Captured Wings Wiki

Built at Leipheim,[1] and operated as ‘White 35’ by III./EGJ2,[2] following modification under contract by Blohm+Voss for use as a dual-control two seat trainer. Captured at Lechfeld, near Augsburg, Germany. 54th Air Disarmament Squadron; rebuilt to airworthy condition and named ‘Vera’ [named after the sister-in-law of the Master Sergeant mechanic]. Flown via Stuttgart and St Dizier to Melun/Villaroche (A-55), France 10 June 1945. Renamed as 'Willie' [named in honor of the Messerschmitt test pilot, Ludwig ‘Willie’ Hoffman].

Numbered by Watson's Whizzers as 555. Flown to Querqueville (A-23), Cherbourg, France 6 July 1945. The flight was uneventful until the landing approach was initiated. Upon lowering the landing gear, the German pilot received indication of the main- gear extending but no panel light that the nose gear was down. He activated the emergency gear-down switch, which was a compressed air cylinder, but still did not receive a gear-down indication. The pilot had earlier received a green light from the tower to land so he continued on the approach expecting a red light if the nose gear was not fully extended. He thought the gear was extended and that the down-indicator was unreliable. Inasmuch as he didn’t receive a red light from the tower he continued his approach, and touched down normally on the main gear, holding the nose off the ground as long as possible.

After rolling approximately 1/3 the length of the runway, he slowly lowered the nose and found that the nose gear had not extended. The aircraft slid for 800 to 1000 feet straight ahead on the nose section, engine nacelles and main gear before stopping. Very little damage had been inflicted to the aircraft.

All that was required to make it flyable was to replace the nose section and the front portion of each engine nacelle. The pilot took several mechanics and flew to Lechfeld, Germany in a C-47 where they removed the needed components from another Me 262 . The damaged sections of the trainer were replaced and the aircraft loaded on board the aircraft carrier. Operation Seahorse.

Shipped to the USA on the Royal Navy escort carrier HMS Reaper 19 July 1945 arriving at the Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne, New Jersey 31 July 1945. Barged to Atlantic Overseas Air Materiel Center, Newark Field, NJ. Transferred to the US Navy Flight Test Division, NAS Patuxent River, MD. AssignedBuAer.No.121448,[3] and transferred to Willow Grove in 1946. After spending years on static display at NAS Willow Grove it was transferred, after restoration, to National Naval Aviation Museum.