in the Akaflieg FS-35 project and the E-genius electric motorglider which participated in the Green Flight Challenge in 2011. He's also building an aerobatic trainer of his own design, and is also thinking about building a scaled Komet replica. His initial design is shown here to generate ideas and interest. The concept needs further development, and Joachim hopes it can become a group effort to reduce the costs.
Joachim explains: "Some friends and I had the idea to start designing a downsized replica, roughly 1:1.7 scale, to make the wonderful flying characteristics available for homebuilders. Like the original we would like to equip it with a towing hook to familiarize with it as a glider. It would have a dummy weight in the back in order to mount a PBS TJ100 jet engine later." More details are discussed below.
Joachim made an ink-drawing that he scanned in high resolution:
I got somehow crosslinked via U-tube and Go-ogle... and kind of sucked into the 163 story - now - I'm a fan of old books and love to learn about ground-breaking aircraft designs of which we don't have many nowadays... The essence I got out of all the stories was: the Me 163 - killing far more pilots than enemies - recommended itself literally NOT as a weapon, but as a P.O.H. fighter (pursuit-of-happiness ;-) Everybody who flew it would have stayed IN the cockpit, if the rocket fuels weren't so dangerous!
I also read the article of XCOR, but a rocket-powered aircraft nowadays is - unless you live in the desert, Edwards AFB or similar) and your boss pays the fuel (military) - an absolute NO-GO for people like you and me. We had the idea of preserving the design, the flying characteristics - and to show it around. Who supplies rocket fuel? No one I know in Germany at least. So, if you had a supply - you were very likely a fixed-base operator. BTW there is no airspace in Europe's public areas where you could fly the how-it-was-in-WW2 20,000 ft/min climb rate - you had to switch another radio frequency every 2 seconds :-)
So, what about a downscaled replica (1:1.69 / 1:1.55 giving 5.5m / 6m span)? Detachable wings for transport and workshop access (ever tried to get a one-piece aircraft into a glider club's workshop?) Flyable in the first step as a glider only, with a weight dummy for the engine. Towing speed still acceptable for existing planes like Jodels etcetera, about 140 km/h.
The aircraft won't be an ultralight - it will be a delight, but demanding - you'll need at least the JAR-FCL SEP rating plus glider or similar.
Stall speed around 100 km/h, best glide around 170 km/h, 1:15, cruise around 250 + km/h, Vne 200-250 knots.
With the PBS TJ 100 engine (which is NOT at all cheap - one BD-5 jet has it, as far as I know - around 45,000 euros) you'll have about 45-60 minutes of flight time with 80-100 liters of Jet A-1 fuel. Jet intakes should be under the wings and closeable for glider landings on grass fields to prevent debris getting into the engine.
All in all, no beginners package, not cheap, but probably a group effort and INCREDIBLE FUN - ahm - I forgot the 2-gallon smoke-oil tank - it's a must have - think of that full power low pass with the smoke trail going up into the clouds... ;-)
I could imagine the structure as follows: wings/spar: carbon fiber in negative moulds - they are very compact - control surfaces will have to be 100% balanced to prevent flutter - fuselage could be composite or a hybrid of composite and a steel tube truss - lots of fittings and the "hot section"...(MTOW around 300 - 330 kgs)
So far - please don't expect explosive progress - it's all in a just-an-idea-at-the-bar stage - a flyable glider version won't be possible under 30,000-40,000 euros - the cockpit instrumentation alone is around 8,000 to 10,000 Euros...
I got a little bit too much inspiration from the BD5 Jet - the nose pitot doesn't make sense on the 163, because it can get damaged very quickly during a nose-down braking attitude - so it should be relocated to the wing - or even better - to the tip of the vertical fin.
Perhaps we can set up a most-wanted-features/FAQ page where you can collect ideas - and you'll probably be able to check whether there is serious interest AND the willingness to contribute money to a fund in order to go ahead - or not. If there's a possibility to give birth to such a fun-gun, it can only be a group effort - I have no time and money to do this - at least not alone - I can possibly contribute things, but that's it... It's cheap to dream, but a lot of effort to make it real...
If you send in comments (contact page), I will add them to this page.