German manufacturing methods and present-day aeronautical trends have been revealed to the AAF through study of the captured Junkers 88 which was ﬂown to the United States recently for testing by the Materiel Command at Wright Field in Dayton.
The ship apparently was designed for many tasks, varying from high-altitude bombing to ground strafing, mine laying and night fighting. For these jobs the ship carries armor to protect the pilot and radio operator and some additional armor. Ordinarily equipped with 7.9-mm guns, these can be augmented in any number of ways with additional guns and cannon. Hollow, explosive-filled bolts are employed to hold the external bomb racks under the wings. Apparently the purpose is to allow the pilot to jettison his bombs, racks, or both, in a hurry. A press on a button blows racks and bombs loose from the ship. For dive bombing, a red line has been painted on the Plexiglas in such a manner that when the ship is tipped over in a dive and the line is parallel with the horizon, the pilot knows the ship is in the correct altitude to release the bomb.
Of special interest is the method which the Germans have used to overcome the possibility of ice forming on the wings. The leading edge of the wing is a hollow spar, forming a duct, through which air heated by the engine exhaust stacks is forced. Air from the same sources also is used to heat the cockpit. By the time the air has traveled the length of the wing, it has lost its heating qualities and is ejected through vents at the wing tips.
Hydraulic lines are plainly marked and arrows are painted on them at intervals to indicate fluid flow, and thus facilitate repair work. Examination of the instruments used in the plane has revealed to experts that the Germans have simplified greatly their manufacturing procedures. Housings for various types of engine and ﬂight instruments are not nearly as meticulously machined as those on AAF planes. They are inclined to be rough on the outer surfaces.
In the appearance and construction the Ju-88 is rough and ready, a plane to inspire respect at any time.
This news clip was originally published in the "Shop Talk" column of the April, 1944, issue of Air Tech magazine, vol 4, no 3, p 10.
The original news clip includes 1 captioned photo.
Photo credited to British Combine.