National Air and Space Museum Me 163B (191301)

For the history of this aircraft as an evaluation aircraft with the US Army Air Forces, see the FE500 page.

Garber Facility, Silver Hill (Maryland) 1954 - 1996

The Garber Facility at Silver Hill is the restoration and storage facility of the National Air and Space Museum. Although it is another state than the NASM museum itself (Washington DC), Silver Hill in Maryland is only a couple of miles south-east of it.

The aircraft appears to be in a good state and complete, although the exterior is very heavily weathered. From the photographs it is however impossible to tell whether it has an engine, cannons and a complete cockpit. It has a partial tail wheel cover, which is thought to be typical of early production aircraft only.

The Komet appears to show several paint layers. There is evidence that the current paint scheme is not original, possibly having been repainted at least twice. A photo taken at Silver Hill in the early seventies that shows part of the paint removed with another FE-500 under the first.

The following pictures were made by Bert Hartmann in June 1996:

'The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum' at Savannah (Georgia) 1996 - 2008

The NASM loaned 191301 to the 'The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum' in Savannah, Georgia. An 'Unofficial Page' about this museum provided the following information. The museum opened on 14 May 1996, and the Komet was reported present in June 1996. It is the only real and complete aircraft of the museum; they also have a P-51 and a Bf 109, but they are plastic replicas. The aircraft still is in it unrefurbished state, showing several paint layers and identities. Personally I feel this is much to prefer over a spotlessly 'restored' example looking like a full-scale model. The thirty-five photographs shown below are kindly shared by Steve Hawley.

General views

(left side)


(right side)

Left wing

Right wing

Vertical tail

Take-off dolly

Tail wheel

A walkaround with 41 photos by Howard Mason can be found at the Prime Portal Web Site.

It was reported that this Komet would return to the NASM late 2003, to be added to the Udvar-Hazy Center collection. The move finally took place in the fall of 2008, according to Mandy Livingston of the museum.

Udvar-Hazy Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, 2008 - current

In the fall of 2008, the Komet was returned to the NASM, more specifically the Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport. The first report of it being on display came from Kevin McCartney in June 2010, reporting that it is located between the Hurricane and Sikorsky XH-4 helicopter, although a map presentation suggests that it will eventually go in front of the space hangar. A page describing the Komet has it listed as being on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar.

The Komet is currently (summer 2010) not yet reassembled, and presumably not restored. The NASM is well-known for its slow but very thorough restorations. In fact, their restorations make the aircraft better than new, something I personally don't like at all. One former German Arado 234 pilot remarked that if his aircraft had been so beautiful when he flew it over the UK, the English would have thrown flowers instead of shooting at it! So let's hope they will leave the Komet alone.

Jörg Schaden was the first to provide photos of FE500 back at the NASM. His photos from 2010 show temporary wheels fitted, and the wings stored on a rack. Otherwise the condition appears unchanged from its days at Savannah.

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