History[edit | edit source]
Assembled at Dornier's plant in Oberpfaffenhofen (southern Germany) on 16 April 1945, this aircraft was captured by allied forces at the plant on 22 April 1945. The aircraft was test flown from a grass runway at Oberwiesenfeld, near Munich, to Cherbourg, France while escorted by two P-51's,[N 1] from where it was shipped to the United States, among a number of aircraft, including a second Do 335,[N 2] aboard the Royal Navy ship HMS Reaper, registered FE-1013. These aircraft were to be used for testing and evaluation under a USAAF program called "Operation Sea Horse."
Passed to the US Navy, it was allocated USN BuAer 121447 for testing with the Tactical Test Division at NAS Patuxent River. 240102 was tested from 1945 to 1948, before being allowed to languish in outside storage at Naval Air Station Norfolk. In 1961 it was donated to the Smithsonian's National Air Museum, though it remained in deteriorating condition at Norfolk for several more years before being moved the National Air & Space Museum's storage facility in Silver Hill, Maryland. In October, 1974 VG+PH was returned to the Dornier plant in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany (then building the Alpha Jet) for a complete restoration. In 1975 the aircraft was beautifully restored by Dornier employees, many of whom had worked on the airplane originally. [N 3] Following restoration the completed Do 335 was displayed at the Hanover, Germany Airshow from May 1 to 9, 1976. After the Airshow the aircraft was loaned to the Deutsches Museum in Munich where it was on display until 1986, when it was shipped back to Silver Hill, Maryland. VG+PH can be seen today in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The Do 335 was easily able to out distance the escorting Mustangs, and arrived at Cherbourg 45 minutes before the P-51's.
- This aircraft, which eventually gained registration FE-1012, went to the USAAF, and was tested in early 1946 at Freeman Field, Indiana. Its fate is a mystery.
- They were amazed to find that the explosive charges built into the aircraft to blow off the tail fin and rear propeller in the event of an emergency were still on the aircraft and active thirty years later!