April 2013

April Calendar 2013EWR VJ101C Tilt-Jet
World’s first supersonic VTOL
First VTO flight: April 10, 1963

The EWR VJ101C was an experimental German jet fighter Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) tiltjet aircraft. VJ stood for "Versuchsjäger" (German for "Experimental Fighter"). It was the prototype for a planned supersonic VTOL successor to the F-104G Starfighter.

In 1959 Heinkel, Messerschmitt and Bölkow, created Entwicklungsring Süd (EWR – “Development Ring South”), to develop the VJ101C. The VJ101C had rotating engines in nacelles at the wingtips. Two additional lift jets were installed in the VJ101C fuselage to supplement the main engines in hovering flight.

Two prototypes X1 and X2 were built. On 10 April 1963, the X1 made its first hovering flight. The first transition from hovering flight to horizontal flight took place on September 20, 1963. The VJ101C X1 flew 40 flights, 24 hover flights and 14 full transitions. During these tests the sound barrier was broken for the first time by a vertical take-off aircraft in steady level flight. On July 29 1964 the VJ 101C X1 flew at Mach 1.04 without use of an afterburner. The second prototype X2, having afterburners, made a successful transition on 22 October 1965. However. the project was cancelled in 1968.

The VJ101C X2 hangs today in the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

By Peter N. Noell

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