Lockheed P-80A vs Messerschmitt Me 262A

The P-80 and the Me 262 never met in combat, but many students of aerial combat have debated what the outcome of such a battle might have been.

The Me 262 was an amazing aircraft, well ahead of its time in many ways, but it was also an aircraft that was rushed into production before all its bugs had been worked out. In the Earth-X timeline, I suppose that some, but not all, of those problems have been fixed, making it a more reliable aircraft than it was in reality. But it still has handling problems and a slow throttle response.

The P-80 had some development problems, also. Most notorious was the primary fuel pump that was powered by the main engine. This could cause engine failure if the auxilary pump was not engaged for take-off, as happened to several pilots, including America's top ace, MAJ Richard Bong. But the P-80 was a more advanced design that took advantage of the work done on earlier jet aircraft. It had power-boosted ailerons and a speed brake, both of which contributed to superior maneuverability. It was faster than the Me 262, though not by a lot, and it had greater range, much greater with its wingtip tanks that actually decreased its aerodynamic drag and improved its control response.

Although the two aircraft never met in combat, they were flown in a comparison test at Wright Field after the war. According to reports from that test, the Me 262 had a speed advantage in a dive, but the P-80 was superior in all other respects. In the Earth-X timeline, I've improved the Me 262 to make it a more even contest, but in the hands of the Blackhawks, the best pilots in the world, smart money will still go on the P-80.

See the table below for a direct comparison of the specifications and performance of the actual aircraft.

Specifications


Lockheed P-80A

Messerschmitt Me 262-A-1
Length
34 ft 6 in
34 ft 8.5 in
Wingspan
38 ft 10 in
41 ft 1 in
Height
11 ft 4 in
12 ft 6.75 in
Weight (empty)
7,920 lb
8,820 lb
Speed @

Sea Level
15000 ft
33000 ft
40000 ft


562 mph
542 mph
512 mph
495 mph


514 mph
532 mph
510 mph
beyond ceiling
Service Ceiling
45,000 ft
37,664 ft
Range:

Normal
Maximum


780 miles
1,210 miles


650 miles
650 miles
Armament
Six .50 caliber machine guns
Four 30 mm MK108 cannons


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