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The performance of the Bf 109 F-4

Preface

There are few German military planes of World War II where more books or articles were written about them than the Bf resp. Me 109 from Messerschmitt. Especially against this background it is rather amazingly, why the real performance values can't be found in these secondary sources. This article will try to present the real performance abilities of the Bf 109 F-4 and to pinpoint where the flawed specifications in books come from.

Specification of engine power settings

Since it comes again and again to misunderstandings, which meaning the power settings being listed in manuals and reports for plane engines had, they shall be outlined here briefly.

The power setting characterized the maximum revulutions per minute and boost pressure of the engine for a defined time period, in which it was guaranteed that the engine would take no damage with these settings. Here it shall be pointed at the different power settings with their permitted time spans according to German use.


Power settings of German plane engines

Increased emergency power or increased short time power for a minute.
Take off/emergency power or short time power for 3 to 5 minutes depending on engine.
Climb/Combat power or increased continous power for 30 minutes.
Maximum continous power for unlimited duration.
Maximum economy power for unlimited duration.

These power settings were not provided by all engines. Most engines had only 3 or 4 of these power settings. The told time periods were only a reference value for the first half of the war, later they there more and more depending on the respective engine.


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