Messerschmitt Me 262 V-series prototypes
Before production commenced, and initial run of 10 aircraft were constructed as the initial prototype trials aircraft.
With the German jet engines being also in the design development stage, the initial V1 prototype was flown as without jet engines to test the low-speed aerodynamics of the airframe. the eventual delivery of prototype BMW jet engines allowed the aircraft to be tested as a 3-engined design, very fortunate as a dual engine flameout on take-off of the first flight with the jet engines installed was saved by the piston engine. Later in its life the piston engine was removed and the aircraft flown in the standard configuration with Jumo jet engines.
Before the arrival of the jet engines the V2 and V3 airframes had been completed. However components, including the rudder, had been removed from the V2 to keep the V1 flying and so the V3 was the first pure jet Me 262 to fly. When the V2 was flown though, the test pilot conducted an unscheduled barrel roll in the aircraft, gaining much criticism.
With increasing speeds an unexpected increase in aerodynamic drag was noted, and the V3 was modified with an extended canopy, with wool tufts and a fin camera, to see whether the airflow was breaking up behind the cockpit. Nothing was determined from this testing, but this was probably the first noting of the trans-sonic drag effects that would lead to the "area rule" of high speed aircraft design postwar.
The original Me 262 design was a tailwheel aircraft, but immediately apparent during take-off was the damage to both grass and concrete runways caused by the high temperature and pressure of the jet exhausts, coupled with the disturbance to the functioning of the tailplane. In response the V5 was fitted with a fixed nose wheel undercarriage, using the nosewheel assembly from the Me 309.
The V6 was fitted with a retractable undercarriage, with an external scissor link on the nose leg.
The V7 was similar to the V6, but after being damaged was rebuilt with the a pressurised cockpit to gain the shape of the future production aircraft.
The V9 aircraft was developed during its life to become the prototype for the HG I highspeed heavy fighter. the aircraft was fitted with a low profile "racing" canopy and swept back stabilisers. The stabilisers were found to be unsatisfactory and the standard tailplane was reinstalled. No other aircraft were modified to the HG I standard, although a production aircraft was modified to become the HG II prototype, but was eby Allied bombing before completion.
The last prototype, the V10, was the prototype for the fighter-bomber configuration. It was also used to test airborne towing of both bombs and auxiliary fuel tanks with the solid bar deichselschlepp system.