Captured Wings Wiki


This Me 262 A-1a is probably one of the last Me 262s completed by teh Germans in late March 1945. Operated as ‘Yellow 5’ of 9./III.KG(J)6, WNr.501232 was flown from Prague-Rusin to München-Riem on the afternoon of May 8, 1945 by Oblt. Heinrich Haeffner, a pilot of 2./KG 51 where it was surrendered to US forces. Shortly thereafter he was photographed with Col. Harold Watson next to Yellow 5. It was flown by Messerschmitt test pilot Karl Baur to Lechfeld on 15 May who noted in his flightbook that it was named "Beverly Ann". This indicates that the aircraft was christened with its new name and had it applied at München-Riem, and so on or about this date all the various aircraft received their 54th Air Disarmament Squadron (ADS) names.  The individual aircraft names were applied on the port side of the respective aircraft’s nose, and “Feudin’ 54th” on the starboard side of every aircraft.

On May 27 its future USAAF pilot Lt. Robert C. Strobell, a former P-47 pilot with the 63rd Fighter Wing of the 8th AAF, arrived at Lechfeld as the Air Technical Intelligence (ATI) Project Officer responsible for retrieving the Me 262s. The 54th ADS left Lechfeld on June 2 and turned over the Me 262s the Watson's ATI personnel. On 10 June WNr.501232 and eight other Me 262s begin journey to meet the auxiliary carrier HMS Reaper at Cherbourg for transport to the USA by the following route: Lechfeld - St. Dizier - Melun (SE of Paris) - Cherbourg. Within a few days of their arrival, the aircraft lose their 54th ADS names and are re-christened with ones by their new pilots, "Beverly Ann" becoming "Screamin' Meemie". In addition, the aircraft receive their respective Whizzer numbers, “Screamin’ Meemie” being assigned “111”.

Over the 30 June 6 - July period the Me 262s leave Melun and fly to Cherbourg, the collection point for all captured German aircraft destined for the United States. Yellow 5 is assigned the Reaper Number "20". The aircraft, plus other collected aircraft are "pickled” and loaded on to the HMS Reaper and leave on 19 July, arriving in New York on 31 July. All aircraft were then transported by barge to the Newark Army Air Field in New Jersey where they were prepared for the flight to Wright and Freeman Fields in Ohio, and the newly established US Air Naval Test Center at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. In October 1945 Yellow 5 is handed over to the U.S. Navy and was given the USN Bureau of Aeronautics serial number "BuAer 121442".  Sometime during the month, the aircraft, along with two other Me 262s, arrives at the US Naval Test Center at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. In December, Yellow 5 becomes an establishment aircraft for the USN Naval Test Center. 

Indeed, due to a lack of spares, it is the only aircraft successfully flown and tested by the Navy's Flight Test Division. The aircraft is flown throughout January 1946 by Lt.Col. Marion E. Carl (USMC) and also by Lt. T.G. McClelland to test its performance in typical carrier low-speed approaches and wave-offs, over-shoots and climb-aways. After logging 10.2 flying hours with the U.S. Navy,  White 5's remaining test flights were cancelled by the Flight Test Division after Carl had to make three successive emergency landings due to engine flame-outs. Its last flight was on 29 January, and on the 31st is was stricken off charge. On 18 March 1946 the Flight Test Division releases a technical report (Project No. PTR 1120) on the Me 262 and Ar 234 aircraft. Sometime in 1952 the aircraft abandoned in the Patuxent River NAS landfill.[2]

In 1957, in its search for an Me 262 for its future museum, U.S. Air Force representatives were informed by the Ontario Air Museum in California that an example of this aircraft could be found at NAS Patuxent River. Yellow 5 is soon retrieved from the aircraft dump and brought to Wright Field.  It was placed on display for a short period and then stored. Over the 1976-79 period Yellow 5 is restored by the 96th Mobile Maintenance Squadron at Kelly AFB, Texas.  As its previous camouflage and markings were at the time unknown, Yellow 5 was finished in a “standard” paint scheme without specific operational or unit markings. In late 1979 Yellow 5 is placed on display at the U.S.A.F. Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio where it remains to this day.