Hans Guido Mutke

From Academic Kids

Dr. Hans Guido Mutke (March 25, 1921 in Neiße - April 8, 2004 in Munich, Germany) was a fighter pilot for the German Luftwaffe during World War II. He claimed to be the first person to break the sound barrier and to achieve supersonic flight, although this claim is disputed.


The flight

On April 9, 1945, Fähnrich Mutke, part of the EJG2 conversion squadron, 3rd flight, took off from Lagerlechfeld in his Messerschmitt Me 262, marked Weiße 9, for a planned high-altitude flight. He was climbing through at an altitude of 12,000m (36,000 ft) in near perfect weather with a visibility of over 100 km, listening to the radio conversations, when his chief instructor Oberstleutnant Bär detected a P-51 Mustang approaching the plane of another comrade, Unteroffizier Achammer, from behind.

Mutke went into a steep 40° dive with full engine power to assist. While passing through the altitude of 12,000m, the Me 262 started to vibrate, combined with the plane swinging from side to side. The speedometer was stuck against its limit of 1,100 km/h (682 mph) (Note, that official maximum speed of the Me 262 is 870 km/h, and that the speed of sound is around 1000km/h at an altitude of 12,000m, depending on the environmental variables). The shaking increased, and rivets started popping out of their holes. Mutke temporarily lost control of his plane. To regain control, he reduced the power on both engines, eventually reducing the speed below 500 km/h. After a difficult landing, it was found that his plane was missing many rivets and also had distorted wings.

The Claims

At the time, Mutke did not understand the reasons for this strange behavior. Only after learning about the supersonic flights of Chuck Yeager in 1947 did he attribute these phenomena to the effects of supersonic flight and claim to be the first person to break the sound barrier. This claim is disputed, and there are a number of other pilots and countries that claim the first supersonic flight.

In a series of carefully controlled flight tests conducted in WW2 by Messerschmitt, it was established that the Me 262 was out of control in a dive at Mach 0.86, and that higher Mach numbers would lead to a nose-down trim that could not be counter-acted by the pilot. The resulting steepening of the dive would lead to even higher speeds and self-destruction of the airframe due to excessive negative G loads.

However, after the war, American test pilots filed reports about the Me 262, including the possibility of a speed of Mach 1. The Handbook about the Me 262 from January 1946 in Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio describes the effects experienced by Mutke, before and after reaching the speed of sound [1] (http://mach1.luftarchiv.de/mach1.htm). A detailed discussion of the high speed capability of the Me 262 can also be found at Messerschmitt Me 262

Due to the nature of Mutke's combat flight, it is impossible to determine the exact speed of his plane, and it is also difficult to estimate the exact speed of sound at that time and altitude. Therefore, it is not possible to either prove or disprove his claims, and there is much discussion among experts if the Me 262 was able to break the sound barrier or not. It is believed that the effects experienced by Mutke are a side effect of supersonic flight called buffeting, but this effect can already appear at speeds much below Mach 1. A number of other Me 262 experienced similar strange accidents, or breaking apart in the sky for no known reason, but now attributed to buffeting and the different aerodynamics at the sound barrier.

Proponents of the claim also often believe that after the end of the war the allied powers had no interest in emphasizing any German achievements during the war.


After the war he worked as an airline pilot and as a doctor for aviation medicine. He died on April 8th 2004 during a heart valve operation. He donated his remains to the controversial anatomist Gunther von Hagens.

External links

de:Hans Guido Mutkepl:Hans Guido MutkeTemplate:Lived


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