So, this is a non-fictional essay (I guess you could call it that) I’ve done as some “lighter” writing for an upcoming competition. (Still in the process of editing). You don’t have to read it, ’cause we all know that non-fiction is boring, but if on the off-chance you do, please do not give constructive criticism as this is supposed to be all my own work. Anyways, yeah, here’s a boring piece of non-fiction. (Oh, and I am in the progress of working on the next chapters for my novels, but it’s a hot day here in CA, and I work awfully slowly in hot weather. It makes me feel all stuffy, sweaty, and bothered. So if I’m ever a bit grumpy, I either missed out on a good sleep, or it’s hot here in CA.
During World War II, many weapons of destruction were developed. Some were successfully destructive to the extreme, others were ludicrous fiascos, laughable failures. One such disaster was the ME-163B Komet. Given, it was the first of its kind, and thus cannot be expected to have been a major success, though the ingenuity was present, the practicality was absent.
German scientists designed the Komet to be the fastest plane in the air. They made it to rule German airspace. It must be said in their favor that it did hold an advantage against all other fighters during that time, flying two hundred miles an hour faster than anything brought up against it. However, as with all failures, there were problems; glaring ones at best.
The Komet was powered by a hydrogen peroxide fueled rocket engine. This in itself caused two issues. Because it was a rocket engine, with an insanely high fuel consumption rate, the plane ran out of fuel in eight minutes, and had to glide back down to the ground. Not only that, but the fuel itself was dangerous, and exploded in several cases, killing the unfortunate pilot who happened to be flying the plane.
Ignoring that, the Komet was a revolution for its time. Pilots marveled at it’s extreme climb rate, 16,000 ft a minute. That translates down to approximately 267 ft a second, speedy indeed. But, this speed came with a cost. Because the plane was so fast, it passed through incoming bombers too fast for the pilots to hit anything. This led pilots to develop a different sort of technique. Instead of flying straight at the enemy formation, they would come under the bomber at reduced speed. In fact, later onwards, a system was developed for optically triggered rockets that fired straight up.
The success of this plane cannot really be counted as a success at all. The only Komet planes to fly downed 9 enemies while losing 14 of their own. Hardly the results looked for in an effective aircraft to say the least. An innovation, apart from the use of the deadly rocket engine, was the lack of horizontal stabilizers on the rear of the aircraft. As for the overall shape of the plane, it was what might be considered “stubby” for lack of a better word.
So, did the pros of this inventive disaster outweigh the cons? Hardly. Though in all technicality an unprecedented invention, the Komet did nothing to deserve the title of successful. Despite being extremely fast, when coupled with the fact that it only had eight minutes before fuel ran out, and also with the known issue of the unstable fuel, flying one of these was mere suicide. In conclusion, the Komet was one creation that did not go well, to say the very least.