Merseburg / Air Classik Me 163B replica

Air Classik was a German aviation museum organisation that exhibited its aircraft all over Germany at airfields, with the largest display on the roof of the Frankfurt terminal building (the public viewing area). Air Classik owned some 52 aircraft and replicas, including a Me 163B replica. Its history is not completely documented, but it should be close to the following (thanks to Christoph Westhaus).

Flughafen Düsseldorf

It first appeared on the visitors terrace of the Düsseldorf airport, together with a few other aircraft including a replica Bf 109E and a real CASA-built Ju 52. The oldest photo to surface so far dates from 1976.

Christoph Westhaus photographed it there in 1985:

Flughafen Frankfurt-Rhein Main

Later the Komet moved to Frankfurt, and here Thomas Sivhed from Sweden took the following photo (sent by Bert Hartmann). It was now marked '54'.

Some years ago the Air Classik organisation was disbanded, and all aircraft were sold. The Me 163 replica was said to be sold to Würzburg, but it turned up at Köln Butzweilerhof.

Luftfahrtmuseum Köln Butzweilerhof

In 1986 the Luftfahrtmuseum Köln Butzweilerhof was established at the small airfield and military camp Butzweilerhof. Its collection included many former Air Classik aircraft, including the Me 163B replica. The museum was closed in 1996, and it was reported to move to St. Augustin. This probably never materialised, and instead the collection moved to Merseburg.

Luftfahrt- und Technikmuseumspark Merseburg

The former Air Classik Komet replica can now be found at the Luftfahrt- und Technikmuseumspark Merseburg. This link has more photos. The museum was founded in 1997, and it is housed in a hangar of the former Russian military air base near the city of Merseburg.

In 2002, Christoph Westhaus sent the following photos of the former Air Classik Komet, as it is on display in Merseburg now. Christoph reports that the replica is in need of a restoration; it looks better in the photographs than in reality. But a restoration would turn it into a fine replica. The Komet has different identities on its left and right side. On the right side it is painted as VD+ER, like the V8 pre-series aircraft. On the left it has a 2./JG400 badge ('Wie ein Floh, aber oho!'), but the yellow code '54' is gone. The cockpit is fully detailed, as shown in the close-up photos. The small generator prop is missing.

For the record

For the record, the following sightings of the Air Classik Komet as reported in 'European Wrecks & Relics' (Mike Bursell, 1989) are also shown here. The data fit rather badly with the history reported above. The Komet was reported in more than one place at a given time, nevertheless there was only one. It should be noted that the reporting of replicas was not very meticulously.

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