Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Typhoon) Competition / Liason / VIP Transport Aircraft
The Messerschmitt Bf 109 owed much of its design to the record-setting Bf 108 model series.
Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The high performance, record-setting Messerschmitt Bf 108 "Taifun" ("Typhoon") was born as a racing aircraft under the prototype designation of "M37". The design was attributed to engineer Willy Messerschmitt who would later go on to design and develop the excellent Bf 109, the German Luftwaffe's primary fighter of World War 2. Manufacture of the type was handled by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke. The Bf 108 was developed exclusively for the prewar 4th Challenge de Tourisme Internationale of 1934 as part of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale to take place in late-August into September over Poland.
The aircraft was of a conventional design with a well-streamlined fuselage wide enough to seat the crew side-by-side. The engine was fitted to a forward compartment (powering a two-bladed propeller assembly) ahead of the cockpit while the fuselage tapered off into a raised empennage which was capped by a shallow, rounded vertical tail fin. Horizontal planes were added to the base of the rudder and reinforced in earlier models with struts. The main wing assemblies were low-mounted, straight monoplanes with rounded tips. The undercarriage was retractable with the main landing gear legs recessing under each wing root. The tail wheel remained lowered at all times though earlier versions featured a simple skid in its place. The cockpit was heavily glazed which allowed for better-than-average views from within.
Beyond the initial 1934 competition M37 prototype, a handful of other airframes were produced under the formal "Bf 108A" designation and a majority of these were by a Hirth HM 8U engine and, perhaps more notably, incorporated an enlarged internal cabin for an additional two passengers. The few Bf 108A models were followed by the slightly modified though definitive "Bf 108B" models of 1935 which were preceded by a prototype fitting a Siemens Sh14A radial piston engine. Production-quality versions then switched to the Argus 10C or 10E of 240 and 266 horsepower, respectively. B-models arrived with revised tail units and new window designs and proved the definitive offering of the entire Bf 108 line. Maximum speed was 190 miles per hour with a range out to 620 miles. The maximum operating service ceiling was listed at 20,300 feet.